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This document is intended to provide basic details regarding anticipated scope of work, as well as information on the expectations and objectives of the consultancy. The duration of these Terms will be a period of approximately 4 weeks. A procurement contract agreement, including contractual and financial terms, shall be sent under separate cover to finalize the agreement. Once signed, these Terms would be appended to the contractual agreement.
Foreign illiberal influence operations transpire through a variety of diplomatic, political, cultural and commercial mechanisms, such as: military assistance, surveillance technology, manipulation of the information space, and infrastructure projects. The list of authoritarian governments engaged in these foreign influence operations is extensive.
The influence exerted by foreign illiberal powers can undermine democratic institutions, either by design or as collateral damage. In some cases, the foreign power may pursue an economic objective but do so in a way that diminishes checks and balances or weakens transparency norms. In many cases, the foreign illiberal government takes advantage of the opacity of international financial systems and is enabled by private sector actors including bankers, lawyers, lobbyists, and real estate agents.
Research conducted by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) suggests that the extent to which illiberal influence can be effectively prevented or countered in a society will depend on the level of democratic resilience demonstrated by the country’s institutions and processes. Stakeholders across the national spectrum – including politicians, civil society, journalists, and business leaders – have a role to play in bolstering the country’s democratic defenses.
While resilience to illiberal influences depends on a wide range of factors – including independent media, strong civil society sector, robust legal framework and vigorous enforcement mechanisms – the role of transparency is particularly critical. Experiences ranging from Australia to Taiwan to Chile and others highlight the degree to which openness and access to information restricts conduits for opaque illiberal influence.
In this sense, an important lesson from this still emerging field of study is that prospects for resilience are improved by transparency measures that can detect and deter illiberal influence operations. To assist NDI in developing recommendations and programmatic interventions at the nexus of transparency and foreign illiberal influence, the Institute seeks a consultant to assist with mapping and analyzing government transparency examples related to countering foreign disinformation operations.
The Consultant will conduct a global review of existing research, publications, and national-level policies and legislation that promote information integrity through government openness and transparency measures. The Consultant will produce a 6-10 page summary brief of findings, analysis, and recommendations. The work will be performed remotely.
Specific tasks include:
- Conduct a literature review of foreign influence operations that seek to use disinformation to create and/or exacerbate political, religious, cultural, or social tensions in order to divide or polarize the host country.
- Conduct a global review of government transparency legislation and policies and Open Government Partnership National Action Plan commitments in support of information integrity (e.g. media independence and transparency requirements, access to information policies, anti-propaganda legislation, etc.)
- Develop a summary brief of relevant findings, including an analysis of trends, challenges, gaps and/or opportunities for executive and legislative officials to use open government principles to counter foreign disinformation operations and support information integrity.
III. Consultant Deliverables
The deliverables for this contract are:
- A 6-10-page summary brief of research findings, analysis, and recommendations for national-level officials to develop government transparency measures to prevent or mitigate foreign disinformation operations.
- An accompanying bibliography of all research, including relevant publications and global examples of transparency legislation, policies, and/or initiatives to counteract divisive foreign influence operations.
IV. Timing and Duration of Consultancy
The duration of these Terms will be a period of approximately 4 weeks, including submission of a first draft summary and bibliography, and a final draft with feedback and edits incorporated. Any follow-on work would be done either under an amendment to these Terms of Reference or under new Terms of Reference.
V. Media Relations, Copyright, and Ownership of Intellectual Property
The Consultant is obliged to provide advance notice to and seek written permission from NDI prior to speaking or communicating to any media outlets (including television, radio, internet, academic institutions, social media/networking sites, Twitter, etc.) regarding activities with NDI and/or its partners and/or donor.
NDI reserves the right to determine whether and when to publicly share and/or publish deliverables and products generated from the Terms of Reference to various audiences, partners, and donors. NDI will maintain the copyright and will reserve all related rights to materials developed under these Terms. The Consultant further agrees, during and following these Terms of Reference, to coordinate with NDI before discussing the work products and related activities with the media or in any public forum, by (a) informing NDI of any intention to do so, and (b) informing the audience that the views expressed are their own and not necessarily those of NDI or NDI’s donors.
The consultancy would be compensated at approximately $5,000. Payment would be made following satisfactory completion of the assigned tasks and related deliverable, and upon receipt of an invoice detailing time worked.
VII. Expression of Interest
- Letter of motivation, highlighting relevant experience
- Writing sample from similar research or publication, on a relevant topic
- Full budget (daily rate x number of days, plus any associated costs)
Expressions of interest should be sent to the point of contact below.
VIII. Contact Information
Program Officer, Democratic Governance
National Democratic Institute
455 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20001