National Consultant – Senior Economic Advisor for Sri Lanka and The Maldives, and Head of Research and Knowledge for UNSIF (UNDP SDGs Impact Finance), Sri Lanka with frequent travel to the Maldives and occasionally to Thailand 188 views


UNDP is transforming itself into a knowledge based organization that is more strategically focused on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with transformational programme interventions, including through the provision of cutting edge policy support and development expertise. This requires a refocus of UNDP’s resources in the region on upstream policy advisory services, and strengthening of its own internal capacity in critical substantive areas. To this end, to support upstream policy advice in country offices to advance national efforts to promote sustainable development and progress towards the SDGs, RBAP seeks to field senior national development or environmental economic advisors (senior national development or environmental economic advisers) at selected country offices in the region to further enhance this advisory capacity. This TOR is for a Senior Economic Advisor (hereafter referred to as ‘Economist’) to be based at the UNDP-Sri Lanka office. The services of the Economic Advisor will be shared on between Sri Lanka (70%), the Maldives (15%) and Thailand/Rehional (15%). Time and cost of the travel to the Maldives will be discussed and agreed by the respective Resident Representatives of Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

In order to provide focused technical advisory services, the Economist will generate and update socio-economic country briefs to support the advocacy function of the UNDP, and monitor and report, including through position papers and ad hoc reports, on sustainable development and inclusive growth policies. He/she will advise the UNDP on strategies to strengthen national macro-economic frameworks to take into account pro-poor and sustainable growth, as well as continuously collect, aggregate and analyze macro-economic data and SDG-related information. The Economist will support the Country Offices in terms of macroeconomic analysis from a sustainability framework, upstream policy advice and positioning from the SDG perspective, and any other requirements of the country offices.

The Economist monitors economic policy developments and advises the UNDP Country Office senior management and its partners on policy issues. He/she contributes to UNDP’s policy dialogue with Government and donors. She/he supports to help ensure corporate priorities and perspectives are reflected in relevant substantive areas. This will ensure a high level of policy impact for UNDP programmes. The Economist will be assigned for a period of two years in Sri Lanka.

The Economist will provide development or environmental economics related analytical and advisory support on the means of implementation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda. To achieve this goal, the incumbent will prepare high quality policy papers and policy briefs on relevant topics/issues. She/he will provide substantive inputs and quality assurance to UNDP country and regional programmes. She/he will develop relevant knowledge products, and build and strengthen strategic partnerships with national, regional and global institutions including universities and think tanks to help position UNDP more strongly as a key provider of high quality economic research and analysis within a sustainable development framework in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

While the SDGs are universally applicable, the Economist will support the Country Office(s) in assisting each government in deciding how these aspirational and global targets should be incorporated in national planning processes, policies, and strategies. Initial country-level efforts, supported by UNDP and other UN partners, will focus on putting in place the building blocks necessary to support SDG achievement. Help promote coordination and policy coherence across sectors and government levels, help align national and sub-national development plans and budgets with SDG targets, and to assess the availability of data and capacities of data systems to monitor progress.

Under the joint supervision of the Country Offices, the Economist will be expected to follow the latest academic literature and policy debates, undertake original policy analysis and research, and synthesize analytical and substantive findings in policy advice to support national policy makers in both countries. The Economist will be expected to monitor national and regional economic policy developments and provide high quality advice to all, including development partners on relevant economic policy issues and their impact on sustainable development (e.g. youth unemployment, poverty and inequality). He/she is expected to contribute to UNDP’s policy dialogue with Governments and donors. On request, she/he will support and complement the policy and analytical work of global policy advisors based at UNDP/RBAP HQ and RBAP’s Bangkok Regional Hub (BRH) to help ensure corporate priorities and perspectives are reflected in all of UNDP’s work in the region.

Scope and Objectives

Under the supervision of the RR, respectively, the Senior Economist will identify and propose strategies and actions on development policies, plans and trends, and their implications for UNDP positioning and programming in relation to national planning and priorities. In this, the Agenda 2030/Sustainable Development Goals are of particular importance and priority, as is support to strengthening development cooperation partnerships and development effectiveness. To this end, the Senior Economist will conduct evidence-based research and analyses to support UNDP programmes and policy-based work. As part of his/her duties, the Economist will be assigned to assist the National Economic and Development Authority ensure the efficient and effective conduct of evaluation and related studies.

The UNSIF research project is a regional intiative which aims to identify and enhance the analytical frameworks, mathematical underpinnings, market mechanisms and policy levers that will incentivize private capital and commercial business to be naturally drawn towards delivering the SDGs. The Head of Knowledge and Research will coordinate with the Research Council of UNSIF, manage the publication agenda and develop knowledge products.

In addition the UNDP SDGs Impact Finance (UNSIF) initiative has been established to scale up the impact investment for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through a platform that leverages traditional development funding with capital market partners. The goal is to attract investment capital that can lead to SDGs achievements while providing the potential for sustainable and inclusive economic returns. The Economist, on request, may support efforts to analyze and assist efforts to advocate with the mainstream investment community towards targeting more Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) and using Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) criteria to filter deals.

Duties and Responsibilities

Extend advice to UNDP and lead the development of a multi-year policy research and analysis agenda, with the focus on reducing inequalities and promoting inclusive development. He/she will lead the implementation of that agenda, working closely with the programme units, thereby facilitating and ensuring, in collaboration with the Country Office management, an integrated approach to policy and programme development and implementation. Specific outputs include:

A. Conduct of evidence-based research and analyses for policy options, focusing on achievement of the following results:

i. Analysis of economic, social and political economy issues relevant to the successful implementation of the SDGs;

ii. Formulate policy and research papers particularly on poverty, inclusion and inequality;

iii. Provide policy advice and support to effectively integrate the SDGs into national planning, budget and finance policies, processes and systems;

iv. Spearhead UNDP efforts supporting government mobilise financing for SDG’s through diagnostics tools such as Development Finance Assessments (DFA); formulation of Intergrated National Financing Frameworks (INFF) and National Network for SDG Financing (NNSF);

v. Assist in the identification and analysis of issues that impact upon multiple SDGs and targets and the development of ‘accelerator interventions’ that help unlock sustained progress across multiple development areas;

vi. Support the formulation and implementation of national projects and programmes on the SDGs, including for strengthening institutional capacities to implement the SDGs at national and local levels, to strengthen data and statistical capacities and/or to strengthen the engagement of civil society and the private sector in SDG achievement;

vii. Provide of substantive inputs to the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framewok (UNSDCF), Common Country Assessment, Vision 2030, Strategic Prioritization and Theory of Change, the UNDP Country Programme Document, and other strategic documents;

viii. Provide substantive advice on possible areas for UNDP support and adjustment of on-going programmes to ensure that UNDP programmes are in line with national policies and priorities;

ix. Participate in sub-regional, regional and inter-agency initiatives related to development issues, as required.

B. Support the research for and compilation and preparation of speeches, talking points, presentation materials, background notes. etc. on the SDGs and related development issues for senior management, including mapping and analysis of development partners frameworks/country strategies, including:

i. Institutional arrangements;

ii. Strategic foresight and visioning;

iii. Planning at national v. subnational level;

iv. Allocating and mobilizing fiscal/ financial resources;

v. Engaging multiple stakeholders.

C. Expected Outputs

1. Specific functions and deliverables will be outlined in quarterly workplans to be agreed between the two Country Offices and the Economist. The Team Leader, Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development, Bangkok Regional Hub, will be consulted on these workplans.

i. Monitor and advise Country Offices on innovative approaches, entry points and performance indicators for capacity development in support of the implementation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda and economic sites in both countries;

ii. Generate and continually update socio-economic briefs for all UNDP programmes, to support the advocacy function of UNDP;

iii. Monitor and report, including through position papers and ad hoc reports, on sustainable development and inclusive growth policies and financing for development strategies;

iv. Monitor, report and advise UNDP COs on strategies to strengthen national macro-economic frameworks as foundations for pro-poor growth and sustainable development;

v. Lead/support efforts in countries carrying out DFA and setting up of INFF’s and NNSF;

vi. Continuously collect, aggregate and analyze macro-economic data and SDGs-related information;

vii. Provide high level technical advice and support on various regional and national initiatives on specific topics such as inclusive growth and sustainable development;

viii. Advise UNDP COs on significant changes in national economic trends and their implications for the region – e.g. management of natural resources, industries, graduation and wider reconciliation issues;

ix. Initiate and participate in UNDP-led, and collaborative research work, to better inform and enhance capacities to deal with global and regional sustainable development challenges;

x. Keeps abreast of economic and other trends affecting the sustainable development of the region;

xi. Maintain close linkages with Economists/Researchers in other Country Offices, BRH and UNDP HQ, and development partner organizations operating in (and working on) the region to develop synergies.

Expected results: (i) socio-economic briefs; (ii) policy papers, (iii) DFA, etc.

2. Provision of high quality technical inputs to UNDP country and regional programme/projects to ensure that UNDP programmes are in line with national and regional priorities.

i. Develop, deliver and mainstream SDGs in national development initiatives, policy instruments and services, notably, National Human Development Reports (NHDRs) and economic initiatives;

ii. Identify areas for UNDP support and interventions;

iii. Provide advice on formulation and adjustments of UN/UNDP programmes and projects (including UNSDCFs, CCAs, CPDs) based on sound economic analysis within a sustainable development framework;

iv. Review and dissemination of best practices and lessons learnt from implementation of projects and programmes with a view to strengthening their upstream orientation within UNDP;

v. Strengthen knowledge generation and management on SDGs-related issues within UNDP, and contributing towards in-house capacity to understand and address macro-economic reform issues within a sustainable development framework;

vi. Serve as learning manager and mentor for staff working on economic issues (e.g. inclusive growth, poverty, climate change) and provide support to the management of the COs in knowledge management and sharing as well as cross-practice strategies.

Expected results: (i) technical inputs into NHDRs; and (ii) strategic notes/background papers to support formulation of UNSDCFs, CCA, CPDs and/or Regional Programmes, etc.

3. Provision of high quality innovative policy advisory services to the Sri Lanka and Maldives/ Regional Governments in support of the implementation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

i. Analyze data availability/needs and undertake advocacy to bring about a data revolution;

ii. Provide high-quality advice to policy dialogue with host government, UN System and other strategic partners on the implementation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda;

iii. Contribute to alternative policy advice through the preparation, launch and follow-up of sub-regional related SDGs /post 2015 development agenda reports;

iv. Organize capacity development opportunities for programme countries, including support to UN staff and Government officials in the formulation of SDGs and financing strategies and appropriate macroeconomic, fiscal and medium term expenditure frameworks;

v. Keep abreast of regional and global economic trends and issues and analyses their implications for the achievement of the SDGs in both countries;

vi. Make significant contributions to knowledge networks and communities of practice, including the development of tools for needs assessments and policy analysis, in close collaboration with UN agencies, the IFIs and other development partners;

vii. Work closely with RBAP HQ, BPPS and the Bangkok Regional Hub.

Expected results: (i) policy briefs; and (ii) documents on good practices

4. Creation and maintenance of strategic partnerships with national, regional and international institutions to position UNDP more strongly on key development issues.

i. Development and maintenance of partnerships with UN Agencies, IFI’s, relevant regional organizations, government institutions, donors and development partners, private sector and civil society organizations based on the strategic goals of UNDP, and country and regional needs and priorities;

ii. Development and maintenance of strategic partnerships with national, regional and international academic institutions and think tanks working on development issues;

iii. Analysis and research on donor/development partner priorities and programmes/projects, including preparation of substantive briefs/concept notes/funding proposals on possible areas of cooperation;

iv. Keeps track of the changes in the aid effectiveness/development cooperation environment and external resource management matters and assists Government counterparts and UNDP COs in resource mobilization efforts through, among other things, preparation of documentation for donor and consultative meetings.

Expected results: (i) establishing and maintaining a network of development, macro, environmental and other economists/researchers among national and international organizations; and (ii) UNDP strategic partnerships with relevant academic institutions, CSOs, NGOs, and the private sector.

5. Advocacy and promotion of UNDP activities and agenda: i. Present and communicate results of UNDP research findings at public events and meetings;

ii. Organize seminars and workshops in collaboration with other development partners and/or academic institutions to address emerging development issues;

iii. Undertake advocacy for the SDGs by participating in relevant forums, conferences and trainings;

iv. Monitoring of poverty reduction and progress towards the achievement of the SDGs leading to management of the production and launch of economic and SDG related reports/publications;

v. Substantive contribution to knowledge exchanges amongst UNDP global and regional policy advisors on inclusive sustainable growth, poverty reduction, SDGs, etc.;

vi. Follow the corporate debate on key emerging issues and liaise with ministries, civil society and the business community.

Expected results: (i) act as resource person in workshops and seminars; and (ii) organize seminars and conferences on emerging development issues.

6. Lead the Research and Knowledge agenda of UNSIF

  • Cooridnate UNSIF Research Council, develop policy paper, publilcations, and knowledge products;
  • Analyze and research on donor/development partner priorities and programmes/projects, including preparation of substantive briefs/concept notes/funding proposals on possible areas of cooperation for the Research Council;
  • Coordinate with external stakeholders that are leaders in the SDGs Investing space and the financial services sector. This may include OECD, top level academic institutions, WEF, GSG and other associated institutional investor networks, asset owners;
  • Present UNSIF research and knowledge products at key international events, organize seminars and workshops in collaboration with other development partners and/or academic institutions to address key SDGs Investing and financing issues.


The services of the Economic Advisor will be shared between Sri Lanka (70%) and The Maldives (15%).

The remaining 15% of the time will be spent on Regional Research and Knowledge agenda (including UNSIF).


The Consultant Profile

1. Impact of Results

This post deals with one of the main substantive dimensions of the UNDP Strategic Plan, namely, inclusive growth. The results obtained by the occupant of this post are therefore critical to the achievement of the post-2015 development agenda (and SDGs). Another key result is to strengthen the profile and visibility of UNDP’s contributions to national and regional development policy dialogues and enhance the policy impact of UNDP programmes and projects. In particular, the key results should have an impact on the design of programmes, creation of strategic partnerships as well as contributing positively to UNDP resource mobilization targets.

2. Competencies

Corporate Responsibility & Direction: i. Serves and promotes the vision, mission, values, and strategic goals of UNDP;

ii. People Skills;

iii. Promotes a learning and knowledge sharing environment;

iv. Facilitates the development of individual and multi-cultural/team competencies.

Managing for Results: i. Plans and prioritizes work activities to meet Organizational goals;

ii. Strategic approach to problem solving.

Partnering & Networking: i. Builds and sustains relationships with key constituents (internal/external/ bilateral/ multilateral/public/private; civil society);

ii. Seeks and applies knowledge, information, and best practices from within and outside of UNDP;

iii. Demonstrates ability to handle working relationships with senior officials, academics and technical experts.

Innovation & Judgment: i. Conceptualizes and analyzes problems to identify key issues, underlying problems, and how they relate;

ii. Generates creative, practical approaches to overcome challenging situations;

iii. Devises new systems and processes, and modifies existing ones, to support innovative behaviours.

Communication: i. Demonstrates outstanding communication skills, verbal and written, in English.

Job Knowledge & Expertise: i. Applies the required depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise to meet job demands;

ii. Possesses extensive knowledge of economic development issues and familiarity with major macro-economic policy issues and models and the SDGs;

iii. Capable of applying economic theory to the specific country context;

iv. Demonstrates strong quantitative skills and the ability to carry out high quality economic research, including statistical analysis;

v. Possesses proven ability to analyze from a global perspective, with the ability to offer practical policy advice on economic issues based on local realities;

vi. Uses Information Technology effectively as a tool and resource .

Required Skills and Experience


Advanced university degree (preferably PhD) in economics, development economics, environmental/natural resource economics, economic planning, quantitative economics, or equivalent qualifications


  • 10 years of post-Master’s relevant experience at the national or international level;
  • Substantial experience with poverty reduction strategy processes in developing country contexts and awareness of post 2015 related policy matters;
  • Knowledge and experience of the regional development context would be an advantage;
  • Substantive knowledge of macroeconomics issues and their impact on sustainable development (including environmental, natural resources and social impacts);
  • Excellent analytical skills as demonstrated, for example, by prior experience in policy-oriented studies;
  • Prior experience in international institutions involved in development cooperation;
  • Demonstrated experience in handling of web-based data systems and advanced programmes for statistical analysis of data.

Language Requirements:

Fluency in written and spoken English essential. Knowledge of other UN languages would be an advantage.

How to Apply

The application should contain:

  • Cover letter explaining why you are the most suitable candidate for the advertised position and a brief methodology on how you will approach and conduct the work.
  • Updated CV to include qualifications/competencies and relevant past experience in similar projects and contact details of 2 professional referees who can certify your competencies, professionalism, quality of writing, presentation and overall suitability to this TOR
  • Individual consultants will be evaluated based on a combimation of factors including cover letter, the credentials on offer and brief interview (optional) and the offer which gives the best value for money for the UNDP.
  • To apply please access UNDP Jobs site
  • Please send the Financial Proposal separately to the following e-mail address: [email protected] stating the vacancy number/position in the subject line. Do not submit your financial proposal with your CV and/or cover letter to

Financial Proposal

All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee: LKR (_______________________________________)


All Inclusive Daily Fee: LKR (_____________________________________)

Amount in words: (Rs._______________________________________________________________)

Please use the Offerors Letter to UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability to furnish the financial proposal.

Note: Payments will be based on invoices on achievement of agreed milestones i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR and certification of acceptance by the UNDP. The applicant must factor in all possible costs in his/her ‘All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee/Daily Fee‘ financial proposal including his/her consultancy and professional fee, honorarium, communication cost such as telephone/internet usage, printing cost, return travel from home to office, ad-hoc costs, stationery costs, and any other foreseeable costs in this exercise. No costs other than what has been indicated in the financial proposal will be paid or reimbursed to the consultant. The UNDP will only pay for any unplanned travel outside of this TOR and Duty Station on actual basis and on submission of original bills/invoices and on prior agreement with UNDP officials. Daily perdiums and costs for accommodation/meals/incidental expenses for such travel shall not exceed established local UNDP DSA rates.

For an Individual Contractor who is of 65 years of age or older, and on an assignment requiring travel, be it for the purpose of arriving at the duty station or as an integral duty required under the TOR, a full medical examination and statement of fitness to work must be provided. Such medical examination costs must be factored in to the financial proposal above. Medical examination is not a requirement for individuals on RLA contracts.

Payment for Services

The Consultant will be paid a monthly Consultancy fee .

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence. UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

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