MDG Acceleration Framework Application in the Kingdom of Tonga
1) Position Information
- Post Title: International Consultant for the Application of MDG Acceleration Framework to in Tonga
- Practice Area: Poverty Practice
- Post Level: Individual Contract
- Duration of the Assignment: 3-4 months
- Duty Station: Kingdom of Tonga
- Starting date: 15 August 2012 
- Languages required: English
 Date when the selected candidate is expected to start
With less than four years remaining till the target date of 2015, current views suggest that MDGs remain achievable in many countries, but require an increasingly deeper insight into the remaining problems, their solutions, and collective efforts and resources needed to accelerate progress.
The year 2010 provided the setting for a comprehensive review of progress on the MDGs including the impact of new challenges and realities, such as the global economic and financial crises, climate change, and new evidence and innovations to accelerate and sustain progress towards the MDGs. At the country level, such a review will work towards identifying bottlenecks and the solutions needed to accelerate progress on lagging MDGs, consistent with existing planning processes. To facilitate this outcome, the UN has developed and tested an MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF). The MAF has been endorsed for use by the UN Development Group (UNDG) and is available at www.undg.org/index.cfm?P=1505
The Framework will help countries to analyse why they are lagging behind on specific MDGs, prioritize the bottlenecks to progress, and identify collaborative solutions involving governments and all relevant development stakeholders. It could also help to address new challenges related to meeting the MDGs in a particular country context; and integrate new evidence such as the strategic importance of energy and technology, the centrality of gender equality and women's empowerment in relation to specific MDGs targets and indicators, and innovations in national and sub-national efforts to accelerate and sustain progress towards the MDGs. In countries where rates of progress vary sharply across geographic regions and/or population groups, the MAF can help understand the reasons behind such differentials in progress, and thereby address them through tailored solutions.
The MAF results in the preparation of a focused, agreed upon Action Plan to address the specific MDG that rallies the efforts of governments and its partners, including civil society and the private sector, on providing the investments and services needed to advance key policy reform and overcome identified constraints.
Chosen Target for the MDG Acceleration Framework
The United Nations Development
Programme is supporting the Government of Tonga to formulate an MDG
Acceleration Framework to accelerate progress towards achieving the MDGs by
2015. The MDG target to accelerate was chosen based on the
following selection criteria: should have the potential to achieve significant
results within the next 2 years; should have strong political and community
support, should have the potential to accelerate and impact other targets that
are also lagging (i.e. cross sectoral impact). Based on these criteria the
government of Tonga has chosen to address the target of reducing the prevalence
of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
NCDs in Tonga account for four of the five leading causes of mortality, and a major cause of morbidity.
NCDs reduce quality of life, increase disabilities, and impose a major financial burden on the health system, in particular because of their chronic nature. NCDs represent 10% of hospital admissions, and 20% of government spending in the health sector. Moreover, Tonga doesn't have a national policy on disabilities.
Tonga has one the highest rates of diabetes in the world, and ranked as one of the top 10 countries for diabetes prevalence. According to WHO, in 2002 the prevalence of type II diabetes among men and women above age 40 was 14.3% and 20% respectively. A 2002 study put the overall prevalence of diabetes in Tonga at 15.1%, double the prevalence rate in 1973. More recent data place the rate at 18% (with Tongan women having a 19.1% prevalence, and men at 16.5%.) However, diabetes in Tonga remains largely under-diagnosed. According to the National Health Accounts 2005/06, 3,500 diabetes cases were registered in Tongatapu,700 in Vava'u, 300 in Ha'apai and around 200 in ‘Eua.
Some risks factors that drive NCD
related to diet, physical activity, and the consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
NCDs are seen at an alarming level in Tonga, which will require political will,
and broad societal transformations to come to terms with these diseases and
conditions of epidemic proportion in the country. The second set of bottlenecks
is the health financing of NCDs.
A strong link to addressing the high prevalence of NCDs is the growing rate of the population under the basic needs poverty line. In 2000, the proportion of the population under the basic needs poverty line was 16.2% and this has grown to 22.5% in 2009. People living under the basic needs poverty line do not have the resources to consume essential (nutritious) food and non-food items to adequately sustain themselves of a daily basis. As a result they often consume cheap fatty foods such as mutton flaps or sipi in Tongan which leads to obesity and diabetes. Often the poor are uneducated and as a result make poor choices relating to nutritional food consumption.
The MAF will also target women and children living in poverty as vulnerable groups.
3. Scope of Work
Under the guidance and supervision of the National MDG taskforce, MDG Project
Manager within the Ministry of Finance and Planning, the Director for Public
Health within the Ministry of Health, the UNDP Office in the Kingdom of Tonga,
the MDG Programme Analyst at the UNDP Country Office in Fiji and the Policy
Specialist, Bureau of Development Policy in New York, the Consultant is
expected to lead the development of the concept note for the MAF process,
MAF analysis to inform and provide the evidence for the MAF Country Action Plan
and the MAF Country Action Plan for the priority off-track MDG target: reducing
the prevalence of NCDs based on the processes described in the MDG
Acceleration Framework document (http://www.undg.org/index.cfm?P=1505). The
action plan will draw upon a bottleneck assessment for the identified MDG
target (as described in the MAF), including sub-national considerations
This process will include the following specific tasks:
- Draft of a concept note for the MAF process in the Kingdom of Tonga, based on Annex I contained in the MAF Operational Note. This concept note defines the scope for the MAF process in the country, the partners involved, and timeline. This concept note will serve as the guidance for the MAF process and should be cleared by the respective government counterparts.
- Desk review sources of data including surveys, development plans and reviews and complete existing information as it relates to the reduction of the prevalence of NCDs in the country
- Prepare a comprehensive mapping of specific (existing) interventions (contained in policies and programmes) from the Kingdom of Tonga, UN agencies, development partners, the private sector and CSOs in the effort of promoting the reduction of the incidence of NCDs - this mapping should also identify relevant partners and actors in the field of NCDs; ongoing opportunities and opportunities in the pipeline that the MAF Action Plan could be linked to (during the Step 3 of the MAF process)
- Identify and prioritize the high impact interventions contained in existing policies and programmes (as per above), which are not showing results (Step 1 of the MAF process)
- Identify specific bottlenecks in the existing policies and programmes interventions (policy, planning, budget and financing, service delivery, service utilization) to reduce the prevalence of NCDs (Step 2 of the MAF process)
- Prioritize identified bottlenecks based on a quick impact assessment and feasibility for addressing the bottlenecks (Step 2 of the MAF process)
- Liaise with different stakeholders and partners including: relevant Government offices, UN specialized agencies, bi-/multi-lateral agencies, private sector associations and civil society groups (including those representing women, minority groups and marginalized) to ensure that their views are reflected in the assessment
- Ensure that the analysis builds upon, and is consistent with priorities set by the Royal Kingdom of Tonga, its strategies for reducing the prevalence of NCDs and ongoing efforts
- Identify and prioritize high impact solutions with a potential to reduce the prevalence of NCDs - based on a criteria of impact and feasibility (Step 3 of the MAF process)
- Ensure that relevant cross-sectoral and cross-cutting issues that are important for substantially reducing the prevalence of NCDs in the country (such as the vulnerabilities related to poverty and the impact of low levels of education) are integrated in the analysis of bottlenecks and in the Country Action Plan (Step 2 and Step 3 of the MAF process)
- Develop a budget and a monitoring framework for the Action Plan implementation.
In addition, the selected consultant is expected to:
- Support the substantive organization of two technical workshops: one national workshop to review and validate the MAF bottleneck analysis and another to review and validate the Country Action Plan. Concerned stakeholders are to be drawn in close consultation with Ministry of Health and UNDP and comprise Government officials, development partners, and relevant private sector representatives, civil society organizations, academics and experts
- Manage the peer review process and integrate the comments and feedback received into the MAF Analysis and Action Plan during the various reviews - including feedback received during the validation workshop/consultation.
- Assist in the validation and acceptance of the Country Action Plan and the final draft report for publication in close consultation with Ministry of Health, and the UNDP
4. Expected deliverables and Outputs
- Activities: MAF concept note which will guide the process in Tonga focusing on the reduction of the prevalence of NCDs in the country (e.g. this provides the justification for need of acceleration efforts to meet this MDG target by 2015 and the key milestones of the process). Timeline: 31 August 2012
- Activities: Comprehensive mapping of existing priority interventions (contained in policies and programmes relevant to NCDs) to identify high impact interventions to serve the basis of the MAF analysis; to identify opportunities/initiatives which are ongoing and in the pipeline and relevant partners/actors in this area Timeline: 07 September 2012
- Activities: Active participate in the Methodological workshop on MAF for key relevant stakeholders to increase understanding of the approach and its related process Timeline: 19-21 September 2012
- Activities: 1st draft of the situation analysis, including the identification of existing priority interventions, the justification for their prioritization and preliminary analysis of bottlenecks for the selected interventions Timeline: 28 September 2012
- Activities: Integrate comments of the peer review into the first draft MAF analysis Timeline: 05 October 2012
- Activities: Support the 1st National Workshop to validate the selection of priority interventions and identification of bottlenecks Timeline: 10-12 October 2012
- Activities: 2nd draft which advances the MAF analysis, prioritize bottlenecks, and identifies solutions based on a feasibility and impact criteria Timeline: 19 October 2012
- Activities: Integrate comments of the peer review into the 2nd draft MAF analysis Timeline: 26 October 2012
- Activities: Support the 2nd National Workshop to validate the prioritization of bottlenecks and build consensus among concerned stakeholders to agree on the solutions to feed into the action plan (including roles of government and its partners) Timeline: 31 October 2012
- Activities: 3rd draft which finalizes the MAF analysis, including the agreed priority interventions, identified and prioritized bottlenecks, prioritized solutions based on a feasibility and impact criteria, and the action plan including roles of government and its partners Timeline: 9 November 2012
- Activities: Integrate comments of the final round of peer review into the 3rd draft MAF analysis Timeline: 16 November 2012
- Activities: i. Finalize the MAF Action Plan with Budget, Timeline, Check list of Responsibilities (list of partners) and solutions (interventions) by the concerned stakeholders and M&E; Timeline: 23 November 2012. ii) Facilitate the government endorsement process and signature of the document (e.g. launching event of MAF with government entities and partners) Timeline: 30 November 2012.
- Good knowledge and understanding of the MDGs, human development and the international development agenda with a demonstrated expertise in Health and Nutrition, and Public Health in general. Substantive experience in gender and poverty analysis is preferable
- Strong organizational and planning skills and proven experience in supporting development planning, including through the conduct of public policy assessments. Strong understanding of the planning and budgeting processes in the Kingdom of Tonga.
- Knowledge of and exposure to a range of cross-sectoral and cross-cutting issues (such as
- Women's empowerment, gender equality, special approaches for addressing the circumstances of marginalized groups etc.) that can be expected to accelerate progress in terms of reducing the high prevalence of non-communicable diseases in Tonga. Ability to work independently, manage competing priorities and perform well under pressure.
- Excellent interpersonal skills to build and sustain relationships with key constituents (internal/ external/bilateral/ multilateral/public/private; civil society and academia).
- Excellent written and oral communication skills and competency in basic editing and proofreading skills; must be detail oriented and organized.
- Uses information and internet technology applications effectively as a tool and resource.
- Postgraduate degree (minimum Masters required) in nutrition and/or public health, development studies, economics, political science, public policy and/or relevant field of social sciences and/or MBA.
- A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible and relevant experience in the field of development, working with development planning processes at the national and sub-national levels, preferably in Tonga.
- Excellent command in written and spoken English is essential. Good ability to communicate in English is desired.
- Proven track record of excellence in development assessments, monitoring and measurement and record of research work on development issues.