Job Opening

Posting Title: Biodiversity Specialist (1 post)
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 02 February 2021 - 24 February 2021
Job Opening Number: 21-United Nations Environment Programme-149312-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

The service will result in a report to the Secretariat, including a 6-page executive summary, that provides a comprehensive overview of available information and expert knowledge on specific aspects asked for in CITES Decision 18.205. This will allow the Plants Committee to highlight key gaps in knowledge and make recommendations to inform further efforts to address the sustainable use and conservation of Boswellia spp., including whether any of the species meet the criteria for listing under CITES.

Work Location


Expected duration

4 months - with an estimated starting date of 20 March 2021

Duties and Responsibilities

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between States. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival ( CITES works by subjecting international trade in specimens of species covered by the Convention to certain controls. All import, export, re-export and introduction from the sea of the covered species has to be authorized through a licensing system.
At its 18th meeting (CoP18; Geneva, 2019), the Conference of the Parties adopted Decisions 18.205 to 18.208 on Boswellia trees (Boswellia spp.). Decisions 18.205 and 18.206 are directed to the Secretariat, as follows:

18.205 Directed to the Secretariat
The Secretariat shall issue a Notification to the Parties and, as appropriate, liaise with relevant stakeholders of Boswellia trade, requesting the following information:
a) biological data on Boswellia species, including population size, distribution, status and population trends, identification information, and its role in the ecosystem in which it occurs;
b) available information about harvest and exploitation levels, trade names, stakeholders close to the harvest of the species and supply chain characteristics for domestic consumption and international trade;
c) information on threats to these species, especially as it pertains to the underlying causes of poor regeneration capability and the impact of harvest on these species;
d) information on any initiatives to artificially propagate these species or produce plantations of them;
e) existing regulations and ownership structures pertaining to the species, and their habitat, drivers of habitat trends and management measures in place or under development, including sustainable harvest practices; and
f) suggestions for meetings or other venues that might provide opportunities to collaborate or share information regarding harvest and management of these species.
18.206 Directed to the Secretariat
The Secretariat shall compile and submit for consideration of the Plants Committee information received as per Decision 18.205.
This consultancy complements the Secretariat’s progress in the implementation of Decisions 18.205 and 18.206. It aims to clarify specific aspects that were not yet covered in previous work undertaken by the CITES Secretariat, as reflected in document PC25 Doc. 25, and compile and submit relevant information. The outputs of this consultancy will inform the Plants Committee in its implementation of Decision 18.207, and contribute to mandates in several CITES Resolutions and Decisions, including but not limited to: Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17) on Criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II; and Resolution Conf. 11.19 (Rev. CoP16) on Identification manual.

The consultant will:

a. Analyze relevant information and literature, and design and facilitate an interactive process with experts from academic, policy, management and trade sectors, including stakeholders and experts from north-east African range States and territories, to elicit and discuss knowledge on:

i) the scope, practicality, availability and reliability of species-specific identification tools and technologies for Boswellia parts and derivatives in trade (in particular resins and incense), including derivatives from less common Boswellia species or look-alike genera such as Commiphora spp., and derivatives that are mixed from several taxa or deliberately adulterated;
ii) assessments of the costs and resource requirements for applying and deploying the identification tools and technologies identified as per i);
iii) supply chains of Boswellia species throughout its range in north-east Africa (in particular B. frereana, B. neglecta, B. papyphera, B. sacra), and along international trade routes;
iv) national species management practices in key range States and territories, including but not limited to Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, and assessments of the capacity to implement international trade regulations such as those required under CITES;

b. In the light of the findings and information collated under a), assess the scientific, technical and practical implications of potential listings of Boswellia species in the CITES Appendices;

c. Produce a progress report in time for a meeting of the CITES Plants Committee potentially taking place in the second quarter of 2021;

d. Compile all information collected in a report to the Secretariat for dissemination to the CITES Plants Committee, including a 6-page executive summary, addressing each of the items elaborated under a) and b).

The CITES Secretariat will work closely with the consultant in compiling an initial list of experts and stakeholders, and may provide further directions as required, pending the information generated in the course of the consultancy.

Qualifications/special skills

a) Required years of work experience: Eight

b) Required field of work and where applicable, area of specialty:
- Good knowledge of CITES provisions and implementation re. international trade in plant species and their products and derivatives.
- Good understanding of the international trade in medicinal and aromatic plants, with previous knowledge of trade in specimens of Boswellia spp. being an advantage.

c) Required education qualifications:
Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in biology, natural resource management, natural resource economics or a related field is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two (2) additional years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

d) Required knowledge of languages:
Excellent writing and linguistic skills in English, and highest standards of accuracy; knowledge of Arabic or French being an advantage.

e) Competencies:
- Ability to work against tight deadlines; awareness of and respect for political sensitivities and cultural differences.
- Ability to convene and organize online expert workshops; good networking skills.
- Ability to compile, structure and condense information into professional, technically accurate, clearly written and concise policy-relevant outputs.

No Fee


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