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Request for proposal: Conducting a scoping assessment on sustainable mountain settlements across the Hindu Kush Himalaya countries

Deadline for submission: 27 August 2023      |      Submit to:

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Section A: Technical details


ICIMOD is a leading regional and intergovernmental knowledge and learning centre, serving the eight regional member countries in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan for the benefit of the mountain communities and ecosystems. We work to harness the collective strengths of our member countries to enhance regional and international cooperation to address regional and transboundary issues that are largely environmental in nature, and which have major socio-economic implications for millions of people.

With four decades of experience in the region, the ICIMOD Strategy 2030: Moving Mountain raises the ambition and envisions a greener, more inclusive, and climate resilient HKH. Our work supports the regional member countries to cope with climate and environmental challenges via opportunities for knowledge collaboration, building mutual trust and confidence among member countries, sharing of best practices and regional learning, enhancing regional cooperation, and strengthening the socio-economic security of the region.

As per ICIMOD’s structural portfolio, under Strategic Group 2: Shaping green and resilient mountain economies and its Action Area C: Adapting and transforming livelihoods and economies, a new intervention on ‘Sustainable mountain settlement’ has been designed. One of the components under this intervention is a cleaner and Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI)-responsive brick sector.

ICIMOD places significant emphasis on addressing the challenges of human settlements in the mountains of the HKH region. With millions of people relying on its natural resources for their livelihoods, the region’s settlements are particularly vulnerable to the compounding impacts of climate change, rapid urbanisation, and haphazard development. Comprehending the risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities associated with these settlements is crucial to develop effective strategies at all levels that enhance sustainability and resilience. The goal is to address the challenges faced by mountain communities and promote sustainable and resilient settlements in the ecologically sensitive HKH region.



The HKH region boasts a remarkable blend of ecological diversity and challenging landscapes, harbouring numerous human settlements that showcase rich cultural traditions. However, these settlements face unparalleled challenges stemming from the compounded impacts of climate change, rapid urbanisation, and inadequately planned development. Climate change effects, including altered temperature patterns, fluctuating precipitation, glacial retreat, and intensified extreme weather events, significantly impact the region’s environment, ecosystems, and socio-economic fabric, especially in densely populated areas.

The accelerated pace of urbanisation in the HKH region, combined with subpar infrastructure and urban planning, has given rise to haphazard expansion and overextraction of resources. The consequential influx of people into urban centres impose substantial pressure on biodiversity, water, energy, and sanitation systems, exacerbating unsustainable living conditions. Additionally, the unplanned growth of settlements heightens their vulnerability to climate-induced risks, necessitating targeted interventions to bolster community resilience.

Considering these pressing challenges, bridging critical data and knowledge gaps on mountain settlements in the HKH region becomes imperative. A scoping assessment focusing on key trends, evaluating risks and opportunities, and fostering collaborative efforts is essential. Such an assessment in the HKH countries will provide valuable insights to inform evidence-based decision-making, empowering us to ensure the sustainability and resilience of these unique mountain settlements amidst emerging adversities.


About the scoping assessment

The scoping assessment aims to shed light on the crucial aspects of human settlements in mountainous regions, particularly in the context of climatic and other environmental and socio-economic changes. The assessment needs to be conducted across the HKH region in seven countries. The assessment seeks to enhance sustainability and resilience in these unique and vulnerable habitats by analysing key trends, evaluating risks and opportunities, and fostering collaboration. Through a concise and targeted approach, the assessment aims to provide valuable insights for informed decision-making and take effective actions to safeguard mountain settlements in the face of emerging challenges.



The specific objectives of the scoping assessment are to:



For the proposed scoping assessment across the regional member countries in the HKH, the proposed methods are, but not limited to, as follows:

  1. Systematic literature review
  1. Rapid field assessment



The key responsibilities of the consulting organisation are to:



The organisation will deliver the following outputs:

S.N. Outputs/ deliverables Due date
1. Co-developed methodological framework for the scoping assessment and enlisted the key stakeholders working on the issues of human settlements in the mountains 15 September 2023
2. Rapid assessment in a selected mountain settlements in Bhutan, India, and Nepal 15 October 2023
3. Synthesis document based on the systematic literature and data sources review in line with the methodological framework of assessment study 31 October 2023
4. First draft of the country specific scoping assessment report, combining synthesis of review, secondary data, and rapid field assessment in selected countries 5 December 2023
5. Final high-quality consolidated report of the scoping assessment from all HKH countries including findings from review, rapid field assessments, and recommendations 29 December 2023

Section B: Eligibility and selection criteria

This assignment is open to research institutions, universities, or any experienced institutions in the HKH region. The team members should include:

We are looking for a team of researchers with the following experiences, academic qualifications, and competencies. Eligibility criteria for the team members include:


Documents for submission and deadline

Interested academic or research institutions can apply by submitting the following:

Please email the complete application materials, including the formal signed and stamped documents to The deadline for submission is 27 August 2023.


Proposal review/scoring criteria

The total score is 100 points which includes 60 points on technical expertise, organisational profile, understanding of the assignment, study design and methodology, and 40 points on cost proposal.

S.N. Key criteria
1. Relevant work experiences of the firm, particularly in urban planning and human settlement (15)
2. Academic qualifications and work experience of proposed consultants as revealed by CV (30 points)
3. Understanding of the assignment along with proposed study design, tools, and methodology (15 points)
4. Cost-effectiveness and realistic budget plan (40 points)
Ethical consideration

The consultant will be required to take all the necessary actions to handle the collected data responsibly (see ICIMOD Responsible Data Policy) to ensure data privacy, anonymity, and confidentiality.


Our commitment to prevention of sexual harassment

ICIMOD is committed to the prevention and redressal of sexual harassment at the workplace and promoting the welfare of children, young people, and adults and expects all staff, consultants, and volunteers to share this commitment. We will do everything possible to ensure that only those suitable to work within our values are selected to work for us.



All material issued in connection with this TOR shall remain the property of ICIMOD and shall be used only for the purpose of this procurement exercise. All information provided shall be either returned to ICIMOD or securely destroyed by unsuccessful applicants at the conclusion of the procurement exercise.

During the performance of the assignment or at any time after the expiry or termination of the Agreement, the consultant shall not disclose to any person or otherwise make use of any confidential information which s/he has obtained or may during this agreement relating to partner organization/ICIMOD, the respondents or otherwise.


Intellectual property, copyright, and ownership of all prepared information

The consultant shall retain all rights to pre-existing (background) intellectual property or materials used by the consultant in the delivery of this study. All arising intellectual property, ideas, materials, processes, or processes formed in contemplation, course of, or as result of this study shall be passed to ICIMOD without restriction.

The consult shall warrant that all arising intellectual property, materials and/or products produced in pursuit of this study shall be original and shall not infringe on any third party’s claim. All technical or business information, in whatever medium or format, originated, collated, or prepared by or for the consultant in contemplation, course of, or as result of this assignment shall be transferred to ICIMOD without restriction on completion and shall not be used by the consultant for any other purpose without express written permission of ICIMOD.

Copyright of all arising documents, data, information, or reports produced by the consultant under this agreement shall belong to ICIMOD and will be passed to ICIMOD without restriction. Such documents, data, information, and reports shall not be used by the consultant for any other purpose other than in conjunction with this assignment, without the express written permission of ICIMOD’s Head of Programme Funding.


Annex 1: Methodological framework for the scoping assessment

Methodological framework for the scoping assessment

Annex 2: Budget plan

ABC Organisation

S.N. Cost category/ activities Unit Rate Quantity Total amount (in NPR)
Expert Cost
Travel / Transport/Accommodation
Other cost, if applicable
Grand total

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