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Consultancy: Development of UNICEF Position Paper on Water Scarcity, WASH Section, PD - NYHQ, Requisition #514362

New York City (United States of America)

The position paper on water scarcity aims to clearly describe UNICEF’s position on water scarcity and provide recommendations on the next steps to be taken at all levels, including global, regional and technical as well as engagement with civil society and the private sector.

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.


The 21st century is witnessing the collision of two powerful trends—a rising human population coupled with a change in climate. With population growth, the demand for water is growing exponentially while climate change is making rainfall more erratic and less predictable, leading to issues with water scarcity.

Current water management policies are in many cases outdated and struggle to address these challenges. If the policy status quo persists, water scarcity is expected to proliferate across new regions of the world and intensify in areas where water is already scarce.[1] Furthermore, the increase in water scarcity is likely to bring about new challenges that the world may not be prepared to tackle. These include water scarcity-induced displacement and migration and scarcity-induced conflicts.

Whilst resource challenges are likely to remain daunting, the challenge presents a real opportunity to expand the use of innovative policies, approaches and technologies to tackle the issue. Improved water resource assessments and allocation mechanisms have demonstrated increases in the productive use of water in many parts of the world. It is vital that affected regions find ways to overcome and adapt to scarcity, not only to prevent constraints on growth and well-being, but also as a way to improve resilience during protracted crises such as drought and refugee influxes. 

It is important that UNICEF clearly states its position on water scarcity and outline the main areas of support to countries affected, including innovative ways for UNICEF to support the areas of water resource and water demand management, and water scarcity at large. Based on above-mentioned and after the consultation with UNICEF Regional and Country offices, UNICEF Headquarters has included the development of position paper on water scarcity in the 2018 annual work plan.

Home of over 500 million people, nearly 200 million of whom children, MENA is the world’s most water scarce region; MENA is home to about 6% of world’s population but has access to measly 2% of the world’s renewable fresh water. MENA houses 12 or around 30% of the world’s most water scarce countries totaling around 43. Should current conditions persist, by the year 2050, two-thirds of MENA countries could have less than 200 m3 of renewable water resources per person per year (Absolute Water Scarcity Situation). This equates to less than the drinking water we provide to Refugees in Jordan and elsewhere.

The water situation in MENA is further compounded by the fact that over 60% of MENA water resources are generated outside of their respective states. This is currently giving rise to state-induced water scarcity whereby upstream states constrict water flows to downstream riparian states. The situation is likely to be further exacerbated in the future when actual water scarcity strikes upstream states.

It is against the above background that UNICEF Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Office is desirous of preparing a study on the “Impacts of Water Scarcity on Children in MENA Region”. This will be lumped with the Position Paper on Water Scarcity planned by the WASH section, Programme Division.

However, ability and capacities of some Governments/countries to address these issues independently shall also be considered together with countries in other regions that suffer due to induced climate change, poor capacity of management, poor governance with week governments, fragile or countries under conflict etc.


The position paper on water scarcity aims to clearly describe UNICEF’s position on water scarcity and provide recommendations on the next steps to be taken at all levels, including global, regional and technical as well as engagement with civil society and the private sector.

At the corporate and global level the paper will look at entry points for UNICEF to strategically strengthen global partnerships with governments and other sector partners building on recent and important UNICEF guidance and tools to work with climate resilience (e.g. the Strategic Framework on WASH Climate Resilience), water safety, sustainability and the broader “sector strengthening” agenda.

The regional aspects of the global paper will be developed based on strategic interest, available capacities, including demographic/population issues and constraints of the respective regions. It will focus on highlighting most effected regions and its potential impact on children by show casing examples of the existing WASH programming in water scarce areas and discussing them at the main existing regional networks and forums.

At the technical level, the report will cover UNICEF engagement in areas such as integrated water resource management, transboundary waters, watershed management, water resource protection and water demand management (e.g. water reuse, recycling, water conservation, etc.). This area will be supported by case studies that highlight UNICEF programming in specific countries.

The paper will acknowledge the role UNICEF has already played in bringing water supply programming to water scarce nations and map initiatives being undertaken by other key partners.  It will also provide an opportunity for stronger collaboration between UNICEF HQ and the regions on this important topic.

 Duty Station and duration

 The Consultant will provide services from their own location with travel to 3/4 water scarce countries to collect information and prepare case studies and to New York to present findings of the assignment and discuss on proposed recommendations. The countries to be visited will be identified and agreed following a critical analysis of the available data and all relevant factors. Each trip will be for 10 days, economy flight ticket and DSA will be provided. The duration of consultancy will be 3 months starting on 15 August 2018 (66 working days).

Activities, outputs, duration and deadlines

The Consultant will be responsible for developing 2 key documents:

  1. UNICEF Position Paper on Water Scarcity;
  2. Study on “Water Scarcity Impacts on Children.” (to be determined if specific to region)
  3. A power point presentation on main findings and proposed programming approached for global high level political forums

Position Paper on Water Scarcity

The paper will include discussions around:

  1. Discussions on water scarcity as a global challenge;
  2. Impacts of water scarcity on women and children;
  3. Enabling Environment and Governance;
  4. UNICEF engagement at global and corporate level;
  5. UNICEF engagement at regional levels;
  6. UNCIEF engagement and support at technical level;
  7. UNICEF engagement with the private sector and civil society, specially youth;
  8. Final report / recommendations.

Additional activities leading up to the development of the Position Paper will include:

  1. Creation of a UNICEF Technical Reference Group with members from Headquarters, involved Regional Offices and selected country offices. The group will also include representatives from the Governments, UN Agencies, the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions as well as major donors. Open forum – dialogue and consultation with Technical Reference Group, would feed into the development of the position paper.
  2. Literature review to see who else is working on this issue/what is being done already. This will focus on understanding how other WASH partners have position themselves on water scarcity issues. It will then look at the latest most important publications that cover water scarcity beyond WASH.
  3. Compilation of global and regional maps with different indicators to water scarcity (e.g. World Resources Institute maps, etc.).
  4. Mapping of past and current initiatives led by the Governments, UNICEF, World Bank, FAO and other organizations in Regional Offices involved in this initiative.
  5. Country level field visits to develop 3/4 case studies (As agreed) that highlight UNICEF programming in specific water scarce countries. 
  6. Developing key recommendations on how to position UNICEF WASH programmes in water scarce countries.
  7. Finalization, dissemination and advocacy on UNICEF Position Paper on water scarcity.

Study on “Water Scarcity Impacts on Children”

The paper will include discussions on:

     a) Water scarcity as a global challenge;

     b) Water scarcity, a macro view;

     c) Water scarcity, a more focused view.

Sections b and c will include yet not be limited to the following for the present and future:

  • Population
  • Water resources
  • Watersheds
  • Transboundary/shared waters
  • Water uses
  • Water balance
  • Drivers
  • Prospects of water scarcity
  • Water scarcity Impacts on respective sectors
  • Challenges and opportunities
  • Recommendations

Impacts of Water Scarcity on Children and Youth

This section will elaborate current and potential impacts of water scarcity on the population at large yet will focus on impacts specifically affecting children and youth. It will cover all possible scenarios including yet not limited to impacts on drinking water, agriculture, nutrition, health, displacement, conflict, migration and so forth. The section will also create a series of key messages based on the findings.

A power point presentation on main findings and proposed programming approached

A power point presentation, to explain high level discussion forums, the nature of the problem, the impact on the population, mainly children and the impact in future generations. The presentation will explain the different layers of information included in the analysis of the problem and the field work to provide good examples of programmes that are ‘fit for purpose’.  

Time Table : Start date 15 August – End Date : 15 November (66 working days)


Outputs, deliverables and estimated costs

  1. Activation of Technical Reference Group and literature reviews on water scarcity (10% of fees);
  2. Field visits and developing of case studies (30% of fees);
  3. Position paper on water scarcity including mapping exercises and key recommendations (30% of fees);
  4. Study on “Water Scarcity Impacts on Children” (30% of fees)

Key skills and experience required:

  • Advanced university degree (Master's) in public health, civil or water engineering, environmental engineering or a field relevant to international WASH programming.
  • Ten years of solid professional work experiences in the UN or other international organisation, government or the private sector working on water supply/water management programming, policy and management. 
  • Proven knowledge and experience in the subject matter (water scarcity) in different areas affected by the problem (Middle East, Sahel, Mediterranean, etc)
  • Experience in designing, managing, compiling, documenting and evaluating of WASH programmes.
  • Field experience in developing countries is required.
  • Understanding of UNICEF water programming,
  • Excellent communication skills in both written and oral communication.
  • Fluency in English is required.

Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable). Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

With the exception of the US Citizens, G4 Visa and Green Card holders, should the selected candidate and his/her household members reside in the United States under a different visa, the consultant and his/her household members are required to change their visa status to G4, and the consultant’s household members (spouse) will require an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) to be able to work, even if he/she was authorized to work under the visa held prior to switching to G4.  

At the time the contract is awarded, the selected candidate must have in place current health insurance coverage.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: New York City (United States of America)
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Logistics
    • Environment
    • Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
    • Children's rights (health and protection)
    • Supply Chain
    • Water Resource Management
  • Closing Date: 2018-07-21

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