Economist Consultant–GEORGIA TEEB for Sustainable Land Management

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)

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Result of Service

Ultimate result of services

Expert economic advice, training, and technical input to steer work and discussions undertaken by local institutions which are implementing TEEB for Sustainable Land Management in Georgia. The consultant’s expertise should contribute to refinement of sustainable land management policy options in Georgia.

Work Location

Home based


Expected duration

12 months

Duties and Responsibilities

UN Environment 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. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action. UN Environment Ecosystems Division works with international and national partners, providing technical assistance and capacity development for the implementation of environmental policy, and strengthening the environmental management capacity of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

The consultant will work for the Ecosystem Services Economics Unit in the Ecosystems Division to execute a Memorandum of Understanding between The Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity (TEEB) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) called, “Generating Economic and Environmental Benefits from Sustainable Land Management for Vulnerable Rural Communities in Georgia”

The consultant will report to the TEEB Coordinator and Head of Ecosystem Services Economics Unit in the Ecosystems Division and liaise with REC Caucasus, the lead agency for the GEF project.

Project Description:

TEEB for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in Georgia will make an economic case for policies and initiatives that lead to sustainable land management practices. The economic case for implementing a shift towards sustainable land management requires assessing the difference in costs and benefits under a ‘sustainable land management’ (SLM) scenario compared to a ‘business-as-usual’ (BAU) counterfactual. Each scenario comprises (i) specified land management practices, (ii) the social, economic and ecological context for these management practices, and (iii) a temporal dimension, i.e. when the application of the management practices will be applied and when they will bring about changes in positive and negative impacts.

Once the competing scenarios have been defined as per (i) to (iii), in consultation with Georgian stakeholders, the economic case for the shift from one scenario to the other is revealed by quantifying and comparing the provisioning of ecosystem services i.e. the benefits that humans derive from nature. Each scenario will provide each of these ecosystem services to differing extents and over varying time frames. Making the economic case for the sustainable land management requires quantifying and then valuing (where feasible and appropriate in monetary terms) these shifts in ecosystem services. This economic case must be complimented with an assessment distributional outcomes, i.e. the constituency of beneficiaries and also losers from the shift from one scenario to another.

To ensure policy relevance and uptake of valuation results, BAU and SLM scenarios must be developed in consultation with key policy makers. Furthermore, the consultant shall link the economic case to a theory of change and a communication strategy. The application of this TEEB Approach requires a series of sequential steps:

1. Context: what is the economics of land degradation and what are ecosystem services?
Land degradation is a critical area of policy intervention globally and has been championed by various agencies. This background review outlines the importance of land degradation in general and the hitherto ‘invisible’ losses in human wellbeing that arise from it. Ecosystem services will be defined and linked to local case studies.
2. Define scenarios via stakeholder engagement:
The TEEB Approach is a consultative process wherein it is necessary to involve the various constituencies that might be affected by an assessment in a systematic way from project inception through the implementation. The TEEB approach has been applied in over 20 countries and examples of good practice and also lessons learned are to be presented and discussed.
3. Identify data availability and filling data gaps:
Examples will be provided from TEEB country studies vis-à-vis where to search for data, assessing data integrity and also gap-filling
4. Conduct scenario modeling and analysis
Various tools are available including InVEST, Cropwat, SWAT, ARIES and others to carry out the bio-physical element of the scenario analysis.
5. Conduct ecosystem service valuation
There are a plethora of options for carrying out non-market valuation (stated preference methods, revealed preference methods, benefits transfer) with examples of best practice
6. Communicating results
Dissemination of findings and advocacy using various media platforms will be presented, supporting a communication strategy to be implemented in collaboration with REC Caucasus

In addition to following the TEEB Approach, the project will improve the capacity of Georgian stakeholders to carry out future analyses of ecosystem services by leading a hands-on workshop in collaboration with the national nodal agency for the project in Georgia. The workshop, organized by REC Caucasus, will include training on ecosystem service scenario modeling and valuation, an assessment of valuation tools, methods, and outputs, and examples of the application of ecosystem service valuation in policy making.

1. Duties and Responsibilities:

The economist consultant will estimate the economic value of sustainable land management practices to Georgia farmers and other residents. Duties and responsibilities of the consultant will entail background research, government consultation, socio-economic data collection, ecosystem service valuation and training in Georgia. The consultant will supervise spatial modeling of changes in ecosystem functions that result in ecosystem services, but the spatial modeling and biophysical data collection shall be conducted by REC Caucasus. The consultant will:

1. Determine through consultation with partners and government stakeholders in Georgia which sustainable land management options are to be assessed and compared
2. Characterize BAU and alternative sustainable land management scenarios, including pertinent land management practices, context, and temporal dimensions
3. Carry out a review of biophysical and economic data availability and a gap analysis pertaining to the selected scenarios
4. Supervise biophysical data collection and spatial modeling of BAU and SLM scenarios
5. Collect socio-economic data, if required
6. Quantify changes in ecosystem services to all stakeholders comparing BAU and alternative scenarios
7. Value these changes, in monetary terms if feasible and possible
8. Set out the constituencies of winners and losers re: changes in ecosystem service provisioning
9. Develop, in consultation with stakeholders, a theory of change, i.e. what governance, institutional structures, incentives and regulations might be required to implement change
10. Provide a training workshop and manual on modeling and valuation of ecosystem services to Georgian policy makers and land management stakeholders (venue, catering, and invitations are the responsibility of REC Caucasus)

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications: An advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent), preferably with a specialization in environment and development, sustainable development, agricultural economics, environmental economics or related fields is required. A first level degree in combination with 5 additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
Experience: A minimum of fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible experience in policy-mainstreaming or research with a focus on resource economics and development economics. Experience conducting primary research for valuation of ecosystem services is required; Experience working on agri-food and land degradation is highly desirable.
Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in spoken and written English is required.