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Environmental Security Advisor at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nations’ global development network. Headquartered in New York City, UNDP advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. It provides expert advice, training, and grants support to developing countries, with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries.

Background

Alongside the daily toll of conflict and displacement across the Middle East and North Africa, communities face a more insidious but perhaps no less important foe – the region’s environmental crisis. The region is home to a series of protracted conflicts and the world’s largest population of refugees and displaced people. Simultaneously, it is also the planet’s most water scarce and food import-dependent region, with temperatures rising faster than the world average. Prolonged heat waves, desertification, and droughts are projected to make parts of the region uninhabitable, potentially leading to large-scale displacement of populations and increasing the likelihood of violent competition over diminishing resources, thereby threatening to accelerate fragility.

The expansion of conflict and ecosystem decline both have serious consequences and their convergence has now arisen as a major concern in the region, creating new forms of social vulnerability and reshaping the prospects for peace and development on the road to 2030.

Policy makers in the region are increasingly cognizant of the role of climate change, water scarcity and ecosystem disruption as root causes of growing inequalities, displacement and conflict in the region. The Arab region was the birthplace of agricultural civilization and for millennia has been able to cope with risks from ecological change. But the converging trends of climate change, loss of biodiversity, water scarcity and land degradation are now happening at a pace unlike anything before, stretching the ability of societies to cope. Unless urgent actions are taken, impacts will be felt in loss of agricultural livelihoods, high unemployment, mass displacement, and resource conflicts. Moreover, the degradation of natural resources due to their mismanagement can exacerbate the effect of climate change, accelerating it and reducing the capacities of communities to adapt to a changing climate and mitigate the impacts.

Duties And Responsibilities

In line with the efforts undertaken by UNDP in the region to prevent conflict and build sustainable peace, this consultancy is the result of a collaboration between UNDP Nature, Climate and Energy Team, and UNDP Governance and Peacebuilding Team at the Regional Hub for Arab States, and is aimed at strengthening UN analysis and informing decision-making processes.

In particular, the objective of the consultancy is to develop a Policy Brief to review, using a gender lens, the nexus of environmental change and security in the region. This analysis will help to better understand ways in which the destruction of nature is catalyzing new levels of conflict and displacement and ways in which conflict prevention and recovery measures can become more resilient to future shocks through integrated solutions and help communities affected by crisis to build back better.

Under the guidance and supervision of UNDP Team Leader on Nature, Climate and Energy Team, and UNDP Team Leader on Governance and Peacebuilding, Regional Hub for Arab States, Amman, and in collaboration with other Teams, the Climate Security Mechanism, and relevant UN agencies, the consultant will contribute to deepen the analysis on Environmental Security impacts Middle East and North Africa, help identify entry points for policy change, as well as themes for possible future investigation.

The duties and responsibilities of the Consultant are the following:

  • Conduct a literature review on the nexus of environmental change and security in the Arab States. This includes surveying existing UN/UNDP analyses, strategies and initiatives related to impacts in the region; identify measures and projects that integrate green solutions as part of conflict prevention, recovery, and peacebuilding, and; consider government policies, national and regional strategies as relevant.
  • Using a gender lens, draft a Policy brief report (15-18 pages) along the following blocks:
  • Background on the ecosystem fragility in the region
  • Relation between ecosystem fragility and root cause of humanitarian crises, depicting the interlinkages between environmental and ecosystems degradation, resource insecurity, climate change, politics and geopolitics, social, economic, human mobility and demographic factors;
  • Describes the facets of environment with some sub-regional contextualization (Horn, Levant, Maghreb, Arab peninsula…), zooming into relevant transboundary contexts, and; captures regional and sub-regional trends and impacts on conflict, displacement, migration streams and the overall SDGs;
  • Actions or responses, including integrated and green solutions for conflict prevention, recovery and peacebuilding
  • Considering Sustaining Peace and Building Back Better approaches, the analysis should look into initiatives put in place by UNDP and other actors across the regional, transboundary, national, and community levels, drawing lessons learned and good practices on environmental security;
  • Partnerships to manage risk and build resilience aimed at expanding support for integrated solutions that help countries achieve results under, especially, SDGs 12-15 on environment and SDG 16 on peace and security.
  • In doing so, it should elaborate on case studies of local UN/UNDP projects in the Arab region which are helping to build the resilience of communities and ecosystems in some of the world’s most challenging humanitarian contexts.
  • Develop recommendations for UN/UNDP and other actors

Recommendations should:

  • address gaps and consider opportunities to mainstream the nexus of environmental change and security for prevention strategies and programmatic activities, as well as identify advocacy priorities,
  • identify entry points and avenues of collaboration with international, regional and national actors to encourage work around the nexus, and
  • help enhance the adaptive capacity of governments in the region, including through strengthening national institutions and regional organizations.

Identify three or four issues/themes emerging from the Policy brief that may be the subject of further investigation and analysis under the overall umbrella of the Policy brief.
Present the findings and recommendations in two UN/UNDP workshops and meetings bringing together UNDP Country Offices from the region, practitioners, etc.

  • The deliverables (to be submitted in English) will have to be produced with a gender-sensitive approach, which is integrated both in format (e.g. gender-balanced consultations, etc.) and content (e.g. impact of conflict on women, opportunities for women to be included in the conflict prevention process through integrated solutions, etc).

To Carry Out The Above, The Consultant Will

  • refer to UNDP policies and frameworks, reports, and existing UN projects;
  • contact UNDP colleagues, as appropriate;
  • collect, evaluate and analyse information from different sources.

At All Times, The Consultant Should Ensure That The Deliverables Are Of High Quality And Meet These Four Standards

The consultant will ensure that the deliverables are prepared based on a guidance from UNDP colleagues while advising them on the basis of experience and in coherence with similar work developed elsewhere. The consultant should not, in any manner spread the information acquired for the preparation and during the roll out of the activity, including materials and reports.

  • Technical robustness;
  • Context relevance;
  • Integrity and quality of analysis.

A technical committee composed of relevant teams at UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States, UNDP Headquarters and other UN agencies will ensure that the deliverables are produced at high quality standards, and that gender sensitivity is considered. The deliverables will need to be validated by the Nature, Climate and Energy Team and Governance and Peacebuilding Team.

The Individual Will Work With The UNDP Nature, Climate And Energy Team, And UNDP Governance And Peacebuilding Team Under An Agreed Timeline And Workplan Based On The Following Deliverables

Expected Outputs and Deliverables

Expected No. of Working Day(s) for each deliverable

Targeted Due Dates

Review and Approvals Required

Deliverable 1: Preparation of a methodological note on the nexus of environmental change and security in the Arab States

  • working day upon contract signature date
  • Within (01) calendar month from contract signature date
  • Kishan Khoday, Team Leader, Nature, Climate and Energy
  • Giordano Segneri, Team Leader, Governance and Peacebuilding

Deliverable 2: Draft Policy Brief (15-18 pages) on Environmental change and Security in the Arab region which includes a set of policy recommendations.

  • working days from satisfactory completion of deliverable (1)

Deliverable 3: Finalization of the Policy Brief, based on feedback from UN/UNDP colleagues with the identification of three or four emerging issues/themes that may be the subject of further investigation and analysis.

working days from satisfactory completion of deliverable (2)

Deliverable 4: Elaboration of a power point presentation on the elements of the Brief. Preparation and delivery of presentation to UN/UNDP meetings.

  • working day from satisfactory completion of deliverable (3)
  • Within (02) calendar months from contract signature date

Deliverable 5: Preparation and Delivery of presentation to UN/UNDP meetings.

  • working day from satisfactory completion of deliverable (4)

Competencies

Corporate

  • Demonstrates integrity and fairness, by modeling the UN/UNDP’s values and ethical standards;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.

Functional

  • Background knowledge of environmental security issues, climate change impact in the Arab region including intellectual and practical capacity to understand and interpret different analytic sources and data;
  • Proven capacity to apply the gender lens in analysis;
  • Time management and organizational skills, with the ability to undertake multiple tasks and deliver under pressure;
  • Strong analytical and synthesis skills;
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, and present practical solutions to complex problems;
  • Ability to work independently and achieve quality results with limited supervision and within tight schedules;
  • Experience in reports production;
  • Ability to write in a clear and concise manner;
  • Good teamwork and interpersonal skills;
  • Flexibility and ability to handle multiple tasks and work under pressure;
  • Excellent computer skills especially Word, Excel and Power Point;

Leadership

  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and to provide credible leadership;
  • Demonstrated flexibility in leadership by performing and/or overseeing the analysis/resolution of complex issues;
  • Ability to conceptualize and convey strategic vision from the spectrum of development experience.

Managing Relationships

  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain strategic partnerships;
  • Demonstrated well developed people management and organizational management skills;
  • Excellent management skills in navigating and working with diverse range of partners, stakeholders, including senior and high-level policymakers.
  • Excellent negotiating and networking skills with strong partnerships in academia, technical organizations and as a recognized expert in the practice area.

Managing Complexity

  • Ability to address global development issues;
  • Demonstrated substantive leadership and ability to integrate knowledge with broader strategic, policy and operational objectives.

Knowledge Management and Learning

  • Ability to strongly promote and build knowledge products;
  • Promotes knowledge management in UNDP and a learning environment in the office through leadership and personal example;
  • Seeks and applies knowledge, information and best practices from within and outside of UNDP;
  • Demonstrates a strong capacity for innovation and creativity in providing strategic policy advice and direction.

Judgment/Decision-Making

  • Mature judgment and initiative;
  • Proven ability to provide strategic direction to the project implementation process;
  • Independent judgment and discretion in advising on handling major policy issues and challenges, uses diplomacy and tact to achieve result.

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