Request for Expression of Interest: for Evaluation of GEF Food Systems Programs


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) provides support to address global environmental concerns related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. Since its inception in 1991, the GEF has provided developing countries and countries with economies in transition US $23 billion in grants and is an official financial mechanism to carry out the goals of several multilateral environmental conventions such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. These grants are implemented on ground through a network of 18 accredited agencies (GEF Agencies). The GEF Independent Evaluation Office (GEF IEO) has a central role in ensuring the independent evaluation function within the GEF. Based in Washington DC and administered by the World Bank, the GEF IEO is independent of its management as well as the management of the GEF. Its Director reports to the GEF Council, the GEF governing body. All contracts with the IEO are World Bank contracts.

The IEO undertakes independent evaluations on a wide array of issues related to the relevance, performance and result of GEF support. The GEF IEO is undertaking the Eight Comprehensive Evaluation (OPS8) to inform the replenishment process for the GEF-9 period. The audience for OPS8 comprises replenishment participants, the GEF Council, the GEF Assembly, members of the GEF and external stakeholders. To prepare OPS8, the GEF IEO will draw from various component evaluations. One such evaluation is the Evaluation of the GEF Food Systems Programs.

The purpose of the Food Systems Evaluation is to inform future GEF programming with evaluative evidence on GEF's integrated programs on food systems. The main evaluation objective is to assess the extent to which GEF integrated programming applies a comprehensive system approach to its food systems interventions. The evaluation will consider the extent to which GEF food system programs and child projects address the root causes and the downstream effects of the environmental, health and nutrition problems originating from the targeted food systems, including related key interactions (e.g., global markets, politically unstable relationships, public and private actors, sectoral policies' incoherences, among others). The second objective is to provide independent, field verified evidence on what works and why in completed GEF food systems integrated programs. A third objective is to assess the food systems programs' value addition versus the resources needed to implement them. Key questions follow below, organized by area of enquiry:


  • To what extent do GEF food systems interventions' theories of change apply an approach that encompasses all the parts of the system, from production, storing, processing, transporting, and marketing, to consumption, health, and nutrition?
  • How do GEF-8 food systems interventions build on and learn from previous GEF-6 and GEF-7 interventions?
  • To what extent did the GEF food systems interventions consider gender and inclusion at design?


Relevance and coherence

  • To what extent have GEF food systems interventions been aligned with countries' priorities and needs in the agriculture, livestock, and fishery sectors?
  • To what extent have GEF food systems interventions interacted with similar government- and/or donor-funded activities in participating countries?
  • To what extent are GEF food systems interventions either contributing to or hindering in-country policy coherence, particularly in the case of agricultural subsidies?


Performance and results

  • To what extent have GEF-6 food systems interventions been effective in producing targeted global environmental and socioeconomic benefits, including those food system-related environmental benefits beyond production and food security in the targeted food chains?
  • To what extent have GEF's food systems interventions considered the role of women in determining food consumption behaviors, nutritional contents, and health outcomes?
  • How has the private sector engagement with GEF food systems interventions evolved from GEF-6 to date, and with what results?


Value addition

  • Did the GEF food systems programs' value added, transformational and/or catalytic potential outweigh the time and costs needed for their coordination, oversight, M&E, and management, and if so, to what extent?
  • What is the additionality of these programs over separately designed project interventions?
  • How have the individual child projects benefitted from the broader knowledge exchange?



  • To what extent are GEF food system program's processes and governance (selection of countries, Agency participation, resourcing, clarity on roles, transparency, etc.) efficient and equitable?


The Food Systems Evaluation will selectively focus on GEF food system related programmatic interventions from GEF-6 to date, namely the Resilient Food Systems (RFS) and the Good Growth Partnership (GGP) Integrated Approach Pilots (IAPs), the Coastal Fisheries Initiative (CFI), the Food Systems, Land Use and Restoration Impact Program (FOLUR), and the Food Systems Integrated Program (FSIP). Standalone food system projects will be covered for comparative purposes.1 FSIP will be covered through a formative approach as it has just been approved, in February 2024.

The Food Systems Evaluation will apply a mixed-methods approach, combining document reviews, quality at entry reviews, portfolio analyses, electronic surveys, and interviews with key informants, using complementary quantitative and qualitative analytic approaches. The evaluation will draw on and systematically triangulate multiple sources of information, including available evaluative evidence, IEO validated TE ratings, reviews of project and program documents, country and/or site visits, and information collected during grey literature research conducted in the early stages of the evaluation design to gain state-of-the-art knowledge on food systems.

The evaluation will identify three to four countries to analyze food system projects in greater depth. Selected countries and projects will reflect variety in GEF Agency, implementation status, intervention focus and activities, as well as presence of both GEF-6 and GEF-7 child projects, with possibly any eventual GEF-8 FSIP project concepts already developed and approved. Initial candidate countries include Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia and Tanzania, as all of them have either an RFS or GGP IAP completed child project and an ongoing FOLUR project. Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania also participate in GEF-8 FSIP.

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The GEF IEO invites expressions of interest from qualified firms to conduct this formative evaluation. The evaluative work will be undertaken from June 2024 to June 2025. Preliminary findings will need to be formulated by end of March 2025.

Responsibilities and Accountabilities

The firm will perform the following tasks:

  1. Prepare an inception report detailing the review, methods, design and approach (including an evaluation matrix), and a detailed work plan with clearly identifiable deliverables and milestones
  2. Conduct a document review, quality at entry and portfolio analyses using tools developed in collaboration with GEF IEO
  3. Conduct central and country level perception gathering through interviews, focus groups and an online survey
  4. Conduct case studies through field observations and interviews in select countries and projects.
  5. Actively contribute to the systematic triangulation sessions led by GEF IEO at the end of the data gathering and analysis phase, to extract main findings from all the quantitative and qualitative data and information gathered, and perform subsequent gap filling and any other eventual additional analyses as needed
  6. Report writing (both the main report and country case studies)


The firm should have the following qualifications:

  • Experience in the evaluation of international environment and development interventions, including a track record of conducting high level, complex formative evaluations
  • Demonstrated skills and experience in the analysis of food systems, food security, commodities and food staples value chains, food consumption and related health and nutrition issues
  • Practical, policy, and/or academic expertise in key GEF focal areas of the programs under analysis (i.e., land degradation, climate change and biodiversity, sustainable forest management)
  • Availability of an extended network of local consultants to be mobilized in the case study countries

Familiarity with the policies, procedures and operations of GEF and its Agencies and knowledge of the GEF and external information sources will be considered an added advantage, as is previous experience on evaluating integrated programs for the GEF IEO.

Submission requirements

Interested firms are hereby invited to submit expressions of interest via the World Bank Group procurement website WBG eProcure RFX Now, selection #0002008914. The application deadline is May 30, 2024. Interested firms must provide information indicating that they are qualified to perform the services (brochures, description of similar assignments, experience in similar conditions, availability of appropriate skills among staff, etc. for firms; CV and cover letter for individuals). Please note that the total size of all attachments should be less than 5MB. Firms may associate to enhance their qualifications unless otherwise stated in the solicitation documents. Where a group of firms associate to submit an EOI, they must indicate which is the lead firm. Based on the initial expression of interest, the shortlisted firms will be invited to prepare and submit a more detailed proposal.

[1] Nine GEF-7 - GEF-8 standalone food system projects have been identified by searching the keyword "food systems" in GEF-6 - GEF-8 project titles on the GEF Portal. Project Identification Forms (PIFs) were reviewed for those search results, to ensure food systems were also mentioned in project objectives and components.