Assessment Of Transboundary Environmental Issues Affecting Biodiversity In Selected Shared Freshwater Ecosystems

African Union (AU)

Nairobi, Kenya 🇰🇪


The Africa Blue Economy Strategy is endorsed at the highest political level of the continent. The Strategy incorporates key critical vectors for promoting blue economy development of the continent, including fisheries, aquaculture and ecosystem conservation; shipping, maritime safety and trade; climate change, environmental sustainability and ecotourism; sustainable energy and extractive mineral resources; governance, institutions and job creation.

The objective of the Africa Blue Economy Strategy (ABES) is to guide the development of an inclusive and sustainable blue economy that becomes a significant contributor to continental transformation and growth, through advancing knowledge on marine and aquatic biotechnology, environmental sustainability, marine ecosystem utilization, management and conservation and carbon sequestration, the growth of an Africa-wide shipping industry, the development of sea, river and lake transport, the management of fishing activities on these aquatic spaces, and the exploitation and beneficiation of deep sea mineral and other marine resources.

The Africa Blue Economy Strategy is consolidated based on the following five thematic technical areas:

  1. Fisheries, aquaculture, conservation and sustainable aquatic ecosystems;
  2. Shipping/transportation, trade, ports, maritime security, safety and enforcement;
  3. Coastal and maritime tourism, climate change, resilience, marine ecosystem, environment, infrastructure;
  4. Sustainable energy and mineral resources and innovative industries; and,
  5. Policies, institutional and governance, employment, job creation and poverty eradication, innovative financing.

The continent is also endowed with networks of rivers and lakes. The lakes, rivers inhabit significant number of biodiversity and the ecosystems provide sources of livelihoods, food security and wealth. These African aquatic ecosystems inhabit living and non-living resources; however the unsustainable exploitation of these resources are threatening the biodiversity, resources and environmental sustainability. Several factors are threatening aquatic biodiversity in Africa aquatic ecosystems. These include overexploitation of living species, pollutions from several sources (land-based municipal and agricultural activities), uncontrolled introduction of exotic species in aquaculture systems, effluents from mining activities. Consequently, important aquatic resources are becoming increasingly susceptible to both natural and artificial environmental changes. Thus, conservation strategies to protect and conserve aquatic life are necessary to maintain the balance of nature and support the availability of resources for future generations.
Therefore, AU-IBAR, with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), is implementing a 3-year project on “Conserving Aquatic Biodiversity in African Blue Economy’ whose overall objective is to enhance the policy environment, regulatory frameworks and institutional capacities of AU member states and regional economic communities to sustainably utilize and conserve aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems. The specific objectives of the project are as follows:

  1. Ratify and/or align relevant international/regional instruments related to blue economy themes (with specific reference to protecting and conserving biodiversity)
  2. Optimizing conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity while minimizing conflicts among blue economy sub-themes
  3. Strengthening measures for mitigating the negative impacts of coastal and marine tourism, oil, gas, deep sea mining and climate change on aquatic biodiversity and environment.
  4. Strengthening gender inclusivity in aquatic biodiversity conservation and environmental management


Shared ecosystems face major threats, which include depletion of natural resources due to the rising population pressure, expansion in human activities; over-exploitation, unsustainable agricultural practices, over-fishing, pollution, rampant conversion and destruction of wetlands in ecosystems. These threats, if not checked on time, may have significant negative ecological, environmental, and social impacts. There are several environmental problems (or issues) what tend to undermine the sustainability of biodiversity in shared aquatic ecosystems. It is also critical to identify environmental and biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Since most environmental issues are transboundary in nature across territorial boundaries, it is important to develop regional strategies for conservation of aquatic biodiversity and the corresponding joint action plans.

A joint management plans and protocols, involving all the blue economy actors as well as other stakeholders including private sector, women and youth) for inclusivity, will be developed that would provide space for all entities within the framework of conservation of aquatic biodiversity and the environmental sustainability. The joint management plans and protocols would partly be underscored by international conventions and treaties on environment and natural resources such as Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) that are available under international law to provide framework for countries to collaborate on a broad range of global environmental challenges (regional groupings). Amongst the global environmental issues that MEAs are designed to respond to include: loss of biological diversity, adverse impacts of Climate Change, depletion of the ozone layer, hazardous waste, organic pollutants, plastics, marine pollution, trade in endangered species, destruction of wetlands and critical habits for significant number of biodiversity, among others etc. 

In the above regards the project would conduct assessment of selected two transboundary freshwater ecosystems to identify critical aquatic environmental issues affecting biodiversity and develop framework for regional cooperation on conserving biodiversity. The project would develop/strengthen mechanisms for joint management plans and protocols to foster regional cooperation on conservation of aquatic biodiversity in shared freshwater ecosystems.


The overall objective of this consultancy is to conduct assessment of selected transboundary freshwater aquatic ecosystems to identify critical aquatic environmental issues and sources affecting aquatic biodiversity and develop regional protocol and strategy for conservation of aquatic biodiversity and joint action plans.


  1. To liaise with the relevant persons at AU-IBAR for adequate briefing and clarification of tasks.  
  2. Prepare inception report within 5 days of signature to the contract outlining methodology, approach and proposed  locations for visit
  3. To identify and consult regional economy communities, specialized regional institutions, other relevant stakeholders relevant to aquatic biodiversity conservation and environmental management
  4. Conduct assessment of critical environmental issues and  source relevant information, data, literature, existing regional environmental frameworks and documentations  on  transboundary aquatic environmental problems affecting biodiversity in selected shared freshwater ecosystems
  5. Conduct assessment of status of selected existing initiatives on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) at regional levels and determine lessons and best practices
  6. Identify transboundary  environmental and biodiversity hotspots 
  7. Assess, identity and categorize biodiversity within identified aquatic ecosystems at regional levels and threats to their sustainability and  status of vulnerability
  8. Propose mechanisms for strengthening the capacity of regional institutions to sustainably manage critical transboundary ecosystems
  9. Propose coordination mechanism for building coalition, alliance or strengthen inter-agency collaboration among key players in the conservation of aquatic biodiversity and environmental management
  10. Develop regional protocol and strategy for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity and joint action plans in identified shared freshwater ecosystems
  11. Facilitate stakeholders’ validation workshops of the strategy
  12. Develop comprehensive report at the end of assignment


The successful candidate should have an advanced degree in disciplines related to conservation of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems, including marine environmental protection, environmental sciences, aquatic conservation sciences, fisheries management and aquaculture development. A PhD degree will be an added advantage


General Experience 

  1. Familiarization with national institutions with mandates in aquatic biodiversity,  conservation and protection and/or   environmental management
  2. Familiarization with functions of regional economic communities  and  specialized regional institutions with mandates in fisheries, aquaculture, aquatic biodiversity and environmental protection
  3. Knowledge of AU and global instruments related to aquatic biodiversity conservation and environmental management
  4. Knowledge of experience of shared water bodies , including great lakes, rivers and biodiversity,  governance systems, transboundary issues, challenges and opportunities
  5. Experience on watershed approach as coordinating framework for environmental management 

Specific Experience

  1. At least 7 year  working  experience in research and development related institutions and of conducting research and assessment in aquatic natural resources systems
  2. Demonstrated evidence of performing similar tasks related to this consultancy in the last 5 years
  3. Record of experience in enhancing institutional collaboration in the governance of aquatic ecosystems and environments
  4. Evidence of formulating protocols or strategies for environmental governance,  biodiversity conservation and to enhance transboundary cooperation in shared aquatic ecosystems
  5. Familiarization of  Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), their status of implementation, challenges and lessons in Africa

Other Essential Skills and Experience

  1. Diplomacy and good interactive  skills necessary for dealing with senior officials in Government, RECs, other regional organizations, and donor/development organizations in Africa;
  2. Experience in facilitating workshops
  3. Good networking skills and ability to maintain positive and constructive
  4. Very strong writing, analytical and communication skills are necessary.
  5. Proficiency in at least 2 AU languages


  1. Inception report developed outlining methodology
  2. Assessment of environmental challenges affecting aquatic biodiversity in shared freshwater ecosystems conducted
  3. Aquatic biodiversity and environmental hotspots identified in selected shared freshwater  ecosystems
  4. Mechanisms for institutional collaboration on aquatic biodiversity conservation and environmental management developed
  5. Regional protocol and strategy  for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity in transboundary freshwater and action plans  for rolling out in selected AU member states developed 
  6. Comprehensive report of the consultancy developed and approved

Criteria for Scores: 

CriteriaScores (%)
General Experience20
Specific Experience45
Other skills10
Proficiency in AU languages (at least  in 2)5

Gender Mainstreaming: 

The AU Commission is an equal opportunity employer and qualified women are strongly encouraged to apply.   

Duty stations:  

The consultants will be stationed in Nairobi with travel on specific assignments agreed with the AU-IBAR Management.   


The duration of this assignment is 45 calendar days but can be accomplished within 60 days from the date of signature of the contract. 


The professional fee for this consultancy is USD 13500. Costs related to an approved travel for this assignment will be the responsibility of AU-IBAR. 

Expenses for missions will be covered separately in accordance with the applicable African Union Commission rules and regulations.  

Supervision and reporting 

The candidate will be under the direct supervision of the project team leader with oversight supervision by the Director of AU-IBAR. The team leader will have the responsibility of approval of reports

Evaluation Criteria: 

The applications will be evaluated on the basis of the relevant technical qualifications, experience and competence of the candidates. 
 Submission of Applications

The deadline for submission of proposals is 02nd March 2022, 15.00 hours, Nairobi Local Time. 
The address for submission of applications is: Applications including detailed curriculum vitae (CV) should be submitted through email to: [email protected]

Documents forming part of this application:

  • Terms of reference
  • Declaration on exclusion criteria
  • Data protection and privacy statement 

Documents to be submitted with the application

  • Technical proposal including references of previous relevant work experience
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Identification documents e.g. passport with relevant biodata pages
  • Tax status/registration documents
  • Signed declaration on exclusion criteria
Terms of references (English version) (170.65 KB)170.65 KB
AU-IBAR declaration form (32.5 KB)32.5 KB
AU-IBAR Personal Data Protection and Privacy Statement (149.08 KB)149.08 KB

Closing Date: Wednesday, 2 March, 2022





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development