Legal Expert (EIA and Access Rights)

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)
Home-Based / Remote
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Junior (3-4 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Result of Service

Output 1: Provide technical support to AICHR to advance a rights based framework for EIA in ASEAN through the review and revision of the concept note (delivery date: 15 Dec 2020)
- Draft revised concept note
- Final revised concept note

Output 2: Organize an online workshop with UN regional commissions (UN-ECE, UN-ECLAC) and other agencies to exchange perspectives and experiences on the development of regional instruments on access to information, public participation, and access to justice in environmental matters (delivery date: 15 Jan 2021)

Output 3: Produce a background paper summarizing thestate of affairs in ASEAN in regard to access to information, public participation, environmental impact assessments and justice (delivery date: 28 Feb 2021)
- Background paper

Output 4: Organize an online expert group meeting (EGM) either virtually or in person on rights based approaches to environmental decision making. This EGM would be organized according to the inputs collected from the workshop (delivery date: 30 Jun 2021)
- Concept note
- Draft agenda
- List of participants
- Invitation
- Presentation on background paper
- Facilitate EGM (either virtually or in person).
- A short report on all substantive aspects of the EGM focusing on but not limited to the issues raised and discussions during each session.

Performance indicators for evaluation of outputs:
Timely delivery of deliverables as outlines in the ToR. Regular consultations will be held between the consultants and UNEP.

Work Location



Expected duration

1 December 2020 - 30 June 2021

Duties and Responsibilities

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the United Nations system’s lead entity for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional level. UNEP’s Asia and the Pacific Office geographically serves 41 countries across the region to promote and implement sustainable development solutions. It works in close partnership with key stakeholders including governments, the private sector, civil society, and other UN agencies. Asia Pacific is the largest and fastest growing region in the world. Implementation of environmental commitments under Multilateral Environmental Agreements and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in this dynamic and diverse region requires good laws and strong institutions that adequately enforce them. UNEP supports countries in Asia and the Pacific to achieve this goal. It works with a broad range of partners to support the development or strengthening of environmental laws and their enforcement to achieve countries’ environmental goals in the context of sustainable development.

The Law Division leads the development and implementation of the UNEP Environmental Governance subprogramme, which includes the promotion of streamlined and coherent environmental governance at the international level, the promotion of progressive development and implementation of environmental law, support to international environmental agreements (known as multilateral environmental agreements – MEAs), and promotion of mainstreaming of environmental objectives in the development sector.

The activities of the International Environmental Law Unit in the Law Division are founded on the mission of UNEP to provide leadership and advice on matters related to international environmental law to Governments and other stakeholders. The Unit is responsible for the progressive development of international environmental law and the promotion of environmental rule of law across the UN system. The Unit implements decisions from UNEP’s Governing Body – the United Nations Environment Assembly - where it is responsible and provides legal advice to programmes and activities of UNEP’s other substantive Divisions in the area of international environmental law. In addition, the National Environmental Law Unit of the Law Division focuses on the provision of technical support to countries to develop/strengthen and implement environmental law, and to build capacity of various stakeholders and institutions with respect to the development and implementation of, compliance with, and enforcement of, environmental law, including commitments set out in MEAs.

UNEP has been working on human rights and the environment for almost two decades and engages with members States and other actors to promote, protect and respect environmental rights under the Environmental Rights Initiative. In this role UNEP supported regional negotiations on a Latin American and Caribbean Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental matters instrument until its adoption in San Jose, Costa Rica, on 4 March 2018.

1) Access to Information, Public Participation and Environmental Justice and rights-based framework for EIA in ASEAN.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Charter commits the ASEAN community to “ensure sustainable development for the benefits of present and future generations and to place the well-being, livelihood and welfare of the peoples at the center of the ASEAN community building process”. The move towards an ASEAN Economic Community brings specific challenges to ensure the goal of sustainable development can be met. Effective Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), including Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment (TbEIA) are important tools to achieve this goal.

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) has now conducted four workshops examining the implementation of human rights obligations relating to the environment and climate change. As part of these workshops, AICHR has led the way in examining options for the greater implementation of a rights-based approach in environmental decision-making. AICHR has conducted workshops in 2014, September 2015, and October 2017 and most recently in Yangon in October 2019.

The following ten points were recommended as discussion areas for the content of any Regional Framework on Rights-Based EIA.
1. Supporting Public Participation in EIA.
2. Protection of the Rights of Environmental Defenders.
3. Rights to access information:
a. Identification of documents that are available;
b. Using technology better;
c. Pre-EIA and post-EIA and;
d. Monitoring and Enforcement.
4. Specific references for consultation and inclusion of woman and children within the EIA Process.
5. Grievance mechanism and dispute resolution.
6. Supporting EIA Consultants role in EIA.
7. Trans-boundary EIA.
8. Strategic Environmental Assessment.
9. ASEAN Environmental Quality Standard.
10. Indicators and Statistics.

At the conclusion of the Yangon Dialogue, a number of recommendations were considered to advance the project in 2020 and 2021. These are:

1. Seeking support from ASEAN Secretariat to establish a Joint-Task Force to advance this project;
2. Develop a two-year workplan (including funding options) with UNEP for the development of the draft Framework.

Following on from the Yangon Dialogue, UNEP is continuing to support AICHR and work with UN partners, including ESCAP and OHCHR, to advance a rights based approach to EIA and, in partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat, to enhance access to information, public participation and environmental justice in the ASEAN Community.

UNEP wishes to engage the services of a consultant to:
- Organize an online workshop with UN regional commissions (UN-ECE, UN-ECLAC) and other agencies to exchange perspectives and experiences on the development of regional instruments on access to information, public participation, and access to justice in environmental matters;
- Produce a background paper summarizing the state of affairs in ASEAN in regards to access to information, public participation, environmental impact assessments and justice. Including linkages to the advantages of environmental impact assessments, incorporating environmental access rights.
- Organize an online expert group meeting to produce recommendations on the development of a taskforce in ASEAN to promote the development of a sub-regional instrument. This EGM would be organized according to the inputs collected from the workshop.

The consultant will support the delivery of Outputs. This will focus on supporting the UN-ASEAN partnership to advance rights based framework for EIA and access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters. The consultant, under the supervision of the Regional Coordinator for Environmental Governance, will carry out the activity as stated in this ToR.

Qualifications/special skills

Skills: - Excellent writing and communications skills;
- Excellent research and analytical skills
- Results focused;
- Clear and concise communication;
- Demonstrated capacity to work in a consultative manner, good networking and good inter-personal skills.
Academic Qualifications: - A first level law degree from a university or institution of equivalent status with specialisation in environmental related field, including natural resources management, environmental assessment, environmental policy, or law.
Experience: - A minimum of ten years of experience with environmental law and governance.
- Four years of experience and knowledge of environmental law and governance in ASEAN Member States.
- Prior experience developing project proposals for UNEP and other UN and multilateral agencies
- Experience in designing and delivering large conference/event covering diverse ยarticipants and stakeholders in the area of economic and social development, and /or environment and plastic pollution;
- Working experience in engaging and effective communications with diverse organizations and audiences interacting and coordinating large networks/groups.
Language: - Fluency in oral and written English is required.