Terms of Reference - Policy paper on post-legislative scrutiny from an environmental and climate perspective

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Vacancy - consultant

Terms of Reference - Policy paper on post-legislative scrutiny from an environmental and climate perspective

The purpose of this assignment is to develop a policy paper which offers guidance to parliaments interested in conducting post-legislative scrutiny of environmental and climate legislation.

1. Context

Parliaments make and change laws. They also have a role in checking the implementation of laws and evaluating whether they achieve their intended outcomes. Implementation of legislation is complex and does not happen automatically. What is more, parliaments and elected representatives often have little information on what happens after a law is adopted. So, parliaments need mechanisms for effective ex-post evaluation of legislation.

The systematic process of monitoring whether the laws parliament has passed are implemented as intended and evaluating if the laws have the expected impact is called post-legislative scrutiny (PLS). When conducted properly, PLS can reveal achievements and errors in the design of legislation, gaps in implementation and enforcement, and the positive and negative impacts that hinder or contribute to achieve policy goals, service delivery for citizens as well as rule of law and democratic governance.

This makes PLS a critical lynchpin connecting parliaments with the national commitments signed off by governments in the framework of global multilateral processes such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The success of such multilateral agreements rests to a large extend on the ability of parliaments to exert oversight and democratically enhance the quality of the legislation aimed at delivering these commitments, from the point of view of its environmental integrity, and its social justice – the latter, a precondition for an enabling political economy for ambitious and disruptive climate action.

Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, the first Global Stocktake of climate action concluded at COP28 in Dubai in December 2023. It has revealed substantial implementation gaps in the climate commitments of countries, putting the world on track to miss the objective of limiting global warming below the safer threshold of +1.5 to 2 C.

As parliaments are the main enforcement mechanism of multilateral climate and environmental objectives, PLS emerges as a vital instrument for the effective scrutiny of the legislation related to the pledges made under the Rio Conventions and its instruments, which are aimed at protecting biodiversity and combating desertification and climate change – e.g.  the Paris Agreement.

PLS of climate and environmental legislation poses specific challenges, owing not only to a lack of data, but to, inter alia, the increasing complexity and the need for oversight coordination which is intrinsic to the much-needed mainstreaming of climate and environmental considerations across sectors and government departments such as energy, infrastructure, agriculture, and economics. This mainstreaming is expected to extend to virtually all government departments, in keeping with the integration of climate and environmental targets across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

2. Scope of work

The purpose of this assignment is to develop a policy paper which offers guidance to parliaments interested in conducting post-legislative scrutiny of environmental and climate legislation. More specifically, the policy paper will offer guidance to parliaments on how to:

  • Assess the reasons for the implementation gap in climate actions.
  • Review how the applicable climate legislation informs the multi-annual climate planning of governments as they design their 2nd Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, due in November 2024.
  • Scrutinize or offer input into preparing the legal instruments required to deliver the NDCs, across various policy areas including agriculture, water and sanitation, infrastructure, energy, trade, taxation, transport, public health, etc.

The policy paper will take into account the main challenges for the exercise of effective PLS, mentioned in earlier WFD publications on PLS, such as how to select relevant pieces of legislation on climate and the environment for impact assessment, how to identify and review the role of authorities in charge for implementation and enforcement of the legislation, how to collect and analyse data relevant to the specific legislation, how to determine the timeframe of the PLS process, how to conduct a stakeholder consultation related to the scope of the legislation and who are relevant stakeholders in the sector of climate/ environmental legislation, how to take stock of international instruments and climate and environmental commitments related to the PLS of the identified law, etc.

The policy paper will be relevant for parliaments who want to oversee the effectiveness of national legislation on the environment, while taking into account that in some countries environmental laws are outdated and not aligned with the delivery of national objectives and commitments under the major multilateral conventions on the environment (e.g. the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, and the  UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement), nor under the UN Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

In this way, the policy paper will be a useful resource for parliaments who decide to enhance scrutiny of NDC delivery, taking note of the outcomes of the first stocktake on climate action. Parliament’s recommendations emerging from its PLS inquiries can include recommendations on action plans for climate empowerment (ACE), in particular participation in decision-making, adaptation planning, mitigation and socioeconomic and gender inclusion.

The target audience for this policy paper are parliamentary committees on environment and climate change, parliamentary research centres, policy makers, environmental CSOs and activists, and other interested individuals and groups. 

3. Methodology

  • The research paper will be developed based upon desk review, primarily, with additional input emerging from interviews with parliamentary officials, legal analysts, experts in environmental and climate policies, representatives of international or national organizations, as identified by the consultant, and WFD staff, where possible.
  • The selection of the case-studies and/or relevant examples will be done in consultation with the WFD Head of Practice Accountability and Practice Lead on Environmental Democracy.
  • The policy paper will take into account and build upon the WFD publications and research on Post-Legislative Scrutiny and environmental democracy, in particular the 2021 Guide for parliamentary practice on Post-legislative scrutiny of climate and environment legislation (written prior to COP-26, COP-27 and COP-28), as well as the experiences from selected WFD country programmes.
  • The draft policy paper will be submitted for peer review by WFD affiliated experts in post-legislative scrutiny and in environment and climate policy making.

4. Deliverables

  • Policy paper of approximately 15 to 20 pages, excl. bibliography, Table of Contents, and graphs.
  • A blog post to promote the content of the paper to a wider, non-specialist audience.

The policy paper and blog post will be published as co-authored by the expert together with WFD’s Head of Practice Accountability and WFD’s Practice Lead on Environmental Democracy.

5. Timeline

  • Opening of application process: 11 January 2024
  • Application deadline: Close of Business on 24 January 2024
  • Contract commencement date: 1 February 2024
  • First draft of policy paper: 20 February 2024
  • Feedback on draft paper: 7 March 2024
  • Final draft of policy paper and blog post: 20 March 2024

6. Remuneration

The remuneration for this assignment is £4,000, including VAT and expenses. The time commitment for this project is estimated at 10 days, at a rate of £400 / day.

7. Qualifications of the expert

Relevant work experience:

  • Work experience in / understanding of legislative processes in parliament;
  • Work experience in / understanding of environmental policy making;
  • Understanding of legislative impact analysis and how legislation is enacted and enforced in different legal systems;
  • Experience in analysing environment or climate legislation;
  • Familiarity working with politically active civil society;
  • Experience developing training materials and resources.

Technical and functional competencies:

  • Excellent analytical, research and writing skills;
  • Commitment to accountable governance;
  • Experience working collaborative and in teams;
  • Excellent organisational skills.

8. Applications

Interested candidates can submit their application by 24 January 2024 (17:00 h. UK time) to: Franklin.Devrieze@wfd.org, including:

  • Application letter outlining relevant knowledge and experience,
  • Up-to-date CV, including 2 reference persons.
  • Writing sample from a similar assignment.