Job Opening

Posting Title: Development of capacity building plan for utilities in water scarce cities in the MENA region and support to GWOPA’s EGM process
Department/Office: United Nations Human Settlements Programme
Duty Station: BARCELONA
Posting Period: 22 March 2019 - 01 April 2019
Job Opening Number: 19-United Nations Human Settlements Programme-113841-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

GWOPA has initiated a regional consultation process with the support of the Department of Energy of Abu Dhabi with the objective of proposing a regional capacity building action plan on water scarcity for Arab utilities. The development of this action plan is a consultative process which ambitions to bring on board the main regional stakeholders as well as the utilities -both potential mentors and mentees- through 2 Expert Group Meetings (one held in January 2019 at the World Future Energy Summit, the second one at WFES 2020) and will culminate with the presentation of the action plan and main findings at the World Urban Forum 2020 at a donor roundtable.

Work Location

Home based with some field research missions

Expected duration

The consultant will work 30.5 days over a period of 11 months, starting 15th April 2019.

Duties and Responsibilities

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the agency for human settlements mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities. UN-Habitat helps the urban poor by transforming cities into safer and healthier places with better opportunities. It works with organizations at every level, including all spheres of government, civil society and the private sector.

The Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA) is a network of partners, led by UN-Habitat, committed to helping water operators help one another improve their capacity in providing access to water and sanitation services for all. Following the “Hashimoto Action Plan” launched in Mexico in March 2006, the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) requested UN-Habitat to establish this global mechanism to promote not-for-profit peer support arrangements between water utilities, so-called Water Operators Partnerships (WOPs). Noting that much of the responsibility in meeting the water and sanitation-related MDGs fell to water operators, UNSGAB recommended the scaled up use of WOPs to help develop their capacity to sustainably deliver safe water and sound sanitation services.

Water operators are critical players in efforts to achieve sustainable and universal water and sanitation. But many operators today are not keeping pace with demand. They face a myriad of
challenges including rapid urbanization, rising inequity, pressures on water resources, severe resource constraints and ineffective governance.

There is a growing understanding that strong local capacity can provide the foundations to respond to emerging challenges with meaningful and lasting solutions. Supporting water operators in their organizational development efforts to manage effectively over the long-term
is the purpose of Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs).

WOPs are peer-support arrangements between two or more water service providers, carried out on a not-for-profit basis in the objective of strengthening operator capacity. They are based on the observation that capacity development supported by mentors can accelerate water operators’ ability to meet the challenges facing the sector. They draw on the fact that much of the innovation and expertise to address water operators’ challenges reside within utilities (not with consultants or other external experts), and that a growing number of these successful
operators are highly motivated to share their expertise and innovation with others as “mentors” on a not-for-profit basis.

WOPs were identified as a high-potential solution by the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board for Water and Sanitation. Upon request of former UN Secretary General and the advice of his UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), GWOPA was established in 2009 as a network of partners committed to helping water operators to help one another improve their capacity in providing access to water and sanitation services for all. By scaling up effective WOP practice, GWOPA aims to help utilities play their full roll in the local realization of sustainable development.

The GWOPA Secretariat translates GWOPA’s mandate into strategies and programs. It implements, through collaboration with a range of partners, annual alliance work plans which include support for regional WOP platforms, WOPs direct brokering and funding, financial guidance and support, development and management of WOPs knowledge, branding, alliance and partnership building, as well as advocacy and communication activities. The GWOPA Secretariat is currently hosted by the City of Barcelona with support of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to UN-Water , Water scarcity can mean scarcity in availability due to physical shortage, or scarcity in access due to the failure of institutions to ensure a regular supply or due to a lack of adequate infrastructure.

Water scarcity already affects every continent. Water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainably delivered, especially in arid regions. Around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world’s population, live in areas of scarcity. Another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world’s population, face economic water shortage (where countries lack the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers) Water stress poses greatest threat to MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region in particular, which is the most water-scarce region in the world.
In the MENA region, more than 60% of the population has little or no access to drinkable water and over 70% of the region's GDP is exposed to high or very high water stress.
The region has currently the lowest Actual Renewable Water Resources (ARWR) per capita on the planet; The Middle East and North Africa is a global hotspot of unsustainable water use, especially of groundwater. In some countries, more than half of current water withdrawals exceed what is naturally available; 82% of wastewater is not recycled, presenting a massive opportunity to meet water demands; The region has the greatest expected economic losses from climate-related water scarcity, estimated at 6–14 percent of GDP by 2050; Total water productivity in the Middle East and North Africa is only about half the world’s average; Despite its scarcity, the region has the world’s lowest water tariffs and the highest proportion of GDP (2 percent) spent on public water subsidies; Flood and drought risks are increasing and are likely to harm the poor disproportionately;

Urban water utilities are facing an increasing need to improve the management of water resources and associated infrastructure in water scarce cities. Diversifying sources of water supply will become increasingly important whether through the construction of new storage facilities, the appropriate and sustainable extraction of groundwater, water trading or conservation, or the use of recycled or desalinated water. In addition, water and energy demand are deeply linked. Water utilities managers must pay attention to the risks and interdependencies that these twin challenges present.

Under the direct supervision of the GWOPA/UN-Habitat Programme Officer in charge of MENA Region, the consultant will provide substantive professional support to GWOPA through the EGM process until the session at WUF 2020 to hold the regional consultation process, to map the needs and the sources of knowledge and good practices in the region, develop an inventory of existing capacity building opportunities for utilities. The consultant will support the team by compiling the existing initiatives, developing good practice case studies at operator level, and if possible at WOP level, and will draft the capacity building action plans on the basis of the consultation and mapping exercise.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications:
Advanced university degree in water engineering, management sciences, development planning, urban development, social science, or the equivalent combination of education and experience in a related area is required.

Minimum of 20 years of experience conducting relevant research in the water sector or relevant fields (environment, energy, etc). Strong knowledge on water sector issues and utilities’ management in the MENA region (Middle East North Africa) a must. Experience with WOPs (Water Operators' Partnerships) a plus.
Proven strong writing skills and analytical capacities are required.

The consultant will be required to fluently read, speak and understand English and Arabic.
Reporting must be done in English.

No Fee


Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.
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