Lead Scientist Climate Security Assessment in the Horn of Africa

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)


Result of Service

The Lead Scientist will develop the concept and format of the dynamic regional climate security assessment and be responsible to deliver the first version of the assessment. The lead scientist will be supported by the project manager in the pragmatic aspects of carrying out the assessment (e.g. connecting with important stakeholders, setting up meetings, developing a timeline and sticking to it). This first assessment will serve as a proof of concept for the next assessments. She/he will build on the scoping study and consider IGAD and intra-UNEP technical knowledge in the development of the assessment as well as synergies with existing geospatial tools such as STRATA and WESR as well as tools developed by ICAP and fora such as the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum. The work will be carried out in close coordination with UNEP-CSM, OSE-HoA, and the other consultants working under Pillar 4.

Work Location


Expected duration

80 working days between 1 August 2021 and 31 December

Duties and Responsibilities

The UN’s Comprehensive Regional Prevention Strategy for the Horn of Africa (HoA) is the United Nations’s internal support framework for conflict prevention work in the HoA region. The five-year strategy, covering the period 2019 to 2023, aims to operationalise the Secretary-General’s vision of prevention in the region and encourage joined-up action and system-wide ownership of outcomes. The strategy promotes coordination and information sharing between United Nations stakeholders in the region as well as collaboration and partnerships with external partners including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU) as sine qua non conditions to reach prevention goals. The strategy is constructed around four core elements or pillars: regional peace and security; resilience and socio- economic development; inclusive and responsive governance; and sustainable natural resources management and climate adaptability/resilience.

The fourth pillar focuses on improving the analysis of environmental risks, including climate-related security risks, leading to more consistent adoption of conflict-sensitive methodologies, trans-boundary water resources management, and transparent and accountable management of land and extractive resources. An inter-entity group (working group 4), led by UNEP and including FAO, IOM, UNDP, UN Habitat, WFP and Secretariat officials, has been put into place and completed an analysis of transboundary water issues in the HoA, relevant to the Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa’s prevention mandate. FAO and UN Habitat are conducting analysis of land, peace and development issues. A scoping study on climate security in the region has also been completed, this will feed into (i) a comprehensive regional assessment of climate-related security risks and (ii) support to the Special Envoy and his team in taking forward the findings of the assessment and integrate key initiatives to support regional management of natural resources and promote climate resilience in the light of conflict prevention.

The Climate Security Mechanism (CSM), a joint DPPA-UNDP-UNEP initiative, will further support these efforts through funds made available by the Federal Government of Germany by funding the development of the first version of a dynamic regional climate security risk assessment.

The climate security assessment for the Horn of Africa will be a repetitive process providing analysis of the different existing regional data and trends on environment, climate and security in one single format intelligible for policy makers. It will include a section on how trends at national and subnational level can impact the region and vice versa and implications of data and trends for regional peace and stability and policy making. It is meant to inform policy makers on the state of climate security in the region and it will be co-developed with relevant stakeholders in the region for the sake of ownership. The assessment will be updated on a biannual basis (at least).

Detailed description of tasks:

Building on the scoping study and work so far under working group 4 and on the scoping study, the project manager will:

• Highlight how work of IGAD and in particular ICPAC and CWARN can be pragmatically integrated in the rolling climate security assessment, including how to integrate findings of existing UNEP-IGAD collaboration on climate security in the assessment. Other UN-IGAD collaboration strands of relevance may also be identified including with a view to integration in the rolling climate security assessment.
• Develop a replicable method and format for the climate security assessment (including how thematic assessments and existing, relevant UN or regional data and analysis will feed into it) based on consultation of regional partners.
• Redact a separate document on how to make the assessment as meaningful and impactful as possible to regional stakeholders, including fora to which it can be linked and potential distribution channels.
• Refine and validate the method and format with Pillar 4 members and/or the regional Community of Practice on Climate Security.
• Develop the first climate security assessment following the proposed replicable method in collaboration with the regional Community of Practice on Climate Security.
• Consider how existing geospatial tools can contribute to the assessment. Make recommendations of datasets to be considered in regional development of STRATA to effectively support the regional climate security assessment.

Qualifications/special skills

Competency: Demonstrated scientific research/assessment competences. Ability to make scientific analytical approaches and results intelligible to policy makers and to understand policy makers’ data needs. Excellent listening, organization skills and capacity to co-design with diverse stakeholders. Excellent redaction and communication skills. Mastering of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Proven capacity to work independently and take responsibility of one’s work.
Academic Qualifications: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in environmental sciences, development studies or other relevant discipline. PhD is not required but desirable.
Experience: (i) Minimum of seven years of relevant professional experience in the areas of environment and/or climate change.
(ii) Work experience on the interlinkage between environment, climate and human security is required.
(iii) Focus on (academic) research, including understanding of transboundary and regional dynamics at the intersection of environmental, climatic, social, economic, and political dimensions.
(iv) Documented experience on knowledge transfer from research into policy.
(v) Experience with climate projections and impacts data analysis is desirable.
(vi) Ability to translate scientific methods and results into intelligible messages for wider audiences.
(vii) Work experience in/on the Horn of Africa is highly desirable.
Language: Fluency in written and spoken English. Good knowledge of one or more of HoA’s regional languages is an advantage.

Additional Information

Expected deliverables:

1. Proposed content for the climate security assessment, based on existing academic and practitioner literature and data as well as consultation of relevant stakeholders.
2. Method and format of the rolling climate security assessment, including key indicators and trends to track, datasets to analyse, approaches to analyse and visualise results, approach to move from data analysis to policy recommendations on regional scales, scientific approach of analysing regional and transboundary trends of interlinked climate security risks and integration of current, medium term (2030) and long term (2050) climate security perspectives. Detail the co-design approach considering how important stakeholders, actors, events and fora in the region will be included in the rolling assessment and how the assessment can be optimized as a meaningful and impactful tool for regional stakeholders.
3. Co-design based on a set of consultations and workshops and drafting of the first climate security assessment.
4. Circulation of and presentation of the climate security assessment to relevant stakeholders with stocktaking of feedback.
5. Revision of the method and format of the assessment based on the experience of the first assessment and feedback obtained during the circulation and presentation of the assessment. Lessons learnt and recommendations for the next version of the assessment. Recommendations of datasets to be included in STRATA to better support the climate security assessment.

Payment will be output-based upon satisfactory and timely submission and approval of the deliverables.

No Fee