Consultant (Review of Virtual Conferences)

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The purpose of this consultancy is to advise UNDRR and the host government of the most appropriate and feasible approaches to virtual conference management, including good practices and innovations. Recommendations and examples from similar events will inform the design, organization and operationalisation of a fully virtual conference that is engaging and meets participant expectations. Key considerations include the high-level nature of some of the meetings; the need for a multi-stakeholder approach engaging hundreds/thousands of participants and opportunities for inter-action.

The recommended methodology is to review equivalent online events, conduct informational interviews and desktop research to review how other international and inter-governmental organizations have organized their fully online conference, while ensuring recommendations comply with the UN Secretariat’s information and communications technology (ICT) guidelines.
The consultant will also consult with relevant stakeholders, including governments, international organisations and UNDRR stakeholder groups to establish the level of demand and needs. The recommended methodology is for the consultant to conduct a brief survey of stakeholders (email addresses will be provided) to gauge expectations and preferences. The consultant should be identifying innovations, what has worked well in other high-level events, and what potential challenges to avoid.
Throughout this consultancy, the consultant will work in close collaboration with the UNDRR headquarters and regional offices, in particular those regional offices who have an upcoming regional platform in the near future.

Scope of Work
The consultant will conduct a review of relevant virtual conferences to identify:
a. Lessons and good practices
b. Formats
c. Level of interaction at the conferences

The consultant will also conduct discussions with UNDRR, host governments and key stakeholders.

Below are some tentative elements of the intended document (including approach and alternate options):
1. Organizing virtual conferences:
i. Recommendations on managing virtual conferences across multiple time zones (across Asia-Pacific)
ii. Means to enhance access to conference features by persons with disabilities.
iii. Experience of other virtual conferences in establishing ‘hubs’ to enable virtual participation
iv. Experience of other virtual conferences in managing parallel sessions and interpretation

2. Virtual platform:
i. What virtual platform should be used to organize the conference and why?
ii. Does this technology have interactive features?
iii. How does this platform accommodate participants in developing or remote countries with poor internet connections?
iv. Does this platform allow interactions among the participants (e.g. bilateral meetings, networking, etc.). What is the optimum combination of platforms that will allow the desired level of interaction?
v. Does it comply with UN ICT guidelines?
vi. What are the associated costs?
vii. What are the key recommendations to bridge the “digital divide” and enhance access to the conference?

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: An advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in business or public administration, management or related field is required. A first-level university degree in similar fields in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
Experience: A minimum of Seven years of experience in the field of conference servicing or management, planning and coordination of conferences in an international organization is required. Experience in managing or coordinating UN conferences is desirable.
Language: Fluency in English is required.

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Organization
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Asia and Pacific
Location
Home-based
Closing date