Request for Proposal – ePhyto Specialist – Colombia

The Alliance is looking for an ePhyto specialist to support its trade facilitation project in Colombia

Request for Proposal – ePhyto Specialist – Colombia
Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation/Center for International Private Enterprise


1. Background information

The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (the Alliance) is a public-private partnership for trade-led growth, supporting governments in developing and least-developed countries in implementing the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. Alliance projects cut through red tape and end costly delays at borders by bringing together governments and businesses of all sizes as equal partners to deliver targeted trade reforms.  

The Alliance is led by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the International Chamber of Commerce, and the World Economic Forum, in cooperation with Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). It is funded by the governments of the United States, Canada, Germany, Denmark, and Australia.

On behalf of the Alliance, CIPE is in the process of implementing a project to modernize the Colombian Institute of Agriculture and Livestock (ICA). ICA lacks the capacity to receive and issue ePhytos in line with international standards. As Colombia is essentially an agricultural commodities producer, ensuring the safety of agricultural exports and imports without spreading pests and diseases remains one of the biggest challenges and opportunities for the country. According to the IPPC, “phytosanitary certificates are issued to indicate that consignments of plants, plant products or other regulated articles meet specified phytosanitary import requirements and are in conformity with the certifying statement of the appropriate model certificate.” Therefore, phytosanitary certificates are essential to control the import and export of plant and plant products and play a key role in international trade.

ICA has made efforts on an ad hoc basis to exchange e-Phytos with the Pacific Alliance countries and the Netherlands. Most recently, in December 2020, ICA carried out an e-Phyto exchange test with Argentina which highlighted the agency’s needs to meet the standards required by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The agency lacks the necessary technology and resources to improve its own national system and be able to exchange certificates with the approximately 120 countries connected to the IPPC hub, including Colombia’s main trade partners such as the United States of America and the European Union.

Most of the phytosanitary certificates are currently issued in hard copy and are transferred between importers/ exporters and government agencies by post or courier. These exchanges can take up to 10 days depending on the country of origin and are prone to errors, loss, theft and counterfeiting. The lack of a standardized and efficient ePhyto system in line with IPPC standards may cause serious delays in completing import/export process and may result in spoiled goods, additional demurrage charges, and frustrated customers and governments. Online applications are not available, and verification of certificates from importing countries is difficult and time consuming.


2. Objective

The overall objective of the project is to reduce the time and cost to import and export agricultural products by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Colombian Institute of Agriculture and Livestock with a focus on Risk Management, and the implementation of the ePhytosanitary Certificate.

The project is divided into two major components:

Component 1 – Strengthening ICA’s Risk Management
This component will support ICA to develop the necessary processes, expertise and systems to differentiate between low-risk and high-risk shipments of agricultural and livestock goods. ICA’s risk management approach is characterized by a high level of physical inspections and high discretionary powers while detection rates remain low. With this component, the Alliance team aims to strengthen the focus and attention to specific high-risk shipments while low risk shipments are facilitated.

Component 2 – Implementation of the e-Phyto
This component will help ICA connect to the IPPC hub using its own national system and seamlessly issue, modify and exchange ePhytosanitary certificates with National Plant Protection Organizations worldwide. The project will take advantage of the Alliance’s in-house expertise developing ePhytos and will be run in close coordination with the Alliance ePhyto upscaling team. the same benefits as their male counterparts. After the completion of the project, it is expected that:

This RFP only covers Component 2 of the project.


3. Scope of work

To support the implementation of the project, GATF wishes to hire the services of an ePhyto Specialist who will work closely with the Project Team, ICA, Colombian Customs (DIAN) and other relevant stakeholders to ensure timely and adequate implementation of Component 2 of this project.

Generally, the Specialist is expected to support ICA to implement the ePhyto and develop the necessary capabilities to successfully connect and exchange ePhytos via the IPPC hub. In addition, the specialist is expected to review the process and regulatory environment to further simplify the procedures involving the phytosanitary certificate.
Required deliverables for this assignment include:

  1. AIS S Report with the narrative and process maps explaining the current processes to issue phytosanitary certificates. This report will serve to update baselines, provide inputs for the project evaluation, and identify the main bottlenecks, challenges and gaps for the proper implementation of a fully-fledged ePhyto solution aligned with international standards (IPPC). It is anticipated that this deliverable will rely heavily on public and private sector feedback to conceptualize and define the current processes and opportunities for improvement and therefore the consultant is encouraged to develop and implement a working methodology in line with this principle.
  2. TO BE Report with the recommended process maps to manage (issue, modify, exchange, cancel) ePhytos, and necessary changes in procedures and IT systems based on the previous reports to efficiently issue ePhytos and connect to the IPPC hub.
  3. Regulatory Framework Review Report. This deliverable will aim to revise and provide recommendations to update ICA’s phytosanitary legislation and related legal instruments to facilitate the adoption of the ePhyto solution if necessary. While its full scope will be determined in collaboration with ICA legal department, it is expected that it will cover as a minimum the following aspects:
    • administrative functions and regulatory powers of ICA,
    • duties and powers of inspectors,
    • import and export regulatory requirements with an emphasis on the phytosanitary certificate,
    • monitoring and control of pests, and
    • offences and penalties.
  4. Develop user manuals and standard operating procedures to be used by ICA inspectors to issue and manage ePhytos through ICA’s national system.
  5. Develop, support and undertake the necessary training of key ICA officials on the new processes to request, issue, modify and exchange ePhytos.
  6. Monthly progress report summarizing all activities conducted during the reporting period and objectives for the following month.
  7. Final progress report summarizing all activities conducted during the assignment, full list of deliverables, lessons learned and recommendations for all stakeholders.

4. Selection criteria and characteristics

Proposals will be evaluated based on a combination of Quality (70%) and Cost (30%). The estimated total budget for the assignment is USD$ 93,726 including local travel. The estimated duration of the assignment is 18 months.

Quality evaluation of the proposals will be based on the following factors:

  • Responsiveness to the requirements set forth in this request for proposals (10%)
  • Relevant work experience of the provider (50%)
  • Technical proposal (30%)

Cost evaluation will be as follows: The lowest compliant financial proposal (FP) is given the maximum financial score (FS) of 30. The formula for determining the financial scores of all other proposals is:
FS = 30 x (FP/F)

In which “FS” is the financial score, “FP” is the lowest price, and “F” the price of the proposal under consideration.


5. Public official disclosures

Proposals should disclose whether any owner, senior officer or manager, or key employee of the provider is a public official or related by blood or marriage up to second-degree to a public official. “Public official” includes, a person holding a legislative, administrative, military, or judicial office for any country, an employee of a government-owned or controlled enterprise, an official of a public international organization and/or an official of a political party.

The fact that a public official is employed by or associated with an applicant will not disqualify a company from consideration, however no proposal will be considered unless it includes this information.


6. Application requirements

Candidates are requested to submit a response by August 13, 2021 to and, Senior Program Officer, Trade Team, with the subject line “EPhyto RFP”

Submissions should include as a minimum:

  • A technical proposal (max 5 pages) describing the methodology to conduct the assignment, and a preliminary timetable in English
  • A financial proposal (max 5 pages) in English inclusive of all taxes, fees, and traveling expenses both domestic and international. ICA and relevant stakeholders will make an effort to provide conference rooms and meeting spaces throughout the duration of the assignment.
  • Specialist’s CV and experience.
  • At least one sample business process reengineering activity report (ideally related to E-phyto, any other sanitary certification, or the reengineering of agricultural import and export processes) in English or Spanish

Required Skills and Experience:


  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent in economics, science, engineering, business, information technology, law, or similar field. Master’s degree preferred;

Professional Experience

  • At least 8 years of experience in modernization of agricultural import and export processes, E-phyto implementation, and business process engineering;
  • Strong command of certification process of phytosanitary products and international best practices as recommended by the IPPC and FAO.
  • Demonstrated experience in at least 2 similar assignments.
  • Familiarity with donor-funded programs desired.
  • Demonstrated experience working with government agencies in Colombia is a plus.

Other knowledge and skills:

  • Excellent proven oral and writing skills in English and Spanish, with excellent analysis and synthesis skills;
  • Knowledge of the country context, development issues, trade practice and challenges;
  • Authorization to legally work in Colombia and the ability to travel within Colombia;
  • Proactive, self-starter with strong attention to detail;
  • Flexible and adaptable to changing environments.


7. Schedule of deliverables and payments

A final schedule of deliverables will be agreed with the successful consultant during negotiations and in consultation with ICA officials.

The following is an indicative deliverable table with the desired timelines.

Deliverable Timeline Payment
Inception Report with an updated timeline of project deliverables 7 days after signing the contract 10 %
AS IS Report October 2021 20%
TO BE Report December 2021 20%
Regulatory Review November 2021 10%
Standard Operating Procedures and User Manuals February 2022 15%
Training of ICA personnel November 2022 15%
Final Progress Report September 2022 10%