International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Operations Manager - 10th GEF Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC10) Consultant. GEF IW:LEARN. Deadline 01MAR23

Operations Manager - 10th GEF Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC10) for GEF International Waters: Learning Exchange and Resource Network (GEF IW:LEARN). Apply Before: 01 / March / 2023 (23:59 CET)

Deadline extended to 1 March


Your written offer should comprise:
(a) A Technical Proposal consisting of:
 an up to date curriculum vitae including the contact details of three professional references, and  an approach and methodology for the assignment, a workplan and comments on the Terms of Reference if any (max. 2 pages).

(b) The total amount to be charged for the assignment, which should be quoted in US dollars or in euros only and should indicate the consultant’s monthly rate.
Your proposal and any supporting documents must be in either English or French. Documents should be consolidated into a single document and all file names should include the family name of the applicant.
UNESCO places great emphasis on ensuring that the objectives of the work assignment, as described in the Terms of Reference, are met. Accordingly, in evaluating the proposals for the assignment, attention will focus first and foremost on the technical elements. From those proposals deemed suitable in terms of the criteria in the Terms of Reference, UNESCO shall select the proposal that offers the Organisation best value for money.
Your proposal should be submitted by e-mail to no later than end of the day (23:59 CET) 10 February 2023. E-mail proposals should not exceed 5MB. It is the individual’s responsibility to ensure that his/her proposal is received by the deadline.
Thank you for your interest in this UNESCO assignment; and we look forward to receiving your proposal.

Terms of Reference

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. The GEF International Waters (IW) focal area targets transboundary water systems, such as river basins with water flowing from one country to another, groundwater resources shared by several countries, or marine ecosystems bounded by more than one nation. The GEF currently unites 183 member countries—in partnership with international institutions, civil
society organizations, and the private sector—to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Since the inception of the GEF in 1991, the IW portfolio (more than 400 projects with about US$2.8 billion of GEF grants and US$18.6 billion in co-finance invested in more than 170 GEF recipient countries) has delivered substantive results and replicable experiences to be scaled up and mainstreamed globally.
GEF IW:LEARN is one of these projects, and its mandate is to promote experience sharing and learning among the GEF IW projects and the country officials, agencies, and partners working on them. IW:LEARN operates as a central hub of information and knowledge sharing and delivers a host of programmatic initiatives for the benefit of the GEF IW portfolio of projects. In pursuit of its global and regional objectives, IW:LEARN seeks to strengthen global portfolio experience sharing and learning, dialogue facilitation, targeted knowledge sharing and replication in order to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of GEF IW projects to deliver tangible results in partnership with other IW initiatives. More information about GEF IW:LEARN is available at
The GEF Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC) is the signature event of the GEF IW portfolio. The IWC objectives are to facilitate cross sectoral and GEF IW portfolio-wide learning and experience sharing. They strive to solicit advice from the existing GEF IW portfolio on burning issues and to assist in building participant capacity in key management and technical areas. The 300-350 participants (from about 70 GEF IW projects and 80 countries, and including government representatives, project managers, staff of international and non-governmental organizations, and the private sector) sum up progress achieved and look to the future of programming within and beyond the GEF IW focal area.
The IWC10 will take place in Uruguay in October-November 2023 (exact dates to be confirmed). It will feature an innovation marketplace (exhibit area); interactive training for project managers and country representatives through participant-directed workshops and roundtable discussions; highlights of GEF IW project contributions to ecosystem-based management of shared water bodies and their results; interaction among project representatives and the GEF Secretariat, GEF agencies and partner institutions working on GEF IW projects; and technical site visits, which are field trips to demonstration sites funded by the GEF, to other examples of good water management practices (both marine
and terrestrial cases), and to examples of successful public-private water management partnerships.


This ToR is designed to recruit a consultant to act as IWC10 Operations Manager, to co-lead the organization and management of the IWC10.

The Operations Manager will provide key inputs to the execution of the IWC10 at the operational level. In particular, the Operations Manager will help manage day-to-day preparation for and implementation of the IWC10, communicating and coordinating closely with project personnel, technical services personnel, the IWC10 Planning Committee and project partners.
A. Task One: IWC10 Preparation
 Establish a detailed workplan with clear tasks, deliverables and timelines
 Participate in the fact-fact mission to Uruguay (February-March 2023) to meet with local counterparts and stakeholders, and advance on other organizational issues
 Serve as the coordinator and secretariat for all IWC10-related committees and partners (including formulating meeting agendas, calling for meetings and minute-keeping, together with the IW:LEARN PCU)
 Monitor and report on progress against agreed milestones/roadmap
 Set up a communication plan with identified audience and timelines
 Help ensure the quality of IWC10 conference sessions (both design and implementation)
 In collaboration with the various Committees and the IWC10 Service Provider, help to prepare the technical site visits
 Liaise with the conference venue on conference requirements, including the arrangements for the meeting rooms, exhibition hall and use of monitoring equipment
 Ensure that the conference venue provider is complying with all contractual arrangements – in a timely fashion. Bring to the attention of PCU and PSC all diversions
 On behalf of the Planning Committee and country(ies), maintain the participant invitation/registration spreadsheet/database (including cancelations, VIP list, partner list, site visit registrations and exhibit booth registrations), including the issuance of invitations (and save-the-date), and respond to registration confirmations and information queries in a timely manner
 Prepare the conference script (or the internal run-sheet, which will guide the operational team on a daily basis)
 Assist with negotiations with the conference providers on conference requirements, including the arrangements for the meeting rooms, exhibition hall and use of monitoring equipment.
B. Task Two: Promote the IWC10 and Develop Associated Materials
 Help the GEF and GEF IW:LEARN promote the IWC10 to potential sponsors (consistent with the communication plan developed in Task One)
 Work together with the IW:LEARN PCU on the development of awareness and promotional materials, including but not excluding generating content for the:
 Marketing memo (for sponsors);
 Conference first announcement (with general information about GEF, IWC10, call for sponsors and visa requirements etc (conference design and structure, goals, objectives, requirements to participants and speakers, first call for registration, etc);
 Conference 2nd announcement;
 Conference program book;
 Logo, slogans and banners (together with IW:LEARN PCU)
 Media releases (supervising the IW:LEARN program officer), as well as any media releases.
 Conference logistical note
 Maintain and update the conference website (with PCU support)
 Coordinate public awareness of the IWC10, including both its purpose (in advance) and its outcomes (after the fact), focusing in particular on media relations (together with the IWL Program Officer)
 Invite local, national and global media to the event and help coordinate interviews with key participants
 If any media attends the IWC10, help to coordinate interviews with key participants
C. Task Three: Conference Organization and Facilitation
 Travel to the conference site at least four days in advance to assure effective cooperation with the Government, National Host Committee and other partners.
 Guide the smooth operation of the conference, including chairing the operational group meetings at the end of each day during the conference itself, as well as setting the stage in plenary in terms of conducting affairs and guiding the participants (with support from the IW:LEARN PCU)
 Guide and supervise the efforts of the conference facilitators, including focusing them on expected outputs and desired outcomes from sessions.
 Guide the collection of all IWC10 presentations (with support from the event coordinators and IW:LEARN program officer) for posting after the event
D. Task Four: Conference Follow up
 Develop and issue “thank you” letters to speakers and participants
 Draft, issue and analyze a post-conference evaluation report
 Post conference presentations, panel abstracts and other session content on the web

4. Duration of the Consultancy
The consultancy will be for 9 months.

5. Deliverables
Throughout the duration of this contract, the Operations Manager will provide regular brief progress reports (status of tasks and/or deliverables submitted) to the IW:LEARN Project Manager.

6. Qualifications and Experience
 Demonstrated experience with the organization of large international conferences, involving at least 350 people.
 At least five years project management or related experience with UN organizations and UN-implemented projects, and preferred, familiarity with regulations and procedures of the UN System and in particular experience in UNDP/GEF, UNESCO-IOC procedures.

 Advanced university degree required, preferably in the field of international relations/political science, economics, development studies or other related fields
 Demonstrated experience in planning and organizing. Ability to organize, plan, and implement work assignments, able to work under pressure of frequent and tight deadlines.
 Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and reliably contribute to a geographically distributed work environment (via phone and email), including accountability to remotely located manager(s).
 Demonstrated ability to work under pressure, particularly during the implementation of the actual conference.
 Excellent ability to work in English.
 Good organizational, interpersonal and oral and written communication skills.
 Teamwork. Strong inter-personnel skills and ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and working relations in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
Desired qualifications:
 Demonstrated success at fundraising for such events.
 Demonstrated understanding of the aid effectiveness and harmonization agenda, notably in relation to environment.
 Proficiency in at least one other UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish or Russian).

7. Supervisory arrangements
The Head of IOC/MPR will assume the overall supervision of the PCU and the Project Manager who is responsible for day-to-day supervision and implementation of the project. At no point should the Consultant make representations or act on behalf of UNESCO-IOC or any of the project partners.

8. Facilities to be provided by UNESCO
UNESCO will provide the Consultant with all required access to working files, UNESCO network, knowledge-management systems (including institutional email and Microsoft TEAMS accounts), and temporary office space if needed on occasional presence at UNESCO Headquarters.

9. Taxes
UNESCO will not reimburse any taxes, duties or other contributions for which individuals may be liable in respect of any payments made to them under the terms of their contract.

10. Insurance
Individuals issued with a contract for individual consultants or other specialists are covered by UNESCO’s insurance policy for work-related illness, injury, accidents or death whilst performing their official duties or travelling on behalf of the Organization. The insurance premium for the coverage, as determined by Pension and Insurance Section (HRM/SPI), must be included in the financial commitment for the contract.

11. Social Benefits
Individual consultants and other specialists shall be responsible for arranging, at theirown expense, any medical insurance that they consider necessary during the contract period. Unless they are affiliated by virtue of their status as former staff members, they cannot be enrolled in the UNESCO’s Medical Benefit Fund or United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund. Individual consultants and other specialists are not entitled to paid annual or sick leave.

More information: RFP-IW-LEARN5-IWC10-operations-manager-pdf - Google Drive