Conduct study on the Effects of Climate Change on Children

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1.  Purpose of assignment


There may be no greater, growing threat facing the world’s children – and their children – than climate change[1]. The dangers of climate change are more pronounced for children than for adults. The physical dangers of extreme weather events coupled with resultant vector-borne disease pose unique threats to children. If as expected, climate change  exacerbates weather patterns causing more severe storm and flooding events, it is children who will suffer the most. Children will also feel these effects longer than adults, making them vital in today’s decisions about climate change responses [2].

Considerable work has been done in the Maldives on the preparedness and response fronts vis-à-vis the natural hazards that the country is faced with. With a total of 1192 islands, spread across 26 atolls, people live in 189 islands with less than 1% land mass (non-contiguous) and more than 99% sea. Most of the islands have an elevation of only 1 meter above sea level making the country extremely vulnerable to multi-hazard risks including those resulting from storm surges, strong winds, flooding and tsunami. In recent years though, high frequency low impact hydro-meteorological hazards due to changes in weather patterns had seen to be occurring in the Maldives more often causing coastal flooding and storm surges resulting in inundation of households, lifeline infrastructure such as health centres, schools and increased incidences of water-borne diseases such as diarrhea which impact the lives of children and women. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami not only exposed the vulnerability of Maldivian communities to natural hazards, but highlighted the lack of knowledge and coping mechanisms within the communities to prepare for and manage such an eventuality. Following 2004, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) became glaringly important not just conceptually but as a comprehensive system to enhance the overall resilience of communities.

Since 2009, persistent drought in most islands have been observed (NDMC) resulting in the decrease of available fresh water/increased risk of water scarcity while most households have means to store rainwater. Initial research done under the UN joint programme – Low Emissions Climate Resilient Development programme (LECReD) found that while most households historically have established means to collect rainwater, safe and efficient water use planning did not become mainstream hence changing current consumption trends towards a reliance on bottled water. It was also noted that the supply of bottled water cannot be guaranteed as production takes place in Male’ and Thulusdoo islands (in central Maldives) and transportation in a geographically dispersed country challenges the supply, especially during the monsoon season. 

Due to the low-lying profile of the islands, sea level rise, salt water intrusion into the fresh water lens and coastal flooding causes significant losses to the built environment which in the latter case halts all activity in an island community. Since schools are designated as emergency evacuation centers, with high flooding there is the risk of schooling halting for indefinite periods leading to possible disruptions to school attendance. Financial costs incurred by families due to flooding takes years to come out of. The initial quality of construction of school premises pose hazards as flooding, heavy rain and cyclonic winds weaken the structural integrity of the buildings. Safe site selection and ensuring quality of construction, two key areas which are outlined under the safe learning facilities of the South Asia Regional Framework on Child-Centered DRR; while paramount as a guiding principle, is a challenge in its implementation in the Maldives due to scarcity of land and issues of allocation of resources. At a central level, weaknesses in recording (and presenting) the disaster loss data together with damage and needs assessments as well as the lack of collective resources for response under sectoral budgets have limited the possibilities of preparedness planning and institutionalization of DRR and CCA into all sectors.

[1] Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director (2015)

[2] The Impact of Climate Change on Children – UNICEF (2015)

2.  What is the basic project objective to which the consultancy is related

The study aims to provide an overview of the impacts of Climate Change on children in the Maldives and propose recommendations to address climate change-related vulnerabilities and appropriate strategies address the impacts, which may potentially cause hindrances to the achievement of child rights and wellbeing agenda of the country.

  1. Duty station

Home-based and in the Maldives (travel to islands for data collection and consultations)

  1. Supervisor 

Emergency Focal Point / Comminication for Development Officer, UNICEF Maldives. Strategic guidance and oversight will be provided by the UNICEF Representative.

5.  Major tasks to be accomplished

·  Develop an inception report highlighting the research questions , methodology, scope and limitations and the outline of the study conduct literature review on similar studies conducted in the region with focus on those commissioned by UNICEF and partners

·  Conduct primary data collection with government partners, other UN agencies, civil society organizations and at island community level and facilitate roundtable discussions and community consultations in close collaboration with MEE and UNICEF

·  Based on roundtable discussions and community consultations and surveys,  identify climate change vulnerabilities of children, adolescents and women in the Maldives and analyze the impact of climate change on children and adolescents in the next 2-3 decades, also based on climate models and projections for the Maldives.

·  Propose recommendations to address climate change related vulnerabilities for children and appropriate strategies to strengthen their resilience to climate change.

6.  Major tasks to be accomplished


Time period for tasks


·  Conduct literature review



1 week

·  Identify similar studies done in the region with focus on those commissioned by UNICEF

·  Develop  and present brief synthesis of literature review, with a view to guide development of the outline of the study

·  Finalise the outline  and methodology of the study under the guidance of Ministry of Environment and Energy (MEE) and UNICEF



2 weeks

·  Develop initial outline of the study (including propsed chapters) for review based on literature review and discussions with MEE and UNICEF (MCO and ROSA)

·  Develop Inception Report with outline of study and methodology

·  Develop tools and questionaires for data collection with iidentified target subjects

·  Data collection and community consultations in target islands + draft analytical report


(based in the Maldives)

4 weeks

·  Visit 2 target islands to carry out primary data collection through agreed survey tools as defined in the methodology

·  Roundtable discussions with UN and CSO partners

·  Key informed interviews with relevant government ministries

·  Review of government data and other academic / scientific sources on climate models and climate change projections for the Maldives

·  First draft of the study

·  Finalization of study

(based in the Maldives)

2 week

·  Facilitate 1-day dissemination workshop

·  Incorporation of comments into the final report

·  Presentation of the final report (including summary and Powerpoint

7.  Estimated duration of contract and deadline for submission of end-product

Duration: 63 days

·  Qualifications or specialized knowledge and/or experience required


·  At least a Master’s Degree or equivalent in in Environmental Science, Climate Change, Disaster Risk  Reduction or Management, International Studies and/or Development Studies

·  Minimum 8 years’ of work experience in climate change adaptation or environmental management, with particular focus on research

·  Past work experience in Small Island Development States (SIDS) would be an advantage

  • Sound technical knowledge of data collection/sampling methodologies
  • Experience in facilitating trainings and workshops for various stakeholders
  • Candidates with previous work experience with UN agencies will be an added advantage

·  Excellent communication skills in English, both oral and written

 Deadline for applications:

 Applications can be submitted through this link:  by 24 February 2017, 10:00 am.

Advertised: India Standard Time
Application close: India Standard Time