Climate security consultant

SRSG for West Africa/United Nations Office in West Africa
Dakar, Senegal
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
5-7 Years
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)
Languages Required: 


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Result of Service

Expected outputs

Specific outputs will be determined jointly by the consultant, UNOWAS, the DPPA-DPO Western Africa Division and the CSM within two months of commencing the consultancy.

Work Location

Dakar, Senegal

Expected duration

12 months

Duties and Responsibilities

The consultant will provide in-depth technical, advisory and partnership-building support for the implementation of UNOWAS’ mandated activities on climate security and the mission’s new Climate Security Project.

Given the constraints of COVID-19, including travel and movement restrictions in the mission area (Dakar, Senegal) and region of operation (West Africa/Sahel), the first stage of the consultancy (until December 2020) will likely focus on desk research and analysis and activities to support knowledge management. The expectation is that during the second stage of the consultancy (from January 2021), constraints and restrictions relating to COVID-19 will be reduced in Senegal and throughout the region, allowing for physical consultations with key partners and in-country missions and assessments.

Key tasks include:

Knowledge management
• Support UNOWAS in conducting a study on climate-related security risks in West Africa and the Sahel in partnership with partners from across and beyond the UN system.

• Examine current and planned climate change policies/strategies/action plans by governments in the region and suggest entry points, methodology and actions for integrating a conflict-sensitive approach to these documents.

• Take stock of and draw lessons from existing UN and non-UN partner programmes and activities on climate security in West Africa and the Sahel, with a particular focus on the integration of gender considerations and make recommendations for sustained UNOWAS support on climate security.

• Contribute to knowledge management activities of the CSM and the UN Community of Practice on Climate Security, including by providing analytical reports and context specific updates and by testing the UN Climate Security Toolbox.

• Liaise closely with the CSM and assist in coordinating UNOWAS’ partnership with ECOWAS on climate security and future partnerships with other sub-regional bodies.

• Map key climate security stakeholders in West Africa and the Sahel.

• Build relationships with universities, think tanks and experts from the region and review the work produced by African climate change scientists and experts on climate security issues.

• Support the establishment of a roster of climate change-related security risk experts in West Africa and the Sahel

Capacity building
• Provide technical support to UNOWAS on the impact of climate change on security from a regional conflict prevention perspective and provide analytical inputs to regular UNOWAS reporting requirements.

• Contribute to the development of interdisciplinary training materials for UN and non-UN partners on climate-related security risk analysis and response in the region.

• Keep abreast of new thinking, research and innovations, while also capitalizing on local traditional knowledge, related to climate security and synthesize and regularly exchange such information with UN and non-UN partners

Qualifications/special skills

Competency: Communication

Excellent report writing, editing and communication skills. Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailor’s language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.


Demonstrates ability to complete studies on climate changes and propose solutions, provide technical support on the impact of climate change on security from a regional conflict prevention perspective, Shows good analytical skills. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.


Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others' ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

Academic Qualifications: Advanced degree in climate change, environment, or ecology-related studies or in international affairs or a related field
Experience: At least 7 years of working experience related to climate change/environment, resilience, conflict prevention and sustaining peace or a combination of experience in this area. Experience with conflict analysis and resolution, both theory and practice Experience working in an international organization, preferably with the United Nations; experience working in a multicultural environment with respect for diversity is required At least 3 years of field experience, preferably in Africa. Strong understanding of global environmental and climate change policy and practice
Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat.
For the post advertised, fluency in both languages, (both oral and written) is required

Additional Information

This consultancy is located in the Political Affairs Section of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), based in Dakar, Senegal. UNOWAS is a regional Special Political Mission (SPM) with a mandate from the Security Council. As such, it works to enhance the contribution of the United Nations in preventing conflict and sustaining peace in West Africa and the Sahel, promoting an integrated regional approach to addressing the impact and root causes of stability and conflict in the region. The consultant will support the mission’s efforts to analyze and address climate-related security risks in the sub-region, in collaboration with the DPPA-DPO Western Africa Division and the Climate Security Mechanism (CSM) at UN HQ in New York and other partners from across and beyond the UN. The CSM is a joint initiative by DPPA, UNDP and UNEP and the work of UNOWAS on climate security will feed into the global CSM portfolio.

On 31 January 2020, in renewing UNOWAS’ mandate for three years until 31 January 2023 (S/2019/1009 and S/2020/85), the Council requested UNOWAS to “take into consideration the adverse implication of climate change, energy poverty, ecological changes, and natural disasters, among other factors, including by assisting the governments of the region and the United Nations system in undertaking risk assessments and risk management strategies relating to these factors.” Yet, already in 2019, in response to requests from the Security Council (S/PRST/2018/3; S/PRST/2018/16; S/PRST/2019/7), UNOWAS had begun to address the impact of climate change on security in the region by conducting research and risk assessments with a few UN Country Teams in the region. A partnership was also established with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and consultations were carried out with the World Bank, civil society and think tanks.

Climate change is increasingly recognized as a risk multiplier in the region. Extreme weather events such as severe droughts, sandstorms, erratic rainfall and higher temperatures have rendered populations more vulnerable. This is especially worrisome as over 70 percent of the populations in West Africa and the Sahel depend on rain-fed agriculture and livestock rearing for their livelihoods. The impact of climate change on their lives means greater food and water insecurity, forced migration and loss of traditional income-generating activities, among other challenges. The adverse effects of climate change therefore lead to greater competition over natural resources. This can create tensions between ethnic groups and reinforce inter-community conflicts. In places that are already afflicted by instability and conflict, such as the Sahel region, climate change is exacerbating conflict and violence. The spike in deadly clashes between farmers and herders reflects this trend. Climate change also has a distinct impact on women and gender inequality in settings that are affected by violent conflicts and political instability, such as in West Africa and the Sahel.