Environmental Sustainability/Development Writer

Location : Home Based
Application Deadline :07-Dec-12 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Expected Duration of Assignment :6 months (December 2012 - April 2013)


As the target date of the MDGs is approaching, both within the UN system and outside of it, discussions and thinking are being mobilized for the preparation of an inclusive and balanced Post-2015 development agenda. In this context, the UNDG is leading planning efforts to catalyze a global conversation on Post-2015 through a series of up to 100 national consultations and eleven global thematic consultations. The aim of these consultations is to bring together a broad range of stakeholders to review progress on the MDGs and to discuss the options for a new framework. The eleven thematic consultations are on the topics below:

  • Inequalities;
  • Population dynamics;
  • Health;
  • Education;
  • Growth & Employment;
  • Conflict & Fragility;
  • Governance;
  • Environmental Sustainability;
  • Water;
  • Energy; and
  • Food Security and Nutrition.

Each topic has a small group of UN Organizations as co-leads and contributors to prepare and plan the consultations in partnership with a government sponsor. UNDP and UNEP are co-leading the Post-2015 environmental sustainability thematic consultation. This consultation is considered to be a significant opportunity for building bridges, integrating positions from various groups, finding an overall understanding on the future environmental sustainability we want. It is also an opportunity for taking stock of the progress and shortcomings of MDG 7 on Environmental Sustainability and gauging the opportunities of alternative development paths.

The thematic consultation on environmental sustainability consists of two phases. Phase 1 will bring forward the existing evidence through desk reviews and think pieces, and identify the key stakeholders to engage in and frame the dialogue. The culmination of this phase will be a Leadership Meeting that will convene leading thinkers to develop a framework that defines the issues, the questions, and the organizational structure for the broader online consultation of Phase 2.

In the second phase, selected participants from the Leadership Meeting will act as facilitators to engage the broadest possible relevant stakeholders on the questions and issues as identified in the Leadership Meeting. The process will culminate in a series of papers on each of the themes as well as a final report that summarizes global viewpoints and stakeholder concerns.

The thematic consultation will culminate in a final report that summarizes stakeholder views, positions and priorities. This will be a brief report with an annexed compendium of papers on each of the issues included in Phase 2 of the dialogue. The development of the report will be led by the co-leads and the facilitation team. A draft will be made available on the online platform for consultation prior to its finalization and will ultimately be endorsed by the Steering Group. The final report will be disseminated broadly and will be submitted as an input to the report of the HLP. This report should be finished by April 2013.

Duties and Responsibilities

The consultant will work closely with the co-leads throughout the process to support three specific objectives:

  • Inventory of existing reports such as those on the MDGs (MDG7 in particular), those prepared for the run up to Rio+20, and GEO-5,and synthesize their implications for the Post-2015 development framework;
  • Review and synthesis of inputs received through an open call for discussion papers and Phase 1 of the thematic consultation; and
  • Draft a final synthesis report summarizing stakeholder views, positions and priorities on environmental sustainability in a Post-2015 development agenda, final output of the thematic consultation.

Objective 1. Review and synthesize existing reports (20 days – November 2012)

The experiences and evidence coming out of the MDGs and particularly MDG7 provide a strong substantive basis for the environmental sustainability thematic consultation. There are also existing reports such as those developed for the 2010 MDG Summit and Rio+20, national MDG and Rio+20 reports, or the flagship report of UNEP GEO-5; as well as think pieces and reports that are relevant to shaping the environmental sustainability dimension of the post-2015 development agenda. The thematic consultation needs to build on this existing evidence and thinking. 

In this regard, the consultant will undertake data mining and synthesis of the existing evidence and thinking related to environmental sustainability. The consultant will develop an inventory of key resources (e.g. reports, publications, conferences, videos, events) that contribute to the dialogue on environmental sustainability and the post-2015 development agenda. This inventory will be made available on the web-based platform prepared for the dialogue and will be updated on a regular basis. Participants of the thematic consultation will also be invited to submit additional relevant papers and think pieces that will be added to the inventory. 

The development writer will also work closely with the co-leads to draw out key emerging trends, issues, recommendations, and evidence provided by these existing reports and synthesize this information in a user-friendly form to help ensure the thematic consultation builds on the latest thinking and dialogues already underway. This synthesis will not result in a report but rather a series of ‘information bites’ and content that will be used as inputs into the web-based consultations, communications and outreach. The consultant will thus be taking the wealth of information that is out there and draw out the relevant conclusions and evidence with the objective to capture and communicate these in a way that will help ensure the thematic consultation can help to evolve the ongoing dialogue. The consultant will work closely with the online engagement specialist and the co-leads to identify key opportunities and entry points to input this content into the consultative process.

The following outputs/deliverables will be provided:

  • Output 1.1 – Annotated inventory of key resources maintained throughout consultation and available online (based on a template to be drafted by the consultant and agreed by co-leads)
  • Output 1.2 – Draft content (including blog entries, word clouds, diagrams, responses to questions, etc.) to the online consultation capturing key issues, trends, recommendations coming out of the existing documentation in a manner that is accessible to a wide range of stakeholders.

Objective 2. Review and synthesis of Phase 1 of the consultation (20 days November 2012– January 2013)

To launch Phase 1 of the consultation, groups and individuals will be invited to be actively involved in the discussions by sending ideas and work on topics that stakeholders think should be a priority for the dialogue on environmental sustainability in the post-2015 agenda. This invitation will be achieved through an open call for discussion papers. The main premise of the call for papers would be to frame an inclusive dialogue that will help inform and shape a vision for 2015 from an environmental sustainability perspective. Contributors will be encouraged to propose topics that build on the lessons learned from the MDG7 experiences and bring forward new and emerging thinking and experiences related to integrated approaches that link economic, social and environmental sustainability. This would include inputs from a diverse group of stakeholders and would then be used to stimulate creative thinking and dialogue around the key issues that need to frame the discussion and would provide a key input into the Leadership Meeting. Some contributors to this dialogue will be invited to participate in the Leadership Meeting. 

The consultant will help to draw out emerging themes from the discussion notes and online consultation and provide the co-conveners and Advisory Group with regular updates to help facilitate active engagement and substantive contributions from the UN agencies. 

The consultant will work closely with the co-leads to synthesize the contributions submitted during Phase 1 of the thematic consultation, including the review of existing evidence (Objective 1 of this ToR). This will be summarized in a report to be submitted to the Steering Group review, revised using their comments, and provided as a key input to the Leadership Meeting. The report should outline some proposed frameworks for topics to be included in the second phase of the dialogue based on the discussion papers received during Phase 1.

The following outputs/deliverables will be provided:

  • Output 2.1 – Regular (weekly or bi-weekly) brief updates to the co-leads and the Steering Group on the main issues and areas of dialogue coming out of the consultation.
  • Output 2.2 – Brief summary of inputs received during Phase 1, including the submitted discussion papers, online contributions, and existing think pieces to be presented to the Steering Group as a draft and then revised ahead of the Leadership Meeting.

Objective 3. Draft a final synthesis report summarizing stakeholder views, positions and priorities on environmental sustainability in the Post-2015 development agenda, final output of the thematic consultation (20 days February-March 2012)

The consultant, working closely with the co-leads and facilitation team for Phase 2, will support the drafting of the final report for the thematic consultation which will summarize stakeholder views, positions and priorities. The consultant will provide a proposed annotated outline and work plan for the synthesis report following the Leadership Meeting, to reflect the agreed framework and plan for Phase 2 of the dialogue. The report will also apply a standard template which will be provided by the UNDG MDG Task Force and will include a series of annexes including the inventory of key resources (see Objective 1) and the reports drafted by the facilitation team for the various topics discussed in Phase 2.

The following outputs/deliverables will be provided:

  • Output 3.1 – Draft annotated outline (applying the UNDG template) and work plan for the synthesis report.
  • Output 3.2 – Draft and final draft synthesis report (including a brief Executive Summary), incorporating comments received via the online consultations


  • Demonstrated excellence in clear, concise, influential writing and publishing on environment and development issues
  • Highly organized with strong analytical and research skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively as part of a collaborative team and process
  • Familiarity with the UN System and its mandates in environmental sustainability
  • Experience in international development issues, particularly the Millennium Development Goals and environmental sustainability

Required Skills and Experience

  • Masters degree in field related to international development, climate or environment policy and planning

  • Highly experienced international development writer, with particular expertise in environment and development issues
  • More than twelve years writing and research experience in international development

Language Requirements:
  • Excellent drafting skills in English, proficiency in other official UN languages an advantage (particularly French and Spanish).

Institutional Arrangements:
  • The consultant will receive payments upon successful delivery of each output as cleared by the UNDP Policy Advisor in consultation with the UNEP Senior Programme Officer
  • The consultant will also be expected to take into consideration feedback and inputs from members of the Steering Group

Duration of Work:
  • The contract will go through 30 April 2013 with anticipated level of effort of 60 days

Duty Station:
  • The Development Writer will be home-based and will be expected to be available for meetings in New York

Criteria for Selection of Best Offer:
  • Combined Scoring method –where the qualifications will be weighted 70% and combined with the price offer which will be weighted 30%.

Instructions for Submission of Application:

Applicants should submit the following documents by the deadline to be considered for this position:

  • Duly accomplished Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the template provided by UNDP;
  • Personal CV or P11, indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate and at least three (3) professional references;
  • Financial Proposal that indicates the all-inclusive fixed total contract price, supported by a breakdown of costs, as per template provided.  If an Offeror is employed by an organization/company/institution, and he/she expects his/her employer to charge a management fee in the process of releasing him/her to UNDP under Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA), the Offeror must indicate at this point, and ensure that all such costs are duly incorporated in the financial proposal submitted to UNDP. 

The documents can be viewed and downloaded from: UNDP Procurement Announcement

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