Job Opening

Posting Title: Consultant, Development of SustainAble Platform Module on NbS
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 27 July 2020 - 09 August 2020
Job Opening Number: 20-United Nations Environment Programme-139032-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

The activities related to this consultancy will support UNEP’s ongoing efforts to implement UNEA Resolution 4/5 on Sustainable Infrastructure and contribute to Output 2 of the UNEP Programme of Work (PoW) project 611.x “Supporting Inclusive Green Economy Approaches to Sustainable Development”.

Work Location


Expected duration

The duration of the contract will be for 2 months, from 15 August 2020 to 15 October 2020

Duties and Responsibilities


Since 2008, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has played a catalytic role in developing and applying key global knowledge products to support countries in their transition to a green and socially inclusive economy. Infrastructure is inextricably linked to the threefold aspects of green and socially inclusive economy transitions and is central to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The socio-economic Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved without trillions of dollars of infrastructure investment, and if this infrastructure development is unsustainable, it will undermine the achievement of the environmental SDGs. Incorporating environmental, social, and economic sustainability into infrastructure planning and development is therefore a critical component of the 2030 Agenda. This was recognized by Members States at the 4th UN Environment Programme Assembly (UNEA), where they passed a resolution on sustainable infrastructure which highlighted its importance to sustainable development and pointed to the need for more integrated approaches to the planning and development of sustainable infrastructure.

In 2018, UNEP established the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership (SIP) as a platform to promote and support integrated approaches to sustainable infrastructure planning and development. Integrated approaches recognize the centrality of infrastructure to the 2030 Agenda, and can help deliver optimal environmental, social, and economic outcomes of infrastructure development by considering the complex interlinkages between different infrastructure systems, sectors, phases, governance structures, and aspects of sustainability. In collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders, the SIP provides knowledge, facilitates international collaboration, and supports capacity-building at the country-level to foster systems-level approaches, which more fully exploit the complex interlinkages between infrastructure and the SDGs.

Under the chapeau of the SIP, UNEP is a contributing partner to the “SustainAble” online platform, which supports the development of infrastructure that is in alignment with achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The platform is targeted at both infrastructure and development practitioners and aims to provide common ground between these communities. The tool has multiple functions, including: (i) providing background on the SDGs; (ii) providing explanation as to the broad range of influences that infrastructure sectors have across targets of the SDGs; and (iii) providing the user the ability to assemble ‘action plans’ – which consist of multiple sectoral actions, across the infrastructure lifecycle, that support achievement of the different SDG targets that that sector can influence. Actions are accompanied by materials constituting good practice to support their achievement, and case studies highlights where actions have been successfully applied in practice. “SustainAble” organises action plans by thematic modules that transcend different SDG goals and sectors.


UNEP will develop a new thematic module research paper on Nature-based solutions (NBS) for infrastructure. NBS can provide a range of infrastructure-related services which include, amongst others: flood protection, drainage, slope stability, water treatment, and carbon sequestration. When implemented, NBS can also promote a range of other co-benefits to society, the environment and the economy, that can be mapped across varying targets of the SDGs. Supporting the use of NBS across different sectors can therefore help not only fulfil the direct infrastructure-related needs, but also provide valuable SDG co-benefits.

UNEP does not currently have this expertise in house and is looking for external assistance.

Specific tasks and responsibilities per outputs:

1) A research/analytical report mapping the influence of infrastructure-related NBS services on each target of the SDGs: The consultant will conduct research on the influences that the NBS services have on the different SDG targets, sector-level actions that practitioners are required to undertake to ensure that NBS related influences are realized in practice, and existing guidance materials and examples of good practice for such actions. The results of the research will be presented in a report that will be used to create content for the “Sustainable” online tool. The estimated length of the report will be 30-40 pages (excluding appendices) and it should contain at minimum the following elements:
• A defined scope and rationale for the NBS infrastructure-related services to be considered in the study.
• A mapping of infrastructure-related NBS service influences on the targets of the 17 SDGs.
• A list of sector-level actions that practitioners are required to undertake to ensure that NBS-related influences for each SDG are realised in practice.
• A list of supporting good-practice guidance materials for each action.
• A list of case studies for each action, highlighting success factors and lessons learned.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: University degree (Bachelors or equivalent) in geography, environmental science or equivalent; MSc highly desirable.
Experience: At least two years’ experience related to nature-based solutions, sustainable development, sustainable infrastructure, and the SDGs, including a good understanding of the complex location-specific socio-economic and environmental contexts for NBS implementation, and the science and challenges surrounding NBS. Experience in quantitative analysis, conducting literature reviews, interdisciplinary thinking, systems analysis, and developing high-quality knowledge products. Experience working at the SDG target level is essential.
Language: Excellent speaking and writing skills in English.

No Fee


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