Job Opening

Posting Title: Biodiversity Specialist (1 Post)
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 10 November 2021 - 23 November 2021
Job Opening Number: 21-United Nations Environment Programme-168194-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 written report to the Secretariat, including an executive summary, reflecting the implementation of activities in paragraphs a) to c) above. In addition, a compilation of interview transcripts will be produced. This will assist the Secretariat in its implementation of Decision 18.210 paragraph e) and formulation of recommendations for consideration of the 74th meeting of the Standing Committee (SC74, early 2022); and assist Parties in their implementation of Decision 18.211 paragraph l).

Work Location


Expected duration

The work is expected to be completed by 31 December 2021. Starting date 10 December 2021.
A draft of the report shall be provided to the Secretariat by 31 January 2022 at the latest.

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 ( The CITES Secretariat is administered by UN Environment Programme and is located at the Geneva Duty Station.

In fulfillment of Decision 17.222 paragraph a), the CITES Secretariat prepared a global study (including regional sub-studies) on the legal and illegal international trade in marine turtles. The study entitled Status, scope and trends of the legal and illegal international trade in marine turtles, its conservation impacts, management options and mitigation priorities (CoP18 Inf. 18) investigated the trade in eight countries (Madagascar, Mozambique, Colombia, Nicaragua, Panama, Indonesia, Malaysia and Viet Nam) that had emerged as potentially significant locations involved in illegal trade in marine turtles, following a review of recent literature and consultations with experts [including the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission Marine Turtle Specialist Group (IUCN/SSC MTSG)].

The seven extant species of marine turtles - loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), and the flatback turtle (Natator depressus) - are included in CITES Appendix I and international trade for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited for these species. The study found that in all eight countries, national laws and regulations offered full or partial protection of live animals and their eggs, but marine turtles were being taken as both targeted and non-targeted catch. The study revealed that levels of bycatch is of concern in several countries because accidentally caught turtles are often retained for consumption and/or trade, but more information is necessary to understand the relationship between bycatch in marine turtle and trade.

Considering the importance of addressing marine turtle bycatch and illegal take in the context of CITES implementation, CoP18 adopted Decision 18.210 paragraph e) that directs the Secretariat, subject to external funding,

convey to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) the findings of the study presented in information document CoP18 Inf. 18 to inform efforts, including by Regional Fisheries Bodies, addressing marine turtle bycatch and illegal take, and promote collaboration, as appropriate.

And in parallel, Decision 18.211 paragraph l) directed to the Parties to:

coordinate efforts at the regional level, involving Parties and bodies with relevant mandates, to identify and address trade, use and other threats, such as fisheries’ interactions with marine turtles (particularly bycatch), with a view to supporting multilateral environmental agreements.

Understanding the level of marine turtle bycatch and its relationship with trade will provide valuable information to implement the above Decisions and improve and inform existing and future conservation measures for the protection of marine turtles.

This consultancy has as objectives to:
a) complement and build upon the Secretariat’s global study on the legal and illegal international trade in marine turtles to assess the scale and importance of non-targeted catch of marine turtles in trade;
b) contribute to the implementation of Decision 18.210 paragraph e) and Decision 18.211, paragraph l); and
c) identify opportunities for practical and effective collaboration between CITES, FAO and Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) to address marine turtle bycatch and trade.

This assignment is part of the CITES Secretariat’s work under the Science Unit.

Under the overall supervision of Chief of the Science Unit, the consultant will:

a) identify and analyze relevant information, data and scientific literature, and conduct targeted interviews with experts from academic, policy, management and trade sectors, including experts from FAO and RFBs, to:
i. summarize existing regulatory and monitoring mechanisms in place for marine turtle bycatch;
ii. identify the level of marine turtle bycatch across species, regions, and types of fisheries;
iii. evaluate the relationship between marine turtle bycatch and trade and determine if bycatch is a likely source of specimens in trade;
b) taking into consideration the findings and information identified under paragraph a), assess the scale and importance of marine turtle bycatch relating to trade;
c) identify opportunities for practical and effective collaboration between CITES, FAO and RFBs to address marine turtle bycatch and trade; and
d) produce a final report with an executive summary for policy makers, which details the results of paragraphs a) to c).

Qualifications/special skills

a) Required years of work experience: Minimum 8 years relevant work experience.

b) Required field of work and where applicable, area of specialty:

• Knowledge of CITES provisions and implementation for marine species.
• Excellent knowledge and networks on international trade in marine species, with previous knowledge of trade in specimens of marine turtles being an advantage.
• Experience at production of technical reports within agreed timeframes.
• Prior experience with the UN system, in particular working with governments and/or international organization, is required. Experience in having worked on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) is desirable.

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.
• Excellent writing and linguistic skills in English, and highest standards of accuracy

d) Required knowledge of languages: English, French and Spanish are the working languages of the CITES Secretariat. For the consultancy advertised, fluency in spoken and written English is required. Working knowledge of one of the two other working languages is desirable.

e) Competencies: To successfully undertake this consultancy, the incumbent will demonstrate the competencies relating to:
• ability to collect data through various methodologies including literature search and technical interviews.
• ability to liaise with external stakeholders in Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
• ability to compile, structure and condense information collected from various sources into professional, technically accurate, clearly written, and concise policy-relevant outputs.
• ability to work against tight deadlines; awareness of and respect for political sensitivities and cultural differences.

Additional Information

The consultant will be remunerated at Level C of the UN consultancy guidelines.

No Fee


Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.
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