United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Consultant (Third National Communication and First Biennial Update Report)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Job Description

  The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) is mandated to oversee the protection, conservation and sustainability of Samoa’s natural and built environment in close collaboration with local communities, civil society groups, the private sector, government agencies and development partners.  A crucial part of this mandate is monitoring Samoa’s State of the Environment on a regular basis.

Samoa has issued three State of the Environment (SOE) Reports to date.   The first SOE was issued in 1993 to inform the development of Samoa’s first National Environment Management Strategy (NEMS).  The NEMS 1993 prioritized twelve major environmental areas based on the first SOE findings - (1) unsustainable population growth (2) management of water resources (3) management of sea and marine resources (4) waste management (5)  combatting deforestation (6) management of land use (7) conservation of biological diversity (8) atmospheric protection (9) planning for Climate Change (10) preservation of traditional arts, culture and history (11) human resources development and (12) sustainable economic development.

Samoa’s 2nd SOE was issued 13 years later in 2006.  The SOE included an assessment of state and trends of the environment in the key areas of climate change and ozone; coastal and marine resources; water resources; land resources; forestry resources and Biodiversity resources.   A review of environmental management practices was also undertaken including an assessment of challenges and cross cutting issues such as poverty, health, trade, Disaster Management, population growth and urbanization, culture, energy, tourism and Agriculture.  The report also highlighted the lack of key environmental indicators with which to monitor the state and trends in environmental change over time, between SOE reporting periods. Overall, the report highlighted a continuing trend of the same environmental issues identified in 1993.

Samoa’s last SOE was issued in 2013.  Unlike the first two SOEs, the last SOE adopted an ‘integrated habitat-based approach’ and DPSIR framework to determine the health of key habitats including: (1) upland habitats and cloud forests (2) lowland habitats (3) coastal habitats (4) inshore marine and offshore habitats (5) rural and urban built environment (6) rivers and streams (7) protected areas, sanctuary and key biodiversity areas and (8) atmosphere, weather and climate.   The report concluded that the “biggest immediate threats to Samoa’s biophysical environment are extreme events associated with climate change and variability, such as cyclones, floods and droughts”.  It also concluded that Samoa’s biophysical environment was continually changing as a result of economic development activities, like infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and fisheries, population growth, changing consumption patterns and lifestyles.

Moreover, separate assessments and studies conducted since the last SOE Report have drawn similar conclusions on specific aspects of Samoa’s state of the environment relating to biological diversity, land and forest.  Samoa’s latest forestry inventory undertaken in 2013, for example identified a decreasing trend in forest cover.   Moreover, findings from Samoa’s 6th National Report to the UNCBD published in 2018 which highlighted increasing loss of terrestrial biodiversity as a major issue suggest a continuing decline.  A preliminary assessment in 2019 of Samoa’s Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) based on three key indicators – (1) land cover (2) land productivity and (3) soil carbon, found increased land degradation and loss of forest cover as a result of livestock grazing, land tillage and infrastructural development.

Samoa is now planning to undertake its 4th State of the Environment assessment in conjunction with the development of Samoa’s Third National Communication Report to the UNFCCC which will include an update of the 2007 GHG Inventory.

With support from the UNDP GEF funded TNC and First Biennial Update Report Project, the Government of Samoa through MNRE is looking to recruit a firm with two qualified and experienced experts to undertake Samoa’s SOE assessment and develop the 4th SOE Report.

Duties and Responsibilities

Developing Samoa’s 4th SOE Report

Under the auspices of the Environment Sector, the Ministry as the lead implementing agency, is seeking to recruit a team of 2 senior technical experts (1 Team Leader and 1 Snr. expert) from interested individuals and / or qualified consultancy firms to review and carry out an in-depth assessment of Samoa’s current state of the environment.   The assessment will target drivers, prevailing environmental pressures and their impacts on the state of the environment, current and emerging environmental and ecological trends.  Moreover, the SOE assessment will include a comprehensive review and evaluation of environmental management practices, socio-economic developments that have influenced and likely to continue to influence Samoa’s environment in view of findings from the last 3 SOEs.  The SOE process will also include discussions on resilience, identification of emerging risks including global pandemics and Samoa’s environmental outlook.  

The consultants are therefore expected to develop Samoa’s 4th SOE Report, Samoa’s Environment Outlook and a Targeted Response Framework based on identified findings to facilitate and guide the review and update of the current NESP 2017 – 2021.

SOE Development Partnership

The Government of Samoa (GoS) through MNRE is partnering with SPREP and UNDP to develop Samoa’s 4th SOE Report.  The partnership includes the provision of technical and financial assistance through SPREP’s GEF funded Inform Project to improve access to environmental information and enhance their use for better decision making and UNDP’s GEF funded Third National Communications (3NC) and the first Biennial Update Report (BUR) Project which will update Samoa’s 2007 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory. Objective of the Assignment

To assess Samoa’s current state of the environment, review the effectiveness of management practices and validate key national environmental issues within the proposed SOE framework highlighted below.   Key outputs from the assignment include the following:
  • State of the Environment Assessment
  • 4TH SOE Report
  • SOE Summary Report Card
  • Samoa’s National Environment Outlook
  • National Environment Sector Plan (NESP) Response Framework
The consultants will work closely with the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) who will lead and coordinate Samoa’s SOE process.

SOE Framework

The development of the 4th SOE 2020 will follow the DPSIR Model an internationally accepted framework for SOE reporting, adopted in the development of the 3rd SOE.  The SOE Framework     includes the following aspects:
  1. Drivers
  2. State and Trends
  3. Pressures
  4. Effectiveness of management
  5. Resilience
  6. Risks/Emerging Risks
  7. Outlook
  8. Key Findings
SOE Themes

The updated SOE will focus specifically on the following thematic areas:
  1. Atmosphere
    • Climate change
    • Meteorological, geoscience and climate information
  2. Built Environment
  3. Natural Environment
    • Biodiversity
    • Land and soil
    • Freshwater (surface and ground water)
    • Coastal environment
    • Marine Environment
    • Oceans
  4. Governance
    • Policy and legislative framework
    • Institutional framework
    • Monitoring and enforcement
    • Capacity Building
  5. Economic and social factors
SOE Approach

The approach to the development of the 4th SOE will follow the SOE Framework as set out in this TOR and endorsed by Technical Advisory Committee.


Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates commitment to the GoS mission, vision and values.
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
Functional Competencies:

Knowledge Management and Learning
  • Shares knowledge and experience
  • Actively works towards continuing personal learning, acts on learning plan and applies newly acquired skills
Development and Operational Effectiveness
  • Ability to perform/advise on (as appropriate) a variety of specialized tasks related to administrative support, including project Data Management support, reporting, and logistics for project implementation.
Leadership and Self-Management
  • Focuses on result for the client and responds positively to feedback
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude
  • Remains calm, in control and good humored even under pressure
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities
  • Good inter-personal and teamwork skills, networking aptitude, ability to work in multi-cultural environment

Required Skills and Experience


  • Minimum of a Masters Degree in Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Climate Change, Natural Resources Management or related field.

  • 10 years of working experience in environmental planning/environmental sciences/environmental engineering, natural resources management, climate change and other related areas
  • Proven extensive experience in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) and Integrated Environmental Assessments (IEA).
  • Proven extensive experience with the application of Assessment Analytical Models such as the DPSIR, and modeling and scenario development.
  • Proven experience in community consultations processes
  • Proven experience in working with international or local organizations on similar assignments.  Successful experience in working with UN agencies is an asset.
  • Prior working experience in Samoa and the Pacific or knowledge of its current socio-economic situation would be an advantage;
  • Excellent communication skills and experience in conducting technical presentations with a variety of stakeholders;
  • Excellent knowledge of Excel, Word, Power Point, and Web navigation;
  • Full proficiency in English both written and verbal including ability to review and edit the required project documentation
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