Outreach and Advocacy Strategy Development Consultant (Water Action Track)

Global Center on Adaptation (GCA)
Home-Based / Remote
Position Type: 
Experience Level: 
10+ Years


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Climate adaptation and water. Water risks, including growing scarcity, pollution, drought, and flooding, already pose a significant threat to cities, agriculture, and industry across the world. Climate change will make things worse, reducing rainfall and water supply in the heavily populated mid-latitude regions of the world, altering the timing of water availability in many places, and increasing the severity of drought and flood events. The Global Commission on Adaptation’s landmark report, Adapt Now, highlights the impacts of these changes on humanity: “By 2050, the number of people who lack sufficient water at least one month per year will soar to more than 5 billion, from 3.6 billion today, causing unprecedented competition for water. This competition will in turn fuel regional conflicts and migrations, tearing the already frayed fabric of society, especially in developing countries.” Water is the principal medium through which climate change will impact society, leading Paul Dickinson, CEO of CDP, to observe eleven years ago that “If climate change is the shark, then water is its teeth.” In order to increase the resilience of cities, agriculture, industry, and vulnerable populations across the world, we need to implement adaptation measures that target growing water-related risks.

The World Health Organization has identified climate change as ‘the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century’. With extreme weather conditions putting populations around the world at risk of food and water insecurity. ‘Climate change effects water supplies and human health. […] Water can help fight climate change and protect health.’ And UNICEF mentions that ‘climate change poses significant risks to children’s health and well-being by heightening threats of disease, food insecurity and diminished access to safe water and sanitation.’ As observed in the COVID-19 pandemic without clean water and proper sanitation, it is not possible to combat the spread of this coronavirus, nor the next.

Water Action Track

The Water Action Track is a global partnership established by the Global Commission on Adaptation. The Water Action Track consist of more than 30 leading organizations active in the water sector. The Global Center on Adaptation, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (Government of the Netherlands), the World Bank, and the World Resource Institute are core partners.The overarching goal of the Water Action Track is to: To accelerate and scale up climate adaptation using water and the water sector as an essential enabler and connector to safeguard a sustainable and resilient future for all everywhere.

The expected outcomes of the Water Action Track are the following:

  • Raised awareness of the importance of water for climate action including a better understanding of threats and opportunities and models, to value water investments for climate actions and sustainable and resilient solutions.
  • Outlined opportunities and ways to invest, govern and innovate in dedicated programs and mainstreamed across climate and sustainability programs of governments, multilateral development banks and the private sector.
  • A joint advocacy, communication and outreach strategy that has effectively galvanized support (global coalition) and ensured the incorporation of water (management) into the Covid-19 recovery investments and the national climate programs and actions , through the NDCs, and triggered programs (transformative and innovative), projects and plans and for impactful climate action.

The expected outputs of the Water Action Track are the following:

  • Water Action Track Positions papers, for example on ‘COVID-19’.
  • A joint advocacy, communication and outreach strategy that galvanizes support (global coalition) and ensures the incorporation of water (management) into the Covid-19 recovery investments and the national climate programs and actions.
  • A Community of Water Adaptation Practices to support learning and sharing, a vibrant dialogue around key issues, and focused problems solving within and outside the water sector.
  • A dedicated and well-capacity support facility to integrate water into the NAPs and NDCs.

Barriers for scaling up and acceleration of adaptation in the water sector.


What is needed to accelerate adaptation measures is increased awareness of climate risk, appropriate policies, institutions with appropriate capacities, regulation, agile planning, and implementation with a clear commitment of financial contributions by public and private sectors. Political support at all levels is essential to ensure that climate adaptation remains high on the agenda.Moreover, climate-risks need to be mainstreamed into decision-making by the public and private sector and capacity needs to be built across all formal and informal stakeholders to adopt and adapt good practices. Stakeholder participation and coordination is essential to align interests across communities.

In particular the following factors need to be addressed to scale up:

  • Political will and administrative commitment. Political support at all levels is essential to ensure that climate adaptation is needed to ensure that climate adaptation remains high on the agenda. Political will needs to be supported by commitment from the government’s administrative function to ensure that implementation is accelerated and scaled up as much as possible.
  • Awareness. There is a rapidly growing awareness and acceptance that climate is changing at an unprecedented pace. However, climate-risk still needs to be mainstreamed into decision-making by the public and private sector. There is also a need to increase awareness on alternative solutions such as nature-based solutions and other innovative approaches.
  • Finance. In addition, to a growing finance gap many cities and areas have limited ability to autonomously mobilize financial resources needed for climate adaptation. Innovative solutions such as nature-based solutions are perceived as high-risk by potential investors. More appropriate methodologies for cost-benefit analysis are needed, along with additional public finance to off-set risk and leverage private investments.
  • Capacity/knowledge. Pathways for climate adaptation are context specific and will require local knowledge and expertise to adapt and adopt good practices. Capacity needs to be strengthened on a range of issues: planning, risk assessment, technology, stakeholder engagement, etc.
  • Policy Institutions and Regulations (including procurement frameworks) are key to scaling up - for instance appropriate regulations that allow payments by utilities to farmers for upstream watershed improvements, including waste water re-use into basin planning, and so on – and to ensure inclusiveness of the benefits of climate adaptation measures.
  • Stakeholder participation and coordination are essential to align the interest of all stakeholders during implementation and Operations and Maintenance to ensure inclusion and sustainability. For instance, many of the green/blue solutions require more space as compared to typical grey infrastructure. This needs buy-in from and compensation for local communities who have an important role to play during the Operations and Maintenance phase.

A well developed and carefully implement advocacy and outreach strategy potentially can make an important contribution to the above barriers.  Advocacy and outreach are also essential to reduce fragmentation within the water sector, strengthen linkages between the water sector and other sectors, connect the Global South and Global North, and connect the Water Action Track to COVID-19 response, the COP, and the decade of action.  Finally, there is an urgent need to improve the inclusion – and in particular of poor women and girls – and youth in water climate adaption.

Objective of the assignment

The objective of the assignment is to develop an advocacy and outreach strategy supported by a detailed communication plan for the Water Action Track for the period to the Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS) and beyond. The strategy and the communication plan need to address key international events  - such as COP26, the UN Water Conference 2021 and 2023 within the within this long-term strategy.

Key issues to be addressed in the assignment are:

  • Based on interviews and consultations with key partners (the four core- partners and the associated partners) of the Water Action Track and key informants in the (water) adaptation sector (other partners in the water sector and sectors like energy, cities, food, metal industry, health, plastics, textile, etc.) identify key advocacy and outreach objectives until the CAS and for the period beyond CAS.
  • Alignment with other action tracks and themes like innovation, water-tech and private (financial) sector engagement are essential. 
  • A campaign and narrative have to be developed which can underline the comprehensive approach and climate resilient water agenda of the WAT. The campaign and narrative should be recognizable for its own character within its own framework with tailor-made approaches. Both inward and outward looking. Based on the goal of the WAT the strategy and campaign should create and bolster consistency, continuity, and commitment.
  • The tailor-made approaches should include key audiences, key networks, key messages, key communication assets and channels. To operationalize the campaign the tailor-made approaches should also include a description of these assets e.g. websites, summary documents, promotion materials, banners, peer review articles, blogs, vlogs, animations, video’s, infographics and presentations.

Cross-cutting elements for the advocacy and outreach strategy.

  • Essential is to be inclusive (leave no-one behind, e.g. youth and women) to bind actors and to address the broader needs. To create a spirit of collaboration and share experiences and knowledge between actors inside and outside the water sector, to ensure that no one is left behind. Not creating negative competition, but strengthening actors reaching a positive movement which can lead to change. Therefore, the strategy and campaign should be (amongst others):
  • Get people on the same page (to engage);
  • Creating awareness concerning (the urgency) of water climate adaption in particular with water as an enabler;
  • Creating awareness that the WAT can catalyze, connect, bind, accelerate, scale up and integrate water in adaption in existing and new systems;
  • Building trust inside and outside the water sector;
  • Facilitate internal stakeholders to become external ambassadors.
  • Finally, the campaign has to involve a culture aspect and/ or cultural sector elements. For example, involving documentary makers, photographers, painters, musicians and writers about their relationship with water or the way they view climate change and adaptation. Art, photography, movies, music, clothes, literature, poetry and even sports to bring water into the world of Climate Adaptation.

Methodology The consultant will develop the strategy on the basis of consultation with key-informants within and outside the Water Action Track, and within and outside the Water Sector.  These interviews will be supported by review of (grey) literature and other written or non-written documentation.

The consultant will undertake the assignment in close consultation with the core team (Henk Ovink, Robbert Moree, Lisa Hartog, and Joep Verhagen) and the working group (GCA, MIenW, WB, and WRI). The consultant will report to Lisa Hartog and Joep Verhagen (co-leads water action track).

Outputs of the assignment will be as follows:

  • Draft and final inception report of not more than 5 pages. The inception report will describe the proposed methodology for the assignment, identify data sources and key informants, an annotated outline of the report and power point presentation. Comments on the draft inception report will be provided within 5 working days after receipt. The consultant will finalize the inception report within 2 working days after receiving the comments.
  • Draft and final advocacy and outreach strategy and communication plan for the WAT until the CAS of not more than 10 pages – excluding annexes.  Comments on the draft report will be provided within 5 working days after receipt. The consultant will finalize the inception report within 2 working days after receiving the comments.
  • Draft and final advocacy and outreach strategy and communication plan for the WAT for the period between the CAS and UN Water Conference 2023 of not more than 20 pages – excluding annexes.  Comments on the draft report will be provided within 5 working days after receipt. The consultant will finalize the inception report within 2 working days after receiving the comments.

Effort Required and Timetable

The total effort required for the report is 20 to 25 days allocated to the various out as follows:

  • Inception Report: 2 to 3 working days delivered within one calendar week after the start of the assignment.
  • Report: 15 to 18 working days delivered within six calendar weeks after the start of the assignment.
  • Power Point Presentation: 2 working days delivered within one calendar week after the start of the assignment.


  • At least 15 years of experience in with the development and design of advocacy and outreach programs with a strong preference for experience in the water, climate adaptation, or water management sectors.
  • In-depth understanding of the international water climate adaptation sector, key stakeholders, and relevant processes.
  • Extensive and relevant network in the water sector, development finance, and climate adaption sectors.
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Outstanding command of English and excellent demonstratable writing, and communication skills.

To apply, please send a one-page cover letter and 2-page CV to joep.verhagen@gca.org by 13 January 2021.