Job Opening

Posting Title: Ecosystem-based Adaptation Expert
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: NAIROBI
Posting Period: 08 August 2022 - 05 September 2022
Job Opening Number: 22-United Nations Environment Programme-185315-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

Objective of the assignment:
To develop the strategic approach and workplan to create market access for climate-resilient crops to support EbA activities in central and north Benin. The aim of the strategic approach and workplan is to ensure 7-14 trade agreements are signed by women’s cooperatives by the end of the project.

There are two main tasks for this assignment. The first is to scope the parameters upon which the strategic approach and workplan will be developed. This task will include a literature review and a mission to consult with key stakeholders. The second is the formation of the strategy approach and associated workplan.

Work Location

Homebased

Expected duration

2 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.
UNEP's Ecosystems Division works with international and national partners, providing technical assistance and advisory services for the implementation of environmental policy, and strengthening the environmental management capacity of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

The project:
Enhanced climate resilience of rural communities in central and north Benin through the implementation of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) in forest and agricultural landscapes aims to build the climate resilience of the local communities by integrating climate-resilient agricultural techniques with tailored restoration of degraded forest ecosystems. The project is funded by the Green Climate Fund and implemented over a five-year period from 2019 to 2024. The Accredited Entity is UNEP, and the Executing Entity is the Ministry of Living Environment and Sustainable Development.

The seven targeted municipalities are Dassa, Tchaourou, Djougou, Ouake, Boukoumbe, Cobly and Banikoara. Within these municipalities, the project interventions will take place in the following areas: i) Betecoucou protected forest in Akofodjoule district (Collines, central Benin); ii) Ouémé Superieur N’Dali (OSN) forest in Beterou and Onklou districts (Tchaourou and Djougou municipalities, central-north Benin); iii) Salangawa protected forest in Ouaké (Donga); iv) Katenga protected forest (woody savanna) in Natta district (Boukoumbe, north-west of Benin); v); Didani protected forest in Cobly district (Atacora, north-west of Benin); and iv) Deroudou protected forest in Sompérékou district (Banikoara, north Benin). The Betecoucou and OSN forests are in the Upper Ouémé catchment; the forests of Cobly and Boukoumbe in the Pendjari catchment; and the Deroudou forest in the Niger River catchment.

The project has three outcomes (1) to restore 3,600 hectares of land for multiuse energy and livelihood benefits, (2) to increase productivity from agricultural livelihoods that are impacted by climate change and, (3) to develop tools instruments and strategies to enable communities, businesses, and the public sector to respond to climate change and variability. This will support the transition of farmers and their communities away from unsustainable practices that magnify their vulnerability to climate change and towards more secure livelihoods and expanded income opportunities.

The project results framework has several key indicators and targets including:

• At least 11,000 women and 11,000 men benefiting directly from climate resilient livelihoods through increased yields across 3,000 ha of agricultural lands and 1,074,000 people benefiting indirectly.
• At least 3,600 ha of degraded forests protected and strengthened in response to climate variability and change.
• At least 30% of the 22,000 people in 7 communities, 30% of technical officers in the 7 Districts and 20% of technical officers in municipal and central government using Fund-supported tools, instruments, strategies, and activities to respond to climate change.

Progress to date:
An important step towards promoting climate resilient agriculture and enhancing ecosystem productivity and resilience, has been the development in 2021 of the draft forest management plans in the 7 sites through ecosystem assessments and extensive consultations with all the stakeholders. The five forests legally set aside as community forests with mixed management regimes are geographically isolated from each other, but surrounded by a mosaic of farmlands, fallowed lands, savannahs, and other form of land uses in which activities such as climate-resilient agriculture are envisaged. The two other sites namely Bakou and Beterou, are parts of one of the largest forest blocks in central Benin commonly known as Ouémé Superieur. Bakou and Beterou forest management units are interconnected and face similar challenges in terms of anthropogenic encroachments and ecosystem degradation. The project is working to link these forest management plans with recently concluded or ongoing initiatives across the entire region which have similar or closely related objectives to the EbA project with the view of identifying synergy and enhancing ecosystem connectivity. The forest management plans provide land use plans and identifies EbA options that build on the existing ecosystem potential to generate goods and services both for its sustenance and the livelihoods of the people. Additional efforts are ongoing to institute these forest management plans including the validation of the draft documents and the endorsement by the national forestry authority.

The project signed a partnership agreement with the National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin (INRAB) to supply the much-needed seeds which will be used for agricultural extension. Soybean, cashew, nere, shea and sorghum were confirmed as the most suitable and drought-resistant crops. The project started promoting soybean and cashew by supplying 200 selected producers with improved variety of seeds. At least 50 ha of lands are under improved soybean cultivation.

Fourteen (14) farmer cooperatives have been identified through socio-economic surveys and received farming equipment for their processing activities. Shea butter and Nere are value chains promoted to increase the revenues for cooperatives.


Project execution arrangements:
The Project Management Unit (PMU) under the Ministry of Living Environment and Sustainable Development (MCVDD) is led by a National Project Coordinator (NPC) and include an administrative and financial officer, a procurement officer, a monitoring and evaluation officer and an environmental and social safeguards officer. The PMU coordinates activities between the Accredited Entity (UNEP), the Executing Entity (MCVDD) and various partners to oversee the implementation of the project activities. The project recently hired a Chief Technical Advisor who will provide technical guidance and support the implementation of the project. She will be responsible for integrating all the three components of the project and assist in the planning, implementing, reporting on activities, and developing technical documents. A gender and stakeholder engagement adviser will be hired and in place towards the second half of 2022 with the overall responsibility to support the PMU staff and national stakeholders to mainstream equitable gender access and gender-responsive strategy throughout the project.

The assignment:
Under this ToR, the project is hiring an expert to develop the strategy and workplan required to put in place the signed trade agreements with women cooperatives by end of 2024. This would be designed in coordination with local organisations such as EBAFOSA which will support partnerships between farmers, processors, traders, suppliers of technology, and microfinance institutions for the development of the value chains for cashew, shea, nere seeds, soybean and sorghum, financing institutions (such as FNPK, Comuba), government ministries and managed by UNEP.
This assignment is directly related to Outcome 2 of the GCF Project. Outcome 2 has two sub-activities, one of which is relevant to this assignment:
Project Activity 2.2 Market access for climate-resilient crops to support EbA
This activity will establish trade agreements between farmers’ cooperatives and relevant national and regional companies that buy and sell agricultural products and Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs). Currently, cooperatives in Benin are not well developed and face various challenges including access to better (domestic and international) markets and lack of quality products. The trade agreements will act as an enabler to support rural communities in strategies to increase productivity from agricultural livelihoods and reduce pressures on forest degradation and deforestation. The specific Activity directly relevant to this assignment is:

Activity 2.2.1. Train several cooperatives located in project sites on basic business and financial management and connect them to local and national wholesale traders.
To facilitate market linkage, this activity will train farmers from local cooperatives on basic business and financial management skills that are required to sustainably operate their business and supply produce to wholesale traders. The project will target one to two cooperatives per project site, which will be identified by members of the Department for Quality, Information and Entrepreneurship (DQIFE) and local extension officers. Training will particularly focus on women’s cooperatives, to support their production and sale of popular NTFPs such as shea. Sale agreements will be signed between cooperatives and local and national wholesale traders. The specific steps under Activity 2.2.1 are listed below:
• Identify relevant cooperatives within selected municipalities and provide processing equipment and training on processing techniques and maintenance, as well as marketing techniques, including the development of business plans.
• Develop trade agreements between farmers’ cooperatives and relevant national and regional companies that buy and sell agricultural products and NTFPs.

Under the direct supervision of the Programme Management Officer, the consultant will have two main tasks for this assignment. The first is to scope the parameters upon which the strategic approach and workplan will be developed. This task will include a literature review and a mission to consult with key stakeholders. The second is the formation of the strategy approach and associated workplan.
A. Scoping of the strategic approach for establishing 7-14 purchase agreements between off-takers and agricultural cooperatives for cashew nuts, shea nuts and néré seeds.
The activities comprise:
1. Identifying who the potential off-takers for the three cash crops in question (cashew nuts, shea nuts and néré seeds) could be and discuss with potential off-takers, and detailing minimum requirements to extend purchase agreements to the project cooperatives.
2. Mapping the location, size of cooperatives, gender composition and production amount of the cooperatives for the three cash crops in question (cashew nuts, shea nuts and néré seeds) in the seven identified municipalities, as well as the production potential.
3. Assessing barriers to establishing purchase agreements with the project cooperatives considering minimum requirements established in discussions with potential off-takers (point 1 above). The consultant should identify and consult with key stakeholders (financial institutions including micro finance institutions, processing plants, aggregators, government ministries, end buyers including associations that can connect to end buyers such as the Global Shea Association) for each product value chain. The consultant should screen business strategies used by existing cooperatives, the gaps and opportunities for each.
4. Assess whether there is a rationale to create new cooperatives based on (point 2 above) and (point 3 above) to strengthen the interest of off-takers in the project areas.
5. Broadly evaluate the economic value of potential trade agreements for each of the three products.
6. Identify policies, sector plans and business strategies that could increase scale and productivity across the value chain and promote sustainable land-use approaches, e.g. affordable insurance products to mitigate climate risk, government based subsidies and extension services. This should inform the development of the workplan for Output 3 on the mainstreaming approach.
B. Develop the strategic approach and workplan
1. Based on the outcomes of (A), develop the Output 2.2 strategic approach and workplan inclusive of timeline, outputs, milestones, key results, and budget. The strategic approach should also include a recommendation for management of this workstream within the PMU. The workplan should include recommendations for developing targeted policy analytical pieces, economic analysis and/or developing blending finance concepts.
2. Develop a monitoring framework to track capacity strengthening of cooperatives with the aim of signing of new trade agreements by 2024.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in environment, economics and/or related field is required.

Experience: At least fifteen (15) years of work experience in agriculture value chains and smallholder farmers, particularly to put in place climate resilient agricultural practices is required

•Understanding of financing models and underlying business cases for smallholder famers to access finance, particularly linking value chains to offtake agreements is required.

•Experience in scoping of partnerships and drafting of offtake agreements market buyers (and potentially interested investors) in the agriculture sector is required.

•Understanding of risk mitigation instruments including guarantee and insurance products for the agriculture sector, particularly the role for promoting offtake agreements is desirable.

•Knowledge of the fiscal policy framework for the agriculture sector in Benin, including potential public funds for the sector is desirable.

Language: Fluency in oral and written English and French 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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