Consultant for development of Malaysia’s Second Voluntary National Review (VNR) of SDG Progress – Home-Based with travel to Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur where required

Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of work

The consultant will develop an evidence based VNR report and act as project coordinator for all activities involved in preparing for this VNR, including obtaining the required data, organizing required meetings, stakeholder engagement and consultations. The consultant will be working closely with EPU, the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malaysia (RCO), and other relevant stakeholders, including DOSM, Government Ministries and agencies, ESCAP and UN agencies of the UN Country Team (UNCT). While formally reporting to the UN RCO, the consultant will be responsible to EPU for driving the VNR process, and for developing a product that meets their expectations and that they can present and later defend at the HLPF. This dual hatted role requires a flexible approach and careful management of relationships. EPU will take the lead role in ensuring that the relevant stakeholders are consulted and involved in the process, with the consultant as a supporting role.

Key tasks

The consultant will draft Malaysia’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) Report to the HLPF 2021 in close consultation with Government and the UN. The VNR Report will comprise an estimated 70-120 page full report; main messages to be submitted in advance; executive summary; statistical and data inputs; and presentation materials; based on inputs from Government, UN agencies, multiple stakeholders, the Technical Working Groups (TWGs), Technical Working Committee and National Steering Committee (NSC). The format of the VNR Report will be guided by EPU, UN guidlines (e.g. ), ESCAP tools etc.).

The consultant will be responsible for employing his / her own team of experts as needed, under each of the five proposed TWGs, to deliver the following outputs:

Output 1: The first deliverable will include:

  1. VNR Roadmap with clear timelines and milestones for the preparation of the VNR that is developed in close consultation with EPU and the UN RCO (Project Management Unit/PMU), including insights from previous VNR process.
  2. Proposed annotated structure and outline of the VNR Report, including proposes “storyline” for review by the NSC; and
  3. Terms of Reference (TORs) for the TWGs.
  4. Provide timeline for output 1

Output 2: The second deliverable will include:

  1. Organization of the Kick-off meeting, hosted jointly by EPU, UNESCAP and the UN in Malaysia.
  2. Methodology of the data assessment and rules for judging target analysis, including setting of way point values and progress (above track/ on track/ below track) at SDG and potentially target level.
  3. Organization of multi-stakeholder engagements and consultations and TWG meetings.
  4. Concept notes with design and programmes for the effective organisation of multi-stakeholder engagements, consultations and TWG meetings to be submitted in advance to the PMU.
  5. Minutes and/or reports from the multi-stakeholder engagements and consultations and TWG meetings.
  6. Provide timeline for output 2.

Output 3: The second deliverable will include the following:

  1. A clear structure of the VNR, and the initial main messages (which requires early submission to HLPF). This represents a summary/ forward to the VNR and should be developed in consultation with Government, with inputs from the NSC.
  2. A first draft of the VNR for submission to the PMU and TWGs with compilation of data and inputs from EPU; DOSM; Government Ministries and agencies at federal and local government levels.
  • The consultant will have to compile and analyze inputs from stakeholders and all the data required for the VNR, following the theme for 2021 HLPF and especially in-depth for the above-mentioned SDGs.
  • Data and analysis for all relevant targets (indicators, waypoint values assessment of progress – i.e. above track/ on tack/ below track).
  • Comprehensive analysis of progress since the 1st VNR, means of implementation, gaps, challenges, recommendations for the way forward, and inter-linkages between the SDGs and the risks and other parameters of progress.
  • Follow-up elements from the first VNR (e.g. using ESCAP toolbox).
  • The draft should be in line with HLPF requirements, UN Guidance documents (e.g. ); and other guidance and inputs provided by the PMU and ESCAP.
  1. Interim draft of the VNR incorporating feedback from the Government.

Output 4 The third deliverable will consist of the following that are submitted according to the timelines set and approved by the NSC:

 1) Final VNR Report, with data annexes (approximately 70-120 pages – depending on what is determined by SC and TWC) with fully designed and incorporate executive summary; also annexes if required).

2) Main messages to be submitted in advance, and

3) High-quality presentation materials.

  • The consultant will work with UN Senior Economist (editor), the TWGs and the PMU on finalizing the content etc.
  • The consultant will work closely with a publisher (that will be appointed) to ensure appropriate design, with suitable and attractive infographics and pictures.

The final VNR Report will be made available in print as well as electronically and should be suitable for a broad audience (e.g. UN member states, policy makers and other key stakeholders).

  • A summary text in the Malay language may also be prepared after publication for wider circulation (as part of a separate assignment).
  • Presentation slides / audio visual presentation depending upon decision of SC/EPU top management.

Preparation of the VNR Report

The VNR is to take stock of achievements thus far, enabling environmental factors, challenges, barriers and bottlenecks and reflect on best practices, lessons learned, and areas that would need support. The VNR is to review the nine SDGs mentioned above in-depth and in line with national priorities, but also provide data and an assessment of Malaysia’s progress against all targets within the 17 SDGs. The VNR will also need to relate to the 12th Malaysia Plan development process.

Key Deliverables, Timeline and Terms of Payment

The consultant is expected carry out the activities over a period of 8 months, taking into consideration time required for review of deliverables by the EPU and relevant partners.

Key Deliverables

Estimated Timeline

Terms of Payment

  1. VNR Roadmap with detailed work plan, milestones and timeline; Structure and Outline of VNR; Terms of Reference for the Technical Working Groups

December 2020


  1. Kick-Off Seminar; and Methodology of the Data Assessment and Rules

December 2021

– January 2021


  1. Organization of consultations and stakeholder engagements; TWG & meetings etc.; Reports of consultations and Minutes of TWG

February 2021


  1. Main Messages to be submitted

March 2021


  1. First draft of VNR Report: to include key components based on the UN guidelines and areas agreed with stakeholders, and all required data and analysis.

April 2021


  1. Interim draft of VNR Report incorporating feedback submitted by Government

May 2021


  1. VNR presentation slides / audiovisual submitted to PMU

May 2021


  1. Final VNR Report endorsed by the NSC for HLPF submission

 June 2021


The deliverables and outputs are expected to be:

  • Evidence-based and high-quality analysis and text, in technical/ policy level English.
  • Consistent with UN and government standards and following all relevant formats, guidelines and requirements.
  • Visible and reliable in its findings:
    • To employ truthful and relevant data.
    • To make available the list of references and data used in preparing the required analysis.

The consultant is expected to:

  • Maintain confidentiality of the project findings and outputs at all times.
  • Organise and act as secretariat for meetings of the TWGs, NSC the UN system, government ministries etc. as required.
  • Present the reports/findings as requested.
  • The consultant and his/her expert team must organise and participate in all the meetings of the five TWGs which are clustered according to the priority SDGs for the HLPF 2021:
  • TWG 1: Poverty and Nutrition (SDGs 1 and 2)                    
    • Proposed Co-chairs: EPU (BEQT) & UNICEF
  • TWG 2: Covid-19 Health Recovery (SDG 3)                          
    • Proposed Co-Chairs: EPU (Social), Ministry of Health & WHO
  • TWG 3: Inclusive Economic Growth (SDGs 8 and 10)       
    • Proposed Co-chairs: EPU (BIP) & UNDP
  • TWG 4: Sustainability and Climate Change (SDGs 12 and 13)
    • Proposed Co-Chairs: EPU (BEASSA), Ministry of Environment & UNDP
  • TWG 5: Governance, Social Cohesion and Partnership (SDGs 16 and 17)
    • Proposed Co-Chairs: EPU (BKKA, BKA) & UN RCO
  • Work closely and in consultation with the PMU, TWGs, UN Senior Economist and ESCAP.
  • Participate and follow-up on requests for clarification and additional information about the findings.
  • Ensure that the format of the text of the reports, tables, footnotes and presentation of data are of expected standards and follow necessary guidelines.
  • Direct any questions or clarifications to the focal points of the UN and EPU.
  • Work closely with the editor(s), peer reviewers (if any), publishers who may be employed for this project.
  • To review previous VNR Reports for HLPF 2020 as reference, particularly those from countries that have been identified as strong reports by UN HQ.


The project is expected to commence from 10 November 2020 and will end on 30 July 2021 or until such time that the final reports and all other required materials are accepted by EPU and UNCT and submitted to the HLPF 2021.

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