Result of Service
The goal is to increase the number of governments (preferably at the national level but including sub-national and local if opportunities arise) that commit to take relevant actions to address plastic products pollution using a life cycle approach. Such actions should be reflected as governments becoming signatories of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, or as part of National Action Plans when these are being supported by UNEP, or as pledges to the Clean Seas campaign, etc. The consultant will work in partnership with other colleagues across UNEP offices (regional offices in LAC and Africa, country offices, Ecosystems and Science Divisions, Resources and Markets Branch…) as well as possibly with UNEP partners (e.g. GPAP) to support governments in designing effective policy interventions and quantify baselines of plastic pollution and expected improvement targets. The consultancy will also include ad hoc support to the “Hotspot Analysis Tool for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP-HAT)” (http://scp-hat.lifecycleinitiative.org/) work, such as written and timely contributions to the second edition of a publication with UNDP and UNFCCC; contributing to up to two country reports which interpret SCP-HAT results in the context of country strategy design (delivered by newly created regional centres of excellence); etc.
15 December 2021 to 31 May 2022
Duties and Responsibilities
Background (Org. Setting)
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 Economy Division works with international governments and non-governmental organizations, national and local governments, business and industry to develop and implement policies, strategies and practices that are cleaner and safer, incorporate environmental costs, use natural resources efficiently, reduce pollution and risks for humans and the environment, and enable the implementation of conventions and international agreements.
The Life Cycle Initiative, hosted by UNEP, (herein referred to as the Initiative) is a global public-private partnership that works to put life cycle thinking into effective practice. Since its inception, the Initiative has helped to generate global consensus on methodology, tools, and guidance on applying Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). It has also worked on applying life cycle thinking and approaches in various industrial sectors and policy.
UNEP has been inspiring governments in acting against plastic pollution, e.g. with the Clean Seas campaign since 2017 and collaborating with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation since 2018 on the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment (NPEGC). The plastic pollution crisis is complex, and focusing on key actions that significantly help in reducing impacts in a concerted manner is difficult. The COVID-19 has been exacerbating the plastics pollution crisis faced by the governments all over the world and green recovery efforts are needed. The National Guidance for Plastics Pollution hotspotting and shaping action published by UNEP in 2020 helps in quantifying the problem and focusing the attention on the key plastic flows (products, applications, polymers) that cause the biggest leakage threat, and shapes action around the instruments most suited to each government. Under NPEGC, UNEP is requesting government signatories to reporting quantitatively measurable progress annually until 2025 on 6 key policy areas identified for their systemic potential in shifting the needle on the plastic pollution crisis. These actions can also help inform national and regional Action Plans on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution (NAPs) as requested in several UNEA resolutions. The NPEGC government signatories have requested UNEP to provide further policy and technical support to help reduce their plastic pollution. There is also strong willingness from many governments in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as Africa to show more leadership in the fight against plastic pollution, with concrete actions.
The focus of the consultancy is to support UNEP’s Life Cycle team in enhancing the implementation of actions addressing plastic pollution among governments, with a specific focus in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, but not exclusively, based on the assets and initiatives hosted in UNEP.
Specific tasks and responsibilities
• Work with UNEP colleagues in regional and country offices in identifying and interpreting existing or ongoing background information that can help in shaping action to address plastic pollution; this may include results from the UNEP-IUCN National Guidance for Plastics Pollution hotspotting; key findings of the LCA meta-studies on single-use plastic products or other methodologies. Such information could help also in establishing a baseline on plastic pollution and track quantitatively measurable progress;
• Based on the existing or ongoing background information, support governments in identifying actions needed and instruments to be used (with a focus on the 6 broad impact areas suggested in the Global Commitment); this support may involve technical discussions around specific areas such as life cycle based policies to address single-use plastic products pollution;
• Encourage governments to commit to the 6 areas of the Global Commitment and become signatories, and/or to join the Clean Seas campaign (or focus on a subset of the 6 policy areas and pledge it/them to the Clean Seas); The following are the target governments (although the list is in no way exclusive and can be extended to other interested countries AND the consultant is not expected to have all these governments participate):
o National: Kenya; Mozambique; Rwanda; Seychelles; South Africa; Tanzania; Colombia; Ecuador; Mexico; Grenada
o Sub-national and Local: several cities and states in Brazil and Mexico
• Support the development of outreach documentation to inspire and help NPEGC governments setting up baseline and target and quantifying progress;
• Support UNEP colleagues in drafting technical guidance / table of contents on the NAP on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution with strong considerations of a life cycle approach
• Support the ongoing development and dissemination of the SCP-HAT, including liaising with partners and governmental stakeholders to develop 2 country reports which interpret SCP-HAT results in the context of country strategy design (e.g. enhancing NDCs, informing economic recovery design, etc.).
• Contribute to the publication developed by UNFCCC-UNDP on how SCP-HAT can enhance NDCs (short section of ca. 1 page in larger publication).
• Provide day-to-day support for other project-related activities within the Unit/Secretariat.
• Create and maintain cross-unit collaboration opportunities in line with the goals of the LC Initiative, and as required by head of unit.
Academic Qualifications: Advanced university degree in environmental management, industrial/ environmental engineering, ecological economics, environmental law / policy, international relations, business administration or a related technical field.
Experience: • At least 7 years work experience in project assistance on sustainability in an international organizational setting (in the field of plastic pollution is desirable);
• in-depth knowledge and practical experience in a broad range of sustainability topics, either through professional or educational experience. Basic knowledge of life cycle thinking and life cycle assessment;
• familiar with sustainable consumption and production, resource efficiency and their linkage with the UN SDGs (sustainable development goals). Previous interaction with policies to address plastic pollution is highly desirable.
• Good interpersonal and organizational skills, and ability to balance multiple projects and tasks at once as well as being able to respond effectively to changing priorities;
• Outstanding ability to communicate with stakeholders in both private and public sectors;
• Knowledge of the UN System and work of its Member States is an advantage.
Language: Fluency in English (oral and written) is required. Mastering of another UN official language is an advantage
THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.