Job Opening

Posting Title: UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) - Consultant - Chemical and Plastic Pollution in the Agricultural sector
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 20 May 2022 - 26 May 2022
Job Opening Number: 22-United Nations Environment Programme-182005-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.

Result of Service

-Actively engage private finance actors, especially PRB signatories, public finance actors, especially National and Multilateral Development Banks, and other stakeholders to support the understanding and assessment of their current portfolios and practices related to the financing of the agriculture sector in their aspects linked to chemicals and plastic pollution. The consultant will analyse how they include in their processes, analysis and financing decisions, the risks and impacts related to pollution stemming from the use of chemicals and plastic in the agriculture sector, what policies, processes, practices, methodologies, metrics, tools and financial solutions they use in relation to sustainable agriculture, contaminated land and water quality in the agriculture sector, and how they engage with their clients to prevent and reduce chemicals and plastic pollution in the agriculture sector. The objective will be to identify what are the gaps in current practices and what initiatives, including potential partnerships, methodologies, metrics, tools and financial solutions that can be developed, in the private and public financial sector, to act on preventing and reducing chemicals and plastic pollution in the agriculture sector and to enable alignment of financial portfolios with national, regional or global goals -especially by setting and implementing targets aligned with international, regional or national science-based goals (where available).

-Undertake and synthesise relevant research such as desktop research and document review, relating to the current landscape of financial initiatives, frameworks, standards, metrics and tools related to chemicals and plastics pollution in agricultural investment and financing.

-Undertake a study, including through surveys and structured interviews with private financial institutions, especially PRB signatories, public financial institutions, especially National and Multilateral Development Banks, and other stakeholders as relevant, to explore their practices and their portfolios in the agriculture sector and the agrochemicals and agriplastics implications of their investments and financing. This will include research on processes, policies and risk frameworks, on metrics and tools they use in relation to sustainable agriculture, contaminated land and water quality in the agriculture sector, to assess and manage agrichemicals and agriplastics risks and impacts, and also on innovative financing solutions and instruments they use or explore.

-Prepare a summary and analysis of findings of the research and consultation undertaken.

-On the basis of the research and consultation undertaken, prepare a baseline report summarising the current policies, processes, portfolios, practices, gaps and opportunities observed in the private and public finance sector to assess and manage the risks and impacts related to chemical and plastic pollution in the agriculture sector and to align financial portfolios with global, regional and national goals.

-Provide recommendations on how banks could integrate chemicals and plastic pollution in existing or planned policies, processes, portfolios, metrics, financial instruments and practices relating to financing the agriculture sector.

-In a participatory manner, support in the development of proposed activities to be implemented in the implementation phase of the Child Project.

-Coordinate with UNEP FI regional coordinators and colleagues working on sustainable land use/agriculture for effective engagement of banks and key stakeholders and alignment with related research/good practice where relevant.

-Make best use of the work developed by UNEP FI in this space, including but not limited to ENCORE, Good Food Finance Network, etc. to determine how to build from the existing baseline of activities as far as possible.

-Coordinate, as relevant, with the executing agencies of the Child Project and other agencies involved in other GEF FARM child projects, and include in the research, study, baseline report and work plan proposal, the input received from other agencies.

-Provide input as needed to the work developed un the PPG Phase of the Child Project.

Work Location

Working Remotely.

Expected duration

The duration of the contract will be for 1.6 month of work over a 4-month period, amounting to 4 months at 40% full-time equivalent (FTE).

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.

The overall objective of the UNEP’s Economy Division is to encourage decision makers in government, local authorities and industry to develop and adopt policies, strategies and practices and technologies that promote sustainable patterns of consumption and production, make efficient use of natural resources, ensure safe management of chemicals and contribute to making trade and environment policies mutually supportive. It promotes the development, use and transfer of policies, technologies, economic instruments, managerial practices and other tools that assist in environmentally sound decision making and the building of corresponding activities.

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is the strategic partnership between the United Nations and over 400 banks, insurers and investors. For over 29 years UNEP FI has been shaping and driving the international sustainable finance agenda, setting global standards and growing a global network of leading financial institutions. Through its work-streams and regional activities, peer learning, methodology development, training and research, UNEP FI carries out its mission to help the financial industry align with and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and with that take on the crucial role it must play in achieving a sustainable future.

UNEP FI convenes the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB), a unique framework for ensuring that signatory banks’ strategy and practice align with the vision society has set out for its future in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. Over 270 banks have now joined this movement for change, leading the way towards a future in which the banking community makes the kind of positive contribution to people and the planet that society expects. These banks represent more than a third of the global banking industry. This is a journey of unprecedented scale and scope at a time when such ambition is urgently needed.
Signatory banks commit to taking three key steps which enable them to continuously improve their impact and contribution to society:
1. Analyse their current impact on people and planet;
2. Based on this analysis, set targets where they have the most significant impact, and implement them; and
3. Publicly report on progress.
Most PRB Signatories have identified climate change as one of their significant impact areas, yet fewer have identified their pollution impacts. Yet these are issues of similar magnitude and importance for the banking sector, warranting target-setting and action on a comparable scale.

Per the IPBES Global Assessment (2019), pollution is one of the major drivers of biodiversity loss, as well as a factor in climate change.

Adopted by the First International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM1) on 6 February 2006 , the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a policy framework to promote chemical safety around the world. SAICM's overall objective is the achievement of the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle so that by the year 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on the environment and human health. The fourth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4) initiated an intersessional process to prepare recommendations regarding the Strategic Approach and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020. The fourth meeting of the intersessional process was to take place in Bucharest, Romania in March 2020 and has been postponed due to Covid-19 situation. This and previous meetings support stakeholders in their efforts to elaborate the future arrangements of the Strategic Approach and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 for consideration and adoption at the next session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) also postponed.

At UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) held in March 2022, representatives of 175 nations endorsed a resolution to end plastic pollution. The resolution addresses the full lifecycle of plastic, including its production, design and disposal. The resolution, establishes an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC), which will begin its work in 2022, with the ambition of completing a draft global legally binding agreement by the end of 2024.

Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility is the world’s largest multilateral fund supporting environmental action in developing countries, distributing about $1 billion a year in donor financing.
It was created 30 years ago, ahead of the Rio Earth Summit, to support initiatives related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, and ozone depletion. It has since expanded its remit to address deforestation, land degradation, chemicals, waste, urban growth, illegal wildlife trade, and more. Since then, it has provided more than $21.7 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $119 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 projects and programs.
The GEF brings together 184 member governments in addition to civil society, international organizations, and private sector partners. Through its Small Grants Programme, the GEF has provided support to more than 26,000 civil society and community initiatives in 135 countries.
GEF funds are available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition seeking to meet the objectives of international environmental conventions and agreements. Support is provided to government agencies, civil society organizations, private sector companies, research institutions, among other partners, to implement projects and programs related to environmental conservation, protection, and renewal.
GEF FARM Program

The GEF’s governing body approved in December 2021 $191 million in grants and blended finance to advance climate and nature investments through and after the pandemic.
The funding is the second-to-last tranche to be released under GEF-7, the multilateral fund’s latest four-year funding cycle. It will support initiatives in 43 countries, including 10 Least Developed Countries and 16 small island developing states, that are expected to benefit 25 million local people while generating global environmental gains.
Representatives of 184 countries unanimously approved the package of support, which includes one program and 24 projects to address biodiversity loss, climate change, and land degradation, and to improve the management of international waters, chemicals, and waste.
A new program included in the package of support – the Financing Agrochemical Reduction and Management program (FARM), led by UNEP in partnership with ADB, FAO, UNDP, and UNIDO – will help reduce the harmful use of dangerous pesticides and plastics in agriculture in countries including Ecuador, India, Kenya, Lao PDR, the Philippines, Uruguay, and Vietnam.
Under the FARM Program, a Child Project “FARM: Global Coordination, Knowledge Management and Common Finance Tools” (the Child Project) is led by UNEP and focuses on strengthening the sound management of agricultural chemicals and their wastes, through better control, and reduction and/or elimination. The objective of the Child Project is to generate, coordinate, communicate, and manage knowledge from FARM Programme to amplify the results of FARM child projects resulting in the Programme being more than the sum of the parts of the individual projects. The Child Project has four components:

1. Government Policy and enforcement;
2. Finance and Investment;
3. Establish effective knowledge management; and
4. Monitoring & Evaluation.

The expected outcome of Component 2 is to develop and deploy new resources on banking sector risk and opportunity analysis.

Financing of the agriculture sector is significant but predominately goes toward industrial and intensive production systems. As knowledge evolves on the impact of micro-plastic pollution on soil health and fertility, and biodiversity impacts of pesticides on insects, migratory birds, and marine pollution, pressure is growing on financial institutions to be more proactive on supporting less polluting agricultural production systems. Certain pollution and resource efficiency impacts are included among assessment tools and monitoring frameworks which support burgeoning climate and nature-friendly agricultural investments, but there are significant gaps around agrochemicals and agricultural plastics.

The Child Project is currently under its Project Preparation Grant (PPG) phase, whose purpose is to determine the baseline and to develop proposed activities to be implemented in the implementation phase of the Child Project.

The consultant will support the PPG Phase of the Child Project. The consultant will engage private and public finance actors and other relevant stakeholders to support the understanding and assessment of their current portfolios and practices related to the financing of the agriculture sector, in their aspects related to chemical and plastic pollution , with the objective to identify gaps and opportunities to prevent and reduce chemicals and plastic pollution in the agriculture sector and to enable alignment of financial portfolios with national, regional or global goals. On the basis of the findings of the research and consultation undertaken, which will be summarized by the consultant in a baseline report, the consultant will provide inputs to the development of proposed activities and initiatives for the implementation phase of the Child Project.

The consultant is required to engage private financial institutions, especially PRB signatories, public finance actors, especially National and Multilateral Development Banks, and other relevant stakeholders to support the understanding and assessment of their current portfolios and practices related to the financing of the agriculture sector, in their aspects linked to chemicals and plastic pollution. The consultant will analyses how they include in their processes, analysis and financing decisions, the risks and impacts related to pollution stemming from the use of chemicals and plastic in the agriculture sector, what policies, processes, practices, methodologies, metrics, tools and financial solutions they use in relation to sustainable agriculture, contaminated land and water quality in the agriculture sector, and how they engage with their clients to prevent and reduce chemicals and plastic pollution in the agriculture sector, with the objective to identify what are the gaps in current practices and what initiatives, methodologies, metrics, tools and financial solutions can be developed, in the private and public financial sector, to prevent and reduce chemicals and plastic pollution in the agriculture sector and to enable alignment of financial portfolios with national, regional or global goals. The consultant will prepare a baseline report summarizing and analyzing the findings of the research and consultation undertaken and will support in the development of proposed activities for the implementation phase of the Child Project.

The consultant should align the analysis to the objectives and expected outcomes of Component 2 of the Child Project and to UNEP’s Medium-Term Strategy priorities on Nature and Pollution.

Objective: Baseline report summarizing the current portfolios, policies, processes, practices, methodologies, metrics, tools and financial instruments, and the gaps and opportunities observed in the private and public finance sector to assess and manage the risks and impacts related to chemical and plastic pollution in the agriculture sector and to enable alignment with global, regional and national goals, and providing recommendations on how banks could integrate chemicals and plastic pollution in policies, processes, portfolios, metrics, financial instruments and practices relating to financing the agriculture sector.

Performance indicators:

-20+ PRB Signatories and other private financial institutions and 12+ stakeholders including 6+ National and Multilateral Development Banks engaged in developing baseline report;
-Agreed baseline report;
-Agreed recommendations; and
-Relevant inputs made to the development of the proposed activities for the implementation phase of the Child Project.

Output:

-Research on current landscape of financial initiatives, methodologies, tools, metrics;
-Agreed research and consultation approach to assess current portfolios, policies, processes, practices, methodologies, metrics, tools and financial instruments, and to identify gaps and opportunities;
-Assessment of current portfolios, policies, processes, practices, methodologies, metrics, tools and financial instruments and identification of gaps and opportunities as per agreed approach;
-Summary and analysis of findings from research and interviews;
-Baseline report summarising the current portfolios, policies, processes, practices, methodologies, metrics, tools and financial instruments observed, and the gaps and opportunities identified in the private and public finance sector to assess and manage the risks and impacts related to chemical and plastic pollution in the agriculture sector and to enable alignment with global, regional and national goals;
-Recommendations on how banks could integrate chemicals and plastic pollution in existing or planned policies, processes, portfolios, metrics, financial instruments and practices relating to financing the agriculture sector;
-Incorporation of input received from UNEP FI regional coordinators and colleagues working on sustainable land use/agriculture for effective engagement of banks and key stakeholders and alignment with related research/good practice where relevant;
-Incorporation of input received from the executing agencies of the Child Project and other agencies involved in other GEF FARM child projects;
-Inputs to the development of the proposed activities for the implementation phase of the Child Project; and
-Inputs provided as needed to the work developed under the PPG phase of the Child Project.

Specific tasks and responsibilities:

1. Summary of research such as desktop research and document review on the current landscape of financial initiatives, frameworks, standards, metrics and tools related to chemicals and plastics pollution in agricultural investment and financing. Development of a proposed approach, informed by the summary of research, to undertake a study and run interviews with private and public finance actors, including e.g. proposed questionnaire and list of interviewees, etc. Inception meeting for discussion/approval of the proposed approach to undertake study and run interviews with private and public finance actors. Initial interviews with private financial institutions, especially PRB Signatories, public finance actors including National and Multilateral Development Banks and key stakeholders to understand their current portfolios, policies, processes, practices, methodologies, metrics, tools and financial instruments related to agrichemicals and agriplastics pollution, and to identify the current gaps and opportunities for private and public finance actors to assess and act on their chemicals and plastic pollution-related risks and impacts in the agriculture sector and to enable alignment with global, regional and national goals. Prepare a mid-way summary and analysis of findings from research and initial interviews undertaken.

2. Actively engage and run interviews with private financial institutions, especially PRB Signatories, public finance actors including National and Multilateral Development Banks and other stakeholders to understand their current portfolios, policies, processes, practices, methodologies, metrics tools and financial instruments related to agrichemicals and agriplastics pollution, and to identify the current gaps and opportunities for private and public finance actors to assess and act on their chemicals and plastic pollution-related risks and impacts in the agriculture sector and to enable alignment with global, regional and national goals. Prepare a final summary and analysis of findings from research and interviews undertaken. Prepare a first draft of baseline report summarising the current portfolios, policies, processes, practices, methodologies, metrics, tools and financial instruments in the private and public finance sector to assess and manage the risks and impacts related to chemical and plastic pollution in the agriculture sector and to enable alignment with global, regional and national goals, and identifying related gaps and opportunities, to support the development of proposed activities to be implemented in the Child Project. Include as needed input received from UNEP FI regional coordinators and colleagues working on sustainable land use/agriculture for effective engagement of banks and key stakeholders and alignment with related research/good practice where relevant. Include as needed input received on the work developed by UNEP FI in this space, (e.g. ENCORE, Good Food Finance Network, etc.) to build from the existing baseline of activities as far as possible. Include as needed input received from the executing agencies of the Child Project and other agencies involved in other GEF FARM child projects. Provide input as needed to the work developed under the PPG phase of the Child Project.

3. Prepare a final baseline report summarising the current portfolios, policies, processes, practices, methodologies, metrics, tools and financial instruments in the private and public finance sector to assess and manage the risks and impacts related to chemical and plastic pollution in the agriculture sector and to enable alignment with global, regional and national goals, and identifying related gaps and opportunities, to support the development of proposed activities to be implemented in the Child Project. Provide recommendations on how banks could integrate chemicals and plastic pollution in existing or planned policies, processes, portfolios, metrics, financial instruments and practices relating to financing the agriculture sector. Include as needed input received from UNEP FI regional coordinators and colleagues working on sustainable land use/agriculture for effective engagement of banks and key stakeholders and alignment with related research/good practice where relevant. Include as needed input received on the work developed by UNEP FI in this space, (e.g. ENCORE, Good Food Finance Network, etc.) to build from the existing baseline of activities as far as possible. Include as needed input received from the executing agencies of the Child Project and other agencies involved in other GEF FARM child projects. In a participatory manner, support in the development of proposed activities to be implemented in the Child Project. Provide input as needed to the work developed under the PPG phase of the Child Project.

4. In a participatory manner, support in the development of proposed activities to be implemented in the implementation phase of the Child Project. Provide input as needed to the work developed under the PPG phase of the Child Project.

The consultant will report to the Head of UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). The consultant will be hosted by UNEP FI Nature team Programme Officer, Ecosystems/Nature as the Direct Supervisor with the Programme Management Officer for linkages to the UNEP FI strategy.

Qualifications/special skills

Skills: The consultant should have the ability to manage relationships and drive collaboration. Strong analytical skills and ability to build good working relationships at all levels is desirable. The consultant should have excellent listening and communications skills, with experience in presenting in undertaking research.

Academic Qualifications: A Master’s degree is required, business, finance, environment, sustainability, administration, social studies, science, agriculture. A First degree could be taken in lieu of advanced degree provided the selected candidate has 9 years of relevant experience.

Experience: A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible work experience related to banking, biodiversity and/or pollution/circular economy. The candidate should have successfully planned and/or managed complex training and/or capacity building programmes, especially targeted at the private sector.

Language: English is the working language of UNEP FI. Other United Nations languages are an asset.

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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