United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Consultant (Regional Desk Review Study on Climate, Environment Risks and Impact on Children)

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Job Description

The UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia is looking for a remote Regional desk review consultant for a study on climate, environment risks and impact on children.

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

Background and rationale Climate change (CC) is a major global issue that impacts the wellbeing of children around the world. As an international organisation focused on protecting the rights of children, UNICEF is increasingly integrating the risks associated with climate change, and in particular the impact on children, into its programming, planning and advocacy.

In the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region, increases in annual air temperatures, changes in river runoff, precipitation patterns, recharge, glacial melting, wildfires, droughts, floods, hail are evident.  Climate change is already affecting quality and sustainability of WASH services as a result of damage to WASH infrastructure by floods, reduced safe water and increased demand for water from other sectors. Climate change and extreme weather events are exacerbating tensions over access to safe water and natural resources, derailing development gains, threatening to unravel decades of economic and social growth across the region.

Specific to Central Asia, a most concerning consequences of climate change is glacial melting and the associated loss of major water towers. Since 1950, it is estimated between 14% and 30% of the Tien Shan and Pamir glaciers have melted. Today’s rate of glacier loss in Central Asia is 0.2–1% per year in volume, with the disappearance of some of the small glaciers (smaller than 0.5 km²). Related to this are risks associated with Glacial Lake Outburst Floods when water dammed by a glacier is released.    This has the double effect of increasing short-term flood risk and longer-term water shortages as glacially fed rivers gradually dry out.

With temperatures rising, summer heat waves are expected to claim more lives than will be saved by warmer winters. Floods and heat waves are expected to become more common and severe, as possibility of droughts also increases. Water availability is expected to decrease everywhere, especially in south-eastern areas of Europe and Central Asia due to reduced recharge of surface and groundwater reserves, and increased competition for water. Extreme climate events have already had adverse effects on multiple economic sectors across the region, including Agriculture, forestry, food security/nutrition, water management, and electricity generation and supply.   It also negatively impacts health water and sanitation, hygiene, livelihoods and social services for children, impending their development, well-being and future opportunities. Climate change impacts do not happen in isolation and impacts in one sector can affect another.

Children are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In Western Balkan countries for example, due to outdated coal plants, smoke-emitting cars and many households using fossil fuel and wood, the population is exposed to some of the highest concentrations of air pollution in Europe, up to five times higher than national and EU guideline levels, let alone WHOS’s AQG. Air pollution is a significant contributing factor to premature deaths among the population in 19 cities, with the total number of premature deaths directly attributable to air pollution standing at nearly 5,000 per year. Other effects of air pollution on health include acute and chronic respiratory infection, lung cancer, and impaired immune response, with children uniquely vulnerable– due both to their physiology, and the type and degree of their exposure.

Children are the least responsible for creating climate change but will bear the brunt of its impacts. How communities and governments plan for and respond to climate change through policies and practical actions today will have a lasting effect on children’s futures. Children are also much more than passive victims of climate change – they are powerful agents of change at all levels. Children can make a strong contribution to risk reduction, adaptation and building the resilience of their communities by undertaking climate risk assessments, planning and implementing adaptation and raising awareness of climate risks and solutions.

Purpose Through a desk review of information available in the UNICEF-developed Climate Landscape Analysis for Children (CLAC) reports available for seven countries of the region, available data and analysis on risks and vulnerabilities related to climate change and other available analysis on environmental degradation, this consultancy will help shape the approach to climate change and environment protection programming and support climate risk informed programming in the ECA Region. At the same time, it will help generate evidence and data to better understand WASH issues in the context of climate change, thereby helping to advocate for child-friendly WASH policies and legislation, climate smart solutions as well as more resources for WASH programming, including strengthened emergency preparedness and risk reduction in the region.

The consultant will provide technical assistance, through a desk review, to UNICEF ECA Regional Office (ECARO), to undertake an analysis of the situation in the region; identify the most vulnerable countries/contexts; and examine where and how climate change and extreme weather events are emerging as a significant risk affecting child survival, wellbeing and development, including as a result of impact on safe water, sanitation, hygiene practices and access to nutrition. It will also look at impacts on other programme areas such as health (e.g. increased incidence of disease) and education (e.g. increased school dropouts because of reduced access to WASH services). Resources such as Climate Landscape Analysis for Children reports available for 7 countries, data and analysis on risks and vulnerabilities of children, data on access to WASH in select countries, health services, other analysis on environmental degradation, climate change impact studies, conducted by Expert Agencies and UNICEF Country Offices , among others, should be taken into consideration during this study.

Additionally, the consultant will identify strategic partnership opportunities and identify a strategic focus and entry points for mainstreaming climate change mitigation/adaptation issues in WASH, health, education, children and youth participation and other programme areas.

The key expected outcomes of this consultancy are:
  • UNICEF ECARO has a good understanding and overview of the impact of climate change on children and future projections for the region;
  • The most vulnerable countries and contexts in the region are identified through a structured analytical process;
  • ECARO’s strategy for considering impact of climate change is defined and includes relevant programme entry points for WASH, Health, Nutrition, Education, Child Protection, Social Protection, and Youth/Adolescents;
  • Critical partnerships are identified;
  • Data gaps and advocacy areas for UNICEF, including NAPs, NDCs, etc., are identified;
  • Overview of key UNICEF sector climate financing and opportunities for ECAR COs to access the climate funds globally (GCF, CEF, AF, etc.)/regionally is available.
Expected Results (Measurable Results) ECARO and ECAR COs are better informed to incorporate the climate change impacts on children in the programmes, through the following support: Based on the above referred data and information sources as well as other documentation on the climate change impact in ECAR, data/analysis on child vulnerabilities etc., the consultant is expected to develop a comprehensive analytical desk review report for the region, outlining (a) the situation in specific countries in ECA and identifying the most vulnerable countries/contexts, (b)  clear, tangible programmatic recommendations that could be implemented, (c) a well-defined, strategic focus for UNICEF on climate risk programming for children.  The document’s outline and continent is suggested as following:
  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Background and Rationale
  • Methodology
  • Key vulnerabilities of children by sector (health, WASH, education, CP, SP, nutrition, etc.)
  • Current and projected climate change impact on children and critical UNICEF services (key issues in the region, divided by the sub-regions of Central Asia, South Caucasus, South East Europe)
  • Key stakeholders (governments, UN, others) engaged in Climate Change Action (CCA) work, UNICEF partnerships and alliances in climate change and key gaps identified.
  • UNICEF´s comparative advantage and offer in climate change in the region (including an overview of existing Country Programmes and reference to climate change)
  • Suggested strategic focus for the region on climate risk informed programming
  • Linking CCA and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) (where relevant):  Key entry points and recommendations
  • Suggested priority interventions for the region (both for the region, outlining country priority interventions that UNICEF can support)
  • Innovations and climate smart solutions
  • Opportunities for advocacy and climate financing.
  • Annexes: brief country specific overviews on projected climate risks, priorities, stakeholders, Mapping of climate funding opportunities and stakeholders, status of national consultations, funded/implemented programmes, CCA integration in the COs’ country programme documents, inclusion of the UNICEF sectors in key national climate docs and priorities, as well as proposals climate financing opportunities.
The Report should consider all the components which need to be in place, including regulatory, technical, legal, Capacity Development, institutional, among others. It will address the following but not limited to:
  • Assess the information gap of the existing documentation, i.e. national plans (NAPs, NDCs, NCs) and regional and national climate, water, disaster risk management, etc. strategies.
  • Linkages between adaptation and sustainable development at the local, national, sectoral level (education, water Resource Management, WASH, child protection, social protection, health and nutrition), regional and sub-regional level (planning and coordinated actions may be necessary).
  • How to mainstream the climate change risks and adaptation for children into national policies, programmes and priorities ensuring that information about climate-related risk, vulnerability, and options for adaptation are incorporated into planning and decision making in programme sectors.
  • Define strategic partnerships with regional and national bodies, local authorities and civil society, private sector.
  • Check for complementarities and synergies with similar existing or planned interventions (UN or external) in the region.
  • Lessons learnt from related previous interventions should be incorporated.
The consultant is expected to have discussions and consultations with the COs and RO colleagues on the final draft to agree on the final version. Based on the final version of the report, a presentation should be developed to present the findings of the analysis and proposed strategic focus and interventions on climate change for children in Europe and Central Asia region.

Specific support with review/Technical Support on CLACs, CCA documents (if requested) and coordination at RO/CO level.

Duty Station Home based.  Travel to Geneva and/or selected countries in the region, if feasible/required.

Timeframe Start date: 1 March 2021 End date: 31 July 2021 1. Proposed workplan for the consultancy 5 days 2. Analytical report with recommendations for strategic focus and entry points for ECAR.

4 months Includes consultations with the COs, select partners and RO, desk review, draft of the report, follow up consultations and finalization of the report.

3. Technical assistance to climate risk assessments, programming, as required.

total 10 days TA requests (if any). Support the review of the CLACs, CCA documents and coordination, etc.

4. Presentation on key findings, recommendations and strategic focus for climate change programming developed 7 days Based on the final analytical report Key competencies, technical background and experience required
  • Advanced university degree in relevant area such as engineering, water resources, environment, climate change, health, social protection, social and economic development, international cooperation.
  • A minimum of five years of relevant work experience focused on developing countries, in areas related to development cooperation in climate change adaptation and mitigation, environment and socio-economic development.
  • Familiar with children's rights and gender in the context of climate change adaptation and mitigation and/or natural resources management.
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills, advocacy and presentational skills an asset.
  • Knowledge on climate change impacts, climate risk assessments, and adaptation solutions required.
  • Prior experience undertaking climate risk and vulnerability assessments required.
  • Specific expertise in programme/project formulation, implementation, monitoring and review and evaluation related to climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to work harmoniously in a multi-cultural environment and establish harmonious & effective working relationship both within and outside an organization.
  • Fluency in English is required. Working knowledge of Russian is a strong asset. Prior experience in the ECA Region is an asset.
  • Prior experience or familiarity with UNICEF programming.
Nature of Penalty Clause in Contract If the final reports and documents are not submitted according to the deliverables stated in this TOR, the payments will be withheld.

UNICEF reserves the right to withhold all or a portion of payment if performance is unsatisfactory, if work/outputs is incomplete, not delivered or for failure to meet deadlines (fees reduced due to late submission: 20 days - 10%; 1 month -20%; 2 months -30%; more 2 months – payment withhold). All materials developed will remain the copyright of UNICEF and UNICEF will be free to adapt and modify them in the future.

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

  UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

Remarks: Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

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