Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

National Consultant (Protected Area Trust Fund Establishment)

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Job Description

  Qualified female applicants and qualified nationals of non-and under-represented member nations are encouraged to apply.

Persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.

All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

Organizational Setting The Solomon Islands’ natural forests are of recognized global significance given their unique vegetation, tropical oceanic forests and extremely rich Biodiversity. With over 4,500 plant species, 223 bird species and an estimated 14,500 insect species, the Solomon Islands have remarkably high vertebrate endemism, including single island endemism. The Islands are host to restricted range mammals and an outstanding 69 bird species found nowhere else on this planet.

Currently, few recognized protected areas begin to emerge in the Solomon Islands. There are several ongoing local and NGO led efforts to protect and conserve the nation’s rich biodiversity. By enacting the Protected Areas Act (2010) and promulgating the Protected Areas Regulations (2012), the government of Solomon Islands took an important step to provide a legal framework to these initiatives. The Act provides for their formal recognition and directs the establishment of local management committees to manage them through approved management plans. It also provides for the establishment of a Protected Areas Trust Fund (PATF) to support these efforts.

The Integrated Forest Management Project will support the establishment of five (5) new terrestrial protected area regions covering 143,000 hectares under the Protected Area Act. The GEF project aims to improve the management of forests in the Solomon Islands by integrating biodiversity conservation, land degradation, sustainable forest management (SFM) and climate change issues into policymaking at the national level and livelihood activities of local communities living in and around forests. A major component of the project is ensuring the sustainability of protected area management through improved sustainable financing and local income generation. Building necessary capacities and developing relevant institutions in the target areas constitute the primary focus of this work.

Baseline Analysis indicated (by PA financing sustainability scorecards) significant funding gap for management of protected area systems. As such, improved financing for their sustainable management assumes significance which will be addressed by a financing strategy. This will examine options for PA financing and, most importantly, the measures to improve local livelihoods that are compatible with conservation objectives. A vital component of this strategy, as has been envisaged in the project document, is the establishment of a Protected Areas Trust Fund (PATF).

Long-term protected area (PA) financing, both at the site and system level, is critical for sound PA management and sustainability. Effectively established and managed PATF could serve as an important institutional mechanism to achieving such sustainability and the GEF project endeavors to assist the government and relevant stakeholders in this process. This report, developed as a first step in this direction, discusses key design elements of the PATF and how to move forward. It will benefit from review and revision as we progress and gain experience and knowledge in PATF management.

Designing an effective PATF requires due consideration of a number of key elements which govern its Administration and usage, including: i) a broad policy framework with specific goals, objectives and operational parameters; ii) governance (organization and fiduciary management); iii) sources of income /capitalization; iv) Utilization (access and usage); and finally, v) Oversight (monitoring, reporting and verification of fund uses and performance).

Analyzing each element and coming up with detailed plans and processes including identifying actors that can play a lead role in ensuring their progress is key to making PATF a reality on the ground. This is particularly important as PAs vary widely - from small, local village managed nature reserves to large national parks involving many communities. As such, the task of supporting their management plans will vary in complexity depending on their value; their management objectives; the type of threats they face; and the level of stakeholder involvement and the benefits entailed to them.

An area that requires special consideration in order to achieve PA financial sustainability is PATF’s institutional arrangements, as responsibility for PA management and financing are shared across various institutions. It is important that their roles are clarified and harmonized for effective planning and budgeting. Furthermore, efficient and transparent oversight mechanisms for fund capitalization and utilization, including periodic reporting, monitoring and verification need to be in place.

As protected area declaration may entail restricted access to traditional resources by the communities, identifying the socioeconomic benefits and opportunities of having a protected area and developing strategies for how they can be passed onto communities is an important step in PATF planning. The PATF’s implementation should proactively strive towards this objective.

All these aspects are further discussed in this “work-in- progress” report and it is hoped that with the active involvement of all key stakeholders and the support of GEF, communities and Government will work together to make the PATF soon a reality for the benefit of the people of the Solomon Islands and others elsewhere.

Reporting Lines The national consultant reports to Technical Adviser for the FAO Project in Solomon Islands GCP/SOI/001/GFF.

Technical Focus Following inception meeting(s) with the Project Management Office, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), Ministry of Forestry and Research (MOFR), Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL), Extension staff and Research Divisions of focal and collaborating Ministries, Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT), Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS), Provincial Governments and potential Rural Training Centers, regional and national universities and other stakeholders, specific tasks will need to be carried out. The PATF is prescribed and called for under the guidelines of the Protected Areas Act (2010) of Solomon Island and specifically sections 13, 14, 15, (part 4) and other PATF related sections of PA Act 2010. The national consultant will develop PATF guidelines and its procedure for implementation arrangements in close consultation with the International Consultant. The National consultant will also work in close coordination with the LTO, CTA, and the NPC as well as with the Environment and Conservation Division (ECD) of MECDM and MoFT and take part and advice in finalizing the entire study. As the consultant on-ground, it is important to ensure effective operationalization of the PATF and to ensure transparency, and detailed guidelines and procedures are to be developed and issued through an appropriate institutional mechanism (PATF Secretariat) including making them available online for public information.

Tasks and responsibilities The National Consultant in coordination with the International Consultant will perform the following tasks.

  • Support and assist the International Consultant in establishment of PA Trust Fund under the PA Act 2010 in consultation with other relevant legislation giving consideration to the Public Financial Management Act (2013) and other financial instructions and provide optional models (PATF scope, legal governance and financial structure, capitalization and resource mobilization strategy, fund utilization strategy) with legal mandates and operational plans, identifying the most suitable for Solomon Islands
  • In consultation with the International Consultant, review and advice on existing financial mechanism and conduct assessment on long term financing needs for PA management
  • Develop strategic plan and financing mechanism for the PATF including development of implementation guidelines for the management of National and/or Provincial PA Trust Fund through close liaison with the International Consultant
  • In close coordination with the International Consultant provide guidance on strengthening Protected Area Advisory Committee (PACC) to effectively manage PA Trust Fund
  • Support and assist the International Consultant in planning, designing of national consultation for all provinces (virtually or physically, whichever is possible) to be implemented by a national consultant.
  • Undertake stakeholder consultations through workshops, interview and brief surveys, including all provinces in coordination with the International Consultant
  • Conduct workshop to review and validate second draft prior to finalization in coordination with the International Consultant
  • Assist in the International Consultant in the lead, design and conduct of two trainings for community and land owners on the establishment and management of PA Trust Fund
  • Support and assist the International Consultant in providing guidance on establishment of compensatory forestry fund from logging companies through levy for logging operations and link it to PA Trust Fund and to develop other options where such levies may be derived from including from environment and biodiversity in consideration of payment for ecosystems services, and tourism levies
  • Preparation of plans to support strengthening of institutional arrangements for land owners’ associations in liaison with the International Consultant
  • Provide guidance on establishment of mechanism for site-based microenterprises with Technical Support and financial mechanisms through alternate income generation activities in liaison with the International Consultant
CANDIDATES WILL BE ASSESSED AGAINST THE FOLLOWING Minimum Requirements
  • Academic Qualifications and Experience: Bachelor degree in conservation finance, environmental economics, forestry, natural Resource Management, law and finance, business development or related field. Master and Doctorate degree in above mentioned or related field will be an asset.
  • Minimum 10 years of demonstrable experience in the field of forest and biodiversity conservation focused on conservation financing;
  • Excellent speaking and writing skills in English are necessary;
  • National of the Solomon Islands or resident with a work permit.
FAO Core Competencies
  • Results Focus
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Building Effective Relationships
  • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement
Technical/Functional Skills
  • Proven track record on designing PA Trust Fund;
  • Previous experience of working with UN and development partners in the design and implementation of GEF-funded projects;
  • Good understanding and knowledge of environment sector financing issues in the Pacific region will be an asset;
  • Knowledge of, and adherence to GEF’s principles and guidelines for engagement with indigenous peoples.
  • Demonstrated experience in working with national governments, communities, and diverse stakeholder groups;
  • Demonstrated experience in working and interacting with a wide range of national and local terrestrial, resource users/management entities and protected area stakeholders; and working experience in Pacific’s island, preferably in the Solomon Island.
  • High level planning, organizational and time management skills, including flexibility, attention to detail and the ability to work under pressure to meet challenging deadlines;
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills of a high order, including the ability to formulate recommendations and advice senior management on tackling difficult scenarios;
  • Leadership qualities, including the ability to make sound judgment, meet challenges constructively and creatively;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including ability to establish strong cooperative relationships with senior government officials, civil society and donors.
  • Ability to quickly adapt to change, and to remain calm under pressure; and
  • Proven cross-cultural communication and the ability to function effectively in an international, multicultural environment.
  • Ability to make use of IT and reporting software to locate, compile and analyse literature related to the expected outputs
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