Consultancy Services for conducting a Research Study on Business and Human Rights priorities in South Asia / South-east Asia
|Location||New Delhi, India|
|Application Deadline||13 September 2021|
|Duration of the Contract||20 September 2021 – 20 March 2022|
|Start Date||20 September 2021|
Over the last few decades in Asia, pro-growth economic policies have encouraged a rapid influx of foreign investment and increased international trade flows. In turn, these forces have driven significant gains in jobs, industrial production, and innovation, as well as achievements in health care provision and education. Yet, fast-paced economic development has also resulted in a wide variety of human rights abuses and devastating levels of environmental degradation. Concern for these adverse impacts seems to be growing among governments, businesses, consumers, and civil society in general.1
The corporate responsibility to respect human rights was clearly established with the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) for Business and Human Rights (BHR) in 2011. Today, this responsibility is undisputable, yet numerous implementation challenges remain. India, a signatory of the UN has been a strong proponent of Business and Human Rights. This is evident from the slew of progressive regulatory reforms (Companies Act 2013 and CSR Act, 2014) and policy directives (NGRBC, 2019 and the disclosure & reporting framework) introduced incrementally by the government since 2011. In keeping with the UN obligation, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, GoI is in the process of developing India’s first NAP likely to be released soon.
BHR &South Asian / East Asian Region (with a focus on India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh, Thailand and Indonesia)
South Asia accounts for about a quarter of the world’s population. The South Asian region is touted as among one of the fastest growing markets with immense untapped potential. However, the region is also home to the largest percentage of people (24% approx.) below the international poverty line and striking inequities which is in part symptomatic of an unsustainable business ecosystem.
On the trading front, there exists considerable potential for boosting both international and intra-regional trade. Trade among South Asian countries currently totals just $23 billion (World Bank), whereas the intra-regional trade potential is estimated to be US$ 172bn by 2020 (UNESCAP). The European Union (EU) too continues to be an important trade partner. However, there is a growing need and expectation (particularly post Covid) from trade partners to integrate BHR in trade agreements and economic transactions. The EU has adopted mandatory legislation on due diligence, ensuring respect for human rights and environment throughout the supply chain. Going forward, in order to boost trade and ensure continued competitiveness, it will be important for the South Asian countries to deepen regional economic integration to develop a coherent and cohesive understanding of BHR that speaks to the local/regional contexts. Additionally, as trading blocs and partners develop BHR related laws, it will be important for the countries from the region to actively partake in these international conversations and decisions that will impact them.
In our work with businesses overtime, some of the key challenges that have come to the fore in the South Asian region are as follows:
- Conceptual and implementational knowledge: businesses do not have a uniform nuanced understanding of BHR and its relevance to them. Compounding the issue is the lack of enabling guidance, frameworks and tools that support implementation.
- Sustained and collective advocacy: there exist information asymmetries and gaps in the contextual understanding of BHR, often referred to as the north-south divide. The lack of a forum that caters to the regional contexts and priorities is often seen as an impediment not only to bridge the gap in the understanding and propel the agenda, but also developing effective frameworks and tools that enable adoption of BHR policies and practices.
- Indigenized narrative & perspectives: for better uptake and ownership by businesses and other stakeholders (civil society, government etc.) is an imperative. There is a need for a business-led multi-stakeholder platform to serve as a platform for deliberations on priority issues for the region, peer to peer exchange, sharing good practices by local/regional champions and policy advocacy.
Addressing these systemic and application challenges requires a long-term engagement with the agenda and a diverse set of stakeholders.
The objective of this assignment is to take stock of key BHR issues, challenges, opportunities and progress made in India and select countries of South Asia (special focus on Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal) in order to facilitate the creation of a robust and multi-stakeholder Regional Working Group (RWG) towards fostering joint action for scaling up BHR initiatives in the region.
Duties and Responsibilities
Scope of Work:
The Consultant shall focus on the following work streams:
1. Design research plan:
- Conduct preliminary desk research to gain an understanding of stakeholders (government, businesses, industry associations, research institutions, civil society, labour organisations, experts etc.) on BHR
- Devise research methodology (may include desk research, conducting interviews) and research structure, and outline specific activities to be undertaken
2.Conduct country-specific analysis:
- Develop country-specific reports highlighting
- existing legislations / policy initiatives/ frameworks on BHR
- challenges and quick wins
- trends and emerging opportunities
- risks (social, economic, political and environmental)
- potential project partners
- entry-points towards developing a mechanism of regional cooperation on BHR
- Conduct caselets and interviews, and outline and analyse good practices
- Articulate recommendations and way forward
- Validate contents through peer-review
- Incorporate feedback by CRB
- Finalize knowledge product
3.Facilitate Capacity Building:
- Deliver presentation of knowledge product to CRB and support in discussing the partnership architecture with relevant stakeholders (e.g. international partners interested in supporting the RWG, private sector players and CSOs)
Expected Outputs and Deliverables:
|S.No.||Deliverable/Output||Due Date||Review and Approvals Required|
|1||Design research plan||5 October 2021||Business and Human Rights Unit, CRB|
|2||First draft of report||15 January 2022|
|3||Validating contents and incorporating feedback||10 February 2022|
|4||Final report submission||01 March 2022|
|5||Presentation to CRB& FNF||10 March 2022|
|6||Connect with key stakeholders across focus countries||Ongoing|
- Final report in a layout and format ready to be published (printing costs are not expected to be borne in this consultant contract).
- The consultant will use their own equipment and software.
- The international consultant shall work under the overall guidance of the Business and Human Rights Unit, CRB.
- Fortnightly reporting will be required, and each deliverable shall be presented to the Business and Human Rights Unit for review and approval.
- The project will not be required to provide any facilities or other support, though the Business and Human Rights Unit may provide guidance.
- The assignment is expected to commence mid-September 2021 and will need to be completed by February 2022 at the latest.
- The consultancy will be home-based and shall set-up a schedule to engage with the
project team through video conference or other remote communication tools.
- Travels will be authorized by CRB if and when required. Travel expenses (ticket, living allowance and local transport) shall be agreed prior travel and reimbursed after trips completed in compliance with CRB travel regulations.
- Demonstrated understanding of geo-political situation and experience in South Asian countries, on a wide range of business and human rights issues, with various types of stakeholders (e.g. government, NHRIs, businesses, civil society).
- Proven track record in successfully working with governments, business, and civil society in Asia on Human Rights issues
- Demonstrated capacity to conduct multi-discipline, cross-sector and cross-country research
- Expertise in writing and documenting research reports
- Fluency in written and oral English is essential. Working knowledge of a South Asian language is an advantage
Interested applicants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications:
- Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability commenting on the ability to start the assignment by September 2021
- Curriculum Vitae indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the
- Technical Proposal, including a suitability statement for the assignment and a methodology on how they will approach and complete the assignment, including work samples
- Financial Proposal that indicates the all-inclusive fixed total contract price, supported by a breakdown of costs. The term “all-inclusive” implies that all costs (professional fees, communications, consumables, etc.) that could be incurred by the consultant in completing the assignment, are already factored into the fee submitted in the proposal. Consultant shall also indicate costs of travel to reach the duty station (if applicable)
Payments shall be done upon verification of completion of deliverables and approval by Finance Manager, CRB. The payment schedule will be as follows:
|First Tranche||20%||Upon submission and approval of Deliverable 1|
|Second Tranche||50%||Upon submission and approval of Deliverable 2 and 3|
|Third Tranche||30%||Upon submission and approval of Deliverable 4 and 5|
Evaluation Method and Criteria:
Proposals will be evaluated based on the following methodology:
- The award of the contract shall be made to the consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as
- responsive/compliant/acceptable; and
- having received the highest score out of set of weighted technical criteria (70%) and financial criteria (30%).
- The technical criteria consists of qualification review (relevant experience, work samples, language etc.)
- Financial score shall be computed as a ratio of the proposal being evaluated and the lowest priced proposal received by CRB for the assignment.
Technical Criteria for Evaluation (Maximum 70 points)
- Criteria 1: Relevant experience in BHR (max 30 points)
- Criteria 2: Relevant experience in South Asia (max 20 points)
- Criteria 3: Availability to start by September 2021 (max 10 points)
- Criteria 4: Reporting and Project drafting experience (max 10 points)
Only candidates obtaining a minimum of 49 points (70% of the total technical points) would be considered for the Financial Evaluation.
For those passing technical evaluation above, offers will be evaluated per the Combined Scoring method: a) Technical evaluation (70%) b) Financial evaluation (30%)
The proposals receiving the Highest Combined Score will be awarded the contract.
Incomplete proposals will not be considered. The short-listed candidates may be contacted, and the successful candidate will be notified.