Job Opening

Posting Title: Support MED POL update Marine Litter Regional Plan
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: ATHENS
Posting Period: 01 September 2020 - 15 September 2020
Job Opening Number: 20-United Nations Environment Programme-140617-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

The ultimate result of this assignment is to enable MED POL and the Working Group composed of representatives of the Contracting Parties to deliver the updated Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean in a timely manner and fully consistent with the main elements adopted by COP21 Decision IG 24/10.

Work Location

home-based

Expected duration

The contract will be for the period of two (2) months (44 days) spread over ten (10) months.

Duties and Responsibilities

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the United Nations system's designated entity for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional levels. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action. United Nation’s Environment Ecosystems Division works with international and national partners, providing technical assistance and advisory services for the implementation of environmental policy, and strengthening the environmental management capacity of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. This consultancy assignment is for the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) - Programme for the Assessment and Control of Marine Pollution in the Mediterranean (MED POL), Athens, Greece.

The United Nations Environment Programme /Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) was the first Regional Sea Programme to approve a legally-binding Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean (Decision IG.21/7, Istanbul, Turkey) in December 2013, hereunder referred to as the Regional Plan, providing for a set of programmes of measures and implementation timetables to prevent and reduce the adverse effects of marine litter on the marine and coastal environment as well as regular assessment, monitoring and promotion of collaboration and involvement of regional actors.

The Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean in the framework of the implementation of Article 15 of the LBS Protocol was adopted by the18th Meeting of the Contracting Parties (Decision IG.21/7) in 2013. The Regional Plan came into force in 2014, providing for a series of legally binding measures and obligations regarding the waste management hierarchy; closure of illegal dumping/dumpsites; shift to sustainable consumption and production patterns; removal of existing Marine Litter using environmental sound practices such as fishing for litter, clean up campaigns, port reception facilities, and monitoring, assessment and reporting on implementation of measures; as well as enforcement of national legislation. The majority of the measures included in the Regional Plan are intended for implementation by the Contracting Parties by 2020, with few measures with target dates of 2025.

The Regional Plan was subject of a midterm review in 2019. Evaluation findings recommended promoting BATs ad BEPs to reduce storm and sewage water- related waste from reaching the marine environment; adopting binding quantitative targets to reduce marine litter; promoting new technologies for removal of marine litter, addressing the issue of microplastics, and strengthening sanctions in respective national regulations, particularly in MPAs.

The 21st Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention COP21 (Napoli, Italy, 2-5 December 2019) adopted Decision IG.24/10 which endorsed the main elements and timeline for development/update of six new Regional Plans related to urban wastewater treatment, sewage sludge, agriculture, aquaculture, storm water and marine litter management with the view to submitting to COP22 in 2021 three Regional Plans, namely (1) urban wastewater treatment; (2) sewage sludge management; and (3) marine litter management. Decision IG.24/10 also mandated the Secretariat to the Barcelona Convention to establish a Working Group with representatives designated by the Contracting Parties for reviewing the proposed upgrades of the Regional Plan for Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean.

The Programme of Work (PoW) and Budget for the biennium 2020-2021, which was adopted in Decision IG.24/14, mandated MED POL in Activity 2.2.2.3 to upgrade the Regional Plan.

Upgrading the Regional Plan for Marine Litter is foreseen in view of the need to further streamline national and regional priorities as outlined in the National Action Plans (NAPs) into the existing Regional Plan, and to reflect recent developments on the regional and global scenes for marine litter management in terms of new measures addressing Sustainable Consumption and Production by virtue of which current unsustainable patterns of consumption and production must be transformed to sustainable ones that decouple human development from environmental degradation, with particular attention to circular economy models. The upgraded Regional Plan will be presented to the Meeting of the Working Group composed of countries’ designated experts in marine litter and plastic waste management, planned to convene in March 2021 with the aim of reviewing the proposed draft text of the Regional Plan and providing inputs for the consideration of the MED POL Focal Points Meeting in May 2021.

In line with the endorsed “Main Elements” elaborated for each of the Regional Plans included in the annex to Decision IG.24/10, there is a need to recruit a consultant to provide technical inputs for the upgrading of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean including during its negotiation by the Working Group as established by the Contracting Parties and the MED POL Focal Points Meetings.

The Consultant will work under the direct supervision of the UNEP/MAP MED POL Programme Management Officer, under the guidance of the UNEP/MAP Deputy Coordinator and overall guidance UNEP/MAP Coordinator.

In line with the above, the consultant is expected to perform the following tasks:
1. Prepare a detailed work plan and timetable for performance of the following tasks accompanied with a timetable for completion.
2. Prepare annotated table of contents with proposed amendments/upgrades to be introduced into the existing Regional Plan taking into consideration relevant documents and guidelines presented in the Regional Meetings for marine litter management in Izmir (2018); Seville (2019); as well as conclusions and recommendations of the meetings of experts stipulated in the Annex to Decision IG.24/10 (reproduced in the annex to this ToR); the 2019 evaluation of the Regional Plan, conclusions of PWP group meetings; recommendations of the Regional Cooperation Platform on Marine Litter in the Mediterranean, etc. Specific aspects to be addressed in the annotated table of contents include:
a) Legal and institutional aspects (Article 8);
b) Prevention of marine litter (Article 9);
c) Identification of accumulation areas and removal of existing marine litter and its environmentally sound disposal (Article 10);
d) Mediterranean Marine Litter Monitoring Programme (Article 12);
e) Research topics and scientific cooperation (Article 13);
f) Enhancement of public awareness and education (Article 16); and
g) Major groups and stakeholder participation (Article 17).
3. Further to undertaking consultations with UNEP/MAP-MED POL and agreeing on the details of the proposed amendments included in the annotated table of contents, prepare first draft of the upgraded Articles under Part II, Part III and Part IV of the existing Regional Plan by addressing, but not limited to, the following aspects:
Part II – Measures and operational targets
a) Legal and institutional aspects (Article 8):
i. Regulatory and institutional measures that cover most commonly found single-use plastic items in the marine and coastal environment (focus other than SUPB).
ii. Regulatory and institutional measures that can be applied in the framework of the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities to reduce marine litter inputs.
iii. Regulatory and institutional measures that can be applied in the framework of the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean, and further to work undertaken in the Project ACT4LITTER/PLASTIC BUSTERS MPAs.
iv. Regulatory and institutional measures that address marine plastic litter from ships taking into consideration existing regulatory measures arising from relevant international maritime conventions (MARPOL, London Convention, etc.) as well as IMO Action Plan to address marine plastic litter from ships (resolution MEPC.310(73)), and other relevant plans or initiatives (e.g. forthcoming IMO Strategy to address marine plastic litter from ships).
v. Regulatory measures that cover primary and secondary sources of microplastics.
vi. Regulatory measures that provide incentives and circular economy approaches towards a formal and comprehensive collection and recycling system in lieu of existing informal recycling sectors.
vii. The creation of a (safe) market for recycled plastics in order to incentivize the collection of plastic waste and therefore reduce marine litter generation.
viii. Incentives for the fishing sector to implement best management practices to prevent loss of equipment from fishing and aquaculture, and to promote reporting of lost fishing gear as well as the implementation of measures in line with the Fishing for Litter Guidelines.
ix. Application of environmental taxes/levies (e.g. plastic tax on virgin plastic, “safe” market for recycled plastics, extended producer responsibility schemes, refund schemes, etc.)
x. Strengthening sanctions in case of non-compliance with the respective national regulations for the use of non-hazardous recycled plastics.
b) Prevention of marine litter (Article 9):
i. Phasing out most abundant single-use plastic items most found in the coastal and marine environment in line with the Single Use Plastics Guideline.
ii. Reducing plastic packaging.
iii. Agreeing and setting measurable targets for plastic waste collection.
iv. Agreeing and setting measurable targets for the use of non-hazardous recycled plastic.
v. Agreeing and setting measurable targets for plastic recycling including for other waste items to avoid ending-up as marine litter in the marine and coastal environment.
vi. Measures for reducing microplastics tackling primary and secondary sources by industry (homecare, food packaging, industrial pellets and micro litter particles related to personal care products, fibers from clothing, etc.) and introducing environmentally friendly alternative uses by industries.
vii. Measures for reducing marine plastic litter generated from, and retrieved by, fishing vessels, including incentives to retrieve derelict fishing gear and deliver it to port reception facilities, reducing shipping's contribution to marine plastic litter, and improving the effectiveness of port reception and facilities and treatment in reducing marine plastic litter.
c) Identification of accumulation areas and removal of existing marine litter and its environmentally sound disposal (Article 10):
i. Methodologies for the identification of marine litter accumulation zones and hotspot areas.
ii. New technologies for the removal of marine litter from the marine and coastal environment in an environmentally sound way.
Part III – Assessment
d) Mediterranean Marine Litter Monitoring Programme (Article 12):
i. Methodologies for monitoring riverine inputs of marine litter.
ii. Methodologies for monitoring marine litter in the framework of the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean.
iii. Methodologies and equipment for monitoring microplastics from primary and secondary sources in the marine environment.
iv. Methodologies for monitoring discharge or accidental loss of fishing gear.
v. Methodologies for monitoring loss of containers from ships.
Part IV – Support to Implementation
e) Research topics and scientific cooperation (Article 13):
i. Identification of the different sources of primary and secondary macro and microplastics (industrial pellets, fishing gear - discharged or accidentally lost), lost containers), and micro litter particles related to personal care products, fibres from clothing, etc.)
ii. Addressing and accelerating safer material innovation and less toxic plastic additives, as well as innovative business practices to prevent plastic waste (return, refill, reuse…) by promoting industry collaboration and increasing access to information on chemical composition of plastic articles.
iii. Investigating and promoting use of Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practice (BEP) by local authorities to develop sustainable and cost-effective solutions to reduce and prevent sewage and storm water related waste and entering the marine environment, including micro particles.
f) Enhancement of public awareness and education (Article 16):
i. Streamlining relevant actions through the Mediterranean Marine Litter Node.
ii. Strengthening measures related to Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) programmes to raise awareness and enhance education on behaviour change and sustainable lifestyles.
iii. Strengthening measures as provided for by the STCW Convention to ensure familiarisation of all seafarers with the minimum requirements concerning marine plastic litter from ships taking into consideration related work of IMO aiming at raising public awareness, education and seafarer training to address marine plastic litter generated from ships.
iv. Strengthening measures to ensure that all fishing vessel personnel, before being assigned any shipboard duties, receive basic training on marine environment awareness oriented on marine plastic litter including abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear.
g) Major groups and stakeholder participation (Article 17):
i. Expanding members’ participation and impact of the Regional Cooperation Platform on Marine Litter in the Mediterranean.
ii. Encouraging and promoting the replacement/reuse of plastics in accordance with national waste management systems (i.e. refill, return, taking into consideration availability of compositing facilities in the case of substituting with biodegradable plastics).
iii. Actively participating in ongoing initiatives by international conventions and fora such as Plastic Waste Partnership (PWP) established under the Basel Convention.
iv. Promoting voluntary agreements with industry at national and regional levels in line with international practices and standards and exploring means by which these can be transformed into official national policies/legislations.
4. Prepare first draft of the upgraded Regional Plan and related annexes for consideration of the first Working Group Meeting. Annexes may address issues related to contents of chemicals in plastics, alleviating impacts of marine litter on biodiversity, etc.
5. Provide technical inputs to MED POL during the First Meeting of the Working Group for review of the upgraded Regional Plan in terms of technical inputs with the aim of reaching conclusions with the Contracting Parties in order to finalize the upgraded Articles of the Regional Plan and the inputs to its annexes.
6. Assess in a general manner the cost of investment required for implementing the measures stipulated in the Regional Plan against an overall cost-benefit analysis to be undertaken by the Secretariat with a focus on technical justification for the feasibility of the measures proposed and their investment costs.
7. Reflect the technical comments and feedback received during the First Meeting of the Working Group for submission to the MED POL Focal Points Meeting in May 2021.
8. Provide technical inputs during the Second Working Group Meeting and MED POL Focal Points Meeting and reflect its outcome to the final version of the upgraded Regional Plan.
9. Prepare the final report of deliverables for the consultancy with details on methodology for performance of tasks and activities to achieve the deliverables.

Qualifications/special skills

Competency: • Knowledge of policies and practices in relation to marine litter and/or plastic waste management in the Mediterranean region is required;
• Knowledge of the UNEP/MAP–MED POL and of the relevant programmes of measures/regional plans with related working experience is an asset;
Academic Qualifications: Advanced university degree in public policy, environmental/marine science or related field is required;
Experience: A minimum of 7 years of relevant professional experience in programmes/ projects dealing with marine litter and/or plastic waste management and working with public administrations in the Mediterranean region is required;
Language: • Excellent writing skills in English are required; and
• Knowledge of French 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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