Job Opening

Posting Title: Mid Term Review Evaluation Expert – Pacific Invasive Species Project
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: NAIROBI
Posting Period: 09 April 2022 - 23 April 2022
Job Opening Number: 22-United Nations Environment Programme-178362-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

Mid-term review Report of the “Strengthening national and regional capacities to reduce the impact of Invasive Alien Species on globally significant biodiversity in the Pacific” Project guides the execution of the project in its remaining term.

Work Location

Home-based

Expected duration

This consultancy will run for 5 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 located in UNEP / Ecosystems Division / GEF Biodiversity and Land Degradation unit and reports to the GEF Task Manager. The consultant will work under the direct supervision of the Task Manager and the overall guidance of the Portfolio Manager of the GEF Biodiversity and Land Degradation Unit based in Nairobi.

In the Pacific region, 87% of recorded introduced species are plants, 10% animals and 3% other taxa. Terrestrial ecosystems are the most invaded followed by freshwater and marine. However, there is a lack of information about introduced and invasive species in marine ecosystems. Invasive plants have had a profound impact on forest structure and composition, causing reductions in native plant diversity, changes in soil fertility, altered nutrient cycling and increased erosion. At least 30 invasive plants are considered to have become serious threats to native habitats on Pacific islands. Invasive animals such as pigs, cattle and goats degrade forests by eating or damaging tree seedlings; invasive mammals such as rats, cats, mongooses and dogs have greatly reduced the number of native bird species; invasive birds can spread invasive plants in their droppings and outcompete native bird species; invasive ants have significantly reduced populations of crabs, snails and aquatic and semi-aquatic invertebrates; and invasive land snails have decimated native snail species. In the marine environment, Invasive Alien Species (IAS) have been known to impact native species through predation and competition for food and habitat and to impact ecosystem functioning through altering natural cycles and habitats. The threats to biodiversity from marine IAS, both deliberate and accidental introductions (e.g. in contaminated ballast water or as encrusting organisms on ships), are an increasingly serious, but very poorly understood, threat throughout the region. The four countries included in this project (Tonga, Niue, Republic of Marshall Islands and Tuvalu) are all parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Other SIDSs in the Pacific region who have ratified the CBD (all) will also benefit. As such these small island states recognize that there is an urgent need to address the impact of IAS and this is consistent with Article 8(h) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which states that, “Each contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate, prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species”. Since the early 1990’s on becoming parties to the CBD these small island states have undertaken various initiatives to satisfy their commitment under the CBD in general and article 8(h) in particular. However, the vulnerabilities to IAS due to their relatively large border to land mass; difficult topography; large numbers of tourist arrivals; relatively high volume of trade; insufficient technical capacity and poor coordination among stakeholders made it imperative that these SIDS collaborate to tackle the issue of IAS in a manner that will build capacity, create greater awareness while eradicating, controlling and managing IAS that are affecting native biodiversity currently and lead to sustainable actions for preventing further negative impacts from IAS. In the project countries, the management of IAS is not yet adequately addressed in terms of policy/legislation, professional capacity and active management. Thus, the impacts that IAS currently present and threats of future IAS introductions/incursions remain very high and is increasing as a result of poor biosecurity (national borders and internal) including pressure from globalization and habitat disturbance such as for agriculture. In its analysis of the threats to biodiversity in the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot Ecosystem Profile, IAS and habitat loss (in that order) were identified as the two most serious threats. In addition to being implicated in the extinction of many native plants and animals (e.g. land mammals, birds, amphibians, snails, plants), IAS have also degraded native ecosystems and ecological communities, and caused a reduction in key ecosystem functions such as water provision (by obstructing waterways) and fisheries production (by degrading habitat, predating on native species, etc.). IAS also impact agricultural production, tourism, trade and transportation, and other productive sectors. Because most island countries are highly dependent on natural resources production, introduced pests and weeds can seriously impact the agricultural and forestry sectors, and create regional or international trade barriers, leading to poverty and reduced priority given to conservation in national policies. IAS have also been known to endanger human health and decrease labour productivity (through allergies and poisonings and the transmission of pathogens). The National Invasive Species Strategy and Action Plans (NISSAP’s) for Niue, Tonga and Republic of Marshall Islands detail the priority actions necessary to mitigate the impacts of IAS (Tuvalu’s NISSAP is in draft form). The NISSAP’s will guide most of the work Programme for this project and hence operationalize them.

The GEE-Biodiversity and Land Degradation unit is seeking to recruit a consultant to conduct the Mid Term Review of the project to assess the achievements of the project to date, the challenges faced and engage with project counterparts to overcome the issues.

Specifically, the consultant will be required to complete the following tasks:



Inception phase:
- preliminary desk review and introductory interviews with project staff;
- prepare the review framework in line with UNEP's evaluation guidelines;
- identify stakeholders;
- develop the interview/questions matrix;
- plan the review schedule;
- prepare the Inception Report;

Data collection and analysis phase of the review, including:
- conduct further desk review and in-depth interviews with project implementing and executing agencies, project partners and project stakeholders;
- regularly report back to the Task Manager on progress and inform of any possible problems or issues encountered and;

Reporting phase, including:
- draft the Review Report, ensuring that the review report is complete, coherent and consistent with the Task Manager guidelines both in substance and style;
- liaise with the Task Manager on comments received and finalize the Review Report, ensuring that comments are taken into account until approved by the Task Manager
- prepare a Response to Comments annex for the main report, listing those comments not accepted indicating the reason for the rejection; and

Managing relations, including:
- maintain a positive relationship with stakeholders, ensuring that the review process is as participatory as possible but at the same time maintains its independence;
- communicate in a timely manner with the Task Manager on any issues requiring its attention and intervention.

The consultant will prepare the following documents, in consultation and collaboration with the Project team:
1. Inception Report: containing an assessment of project, project stakeholder analysis, review framework and a tentative review schedule.
2. Preliminary Findings Note: typically, in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, the sharing of preliminary findings is intended to support the participation of the project team, act as a means to ensure all information sources have been accessed and provide an opportunity to verify emerging findings.
3. Draft and Final Review Report: containing an executive summary that can act as a stand-alone document; detailed analysis of the review findings organized by review criteria and supported with evidence; lessons learned and recommendations and an annotated ratings table.

The consultancy will be home-based.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: - An advanced university degree in environmental sciences, marine science, international development or other relevant political or social sciences area is required.
- A first-level university degree in combination with two (2) years' experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree

Experience: - A minimum of 10 years of technical / evaluation experience, including of evaluating large, global programmes, including overseeing project teams, managing complex budgets, interacting with oversight personnel or committees, and demonstrating adaptive management when necessary is required.
- Hands-on experience in managing national and international natural resources projects, in particular, concerning biodiversity, natural resources management, protected area management, environmental information
management, capacity building etc. is highly desirable.
- Knowledge of the UN system, specifically of the work of UNEP is desirable.
- Experience in the project target area Palau or Pacific countries is an asset.

Language: - English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in oral and written English with strong writing and editing skills is required.

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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