Environmental Flow Assessments Expert

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)
Nairobi, Kenya
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Result of Service

A 40 page report as a finished document. Appropriate schematic presentations will be used to represent process flows or linkages between important and related elements. In terms of audience, the Guidelines are intended for use by government agencies responsible for river basin management; National Research institutions, regional organizations and civil society organizations playing a role in the management of water resources. The WIOSAP Project is being implemented in partnership with WIO-C members.

Work Location



Expected duration

This work will run for 60 man days covering a period of 3 calendar months until February 2019. Within this period, the consultant will present the draft document on ‘Review of Alternative Livelihoods Programmes in the WIO Region: Lessons for Future Programmes’ for comments from a 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 Ecosystem 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. This position is located at UNEP/DEPI, Nairobi duty station, under the supervision of the WIOSAP Project Manager.

Background of the Consultancy
The Contracting Parties to the Nairobi Convention have received funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to implement a Programme 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 WIOSAP Project is based on the Strategic Action Programme (SAP) for the protection of the WIO Region from land-based sources and activities that was developed as part of the UNEP-GEF WIO-LaB Programme that was implemented in the WIO Region in the period 2004-2010. The WIOSAP Project is thus a response to a request made by the Contracting Parties to the Nairobi Convention and it presents an opportunity to the governments in the region and their conservation partners to jointly implement strategies of protecting the coastal and marine ecosystems from land-based sources and activities to provide essential goods and services on a sustainable basis.

The Project will be implemented and executed through a ‘Partnerships Approach’ with the Nairobi Convention Secretariat being the Executing Agency. The participating countries include Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia and South Africa.

The Project has four main components:
Component A: Sustainable management of critical habitats focuses on the protection, restoration and management of critical coastal habitats and ecosystems recognizing the enormous value of healthy critical coastal and marine habitats for the future well-being of people in the WIO region.
Component B: Improved water quality focuses on the need for the WIO Region’s water quality to attain international standards by the year 2035.
Component C: Sustainable management of river flows aims at promoting wise management of river basins in the region through implementation of a suite of activities aimed at building the capacity for environmental flow assessments and application in river basins of the region.
Component D: Governance and regional collaboration focuses on strengthening governance and awareness in the WIO region with a view to facilitating sustainable management of critical coastal ecosystems and habitats.

WIOSAP Mode of Implementation
Covering the four Components, 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 in the WIO. It is anticipated that the sum of the learning derived from these projects will be significantly enhanced if the projects within each component share standardised approaches to their design and implementation, to subsequent analyses and to the reporting of results. To facilitate this a set of resources are being made available to project implementation teams. One of these resources will be the WIO Guidelines on Environmental Flow Assessments (E-Flow).

Scope of Work
Under the supervision of the Project Manager, WIOSAP Project, the Contractor will develop practical and concise WIO Guidelines on Environmental Flow Assessments for direct application by the beneficiary countries for the WIOSAP project and practitioners in water resource management.

While it is recognised that a number of excellent documents providing advice and guidelines for E-Flow have been developed in recent years and although many approaches and tools for E-Flow are fairly universal in their potential application, the particular relevance, utility or practicality of one versus another is determined by the specific local context. For example, countries of the WIO differ in the availability of data or in terms of access to the capacity required for E-Flow. Governance influence on the potential use of E-Flow also varies across the WIO (it is recognised that some WIO island states have relatively little need for comprehensive E-Flow assessments). The objective of preparing WIO specific guidelines on E-Flow is therefore to help users in the region to focus on what is most likely to work for them, to assist them to better match the vast array of available tools and approaches to their particular situation. The Consultant will contact institutions that have used the Environmental Flow Assessments tools and integrate their experiences and lessons learnt into the Guidelines as the WIO’s experience. The Consultant will make recommendations for the various approaches and tools that together comprise E-Flow assessment tool(s) to provide the assistance required at the national level.. The insertions of WIO experience or recommendations will likely vary in detail, depending on each case. The section on “How it has worked” in the structure below is meant to capture WIO specific case study on how river flows assessment and integrated river basin management has worked and lessons learnt/recommendations. Where useful examples from the WIO are not available the Consultant may draw on experience from elsewhere, but this will be an exception.

The Guideline structure below is just a guide and the Consultant is expected to provide a revised comprehensive and focused step by step EFAs and implementation and evaluation:
1. A Foundation in Environmental Flow Assessment:
a. Introduction to Environmental Flow (E-Flow);
b. Attributes of hydrological variability;
c. River flow baselines & disturbed flow regimes;
d. Negotiating objectives for river ecosystem status: (i.e. societal choice mediated/guided by science; constraints of poverty; objective-based/scenario-based).
e. Future impact of climate change on environmental flow.
f. A business case for integrated river basin management approach

2. Categorisation of Methods:
a. Hydrological index: (e.g. Tennant/Montana, Flow duration curve/Environment Management Class (EMC), Indicators of Hydrological Alteration (IHA), Range of Variability Approach (RVA), presumptive standard/ELOHA).
b. Hydraulic rating: (e.g. Wetted perimeter, Flow event method).
c. Habitat simulation: (e.g. Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM), CASiMiR).
d. Holistic/Scenario: (e.g. Building Block Method (BBM), Downstream Response to Imposed Flow Transformations (DRIFT)), Habitat Flow-Stressor Response (HFSR) methods, Environmental Flow Calendar/Critical Flow Calendar (EFC/CFC).

3. Undertaking an E-Flow assessment:
a. Environmental flow data in the WIO;
b. Choice of methods/tools;
c. Working with state, industry, NGO and community stakeholders;
d. A decision tree;
e. Funding & technical requirements;
f. Putting an E-Flow team together;
g. Actual E-Flow assessment;
h. Data analysis and presentation;
i. How it has worked, lessons learnt and recommendations

4. Mainstreaming the uptake of E-Flow Assessment outputs:
a. Communication strategies for E-Flow outputs & scenarios;
b. Harmonising policies;
c. Working with (and adapting) governance institutions;
d. Establishing E-Flow information systems;
e. Building E-Flow assessment capacity;
f. How it has worked, lessons learnt and recommendations.

Qualifications/special skills

Advanced university degree (a Master’s degree or equivalent) in river ecology, river management, water engineering or related disciplines.

I. A minimum of 10-years of professional experience in undertaking E-Flow assessments and capacity-building in the associated methods;
II. Experience in working with different stakeholders at both strategic and technical levels and demonstrated quality and timely delivery;
III. Working knowledge of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region and experience of working with the Governments of the WIO region would be preferred;
IV. Familiarity with/appreciable understanding of the work of the UNEP-Nairobi Convention Programme of work:
V. Demonstrated competency in high level and excellent scientific/technical writing;
VI. Ability to work within very short timelines and with minimum supervision.

Excellent command of written and spoken English. Knowledge of Portuguese or French is an advantage.