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Consultancy on Index toolkit for effective management of Biosphere Reserves in the Arab Region

Cairo (Egypt)

  • Organization: UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • Location: Cairo (Egypt)
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
  • Closing Date: 2020-07-04

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Parent Sector : Field Office

Duty Station: Cairo

Job Family: Natural Sciences

Type of contract : Non Staff

Duration of contract : From 1 to 6 months

Recruitment open to : External candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 04-Jul-2020


UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism


Long Description


The MAB programme is an intergovernmental scientific programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for enhancing the relationship between people and their environment. It combines the natural and social sciences with a view to improving human livelihoods and safeguarding natural and managed ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable. Through its Biosphere Reserves, it promotes solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use while contributing to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UNESCO biosphere reserves are learning spaces for sustainable development under diverse ecological, social and economic conditions. It fosters integrated approach where people blend into nature for sustainable development through participatory dialogue; knowledge sharing; poverty reduction and human well-being improvements; respect for cultural values and society’s ability to cope with change. In this context, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves is one of the main international tools to develop and implement sustainable development approaches in a wide array of fields. Consisting of a dynamic and interactive network of sites of excellence, it includes 701 biosphere reserves in 124 countries, including 21 transboundary sites. The biosphere reserves, distributed in five regions, are grouped in sub-regional networks, which emerged gradually to exchange experiences and collaborate on best practices. The ArabMAB Network, which officially launched in Jordan in 1997, brings together 33 Biosphere Reserves distributed in 12 countries.

The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme has been at the heart of a series of meetings convened to mark the evolution of the concept over the past five (5) decades. It has generated four policy editions; namely, the Seville Strategy, Madrid Action Plan, the MAB Strategy 2015-2025 and the Lima Action plan.


Within the framework of the Ecology and Earth Sciences Programme of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States in Cairo (UCO), under the overall supervision of the Director of UCO and the direct supervision of the Programme Specialist for Ecology and Earth Sciences at UCO, the consultant shall undertake the necessary tasks to develop an index toolkit to evaluate the management effectiveness of Biosphere Reserves (BRs) in the Arab Region.

To this end, the consultant shall undertake the following tasks:

1- Perform a desk review for all five (5) MAB policies and action plans: the Seville Strategy, Madrid Action Plan, Pamplona Action Plan, MAB Strategy 2015-2025, Lima Action plan (LAP) and  any other related documents of which the periodic reviews document (s) and nomination dossiers. Take stock of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)- Biodiversity Cluster and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) including joint declarations emerging from Conference of Parties (COP) and Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and other inter-governmental bodies affiliated with MEAs.  This task shall aim the following:

  • Define commonality between the Man and Biosphere Programme and conservation policies instruments;
  • Map the strategic objectives of MAB policies and Action Plan versus the MEAs-Biodiversity Cluster and UNFCCC and Define ways to align the objectives of all above listed conservation policies;
  • Propose schemes to upscale the implementation of MEAs from the biosphere reserves to the national level to contribute to the effective implementation of MEAs-Biodiversity Cluster and other above-mentioned policies. 
Long Description

2- Perform desk review of all Management Tracking Tools of natural sites and protected areas (e.g. World Bank, IUCN, UNEP-WCMC, BirdLife International, green list, etc.) to ensure originality of the toolkit and its uses. This task shall aim the following:

  • Identify and define indices to measures the management effectiveness of the BRs in the Arab Region in alignment with the LAP and all MEAs-Biodiversity Cluster.
    The identification of the indices shall account for environmental, social and economic attributes of BRs and also for their administrative, financial and managerial aspects;
  • Define benchmarks of management effectiveness of BRs with corresponding guidelines to address best practices for better implementation of the LAP and integration of MEAs-Biodiversity Clusters and UNFCCC strategic objectives.
    These shall be ‘suggested’ based on defined criteria and the above documents as well as region specifics. Benchmarks shall be based on ‘attainable data’ that can include available data, and/or that can be reasonably collected by the BRs management team. Once the draft is completed, these indices shall be approved and agreed upon by EES team, ArabMAB steering committee members and regional experts.

3- Develop the index toolkit including map of strategic objectives of all above-mentioned international environmental policies, indices of environmental, social and economic attributes; benchmarks and guidelines for effective management of BRs.
This task is associated with the following activities:

  • Assist in the organization of two (2) national dialogue meetings to present, discuss, and validate the pre-final version of the index toolkit developed. 
    The validation of the index toolkit shall rely on its application on 2 to 3 management plans of BRs from the Arab region. It shall precede the organization of the national dialogues.
  • Address all comments and feedback and revise the pre-final version of the index toolkit towards finalizing and fine-tuning the agreed upon indices and benchmarks following the two (2) validation meetings.
  1. Regular contact, on weekly basis with EES Programme Specialist (PS)  and the EES team at UCO on the advancement of the assignment and copy the PS and assistant on all correspondences made for the purpose of this assignment;
  2. Assist in the communication and coordination with ArabMAB Steering Committee, Biosphere Reserves Managers as well as UNESCO National Commissions, and relevant institutions and community members when deemed necessary;
  3. Address the feedback provided by the PS and EES team, ArabMAB steering Committee and the ArabMAB network members in a timely manner on deliverables;
  4. Coordinate with EES / PS to ensure effective implementation and management of the consultancy assignment;
  5. Perform other tasks as needed for this consultancy assignment.
  1. Inception reports including: [1] methodologies of work for identifying and defining the indices and benchmarks, [2] workplan and timeline.
  2. Portfolio including the following sections:
  1. Report on the desk reviews performed including the map of the strategic objectives of MAB policies and Action Plan and nomination dossiers and review process documents versus the MEAs-Biodiversity Cluster and UNFCCC;
  2. Report on the existing Management Tracking Tools of natural sites and protected areas.

     3. Toolkit including indices, methods and benchmarks to measures and evaluate the management effectiveness of the biosphere reserves in the Arab Region.

     4.  Report of the two (2) national dialogue meetings organized to present, discuss and validate the index toolkit.


The consultant shall submit the deliverables by the following dates

Number  Item Date 1  Inception report including methodology of word, schedule and timeline.

July 30, 2020


 Portfolio including reports stemming from both desk reviews performed.

August 30, 2020 3

 Index Toolkit on BRs management effectiveness (pre-final version).

October 15, 2020 4

 Report of the two national dialogue meetings.

To be defined 5

 Index Toolkit on BRs management effectiveness (final version).

January 15, 2021 Short Description







COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial) Accountability (C) Communication (C) Innovation (C) Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C) Planning and organizing (C) Results focus (C) Teamwork (C) - For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework. REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS


  • University degree (Bachelor, Masters or PhD level or equivalent) in biodiversity conservation, conservation biology , ecosystem management , sustainable management of natural resources, environmental sciences and management or in other fields closely related to the focus of the consultancy assignment.

Work Experience

  • Three to six years of relevant professional experience focused on one or more of the areas cited below:
  1. Biodiversity conservation,
  2. Natural Resource Management,
  3. Sustainable development.


  • Fluency (oral and written) in both English and Arabic is required.


  • Professional knowledge about, and direct experience in, environmental economy, environmental and socio-economic risk assessment, evaluation of Disaster Risk, environmental valuation, ideally on multi-hazards including biological hazards;
  • Strong organizational, analytical and problem solving skills;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Excellent networking, partnership building and interpersonal skills;
  • Good computer and other IT skills including social media;
  • Proven ability to work in a multicultural environment and as part of a team.

Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


Interested candidates are invited to submit additional documents including their CV in the Employment History. 

The financial proposal should be included in question number 11.


UNESCO applies a zero tolerance policy against all forms of harassment.

UNESCO is committed to achieve and sustain gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities, as well as nationals from non-and under-represented Member States (last update here) are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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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