Job Opening

Posting Title: UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Sustainable Finance Consultant (Middle East and North Africa)
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 19 December 2019 - 08 January 2020
Job Opening Number: 19-United Nations Environment Programme-128103-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

Through these services UNEP FI will have a comprehensive baseline assessment on sustainable finance against which it can measure progress going forward. The services will include mapping of the sustainable finance practice in the region as a whole (country and finance sector level) and identify existing mechanisms to support sustainable finance in the Arab region. Market intelligence will be conducted as a part of the study and while it would look at the Arab region as a whole, it will include specific country “case studies” with a focus on climate finance. Those countries include Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan and Iraq (subject to change, depending on final decision from UNEP FI).

Work Location

Working Remotely.

Expected duration

The duration of the contract will be for 6 Months.

Duties and Responsibilities

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is a strategic public-private partnership between UNEP and the global financial sector. UNEP FI works with approximately 290 financial institutions, which are signatories to the UNEP FI Statements of Environmental Commitment, and a range of partners and organisations, to develop and promote linkages between the environment, sustainability and financial performance. Through its working groups and regional activities, comprehensive work programme, training and research, UNEP FI carries out its mission to identify, promote, and realise the adoption of best environmental and sustainability practice at all levels of financial institution strategies and operations. The Middle East and North Africa is one of the regions that UNEP FI is strongly engaged where climate change poses a big challenge. The region is among those most affected by the impacts of climate change, particularly sea level rise and drought, which have dire consequences on food production. Equally, the region has a vested interest in the implementation of the sustainable development goals; in particular those that help deal with the interlinked water-energy-food challenges, and goals that foster Agenda 2030 in general.

The Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction have stressed that for development to be sustainable and resilient to shocks, it must integrate climate change and disaster into short-term responses, and long-term planning. Addressing climate change and meeting the SDGs requires mobilization of all resources and a gradual shift of financing model from “conventional” to “sustainable”.

Against this background, and under a regional project “SDGs-Climate Facility: Climate Action for Human Security” (hereafter, SDG-Climate Facility Project), UNEP FI is partnering with the League of Arab States, UNDP and other UN agencies to increase the capacity of regional and national institutions to address climate change and scale up access to sustainable finance.

Sustainable finance is still a relatively new concept in many countries across the Middle East, and as a first step is to understand the status of sustainable finance in the region. UNEP FI is looking for a consultant to carry out market research, intelligence, and analysis on current Sustainable Finance practices in Arab Countries in the Middle East.

An assessment on sustainable finance in the region will contribute to the discussions around scaling up climate finance, which is an important objective of the SDG-Climate Facility Project. It will allow for the demonstration of possible low-carbon investments and ventures which will allow an accelerated transition toward a green economy.

In line with the work programme delivered during the UNEP FI Annual General Meetings and under the direct supervision of UNEP FI Management Officer Liesel van Ast, working in close coordination with MENA Regional Coordinator Geeda Haddad, the consultant will carry out the following project tasks for the UNEP FI Regional Programme of Work – as shown below the consultant will:

• Conduct market research, market intelligence and analysis for the Arab Region on Sustainable finance. This will result in a well-defined mapping of the current situation of sustainable finance practice in the Region and will outline clear objectives aimed toward scaling it up.
• Provide deep-dive case studies on climate finance under the SDG-Climate Facility Project and UNEP FI work programme for the countries identified above, including a “fact-sheet” on the topic in fragile states.
• Conduct analysis and a baseline assessment with a clear set of indicators to measure progress going forward. The results from the Needs Assessment and the SWOT analysis will enable the consultant to feed the risks, opportunities and recommendations related to integrating sustainability within the Region’s financial sector into the online knowledge platform currently being developed.
• In partnership with project partners, conduct “stakeholders’ consultation” to verify the outcomes of the study and get feedback to include in the final recommendations.
• Provide updates to the project partners through emails/webinars to demonstrate the progress made.


4. Specific tasks and responsibilities

(A) The consultant will carry out market research, intelligence and analysis in the Arab region under the joint project mentioned above. This includes the following tasks:

Mapping sustainable finance practice:
¿ Market Research:
a. Document and map out the structure of existing regional financial systems, policies and regulatory frameworks related to sustainable finance practices already in place in the Arab region.
b. Identify potential policy and market based sustainable finance innovations that have been beneficial to the existing sustainable finance practice in the region.
c. Review of existing sustainability methodologies related to finance systems covering the Arab States region to assess market readiness to sustainable finance transition.

¿ Market Intelligence:
d. Map existing barriers to scaling up climate finance (in both climate mitigation and climate adaptation) in market practice by private sector financial institutions; including “case studies” focused on the countries identified and providing examples from fragile states.
e. Assess the finance institutional landscape (regulatory, policy, and government strategies in place) which have managed to provide support in adapting to climate change and best practices, as well as lessons learned in financing the transition to a low-carbon, resilient economy already taking place from previous initiatives.
f. Identify good practices in financing the transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient economy while contributing to achieving the SDGs including SDG 2 to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture; SDG 5 on gender equality, SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation; SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy; and SDG 8 to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economy growth, full productive employment and decent work for all. Special emphasis should be paid to distilling good practices in financing climate-focused crisis response and recovery.
(B) The consultant shall submit a framework of how s/he will conduct the assessment within a few days upon signing the contract.

I. Needs Assessment:
a. Carry out needs assessment to identify the finance sector’s immediate needs to scale up financing of the transition and contribution to the SDGs through calls, interviews, surveys, etc. as required.
b. Carry out SWOT Analysis: sustainable finance challenges vs. constraints in the Arab region to define Arab states region's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to develop and support sustainable finance practices. Provide recommendation to address weaknesses and threats/barriers to integrate sustainability/environmental, social and governance issues into financial decision-making at strategic, portfolio and transaction levels.

II. Provide recommendations addressed to the finance sector stakeholders (regulators, ministries of finance, financial institutions), and policy makers on approaches, best practices/frameworks/methodologies they can adopt to further align their financial systems, products and services with the SDGs and Paris Agreement in the region.

*All the above tasks require the engagement of a broad range of Arab financial institutions, including regulatory authorities (central banks, Capital Market Agencies etc...), commercial banks, asset managers, insurers, and multi-lateral Arab/Islamic development banks and agencies – in a constructive dialogue about the nexus between economic development, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the financial sector.

III. Coordinate with UNEP FI communications lead to share study findings with project partners and include messages in our communications platform.
IV. Preparation and production of the final report, factsheets, case studies, recommendations, etc. as required.

Outputs and Deliverables:
Following the specific tasks and responsibilities listed under item.4, by the end of the consultancy:
• At the beginning of the task, provide an outline of the study and a questionnaire for interviews/surveys for initial consultation with the Secretariat.
• Produce a high-quality report (including the results from the market research, intelligence and analysis for the region as specified under item 4), with clearly articulate recommendations targeted at specific stakeholders.

Meanwhile the consultant will:
• Share bi-weekly updates with the Regional Manager on process and progress as well as reports on interviews & surveys conducted.
• Provide Interim report outlining findings and progress achieved.
• Carry out a debrief about the findings with key regional stakeholders and integrate consultation feedback into study findings and finalise contents together with the Secretariat.
• Provide Board-level briefing document targeting finance sector regulators (in particular the Central Banks’ and Insurance regulators) focusing on research findings and when appropriate, relevant to the SDG-Climate Facility Project.

Qualifications/special skills

Skills: Strong research, writing and editing skills in English, and an ability to write well under time pressure. Strong international and regional knowledge on sustainable finance is desirable, strong interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain good working relations in geographically dispersed environment; knowledge of, and a track record on, climate change or the environment an asset; knowledge of financial markets, banking and/or insurance an asset; ability to cope with heavy workloads and prioritise across multiple and diverse projects in an organized and timely manner; accuracy and attention to detail. The incumbent is expected to work independently and must have significant latitude to be self-directed and be highly motivated.

Academic Qualifications: A University degree is required in economics, administration, international relations, finance, environmental studies, climate change, or public relations.

Experience: At least seven years working experience is required in climate and/or finance sector risk management and analysis. Experience in carrying out research, interviews and surveys and looking at environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations in financial management. Experience of writing, editing and the production of written communications. Creative and resourceful strategist with a track record of proactivity.

Language: English is the working language of UNEP FI and is required. Knowledge of Arabic is an asset.

No Fee

THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.

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