Job Opening

Posting Title: Nature Finance Specialist
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 13 May 2022 - 22 May 2022
Job Opening Number: 22-United Nations Environment Programme-181456-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity

Result of Service

1. Successful development of the overall concept on jurisdictional financing that is endorsed and supported by all key stakeholders
a. Objectives and work plan outlined for 2022 met as agreed with partners and donors
b. Target jurisdictions and relevant stakeholders collaboratively engaged
c. Donors engaged both for the operationalization of the mechanisms and for investing in junior tranche
d. Growth in the number of jurisdictions in agreement to use the financing mechanisms and willing to work together
e. Number of events/forums where the concept is presented; communications assets generated to attract greater interest from jurisdictions and investors

2. Sufficient funds raised to operationalize the financing mechanism
a. Full proposals submitted and funding commitment secured from at least one donor

Work Location


Expected duration


Duties and Responsibilities

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.

The loss of forest, and the accompanying loss of ecosystems and the services they provide, threatens the security and livelihoods of local communities, reduces access to clean water, decreases soil productivity and accounts for 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In recent years, it has become apparent that the most significant threat to the world’s remaining forests is conversion for commercial agriculture – whether from large-scale operations or smallholder farmers – as well as other non-forest use. Many of the environmental benefits of intact forest are unpriced ‘externalities’, resulting in the market mispricing natural forest assets. By converting forest to land and then producing tradable commodities that the market can price, land users are able to take advantage of this perceived arbitrage opportunity. Anticipated global economic growth and changing diets will strengthen the demand for agricultural commodities and place additional pressure on forests in the foreseeable future, meaning that the pressure will get even bigger than it is today without a changing paradigm how land is managed, and agricultural commodities are produced. The challenge is to advance sustainable land use by developing business models that can manage sustainable commodity production while also maintaining forests and forest ecosystem services.

Against that background, UNEP initiated the Climate Finance Unit to proactively unlock and (re)direct public and private capital towards sustainable land use, including deforestation-free soft commodity production. UNEP CFU has a growing portfolio of ‘proof-of-concept’ facilities such as the AGRI3 Fund, the Restoration Seed Capital Facility, TLFF, &Green Fund to demonstrate that private investment in deforestation-free agricultural commodities, sustainable management of forests and restoration of degraded land can be catalyzed.

UNEP CFU is working together with UNEP climate mitigation unit, UN-REDD and other partners to design and operationalize a financing instrument with the objective to provide up-front private sector financing support to the target jurisdictions for them to achieve their climate and biodiversity goals. This area of work fits in the financial innovation workstream of the Climate Finance Unit, to demonstrate proof-of-concept that private capital can be unlocked and/or (re)directed towards activities that lead to a ‘decoupling’ of deforestation from commodity production, as well as a broader geographical effort to protect the world’s most carbon-rich and biodiverse forests.

Against this backdrop, UNEP’ Climate Finance Unit is seeking a Senior Specialist (Consultant) to identify and engage jurisdictions and relevant partners to fully develop the concept on jurisdictional financing, validate and ground truth assumptions, ensure integration of biodiversity in the overall design, socialize the mechanism in relevant public forums, support Senior Debt Structuring Specialist in engaging private and public investors, and secure financial resources to operationalize the mechanism. The consultant will report to the Head of the Climate Finance Unit, with a second reporting line to the Head of the Climate Mitigation Unit, and work in close collaboration with colleagues in the Climate Finance Unit and other relevant teams in UNEP.


1. Engage key internal and external stakeholder to fully develop the concept on jurisdictional financing bring it to the operationalization stage

• In collaboration with UNEP Climate Mitigation Unit, UNDP, UN-REDD and other identified partners, engage jurisdictions, financial institutions and other stakeholders to fully develop the concept. This includes, among other activities, the following:
o Identify and engage target stakeholders: in discussion with UNDP and UN-REDD, develop a set of criteria and shortlist jurisdictions to focus on for the first financing cycle. Analyze these jurisdictions through existing strategic documents (such as REDD+ and NBSAP strategies) to further identify the strategic fit of these jurisdictions to the financing mechanism and scale and potential in terms of climate and biodiversity.
o Lead/organize/facilitate internal/external discussions and workshops: with inputs from UNDP and UN-REDD engage partners, including shortlisted jurisdictions where relevant, lead/ organize/ facilitate discussion to align key stakeholders and bring everyone to a common understanding in terms potential size, scale and scope of each jurisdictional investment, the most appropriate set-up of the financial instrument and fund manager, flow of finance, process and information, appropriate integration of biodiversity and climate adaptation in the mechanism and the role of responsibilities of different entities in the entire mechanism.
o Explore and engage new partners: identify and engage appropriate NGOs and private sector partners with the objective to reduce risks, strengthen quality implementation, and expand scope.
o Backstop structuring expert/senior specialist: support the senior debt structuring specialist in matters related to jurisdictional approach, climate, and biodiversity and work together to ensure that investors understand clear links to climate and biodiversity.
o Carry out market research on the willingness to pay for biodiversity premium: with inputs from UNDP, conduct market research and engage carbon credit buyers to assess the potential and willingness to pay for biodiversity gain either as carbon credits enhanced with biodiversity gains or biodiversity credits stacked on top of carbon credits.

2. Raise funds to operationalize the financing mechanism
• Raise funds to cover the costs of setting up the financing vehicle, to support the operational costs of fund manager in initial years, and to support the jurisdictions to fully develop the strategic action and investment plan as well as to partly cover the costs of necessary third-party verifications.
o Identify 4-5 target donors that fit with the objective, funding size, and duration
o Wit inputs from UNEP, UNDP, and UN-REDD, engage with the target donors
o Prepare the full fundraising proposals (up to 2)

3. Communications and events
• Participate and/or speak at relevant events, discussions, and meetings to share the jurisdictional financing concept with the objective to identify right partners, raise interest of potential donors and investors, and receive constructive feedback.
• Support the UNEP, UNDP and UN-REDD team with necessary communications around this concept and launch of the mechanism in relevant forums such as UNFCCC CoP.

4. Project management:
• Manage the seed funding over 07 months and ensure timely and high-quality donor reporting and use of funds

5. Contribute to the Climate Finance Unit’s work on financial innovation:
• Ensuring the strategic fit of this work in the context of other innovative sustainable finance work that CFU undertakes, for example through the AGRI3 Fund, RCF or TLFF.
• Ensure that outputs of this work are documented and align with the strategic direction of CFU’s portfolio on demonstrating proof-of-concept

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: A Masters in Business Administration, Environmental economics, finance, or similar discipline is required for this consultancy.
Experience: Eligible candidates will also be required to have at least seven (7) years of professional experience, preferably in the areas of (sustainable) finance conservation and/or project management in the field of REDD+, biodiversity conservation, ecological restoration, or sustainable commodities with at least three (3) years in the tropical countries.

Experience working in or with the finance industry is a distinct advantage.

A Bachelor’s university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Experience in jurisdictional/landscape approaches, mobilizing financial resources, constructively engaging stakeholders and being a very good oral and written communicator, would especially be welcome.

Experience with the United Nations system and having a solid network with environmental and social specialists is considered an asset.

In addition, the consultant should be computer literate in standard software applications; have good analytical skills, good interpersonal skills; report writing and communication skills
Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this consulting position, fluency in oral and written English is required. Knowledge of French and/or Spanish is considered an asset.

No Fee


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