Job Opening

Posting Title: Seaweed Farming Expert
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: NAIROBI
Posting Period: 11 February 2022 - 21 March 2022
Job Opening Number: 22-United Nations Environment Programme-173563-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

Ultimate result of service
The objective of the consultancy is to carry out a technical in-depth situational analysis for the design and implementation of a sustainable scaling model for seaweed farming. This work will verify seaweed farming as a sustainable, scalable nature-based solution, and will ultimately serve as the theoretical foundation of a multistakeholder partnership and pre-feasibility study.

Work Location


Expected duration

Seven (7) Months

Duties and Responsibilities

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. 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. This consultancy post is in UNEP, Ecosystems Division at Marine and Freshwater Branch, under the direct supervision of the Associate Expert.

The overall objective of the UNEP's Ecosystems Division is to support countries in conserving, restoring and sustainably managing their terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, the biodiversity they contain and the products and services they provide for human well-being and prosperity. The Division's mandate is to address the environmental causes and effects from an ecosystems' approach, including consequences of disasters and conflicts. It helps countries develop policies and programmes to respond to ecosystems challenges, and reduce pollution from land-based activities, increase resilience to climate change and reflect linkages between poverty and environment in their development planning.

Funds allocated to project 316.1, Sustainable Management of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Services, hosted by the UNEP Marine and Freshwater Branch have been earmarked for the advancement of resilient and climate-smart aquaculture. Upon proposal from the UNEP subprogramme on Climate Change Unit, the Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Unit is taking the initiative to investigate whether the expansion of sustainable seaweed farming can deliver climate benefits (adaptation and mitigation) and whether seaweed, as a commodity, has a lower footprint than current materials and products for which it is a suitable substitute. Furthermore, it aims to investigate the full value chain from production, processing, commodity B2B to consumers and consumption
Seaweed has demonstrated potential as a carbon sink, a substitute product, and a viable source of food. The science suggests that there is significant potential for large-scale and well-managed seaweed industries, both near-shore and offshore, to expand and create market opportunities across a wide range of countries, delivering millions of tons of emissions reductions, diversifying, and improving the resilience of global food supply systems, enhancing ocean adaptation, and much more. It must be emphasized that actions on, and the advancement of this ambition, must align with UNEP’s sustainable blue economy principles, be based on rigorous scientific evidence, be thoroughly scrutinized, and have comprehensively considered the potential social and environmental risks and impacts that accompany seaweed farming.

Duties and Responsibilities
The consultant will be responsible for:
I. Rigorously interrogating whether the expansion of seaweed farming can deliver sustainable climate benefits (adaptation and mitigation) as a commodity that has a lower footprint than current materials and products based on the associated ecosystem services (i.e., less land-use change, fertilizer use, energy use, freshwater use and a shift towards plant-based and diversified diets);
I.1. The consultant will guide and lead the scientific element of the project development by applying their seaweed and marine ecosystems expertise and technical knowledge with the aim of validating this theory of change. The consultant must critically evaluate existing literature and research.
II. Engaging with UNEP internal partners, environmental organizations and across other potential stakeholders such as UNEP FI members, the FAO, the Safe Seaweed Coalition, and indigenous seaweed-farming communities to coordinate a comprehensive understanding of the risks and opportunities associated with seaweed farming for the proposed project. These bodies will be used to partner on the proposal and work on integrating environmentally sustainable and operationalizable systems into the full seaweed supply chain;
III. Delimiting and producing a sustainable scaling model based on a critical assessment of the associated risks and opportunities of seaweed farming at different scales of production to encourage environmental/sustainable investment programmes and initiatives into the seaweed industry;
III.1. Assess the conditions for a sustainable and scalable farming and production based on credible science. This model is intended to set the foundation for sustainable, responsible, and purposeful investment programmes and initiatives.
III.2. Assess and identify areas in the seaweed value chain that currently form bottlenecks for sustainable expansion of the sector.
III.3. Identify and build an initial set of partners to advance the development of an investment programme.
III.4. The consultant will ensure the recognition of the pivotal role that indigenous and coastal communities can play in ensuring that the enhanced production of seaweed does not exceed ecosystem capacities and would continue to support regional, local, social and environmental interests.
IV. Finally, the consultant will construct a pre-feasibility study compiling the findings from the above activities. These findings can later serve as the foundation for a potential funding proposal to investment programmes targeting climate and other sustainable funds is the Unit decides to pursue in such direction.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: Academic Qualifications: An advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in relevant field of seaweed markets, value chains, research and/or ecosystem management is required.

Experience: Experience: A minimum of ten (10) years work experience in analysis of seaweed and/or other marine ecosystems is required. Experience in writing/communicating research outputs and funding proposals is required. Strong experience in seaweed markets and its value chains.
Desirable: Knowledge/experience in food systems, markets, value chains, green solutions investments

Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in oral and written English is required, and knowledge of another United Nations language is an advantage.

Competency: Must demonstrate ambition as a systems-thinker and clearly demonstrate the following competencies:

1. Excellent research abilities and analytical skills,
2. Strong communication skills,
3. Computer literacy (especially in use of MS Office programs),
4. Strong teamwork, and ability to build relationships,
5. Passion for knowledge sharing and continuous improvement.

No Fee


Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.
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