Job Opening

Posting Title: Consultant – Agriculture Finance Specialist
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 18 May 2021 - 28 May 2021
Job Opening Number: 21-United Nations Environment Programme-155158-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

The Agriculture Finance Specialist will be the IFACC focal point in Paraguay and her/his primary role will be to lead our collaboration with companies, lenders and investors in the creation/adaptation of finance mechanisms that support farmers in their transition to DCF production. This work will include synthesizing the case for action for lenders and investors (e.g. adapting existing material to the Paraguayan context), raising visibility and commitments to DCF finance, and catalyzing the creation of new mechanisms and disbursements of capital.

The consultancy requires direct interactions (possibly in-person) with business, financial and Government players in Paraguay. The work will be primarily focused in Paraguay, but with strong interaction and connections to our IFACC finance colleagues in Brazil, Argentina, the US and Europe. The Specialist will directly report to the UNEP IFACC project manager, closely align his/her work with the directions and indications provided by the IFACC Partnership Manager based in Sao Paulo, and collaborate with the UNEP project team, and other colleagues within TNC, the Tropical Forest Alliance, WWF/FVS and other partner organizations to execute the initiative.

Work Location


Expected duration

The consultancy will be home-based and the duration of this consultancy is 12 months from June 2021 to May 2022.

Duties and Responsibilities

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda and promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system. 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. UNEP’s Ecosystems Division works with international and national partners, providing technical assistance and capacity development for the implementation of environmental policy, and strengthening the environmental management capacity of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

To pioneer the transformation towards sustainable land use at scale, in 2018 UNEP launched the Land Use Finance Programme, led by the Climate Finance Unit. The programme aims to proactively unlock public and especially private capital for deforestation-free commodity production, restoration of degraded land and improvement of smallholder farmer livelihoods. This is being achieved through:
- the development of several finance facilities (e.g. the AGRI3 Fund, the &Green Fund and the Restoration Seed Capital Facility) that blend public and private capital, in order to provide “proof of concept” of how bended finance can unlock the capital needed for long-term investments in these sectors;
- the creation of initiatives to mobilize and support financial institutions to make bold commitments and set ambitious financing targets for a transition towards sustainable food and forestry systems (in collaboration with UNEP Finance Initiative, which works with more than 300 banks, insurers and investors as well as a range of partners and organizations, to develop and promote linkages between the environment, sustainability and financial performance);
- working with member states directly to create enabling environments for sustainable land use, including providing analyses and options for reform of fiscal and trade policies, and for investing in nature-based solutions
- closely collaborating with international business associations or organizations to mobilize the agro-forestry business community towards deforestation-free and sustainable commodity production, with positive impacts both on the environment and on local producers and small farmers.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in interest in deforestation- and conversion-free (DCF) finance mechanisms from grain traders, banks, input companies, slaughterhouses, concessional finance groups (including development finance institutions), producers, governments and civil society. Several pilot instruments have been launched and others are being designed for the coming year. What this diverse set of stakeholders is aligned around is the need to drive more capital to business models that grow production and farmer incomes while avoiding further habitat loss and their associated carbon emissions and biodiversity losses.

In April 2021 TNC, the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) launched a new partnership to take this work to the next level of scale and impact. The initiative, called Innovative Finance for the Amazon, Cerrado and Chaco (IFACC) aims to harness the momentum from companies, banks, investors, initial lending and investment models, and key 2021 climate, nature and food systems events to create a breakthrough in the commitment and implementation of DCF mechanisms by 2023, and chart a course to more rapid scaling over the coming decade. Key components of IFACC include 1) synthesizing the case for action to expand DCF finance, including an overall narrative, science case, business case, environmental frameworks (i.e. requirements, performance metrics and monitoring approach), and successful transaction examples, drawing from considerable work to date by project partners and others; 2) raising the visibility and commitments for DCF financing among a target group of companies, banks and investors that represent a majority of the lending and investment to farmers in these biomes, both through global events and bi-lateral engagement; and 3) work with companies, banks and investors to catalyze greater transaction volume.

TNC, TFA and UNEP are all leading institutions in this space with highly complementary capabilities, which creates a unique opportunity to drive success and achieve our goal of $3 billion of new commitments and $200 million of disbursements for DCF finance mechanisms in the Amazon, Cerrado and Chaco by 2023. Expanding innovative finance for DCF soy and agriculture production in Paraguay is a central component of IFACC. To this end, the support of a local focal point for the project is needed.

Tasks and Responsibilities:

Under the supervision of the Head of the Climate Finance Unit and the IFACC project manager, the consultant will:

• Research, compile, synthesize and package information into compelling narratives for target audiences, building on and adapting existing material provided by UNEP and partners.
• Engage with target banks, companies, development banks and investors to assess their interest in financing sustainable (DCF) soy and cattle
• Engage actively with interested finance institutions, corporates and the government to seek ambitious, time-bound commitments related to financing sustainable (DCF) soy and cattle, including clear targets and a roadmap for implementation of DCF finance mechanisms and disbursements
• Provide support to maintain and strengthen relationships with target public institutions, including central banks, state-owned banks and agriculture ministries to support the adoption of the case for action for DCF finance.
• Work with other NGOs and initiatives in this area to share information and coordinate efforts
• Work as a liaison between IFACC and other UNEP projects in Paraguay
• Track the impact of the initiative based on key performance indicators
• Extract lessons learned (e.g. on structuring successful deals, innovation on product structures, and partnerships that address key barriers to scaling) from companies, banks and investors in Paraguay, contributing to improving overall understanding on the best practices in sustainable land use financing.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: The consultant should have a Master’s degree in business, finance and sustainability issues, such as in banking, private equity, asset management, agribusiness corporations, development institutions or relevant experience gained with a leading conservation organization or government entity.
Experience: Eligible candidate will also have at least seven (7) years working experience in complex, multidisciplinary projects, financial transactions and/or strategic initiatives in a matrix environment, working with multiple colleagues, clients, team members or other stakeholders
• Ability to incorporate science components, do research and synthetize compelling arguments
• Ability to communicate information and key messages clearly between the finance and environmental sectors
• Strong team player who can build relationships and work collaboratively across the organization and with partners.
• When travel is once again safe following covid, the ability to travel within Paraguay and to Argentina and Brazil, to meet with partners and stakeholders, and potentially to Europe and the United States
Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this consulting position, excellent written and verbal communications in Spanish and good command of English are required.

No Fee


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