SAP Consultant on water quality, climate change and natural disasters


Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS mission is to serve people in need by expanding the ability of the United Nations, governments and other partners to manage projects, infrastructure and procurement in a sustainable and efficient manner.

Within these three core areas of expertise, UNOPS provides its partners with advisory, implementation and transactional services, with projects ranging from building schools and hospitals, to procuring goods and services and training local personnel. UNOPS works closely with governments and communities to ensure increased economic, social and environmental sustainability for the projects we support, with a focus on developing national capacity.

Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, our vision is to advance sustainable implementation practices in development, humanitarian and peacebuilding contexts, always satisfying or surpassing partner expectations.

We employ more than 6,000 personnel and on behalf of our partners create thousands more work opportunities in local communities. Through our headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark and a network of offices, we oversee activities in more than 80 countries.

Background Information - WEC

Water and Energy Cluster

Based in Copenhagen, the UNOPS Water and Energy Cluster provides specialized project management services to partners such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank. Together with partners, the cluster executes projects that support sustainable development by:

  • promoting international cooperation to prevent and reverse environmental degradation of international water systems
  • enhancing the resilience of communities and eco-systems to climate change
  • lowering emissions by bridging renewable energy solutions
  • developing Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions to strengthen climate-resilient development

Background Information - Job-specific

The project’s objective is to spearhead integrated natural resource management of Baikal Basin (BB) and Khovsgol Lake ensuring ecosystem resilience, reduced water quality threats in the context of sustainable economic development. The project has three primary components: elaborating a strategic policy and planning framework; strengthening institutional capacity for IWRM; and demonstrating water quality and biodiversity mainstreaming practice, including groundwater monitoring and protection. 

This project builds upon a solid, decades-old baseline of bilateral cooperation between Russia and Mongolia on the transboundary waters of the Selenga River and by extension the Baikal Basin itself. To date, international support for environmental conservation and management in the Baikal Basin has not been transboundary in orientation; little support has been provided the two countries in strengthening their transboundary cooperation to manage sustainably the globally significant environmental benefits represented by the incomparable Lake Baikal and its transboundary Basin, at the top of which lies Mongolia’s aquatic jewel, Lake Hovsgol. In addition to this solid baseline of transboundary cooperation are two rapidly growing economic baselines in mining and tourism, with mining being the biggest and fastest growing economic activity in the Baikal Basin and tourism a smaller but also rapidly growing sector in both the Russian and Mongolian portions of the Baikal Basin. Both of these sectors hold much promise in becoming better stewards of the Baikal Basin’s aquatic ecosystems. In the absence of a GEF investment, these barriers are likely to continue hampering an effective transboundary response to the critical threats that are already impacting the ecosystem health and resilience of the Baikal Basin.

Successful implementation of a regional project like “Integrated Natural Resource Management in the Baikal Basin Transboundary Ecosystem”, to a large degree depends on effective implementation and ownership of project-inspired work at the national and local levels.

Functional Responsibilities

Lake Baikal and its transboundary basin including Lake Khovsgol represent an unparalleled global benefit in terms of international waters and biodiversity values. While past and current efforts to protect and sustainably utilize the environment and its natural resources are impressive, they are insufficient to the task of addressing the threats to the health of the Baikal Basin’s interconnected aquatic ecosystems. These threats include: climate change, pollution and sedimentation, nutrient loading, and habitat destruction. To address these threats successfully conservation work must move beyond the protected area limits and into the 87% of the Basin that is not protected where natural resource exploitation continues without regard to ecosystem health and biodiversity conservation objectives. Significant barriers hamper both countries’ ability to move ahead both within their national jurisdictions and jointly on a robust transboundary level. These barriers include: policy and regulatory gaps, institutional weaknesses, poor utilization of BAT/BEP relevant to key issues facing the Basin, and low levels of awareness of transboundary BB issues.

The development of a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) as well as a Strategic Action Programme (SAP) is recommended by the GEF as a best practice for international waters projects.

The extensive review and updating of the preliminary TDA of 2008 was concluded in 2013. Updated TDA additionally includes specific studies like climate change assessment, groundwater pollution risks and ground / surface water intermixing, Selenga Delta study and etc.  A hot spot assessment was made for Russia and Mongolia and pollution levels were detected. Two sub-basin management plans for Russia (Tugnuy-Sukhara and Khilok) and two sub-basin management plans for Mongolia (Ider and Eg) were completed and then they were endorsed by the governments.  

The main purpose of the TDA is to ensure that interventions for sustainable development of shared water bodies are based on facts and informed decision making. The TDA is a non-negotiated technical document that provides the factual basis for the formulation of a Strategic Action Programme (SAP). The TDA is an element of an adaptive management strategy that enables the identification of transboundary issues and their causes. It is intended as an ongoing process, which needs to be updated with periodic reports as new information about the status of the transboundary basin emerges.

The SAP is a negotiated policy document that should be endorsed at the highest level of all relevant sectors. It establishes clear priorities for action (for example, policy, legal, institutional reforms, or investments) to resolve the priority problems identified in the TDA. A key element of the SAP is a well-defined baseline. This enables a clear distinction between actions with purely national benefits and those addressing transboundary concerns with global benefits. Another key element involves the development of institutional mechanisms at the regional and national levels for implementing the SAP and monitoring and evaluation procedures to measure effectiveness of the outcomes of the process.

A draft Strategic Action Programme (SAP) was developed in 2014 by the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) of Russian and Mongolian consultants under the supervision of an international expert and coordination from the Project Management Unit. The SAP development progress was presented at the Lake Baikal Project Steering Committee meeting in July 2014. The Steering Committee suggested finalizing of the Programme, considering recommendations of the Midterm evaluation international expert  regarding the necessity of financing and extension of SAP development period. The  Programme will be finalized by a group of consultants from Russia and Mongolia. Special emphasis must be placed on harmonization of the finalized SAP with Russian and Mongolian nature protection ministries responsible for implementation of the Lake Baikal Project.

The finalized SAP is to set clear priorities which will be approved at high ministerial levels and become widely adopted. Priority in SAP finalization has to be given to transboundary problems which include issues of ecological policy enhancement, development of nature protection programmes, reforms of regulatory instruments and, strengthening of the investment potential necessary to solve transboundary problems. And also national organizational mechanisms for realization of SAP elements are to be considered.

Taking into account the issue of strengthening of ecosystem protection under conditions of sustainable socio-economic development, the individual contractor shall:

  • Provide technical expertise necessary to analyze and update SMART indicators and their timeframes for strategic actions agreed upon in national meetings for the developed strategic actions for the following components of the Programme:
    • Reduction of Pollution and Improvement of Water Quality.
    • Adaptation to Climate Change.
    • Preparation for Natural Disasters.
  • Together with other Russian consultants assist in refining estimates of costs and funding sources for strategic actions and pilot projects for Russia, considering coordination of their realization and avoidance of duplication with other federal and regional programmes which include similar activities. While measuring costs and sources of financing, it is necessary to take into account the current economic situation in the country.
  • Analyze SAP pilot projects and, if necessary, prepare proposals for additional pilot projects, which reflect objectives and tasks of the SAP and could be realized with the support of international organizations.
  • Assist in economic or socioeconomic analysis of the strategic actions, or in fact for legal and institutional expertise for policy change.
  • Provide liaison support to communicate directly with the Ministry of Nature Resources and Ecology of Russia staff to assure that revisions to the SAP are consistent with ministry objectives and planning.
  • Assist in the refinement of SAP implementation steps, including proposed cooperative mechanisms and institutional arrangements, sustainability and funding, implementation steps, and the monitoring and evaluation of SAP implementation.
  • Take part in 3 (three) meetings of SAP finalization work group:
    • March 2015, Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), with participation of international expert. Based on suggestions from Russian and Mongolian consultants, SAP finalization proposals will be considered;
    • May 2015, Moscow (Russia), with participation of international expert.  Concrete mechanisms of achieving of SAP objectives and tasks, suggested by consultants and international expert, will be considered;
    • July 2015, Ulan-Ude (Russia), with participation of international expert. Participation in the Steering Committee meeting with presentation of final draft SAP.
  • Assist in preparation and organization of meeting of SAP finalization work group in Moscow in May 2015.
  • Provide technical support in discussions of the SAP
  • Take part in formation of final version of SAP.

3. Monitoring and Progress Controls

The consultant is expected to deliver the following results:                

  • Prepare materials per points 1-3 of the present TOR, and a progress report on work done as well.
  • Together with other Russian consultants prepare the finalized draft SAP acceptable for endorsement by the Ministry of Nature Resources and Ecology of Russia based on the results of SAP meetings in Ulaanbaatar and Moscow.
  • Full activity report after completion of work.

The consultant shall work under the direct guidance of the Project Manager, and report to the Project Manager.

The expert will be supported by the PMU, as required.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • Master’s Degree (or similar knowledge obtained in another manner) in environmental and/or water resources management or related field.
  • Ph.D. Degree might be an asset

b. Work Experience

  • The Consultant should hold minimum 5 years of experience within the field of water resource management, environmental management, natural resource management or in another related field.

c. Key Competencies

  • Excellent demonstrated skills of communication and negotiation at international level;
  • Experience in report writing, preferably in the field of International Waters
  • Fluency in English and Russian is required;
  • Knowledge of Mongolian is an asset;
  • Experience in the field of TDA/SAP processes under the GEF IW focal area is an asset;
  • Computer literacy (MS Word, MS Excel, MS Power Point etc.).

UN experience is an advantage;

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time (CET)
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • For staff positions UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.