Job Opening

Posting Title: Seagrass Specialist - Ecosystem Restoration
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: NAIROBI
Posting Period: 22 June 2018 - 01 July 2018
Job Opening Number: 18-United Nations Environment Programme-98184-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

Final WIO Guidelines on Seagrass Ecosystem Restoration and a regional capacity building workshop.

Work Location


Expected duration

This work will run for 40 man days covering a period of 3 calendar months. Within this period, the consultant will present the draft Guideline at a convened Regional Task Force on Critical Habitats for comments from this group of experts before finalization.

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 Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI) 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. This position is located UNEP/DEPI, Nairobi duty station, under the supervision of the Coordinator and Head of Nairobi Convention Secretariat.

1. Purpose (justification for request)
The Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of Coastal and Marine Environment of the Western Indian Ocean of the UN Environment and the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) of FAO Sub-regional Office for Southern Africa are preparing a collaborative partnership project to promote responsible ocean governance and fisheries management for Sustainable Blue Growth in the Western Indian Ocean region. A joint concept note has been developed by the two organizations, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) has expressed interest in supporting this work. This work comes in the sequence of previous initiatives dedicated to reinforcing the cooperation between SWIOFC and the Nairobi Convention.

Background of the Consultancy:
The Contracting Parties to the Nairobi Convention have received funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to implement a Project entitled 'Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the protection of the Western Indian Ocean from land-based sources and activities' (WIOSAP). The Project is intended 'to reduce impacts from land-based sources and activities and sustainably manage critical coastal and marine ecosystems through the implementation of the agreed WIO-SAP priorities with the support of partnerships at national and regional levels'.

The Nairobi Convention through the WIOSAP Project is seeking the services of an expert to develop a Seagrass Ecosystem Restoration (SER) Guideline to produce a tool in support of any coral reef restoration opportunities in the region. This is in response to incidents of seagrass degradation across the region either through direct anthropogenic pressures and/or climate change related impacts. Under the Project, demonstration projects financed through a competitive Call for Proposals scheme will be implemented with the objective of reducing stress from land-based sources and activities. Under Component A on “Sustainable Management of Critical Habitats”, demonstration projects on ecosystem restoration will be funded hence the need for a standard Guideline to offer necessary technical guidance on seagrass restoration.
To produce a WIO relevant Seagrass Ecosystem Restoration (SER) Guideline.
Specific tasks and responsibilities:
Although the consultant is free to develop her/his own preferred structure to the document, an indicative scope of coverage is proposed as follows:
1. Understanding the Basics - A Foundation in Seagrass Ecosystems:
a. Understanding Seagrass Ecosystem Function;
b. Factors affecting seagrass community structure;
c. Seagrass distribution in WIO;
d. The economic benefits derived from seagrass;
e. Identifying & reversing drivers of seagrass decline.

2. Seagrass Restoration - What is it and when to use it:
a. When is seagrass restoration the correct choice?
b. Restoration methods;
c. Restoration as part of a wider integrated seagrass management process;
d. Critical factors for restoration success.

3. Restoration Site Identification - Where and when:
a. Criteria & Issues for Site Selection (e.g. checklist);
b. Site description variables:
i. Hydrodynamics;
ii. Water quality;
iii. Luminosity;
iv. Substrate;
v. Existing seagrass community structure;
c. Understanding the institutional & legal context of potential restoration sites.

4. Principles of Best Practice - A Restoration Protocol:
a. Elements of a restoration plan;
b. Community/public participation;
c. Habitat selection & area of intervention;
d. Choice of species & ensuring species diversity;
e. Selecting the donor population and plant material;
f., When to seed/transplant - planning a restoration schedule;
g. Transplanting;
h. Maintenance of a restoration site;
i. Budgeting: Estimating costs under different conditions;
j. How it has worked, lessons learnt and recommendations.

5. Is Restoration Working? Implementing a systematic monitoring plan:
a. Linking Programme objectives and monitoring;
b. Indicators of success & necessary data;
c. Sampling protocols;
d. Ecosystem services assessment.
e. How it has worked, lessons learnt and recommendations.

6. Developing a Seagrass Restoration Management Plan (SGRMP):
a. Planning principles & policies;
b. A SGRMP Checklist;
c. Implementing mitigation measures (to ensure the same drivers of change don’t persist);
d. Communication strategies.

7. Speaking the same language - A Glossary of terms.

Appendix 1: Key Methods for Site Assessment:
i. Social Survey Questionnaire (incl. drivers of seagrass loss; political context to restoration etc.);
ii. Wave energy & water depth regimes;
iii. Luminosity;
iv. Substrate surveys;
v. Species diversity surveys;
vi. Any other….

Appendix 2: Some worked examples of best practice analyses:
i. Survival rates;
ii. Growth rates;
iii. Correlation analyses (e.g. environmental or plantation parameters vs survival rate).

Appendix 3: Further Information:
i. A checklist of equipment and approximate costs;
ii. Sources of seagrass ecosystem restoration expertise.

Under the supervision of the Programme Manager, WIOSAP Project and WIOMSA, the Contractor will develop concise and practical WIO Guidelines on Seagrass Ecosystem Restoration. These Guidelines will be developed from the perspective of WIO mangrove ecosystems and for direct application by the beneficiaries of the WIOSAP Call for Proposals (and other SER practitioners). The objective of preparing WIO specific guidelines on SER is to help users in the region to focus on what is most likely to work for them, to assist them to better match the array of available tools to their situation. The section on "How it has worked" in the structure above is meant to capture WIO specific case studies on how seagrass restoration has worked and lessons learnt. Where such case studies may not exist, justification can be made and relevant case studies from outside the region captured.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: Advanced university degree (a Master’s degree or equivalent) in Seagrass ecology, Marine Ecology, Coastal Ecosystem Management, Environmental Science or any related disciplines.
Experience: 1.A minimum of 10-years of professional experience in the implementation of seagrass ecosystem restoration programmes;

2.Experience in working with different stakeholders at both strategic and technical levels and demonstrated quality and timely delivery;

3.Working knowledge of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region and experience of working with the Governments of the WIO region would be preferred;

4.Familiarity with/appreciable understanding of the work of the UNEP-Nairobi Convention Programme of work:

5.Demonstrated competency in high level and excellent scientific/technical writing;

6.Ability to work within very short timelines and with minimum supervision.
Language: Excellent command of written and spoken English. Knowledge of Portuguese or French is an advantage.

No Fee


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