Communications consultant for the UN Sustainable Graduation Support Facility (SGSF) for least developed countries At United Nations

A. Background and objectives

Seven least developed countries (LDCs) are likely to graduate from the category between 2023 and 2026, more than doubling the number that have left the category in the 47 years since it was formed. Nine additional countries have met the thresholds for graduation during at least one triennial review by the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (CDP), meaning that sixteen countries – including nearly all Asia-Pacific LDCs – are at different stages of the graduation process.

Graduation from the LDC category reflects a significant achievement for each country. However, following a transition period after graduation, graduating countries stand to lose access to international support measures (ISMs) in trade, official development assistance and other areas such as travel support and reduced budgetary contributions to the UN. Loss of these benefits is something graduating countries need to plan for carefully. Avoiding any potential disruptions to development progress is especially important following the COVID-19 pandemic and its pronounced socio-economic impacts on LDCs.

LDC graduation and assistance for LDCs are mentioned in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ over 40 times, particularly with a view to ‘leaving no-one behind’. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution 2021/11 requested entities of the United Nations development system to provide assistance to graduating countries in the formulation and implementation of their national transition strategies.

The CDP Secretariat, in collaboration with UN-OHRLLS and other United Nations and development partners has designed and piloted a Sustainable Graduation Support Facility (SGSF). The SGSF is a country-led global platform bringing together and delivering integrated and coherent capacity building and advisory support services to graduating and graduated countries in six areas. CDP—a committee of 24 experts nominated by the UN Secretary-General in their personal capacity—has proposed that SGSF be introduced as an input to the preparatory process of the upcoming Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5).

The communication work under this contract would be funded by a CDP Secretariat project on “New assistance measures for graduating LDCs”, supported by the UN Peace and Development Fund (the “PDF LDC” project). The objective of the contract is to develop and implement a communication strategy for the PDF LDC outputs including those focusing on the SGSF services delivered to the project countries, which include Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Nepal and Timor-Leste, as well as related products such as a smooth transition strategy (STS) guidance note produced by the CDP Secretariat, and analytical reports such as a UN study on LDC graduation and the textile and clothing sector.**B. Work assignment**

  1. Prepare a communications strategy for the project on “New assistance measures for graduating LDCs”. The communications strategy should:

• Centre on communicating the main areas of CDP Secretariat support to graduating LDCs under this project, including SGSF, the STS Guidance Note, and important analytical studies.

• In consultation with CDP Secretariat staff, develop a comprehensive mailing list including the most important groups of stakeholders (e.g., Government, private sector and civil society counterparts in project countries, experts, development partners, potential donors, and UN communications focal points in the target countries), and identify and explain the most effective approach to communicate with each group, including key messages where appropriate.

• Identify the most important communications materials, events and other activities based on the above (see point 2 below).

• Include a timeline that among other things would support key international meetings such as the WTO Ministerial Conference and LDC5 (e.g., launch of UN study on LDC graduation and the textile and clothing sector), the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, UN events supporting countries with preparation of Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) , the UN Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) and High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) including VNR Labs.

  1. Implement and monitor the communications strategy developed under point 1 above. While the exact products would be detailed in the communications strategy itself, the workload should be equivalent to the following indicative list:

(a) Engage a network of important counterparts, among other things preparing monthly updates on the PDF LDC project linked to the SGSF and related activities and posting updates on social media (e.g., accounts maintained by UN Country Teams).

(b) Maintain a repository of any necessary background information on the UN’s LDC Portal.

(c) Draft and format two brochures or equivalent information products.

(d) Organize the communications and media aspects of three events at international meetings, e.g., by recommending participants from the network created, developing and implementing a visibility and promotional package for the substantive project outputs to be promoted at the events, recommending and implementing creative facilitation of the meetings, managing the meeting link and participation, assist with preparing of presentations and information packages, advocating the meeting on social media, and organizing other communications for the events in line with CDP Secretariat standard operating procedures.

C. Duration of the contract

The consultancy will be part-time, tentatively during the period 11 October 2021 to 31 October 2022.

D. Duty station and location of assignment

The contract will be home-based.

E. Travel

If the situation permits, the consultant should be ready to travel to in-person activities organized as part of the communications strategy. Travel would be organized directly by the UN in line with UN rules and policies.**F. Expected outputs and delivery dates**

  • Draft communications strategy developed, including communications plan for upcoming international events – 31 October 2021
  • Communications strategy finalized taking into account comments from CDP Secretariat staff – 30 November 2021
  • Drafts of all brochures and information materials to be developed under the contract prepared and available for comment by CDP Secretariat staff – 30 November 2021
  • Brochures and information materials finalized – 15 December 2021
  • Organize communications and media aspects of two events at international meetings – 31 July 2022
  • Organization of communications and media aspects of a third event at an international meeting, implementation of other aspects of the communications strategy, and completion of all activities under the contract – 31 October 2022

G. Performance indicators for evaluation of results

• Timeliness of delivery of outputs. • Quality of design of information products and clarity and accuracy of written materials. • Careful development of a well targeted and extensive network for project communications. • Ability to handle bilateral communications diplomatically, consulting with CDP Secretariat colleagues as needed. • Smooth organization of engaging events.

H. Qualifications and experience

Bachelor’s degree in communications, design, or a related field, with at least 5 years of experience. Knowledge working with development cooperation (for instance in a non-governmental organization, bilateral development agency, or in the United Nations or another international organization) is preferred. Demonstrated ability to produce engaging, well designed, accurate and carefully edited communications materials and events, and ability to work under pressure. Fluency in English (reading, writing and speaking).

How to apply

Please send a CV and short cover letter, explaining how your qualifications and experience meet the requirements of the consultancy, to Charles Davies, Programme Management Officer, DESA ( by Friday 17 September 2021.

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