Job Opening

Posting Title: Assessment of agricultural practices
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: ATHENS
Posting Period: 10 September 2020 - 24 September 2020
Job Opening Number: 20-United Nations Environment Programme-141047-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity

Result of Service

The ultimate result of this assignment is to provide MED POL and the Contracting Parties with a solid evidence on the state of play of current agricultural practices and discharged pollutants reaching the Mediterranean on the basis of which the Contracting Parties will negotiate the content and measures of the new “Regional Plan on the Prevention and Reduction of Pollutant Releases in the Mediterranean Sea from Agriculture” to be developed in 2022/2023 biennium.

Work Location

home-based

Expected duration

Expected duration of the contract is two months (44 days) spread over eight (8) months from the time of signing of the consulting agreement.

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.

During the MED POL Focal Points Meeting, held in Rome, Italy in May 2017, a review of a “list of potential new/updated measures” under Article 15 of the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (LBS Protocol) of the Barcelona Convention was undertaken. Accordingly, a priority clustering of new measures under six potential categories was approved. The six categories are (1) urban wastewater treatment; (2) sewage sludge, (3) agriculture nutrients, (4) aquaculture nutrients, (5) stormwater, and (6) marine litter management.

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 for development/ update of six new Regional Plans related to the six aforementioned categories. COP21 also approved the way forward proposing the time frame for the development, negotiation and adoption of the six Regional Plans. With regard to the Regional Plan on the Prevention and Reduction of Pollutant Releases in the Mediterranean Sea from Agriculture, the Meeting approved submission of the new Regional Plan to COP 23 (December 2023). In preparation for the development of this Regional Plan, 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 2.4.3.1(c) to undertake an “assessment of status and impacts of agriculture nutrients, contaminants, aquaculture, and state of play of urban storm water on the marine environment prepared using to the extent possible existing information.”

To this aim, there is a need to recruit a regional consultant to undertake an assessment of the state of play of agricultural practices in the Mediterranean; evaluate the current and possible level of implementation of potential measures of the future Regional Plan as outlined in the Main elements document adopted by COP21; and recommend, as appropriate, additional measures required to minimise pollution from agriculture and promote environmentally friendly agricultural practices in coastal areas.

The Consultant will work under the direct supervision of the MED POL Programme Officer (Pollution), under the guidance of the MED POL Programme Management Officer (head of unit). The consultant is expected to perform the following tasks:
1. Prepare a detailed work plan for performance of the following tasks accompanied with a timetable for completion.
2. Undertake a review of: (i) the “main elements of the Regional Plan on the Prevention and Reduction of Pollutant Releases in the Mediterranean Sea from Agriculture” included in the Annex to these terms of reference; and (ii) existing work undertaken by the Contracting Parties and relevant Regional Organizations. Further to this review, propose an outline with specific annotations for assessing the state of play of agricultural practices in the Mediterranean and their impacts on the marine environment. Outline for the assessment report to consider aspects related to, but not limited to, the following significant aspects:
a) Nutrients from intensive agriculture.
b) Commonly applied practices for fertilizers management in the Mediterranean.
c) Commonly applied practices for pesticides management in the Mediterranean.
d) Commonly applied practices for manure management in the Mediterranean.
e) The regulatory framework of the Mediterranean Countries with regard to the aspects of this assessment.
f) Existing BAT and BEP in the agriculture sector.
Provide a list of references on existing work undertaken by the Contracting Parties and relevant Regional Organizations for this purpose.
3. Further to a consultation process with UNEP/MAP-MED POL, and in line with the agreed annotated outline, undertake an assessment of the impacts of significant aspects of the agriculture sector on the Mediterranean marine environment with a focus on aspects related to, but not limited to, the following specific issues emanating from the aforementioned significant aspects in task (2):
a) With regards to nutrients from intensive agriculture, consider sources, pathways and impacts on the Mediterranean with a focus on aspects related to, but not limited to, the following aspects:
i. High crop production and use of large quantities of fertilizers.
ii. High-density animal husbandry resulting in the production of high amounts of solid and liquid manure by farm animals.
b) Concerning commonly applied practices for fertilizers management in the Mediterranean, focus on aspects related to, but not limited to, the following aspects:
i. Existing standards on the use of fertilizers.
ii. Regulatory measures regarding restrictions on the use of fertilizers; storage requirements; application of organic farming, including compliance monitoring and enforcement.
c) In relation to commonly applied practices for pesticides management in the Mediterranean, focus on aspects related to, but not limited to, the following aspects:
i. Application of integrated pest management strategies and techniques.
ii. Regulatory measures on use of pesticides including proper application methods and bans on use, compliance monitoring and enforcement.
iii. Existence of monitoring programmes on contaminants from pesticides in soil and water.
iv. Availability of training programmes for good management practices on use of pesticides by farmers.
d) Concerning commonly applied practices for manure management in the Mediterranean, focus on aspects related to, but not limited to, the following aspects:
i. Permitting conditions and other regulatory measures in place for manure management.
ii. Existing techniques for cattle breeding, digestion and manure reuse.
iii. Application of anaerobic digestion and bio-energy production.
iv. Application of aerobic digestion for liquids, and evaporation lagoons or usage for soil improvement.
e) Finally, regarding currently applied Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practices (BEP) in the agriculture sector in the Mediterranean, focus on sustainable farm management from the perspective of Water-Energy-Food-Environment Nexus, whereby for:
i. Water, consider:
• Water use/reuse in irrigation.
• Good irrigation practices in arid and semi-arid regions.
ii. Energy, consider:
• Anaerobic digestion of manure for bio-energy production.
iii. Food, consider:
• Crop planning and production.
• Animal husbandry.
iv. Environment, consider:
• Soil quality management.
• Nutrients management.
• Fertilizers management.
• Grass and grazing management.
• Manure management.
v. Protection of surface water/ground water from pollution.
vi. Diverting agricultural irrigation runoff from rivers and fresh water sources.
vii. Protected horticulture (greenhouses).
4. Based on the assessment findings of the significant aspects addressed in task (3), and in line with the endorsed proposed measures foreseen for the Regional Plan on the Prevention and Reduction of Pollutant Releases in the Mediterranean Sea from Agriculture, evaluate current level of implementation (or non-implementation) of the proposed measures by the Mediterranean Countries with a focus on those with significant adverse impacts on the Mediterranean marine environment.
5. Based on the assessment findings of the impacts of significant aspects addressed in task (3), recommend additional measures, as appropriate, supported by a list of technical specifications to be addressed in the Regional Plan complementing those identified in the evaluation findings in task (4), with the aim to further reduce inputs of pollutants and contaminants to the Mediterranean marine environment.
6. Provide technical support to MED POL in terms of presentations and reports for submission to the experts and MED POL Focal Points meetings planned in April and May 2021.
7. Prepare the assessment report reflecting comments received from the Meeting(s), accompanied by a final report of deliverables of the consultancy including on methodology for performance of tasks.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications:
Advanced university degree in agronomy, agricultural engineering, or related field is required
Experience:
• Relevant professional experience in the agriculture sector, with a focus on pollution issues related to nutrients and their impacts on the marine environment, is required
• Knowledge of agricultural irrigation systems; fertilizers management, pesticides management, manure management in the agriculture sector is required;
Language:
• Excellent writing skills in English are required;
• Knowledge of French is an asset.

Additional Information

• Knowledge of the UNEP/MAP and of the relevant programmes of measures/ regional plans with related working experience 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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