UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) - Consultant, Physical Climate Risk and Adaptation

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)


Job Opening

  • Job Opening ID: 228674
  • Job Network : Economic, Social and Development
  • Job Family : Environmental Affairs
  • Category and Level : Consultants, CON
    Duty Station : GENEVA
  • Department/Office : United Nations Environment Programme
  • Date Posted : Feb 20, 2024
  • Deadline : Mar 5, 2024

Result of Service

Through these services, UNEP FI will be able to deliver: 1. The 2024 workplan of the Adaptation and Resilience Investors Collaborative (ARIC), particularly the first workstream which will help development finance institutions (DFIs) to identify and originate climate adaptation investments. 2. The 2024 PRB Climate Adaptation pilots, including technical papers on implementing the Target Setting guidance, and identification of possible areas to update the guidance. Both of these projects will help to scale private financing for climate adaptation and resilience.

Work Location

Working remotely

Expected duration

12 months

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. The overall objective of the UNEP’s Economy Division is to encourage decision makers in government, local authorities and industry to develop and adopt policies, strategies and practices and technologies that promote sustainable patterns of consumption and production, make efficient use of natural resources, ensure safe management of chemicals and contribute to making trade and environment policies mutually supportive. It promotes the development, use and transfer of policies, technologies, economic instruments, managerial practices and other tools that assist in environmentally sound decision making and the building of corresponding activities. The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is the strategic partnership between the United Nations and over 500 banks and insurers. For over 30 years UNEP FI has been shaping and driving the international sustainable finance agenda, setting global standards and growing a global network of leading financial institutions. Through its work-streams and regional activities, peer learning, methodology development, training and research, UNEP FI promotes sustainable finance and helps the financial industry align with and contribute to the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. UNEP FI and Climate Adaptation Since the publication of the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures in 2017, UNEP FI has been working with banks, investors and insurers to assess the potential risks from the physical impacts of climate change. The TCFD sets out how companies, including financial institutions can identify, assess, manage and report on climate-related financial risks. Since 2017, the TCFD framework has been increasingly integrated into corporate and finance sector regulations with the aims of ensuring financial stability and providing greater transparency around climate-related risks and opportunities in financial markets. Recent surveys of UNEP FI members have shown that the main reasons for financial institutions to assess climate-related risks are compliance with these new and expanding regulations, and to respond to climate stress tests imposed by central banks and regulators. Monitoring and reporting on climate-related risks, however, does not mean that financial institutions, businesses, households, communities and economies will necessarily become more climate resilient. UNEP FI has been working to identify how financial institutions can not only identify and report on risks but also support climate adaptation in the real economy, working with banks, insurers and development finance institutions through the following projects and initiatives: • Finance sector: In early 2019, UNEP FI together with the Global Commission on Adaptation reviewed the key challenges in scaling up adaptation finance, and how policy makers and financial institutions could incentivise greater investment in adaptation. Find out more in the report Driving Finance Today for the Climate Resilient Society of Tomorrow. • Insurance can play an important role in scaling finance for adaptation and resilience by pricing and managing the risks. UNEP FI’s collaboration with the V20 group of climate vulnerable countries aims to create more climate resilient economies by supporting insurance and credit solutions for medium, small and micro enterprises through the Sustainable Insurance Facility. • Banks’ exposure to the physical impacts of climate change is set out in UNEP FI’s framing paper Adapting to a New Climate. Based on the recommendations of this report, a working group of 26 signatories to the Principles for Responsible Banking launched the world’s first Adaptation Target Setting guidance for banks. This guidance provides an overarching framework, but 2024 will see an exercise to pilot the guidance across a handful of sectors with a greater focus on implementation through physical risk assessment, impact metrics, financial mobilisation and adaptation planning. • Development finance: Climate risk mitigation will also require concessional finance – development finance institutions (DFIs) are working with UNEP FI to develop the tools necessary to scale up finance for adaptation in emerging markets and developing countries through the Adaptation & Resilience Investors Collaborative (ARIC). Adaptation & Resilience Investors Collaborative (ARIC) Established in 2021, the Adaptation & Resilience Investors Collaborative is centred around three key workstreams: (i) physical risk assessment; (ii) adaptation & resilience (A&R) impact metrics and (iii) capital mobilization. Together these workstreams aim to help DFIs to identify, measure and mobilise financing for A&R impact. With the publication of the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), the assessment of financial risks linked to the impacts of climate change (physical climate risks) and the policies to tackle climate change (transition risks) has become increasingly important for businesses and financial institutions. The impact of the TCFD recommendations has been such that many jurisdictions are requiring listed companies and regulated financial institutions to publicly disclose their climate-related risks and, at the global level, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) has incorporated much of the TCFD recommendations. This focus on climate-related risk assessment and reporting has been on identifying the risks to a business, but the recommendations of the TCFD also underline the possibility of identifying climate-related opportunities. On the physical risk side, the identification of such opportunities that have a positive impact not only on risk reduction but also on wider resilience building, can be very difficult without granular analysis of a counterparty’s adaptive capacity and possible risk reduction mechanisms. The ARIC workstream on physical risk assessment aims to help development finance institutions and financial intermediaries use such physical risk assessment approaches to better identify and to originate investment opportunities for climate adaptation and resilience. Having developed guidance for DFIs to screen for climate-related physical risks and perform due diligence on direct investments in 2022, in 2024 the Collaborative aims to: – Simplify the physical risk guidance document and agree on high-level guiding principles, with a focus on identifying opportunities. – Working with Collaborative members to integrate climate questions and feedback in investee engagement questionnaires. – Better integration of climate-related risk assessments in financial risk assessments. Identifying how DFIs can better quantify risks and use proxies where data is limited. – Supporting adaptation planning in investee companies and projects. Developing guidance on how companies can move from the identification of climate-related risks to the identification and implementation of adaptation actions. This should identify how adaptation plans can be developed through existing screening and due diligence approaches. – Peer-to-peer exchange on climate risk analysis approaches. Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB) Climate Adaptation pilot In 2022, the PRB Banking Board requested the secretariat to explore approaches to integrating climate change adaptation as an impact area. A number of banks across the world are seeing their clients and businesses affected by the impacts of climate change and are looking to positively support their clients in adapting to a warmer climate and offer appropriate products. Following the release of an initial framing paper, Adapting to a New Climate, the PRB formed a working group of 27 banks to set out the necessary steps to integrate climate adaptation into sustainable banking practices. The PRB’s Adaptation Target Setting guidance was released in November 2023 with a four-step approach to scaling finance for adaptation: 1. Understand the context, in terms of national and regional planning and policies, as well as sectoral adaptive capacity. 2. Set a baseline, use climate-related physical risks assessment and scenario planning to understand climate impacts relevant to clients and across the portfolio. This should help the bank to identify priority regions and sectors for adaptation. 3. Set targets, for banks to align finance with global goals and national plans, with a focus on interna strategies, policies and processes, covering climate risk management, client engagement and financial products 4. Develop action plans, to meet targets with a focus on implementation. In order to demonstrate that this guidance can work in practice, the PRB is organising a pilot to test the applicability of the guidance across banking portfolios with a view to demonstrating how the guidance can be implemented in practice across two sectors. Initial discussions with banks have underlined the importance of (i) client engagement, (ii) identifying opportunities including new financing tools and products, and (iii) working with stakeholders such as governments and development banks. This pilot programme will run from March to November 2024 with between 6 and 10 banks across the two identified sectors. Project consultant role UNEP FI is looking for a consultant to lead on physical climate risk and adaptation to support the work of the Adaptation and Resilience Investors Collaborative (ARIC) and the PRB. This will include four primary tasks: 1. Leading the implementation of Workstream 1 of ARIC 2. Support to piloting the PRB Adaptation Target Setting guidance 3. Support to other physical climate risk and adaptation-related projects 4. Periodic engagement in non-UNEP FI initiatives relating to climate adaptation & resilience Objectives: Under the direct supervision of the UNEP FI Climate Lead, working in close coordination with UNEP FI Climate Consultant, the consultant will deliver the following project outputs for UNEP FI: 1. Finalisation of detailed ARIC project workplan for physical risk (workstream1) and timeline 2. Drafting of up to two technical papers on climate adaptation for banks 3. Drafting of technical guidance on aspects of physical risk for ARIC, for example on client engagement, adaptation planning, vulnerability (exact outputs tbd). 4. Revision of PRB Adaptation Guidance (if necessary, based on outcomes from the pilot work) 5. Organising periodic meetings with the ARIC workstream 1 group, preferably one per month plus bi-monthly peer review workshops 6. Supporting the organisation of the PRB climate adaptation technical workshops and outreach to PRB banks participating in the climate adaptation pilot. These outputs should be complemented by support to the UNEP FI leads of the ARIC and PRB working groups on adaptation impact metrics. Specific tasks and responsibilities : Main tasks with their associated sub-tasks, covering all aspects of work to be done 1. Leading the implementation of Workstream 1 of ARIC Sub-tasks: a. Brief review of the priority workstream activities identified in the 2024 workplan. b. Detailed planning of workstream activities. c. Implementation of 2024 workplan. The workplan is still to be finalised and agreed with all members but is likely to include the activities mentioned above: – Refining guiding principles of physical risk assessment for adaptation. – Developing principles for client engagement, including case studies. – Supporting DFIs in integrating climate risk into financial risk assessments – approaches to assessing vulnerability – Developing principles for adaptation planning, exploring a possible collaboration with the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). – Convening presentations of risk assessment tools and case studies developed by ARIC members. 2. Support to piloting the PRB Adaptation Target Setting guidance: Sub-tasks: a. Reviewing planning for the PRB pilot group. b. Organising workshops and convening third party experts where necessary c. Holding meetings with pilot groups and individual banks to gauge progress and support where necessary. d. Developing outputs and tools e. Pulling together case studies, editing and drafting sector technical papers on implementing the Adaptation Target Setting guidance. 3. Support to other physical climate risk and adaptation-related projects, including. a. UNEP FI Risk Centre. A physical risk module has not been defined for the Risk Centre, but learnings from the ARIC and PRB could be disseminated through the Centre, particularly those most useful for risk assessment and disclosure (e.g. vulnerability assessments, regulatory compliance) b. GEF-funded Adaptation Knowledge management project to share lessons in climate resilience investments and strategies. There may be opportunities to integrate learning from this project into ARIC and PRB projects where UNEP FI are supporting greater learning on measuring the impact of adaptation & resilience investments 4. Periodic engagement in non-UNEP FI initiatives relating to climate adaptation & resilience, including: a. Race to Resilience b. OECD Climate Adaptation Investment Framework (CAIF) c. European Commission-led Climate Resilience Dialogue The consultant shall be under the overall supervision of Head of UNEP FI and report directly to the Climate Lead.

Qualifications/special skills

Education: A master’s degree or equivalent is required in economics and/or finance, business, engineering, international relations, environmental studies, or climate change. A bachelor’s degree may also be acceptable with an additional two (2) years of relevant experience. Professional Experience: At least seven (7) year’s working experience in the financial services sector. Experience of building and managing relationships with external stakeholders. Experience of presenting and moderating conference calls and organising events/workshops. Experience of writing/editing technical reports.


Languages: English is the working language of UNEP FI. Knowledge of other United Nations languages is an asset.

Additional Information

Skills & Knowledge: Proven knowledge of the field of sustainable and climate finance is required, preferably in the field of climate adaptation and resilience. Proven knowledge of frameworks, methodologies and tools for the assessment of climate-related risks for the finance sector. Skilled in convening public and private sector stakeholders to create consensus or mobilise action. Ability to juggle varied activities in an organized and timely manner. Excellent communication skills (listening, spoken and written). Strong interpersonal and relationship management skills. Ability to translate new and diverse ideas and concepts into tangible outcomes, to identify and prioritize common interests in a diverse set of points of view. The incumbent is expected to work independently with minimal supervision and must have significant latitude to be self-directed and be highly motivated. Problem solving skills are desirable. An established network of sustainable finance decision-makers, influencers and practitioners is desirable. Fluency in written and spoken English required.

No Fee






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