Sri Lanka nationals: National Biodiversity and Ecosystems Specialist

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Colombo, , LK

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. UNDP Sri Lanka has been working as the key development partner of choice since 1967, to achieve sustainable human development on economic, social and environmental fronts. UNDP Sri Lanka has a portfolio of projects that focus on environmental sustainability and climate resilience. These projects support the government to implement climate smart solutions in critical sectors, mainstream biodiversity into landscape management approaches and production sectors and produce quality and time sensitive reports to global environmental treaties/ conventions.

In this backdrop, Government of Sri Lanka, with the assistance of UNDP, has secured funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for the Project “Partnerships and Innovative Financing to Mainstream Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Management in the Wet and Intermediate Climatic Zones”.  The objective of the project is to conserve globally significant biodiversity by improving land management practices in tea and rubber production areas in the Wet and Intermediate Climatic Zones through innovative Private-Public-Community Partnerships. As per the project’s theory of change, this objective will be achieved through three components:


  • Component 1: Conservation and Restoration of High Conservation Value Forests (HCVFs) in the Wet and Intermediate Climatic Zones
  • Component 2: Innovative Public-Private-Community Partnerships for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Land Management in Plantation Sector
  • Component 3: Knowledge Management, Gender Mainstreaming, Learning, and Monitoring and Evaluation.

To facilitate the Project and its objectives, UNDP Sri Lanka has obtained a project preparation grant (PPG) from the GEF to develop a full project document with supporting documentation for submission to the GEF for Chief Executive Officer’s endorsement with the ultimate objective of developing the project concept into a full project. UNDP Sri Lanka will be assembling a Project Development Team comprising of a highly competent team of experts from various disciplines, including a highly skilled international consultant who will head the team.  The National Biodiversity and Ecosystems Specialist will support the PPG Team Lead by providing technical assessments and inputs on landscape management, ecological considerations of restoring and protecting remnant forests and soil & forest restoration for the development of the Project Document. S/he will also be responsible for organizing consultations and meetings with respective stakeholders to collect necessary data for production of reports. S/he will be responsible to carry out biodiversity assessments in the pilot sites/landscapes and advise on habitat improvement methods/ riparian buffers and corridor creation etc. The intended IC should support the project formulation team to support with critical assessments of ecological priorities to select pilot locations and approaches for landscape restoration.

The National Biodiversity and Ecosystems Specialist will report to the Programme Quality & Design Analyst of the Climate and Environment Team. The Specialist will obtain the overall technical guidance from the PPG Team Lead and work in close collaboration with the Lead National Consultant for Project Development.



The primary scope of the consultancy is to conduct technical assessments and provide inputs on conservation and management of remnant forests and riparian habitats, ecological considerations of restoring degraded forests, improving biological considerations in estate forest plantations and opportunities for establishing biological connectivity between these elements (including surrounding PAs and Forest Reserves) and integrated approaches for improving environmental conditions in the plantation areas through soil and water conservation and other environmentally sustainable plantation practices. These inputs will directly support the development of the Project Document. S/he will also carry out analysis from published secondary data sources, consultations with respective stakeholders to collect necessary data for production of reports. S/he will also carry out rapid biodiversity assessments or use available, recent secondary information to select the best locations in the pilot sites/landscapes and advise on habitat improvement methods/ riparian buffers and corridor creation. S/he will also provide critical inputs to the project results framework, suggest targets and indicators to measure success of project interventions.



1) Preparatory Technical Studies and Reviews (Component A): Prepare inputs and support the required analyses/studies, as agreed with the PPG Team Leader, including:

  1. Provide technical inputs to the GIS mapping and baseline surveys /maps of the specific location of the HCVFs to provide a better understanding of their spatial distribution and options for connectivity;
  2. Through consultations with Forest Department, Tea Research Institute, Ministry of Plantations and RPCs (plantation sector companies) identify the best potential opportunities for improving forest connectivity, watershed protection, protection for habitats of threatened species and other demonstrable land management and silvicultural benefits for piloting the project approaches.
  3. Baseline study of current situation of the remnant forests, including rapid biodiversity surveys, challenges, opportunities, baseline initiatives through government and NGO sector, barriers to change;
  4. Assessment of climate change impacts on tea production and the role of forests and land cover in ameliorating these impacts;
  5. Profiling of target working clusters with the RPCs, with stakeholder engagement including working with the provincial governments e.g. land-use, plantations, forestry sectors on mapping current land use, and identification of sites for on-the-ground interventions;
  6. Design of detailed interventions through project and identification of measurable ecological indicators for project RF as well as establishing relevant environmental and biological baselines for the proposed indicators
  7. Engage PA managers and foresters/wildlife officials in designing landscape level habitat restoration and opportunities for connectivity with surrounding protected areas or larger forest areas/ reserves;
  8. Estimate GHG emissions reductions/avoidance through project interventions in forest conservation, restoration and soil carbon stocking/ degradation avoidance; 
  9. Undertake capacity development needs assessment and prepare the indicative capacity development plan; 
  10. Technical advice for agro-forestry models, forest plantation models, home gardens and smallholder holdings improvement, species selection, soil conservation measures etc;
  11. Assess on-going and planned projects for potential best practices, collaboration potentials and other opportunities for partnership and co-finance; and
  12. Design of detailed interventions through project and identification of measurable ecological indicators for project RRF which shall include the following:
  • Improved status of endemic, vulnerable and threatened faunal and floral species in the pilot priority sites as measured by key freshwater fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and plants (refer Annex E for preliminary list of potential species for monitoring in the PIF),
  • Soil and Water quality indicators: (a) Water quality in rivulets, streams and ponds within pilot priority sites improved as measured by: DO, NO3, PO4, BOD, EC, pH, conductivity, benthic macroinvertebrates, etc. (b) No net changes in land cover, net primary productivity and soil organic carbon in plantations,
  • Where forest and riparian areas within the plantations connect with PAs and FRs define (in consultation between RPCs, FD and DWLC) opportunities for collaborative monitoring, surveillance and protection,
  • Support preparation of the relevant GEF tracking tools and core indicator worksheet,
  • Contribute to the preparation of the UNDP Capacity Development Scorecard,
  • Contribute to the description of project target clusters and mapping exercises, and
  • Assist the safeguards specialist with the assessment of the effectiveness of existing environmental safeguards and conservation programs being undertaken by the plantation companies to assess the risk of any adverse impacts on species and habitats.

2) Formulation of the ProDoc, CEO Endorsement Request and Mandatory and Project Specific Annexes (Component B): Prepare inputs and support the development of final PPG deliverables, as agreed with the PPG Team Leader.

3) Validation Workshop (Component C):

  1. Contribute to the validation workshop; and
  2. Support all necessary revisions that arise during the workshop, as appropriate.

The above deliverables are subject to adjustments depending upon partner needs and emerging priorities. Any changes will be discussed and agreed to, with the consultant. Consultant’s duty station during the contract will be Colombo (home based) with travel to outstations as required.

Expected Outputs/Deliverables

The following results are expected from the work of the consultant:

  • GIS maps, landscape profiles and pilot sites selected in consultation with other experts in the PPG team, private sector and Ministry of Plantation Industries/ 10 days/ 31st August 2020
  • Review report of relevant past and ongoing projects for lessons learnt and application to project design/ 05 days/ 31st August 2020
  • Baseline report on agroforestry, forest restoration, soil restoration and plantation practices: challenges, opportunities, baseline initiatives and barriers to change, and
  • Monitoring indicators and baselines/targets to monitor the health of species and ecosystems (and soil and water quality)/ 15 days/ 30th September 2020
  • Tracking tools and capacity development scorecard prepared,
  • Social and Environmental Screening completed, and    
  • Estimate of the GHG emission reductions/avoidance, with a clear description of what methodology was used to arrive at the figures presented (FAO Ex-ACT or other equivalently rigorous methodology)/ 15 days/ 31st October 2020
  • Appropriate inputs to the final UNDP-GEF project document based on guidance from the PPG Team Leader/ 05 days/ 28th February 2021
  • Support Team leader to respond to comments and amendments suggested by UNDP-GEF technical specialists’ and the GEF secretariat, and
  • Any other emerging priorities which may be adjusted from the days above/ 05 days/ Until 30th April 2021


50 days of work within a 9-month period is estimated for the above described deliverables/tasks. The envisaged time frame of the consultancy is August 2020 – April 2021.


Consultant Profile

The prospective consultant should, as a minimum, have the following competencies and qualifications;


1. Technical

  • Proven ability to undertake development work in programme/ project management
  • Solid experience in working on the national or international level in setting up and maintaining information management systems
  • Ability to engage effectively with other implementing agencies supporting the respective UN agencies, development partners, the private sector, etc.
  • Good understanding of the governance structure and systems in Sri Lanka, including the current political economy context.
  • Proven analytical skills: ability to conduct independent research and analysis, identify issues, and recommend appropriate solutions.

2. Partnerships

  • Maturity and confidence in dealing with senior members of national and private sector institutions,
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.
  • Excellent written communication skills, with analytic capacity and ability to synthesize relevant collected data and findings for the preparation of quality analysis for the development of the report.
  • Excellent coordination skills and result oriented collaboration with personnel with different subject expertise.
  • Excellent communication (both oral and written) and partnership building skills with multi-dimension partners.


3. Results

  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP.
  • Builds strong relationships with clients, focuses on impact and result for the client and responds positively to feedback.
  • Good team player who has ability to maintain good relationships.

1. Education

  • Master’s degree or higher in a relevant field, such as natural sciences, environmental studies or other related fields;

2. Experience

  • Minimum 10 years of demonstrable experience in Forestry and Forest Restoration;
  • Strong relationships with the respective government agencies, private sector and communities;
  • Specialist knowledge of and experience in conducting KBAs, HCS and HCVF assessment;
  • demonstrated experience with carrying out climate change assessments, and experience related to gathering species/ecosystems/soils/water monitoring indicators highly desirable; 
  • Technical expertise in carrying out GHG emission reduction/avoidance calculations and estimates highly desirable; and

3. Languages/ Other

Excellent command of English both in written and spoken.


The application should contain:

  • Cover letter explaining why you are the most suitable candidate for the advertised position and a brief methodology on how you will approach and conduct the work.
  • Updated CV to include qualifications/competencies and relevant experience in similar projects and contact details of 3 professional referees who can certify your competencies, professionalism, quality of writing, presentation and overall suitability to this TOR
  • Individual consultants will be evaluated based on a combination of factors including cover letter, the credentials on offer and brief interview (optional) and the offer which gives the best value for money for the UNDP.
  • Please send the Financial Proposal separately to the following e-mail address: [email protected]  stating the vacancy number/position in the subject line.


All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee: LKR (_______________________________________)


All Inclusive Daily Fee: LKR (_____________________________________)

Amount in words:


Note: Payments will be based on invoices on achievement of agreed milestones i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR and certification of acceptance by the UNDP. The applicant must factor in all possible costs in his/her “All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee” including his/her consultancy and professional fee, travel (economy class flights is required to and from the Duty Station) honorarium, board and lodging, and any other foreseeable costs in this exercise. No costs other than what has been indicated in the financial proposal will be paid or reimbursed to the consultant. UNDP will only pay for any unplanned travel outside of this TOR and Duty Station on actual basis and on submission of original bills/invoices and on prior agreement with UNDP officials. Daily per diem and costs for accommodation/meals/incidental expenses for such travel shall not exceed established local UNDP DSA rates.

For an Individual Contractor who is 65 years of age or older, and on an assignment requiring travel, be it for the purpose of arriving at the duty station or as an integral duty required travel under the TOR, a full medical examination and statement of fitness to work must be provided.  Such medical examination costs must be factored in to the financial proposal above. Medical examination is not a requirement for individuals on RLA contracts.


Payments will be based on the completion of deliverables and submission of written reports specifying the achievement of the deliverables outlined above. The payments will be verified by the Lead National Consultant for Project Development.

  1. 31st August 2020 – 25% of total payment on submitting Deliverables 1 & 2
  2. 30th September 2020 – 25% of total payment on submitting Deliverable 3 & 4
  3. 31st October 2020 – 25% of total payment on submitting Deliverables 5, 6 & 7
  4. 30th April 2021 – 25% of total payment on submitting Deliverables 8, 9 & 10

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workplace, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.





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