Request for Proposals: CGIAR 2030 Plan – Facilitation Support (Consultancy)

What we are seeking:

CGIAR seeks a consultant (team or firm) who will work closely with the CGIAR System Reference Group to facilitate the process of identifying new and ambitious goals and objectives that will help make CGIAR more relevant, impactful and efficient through 2030.


CGIAR – the premier agricultural research for development partnership – intends to respond to global challenges in food security, health, environment, climate and prosperity by contributing to sustainable food systems that deliver on the targets set forth in the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is a task as urgent as the agricultural revolution that launched CGIAR, yet exponentially more complex.

To ensure that it is delivering efficiently and on mission, CGIAR is implementing, beginning in 2019, an inaugural three-year business plan as a pragmatic short- and medium-term response to strategic issues facing the organization. As one of its 2019-2021 business cycle measures, CGIAR will develop a “2030 Plan” that will include, among others, a new program of agricultural research and innovation framed in terms of CGIAR’s Strategy and Results Framework and contributions to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A dedicated CGIAR System Reference Group (SRG), made up of representatives from funder agencies and CGIAR research centers, was formed in 2018 and tasked with operating as a consultation platform to provide inputs to and engage CGIAR governance (i.e. the System Council and the System Management Board) in key stages of the 2030 Plan’s development and its eventual approval for launch in 2021.


More specifically, the Reference Group is undertaking “an inclusive process under which bold changes to reduce operational and programmatic fragmentation in the System could be proposed and that would in turn direct increased investments and stabilized funding for the System.” To this end, SRG members are exploring “a win/win situation by engaging in high- level strategic thinking and dispassionate analysis of options to raise the System’s level of ambition and funding.” They are therefore considering key questions pertaining to the evolving role of CGIAR programs and portfolio through 2030, institutional configuration to deliver impact, as well as funding and incentives, among others.

Deliverables and timeline:


The CGIAR System Reference Group consists of 21 members, with 10 coming from the System Council (predominantly composed of funders) and 11 from the System Management Board (composed of System Organization and Center representatives). It is co-chaired by a representative from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chair of the System Management Board.

Since its inception in 2018, the SRG has met twice, first in Nairobi in September 20183 and then in Seattle in November 20184. At its first meeting, the Reference Group outlined a set of priority areas requiring attention that would help strengthen CGIAR’s long-term relevance, viability and funder investment: (1)performance, assurance and efficiency;(2) program, relevance and focus; and (3) partnerships, delivery and impact.

The second meeting aimed to define the “point on the horizon” where members wanted to collectively take CGIAR. To this end, a series of visions were shared on the: (1) research agenda; (2) business model; and (3) global context.

With the goal of identifying possible solutions to ongoing challenges and providing strategic inputs to the CGIAR 2030 Plan by November 2020, the SRG one year for deliberations to be scheduled in conjunction with in-person CGIAR governance meetings (with some members connecting remotely as needed). The next meetings are thus planned along side upcoming meetings of the System Management Board(SMB)and the System Council (SC). There is also a planned multi-day meeting in the summer to allow members to engage in in-depth discussions.

Please consult the following Request for Proposal for a schedule of meetings, expected outcome and other details:

Detailed Request for Proposal available here
Description of Tasks and Deliverables:

The consultants are expected to provide strategic, technical and facilitation support to the SRG, and wider stakeholder group to make a substantial contribution to the development of the CGIAR 2030 Plan. They will engage closely with the CGIAR System Management Office and support the System Reference Group co-chairs (and any working groups) to:

  1. Review and analyze key organizational documents and speak with SRG members, and System stakeholders, with a focus on where CGIAR is, where it wants to be and how it will get there;
  2. Research and synthesize scoping studies and benchmarking activities to inform the SRG;
  3. Take stock of the SRG’s progress to date, map issues and identify critical gaps and strategic opportunities for the SRG;
  4. Define the process of the SRG’s proposed work plan, including milestones towards the development of the 2030 Plan;
  5. Work with SRG members and other stakeholders with diverse interests to come together to propose solutions to common problems during and in between meetings;
  6. Prepare for each SRG meeting, including drafting agendas and documents for discussion to be circulated in advance of meetings, holding pre-meeting consultations with SRG members and other key stakeholders, and defining each meeting’s format, objectives and expected outcomes;
  7. Engage and support sub-committees of the SRG as well as targeted consultations for the 2030 Plan;
  8. Consultation and validation, including surveys and input solicitation;
  9. Provide facilitation at and written summaries of each SRG meeting and activity; and
  10. Draft and finalize the SRG’s written inputs to the 2030 Plan.
Duration of the Assignment (proposed 2019-2020)

180 working days starting on 1 April 2019 and ending no later than 31 December 2020.

Knowledge, skills, and abilities:
  • Credible and referenced track-record for the team or firm responding to the RFP;
  • Senior leadership and change management experience in business or public administration, international development or affairs, or another relevant field;
  • Significant experience in strategic planning and alignment, experience in organizational and change management an advantage;
  • Demonstrable experience in providing strategic and technical support in large and complex organizations with diverse stakeholders;
  • Good knowledge of agricultural research for development and/or agriculture and food security, or international development field; and
  • Proven excellent written and oral communication and facilitation skills in English, including in multi-cultural settings; and
  • Open to individuals (teams) or corporate clients.
Evaluation Criteria:

All proposals will be evaluated on a value-for-money, 2-step basis with the technical proposals and the financial proposals each being evaluated separately in the first round and then combined to determine best value for price. Bidders whose proposals have been short-listed may be contacted with questions for clarification.

How to submit a proposal:

Please submit a narrative proposal and a budget proposal as two separate documents to Both documents can be attached to the same email.

Narrative proposal will consist of no more than 10 pages using Microsoft Word or similar format, font size 11pt., margins no smaller than one-inch. Proposals must include the team composition and experience and clearly breakdown each team member’s estimated contribution to the proposal.

Budget proposal will be presented using Microsoft Excel or similar format and consist of, at a minimum, the following line items: consultant time (hourly or daily rate), resources, travel. The budget will be presented in US dollars.

All proposals must be received no later than 12:00 Paris time, 22 March 2019. Only electronically submitted proposals will be considered. Late proposals will not be considered. Shortlisted bidders will be contacted no later than 29 March 2019.