Development of `Eswatini’s Big Five Reserve Technical Guidance Package

Location : Mbabane, SWAZILAND
Application Deadline :19-Sep-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Climate & Disaster Resilience
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :Sixty Days spread over six months
Expected Duration of Assignment :Sixty days spread over six months

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


Eswatini’s protected area estate currently stands at 5.2 % of the total area. This include the following: Proclaimed under the Game Act and the National Trust Commission Act: Malolotja Nature Reserve, Mlilwane Nature reserve, Hlane Royal Nature Park, Mantenga Nature Reserve, MlawulaNature Reserve, Hawane Dam Nature reserve, Mkhaya Game reserve, Emantini Nature Reserve , Libetse nature Reserve, Phophonyane Nature Reserve, Lubuyane Nature Reserve, Lomati Nature Reserve and proclaimed under Other Effective Conservation Measures: Shewula Community Conservancy,  Dombeya Game Reserve, Mahamba Gorge Nature Reserve, Rosecraft, Mgogodla Community Conservancy, Luzelweni Community Conservancy and Mhlosinga Nature Reserve.

Eswatini’s protected areas are rich in biodiversity with their share of endemism as represented in various ecosystems. Travel and tourism, especially to Eswatini’s Protected Areas, contribute to approximately 5,7% of the country’s GDP. The country has set a target under the Strengthening the National Protected Area Systems (SNPAS) Project to expand protected Areas from 3.9% to 6% of the country. Also, Target 11 of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan states that at least 10 per cent of Eswatini’s areas of biological importance are protected to contribute to biodiversity and ecosystem services. As such, protected landscapes are to be conserved through effectively and equitably managed connected systems. In this regard, Eswatini has established three protected landscapes namely: the Lubombo Landscape, the Malolotja Landscape and the Ngwempisi Landscapes.

In Eswatini, the conservation of ecosystems and species in line with the National Development Strategy (Vision 2022). Unsustainable utilization and overexploitation of resources, as well as a financing shortage, threaten the expansion and management of these areas and the corresponding livelihoods they support. This impedes sustainable development. In order for Eswatini’s Protected Areas to achieve their environmental, social and economic outcomes, addressing the challenge of adequate financing and resourcing is needed.

Eswatini Government is in the process of merging several farms in the Lubombo Region under the lubombo landscape to establish Eswatini’s Big 5 Reserve.  In the area to be merged there are two main nature reserves: Hlane Royal National Park and Mlawula Nature Reserve. These two reserves are situated in north-eastern Swaziland, c.12 km south of the town of Lomahasha and 20 km north of Siteki. The reserve complex covers the northern portion of the Lubombo range (up to the Mozambique border) and the plains to the west. A major part of the area lies at low altitude.

The vegetation is predominantly mixed bushveld in Hlane and dry thornveld, open grassland and moist woodland in Mlawula. Trees of AcaciaSclerocaryaCombretum and Dichrostachys are widespread and common. In the west of Hlane the bushveld is predominantly evergreen, and the herbaceous layer is seasonal. In the lower-lying eastern Hlane and western Mlawula area, drier Acacia savanna dominates. There is some highly localized sandveld, which is dominated by TerminaliaStrychnos and Perotis. The riverine vegetation differs quite substantially from the surrounding woodland and is dominated by SchotiaFicus and Acacia, and locally by dense stands of Spirostachys and Euclea. Ravines in the Lubombo range support dense moist forest, and the plateau is covered by open grassland savanna.

This is the only reserve complex in Swaziland holding breeding Torgos tracheliotus and Trigonoceps occipitalisGyps coprotheres is seen regularly, and it is suspected that the breeding colony in nearby Mozambique regularly obtains much of its food from this area. Gyps africanus also breeds here in important numbers; 26 pairs nest at Mlawula, and at least triple that number at Hlane (Monadjem in press). Other important raptor populations include breeding Aquila rapaxPolemaetus bellicosus and Terathopius ecaudatus. The sand forests and riparian fringes hold Hypargos margaritatusLamprotornis corruscus and Nectarinia veroxii. The surrounding bushveld and savanna support Poicephalus cryptoxanthusCossypha humeralisEremomela usticollis and Telophorus quadricolor.

With regard to non-bird biodiversity, this complex holds the endemic cycads Encephalartos lebomboensis (Rare) and E. umbeluziensis (VU). The latter is highly localized and extends just across the international border into Mozambique. Two other highly range-restricted plants, Aloe keithii (VU) and Euphorbia keithii, occur here. Leptotyphlops telloi and Platysaurus lebomboensis, two very range-restricted reptiles, found only in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland and Mozambique, occur in the Lubombo sector of Mlawula Game Reserve. The endangered mammal Ceratotherium simum (LR/cd) has been reintroduced.

The natural vegetation and associated fauna in this wildlife complex represent a natural relict of the erstwhile Swaziland lowveld. Extensive landscape alteration and modification is widespread outside this natural oasis. Vultures are used for traditional medicine quite heavily outside protected areas. The ranges of Gyps africanusand Torgos tracheliotus appear to have decreased dramatically in Swaziland over the last 20 years. All of Swaziland’s vulture species are included in the first schedule of the Game Act as Royal Game, and are consequently protected by law, although this is not always enforced. There are currently seven operational vulture restaurants in Swaziland, which supply an estimated 60% of the vultures’ food demands.

In addition to the protected areas, there are other farms that are currently used for cattle ranching that have to be incorporated to the Eswatini Big 5 Nature Reserve. This includes: Ndvukuyemangendla, Kronpan/Holipan, Manzimnyame and Oribi Farm.

Assignment objectives

The overall objective of the proposed consultancy is to develop a targeted action plan for establishment of the Eswatini Big 5 Reserve. This Action plan will be used to inform the merging for the reserve and to allocate wildlife across the reserve. Facilitate the implementation of the action plan including coordination of stakeholders and mobilisation of the resources required for merging the farms. The consultant will also guide the task team in delivering on a consolidated nature reserve.

Duties and Responsibilities

Tasks to be performed

  • Review available management plans for the nature reserves to be merged and undertake an ecosystem and biodiversity assessment for the area to be merged for wildlife allocation.
  • Assess the financing needs for the reserve and cost estimate for the required infrastructure including ecological corridors.
  • Assess the carrying capacity of the merged area including undertaking a suitability analysis for certain game species that could be introduced.
  • Develop guidelines for wildlife-livestock integration in the farms are currently used for cattle ranching.
  • Develop a management plan for the reserve highlighting the challenges and opportunities as well as gaps as the framework for developing the action plan;
  • Develop the action plan for Eswatini Big 5 Reserve. The action plan shall meet the following criteria:
  1. Clearly describe objectives and proposed specific activities, expected outputs and impacts on biodiversity as well as on livelihoods and development priorities; proposed activities shall be prioritized and include a cost estimate for their implementation;
  2. Specify the role of the affected stakeholders in implementing the action plan particularly integrating the plans for managing and conserving biodiversity;
  3. The action plan shall propose a detailed vision of activities for the period 2021 to 2030;
  4. The action plan should cover the entire area of the Big 5 reserve and should recommend buffer zones outside the area;
  5. Feasible and consistent to the IUCN management effectiveness evaluation principle, develop regulations to ensure the ecological integrity of the landscapes;
  • Assist the Task team in mobilising resources for the implementation of the action plan
  • Participate in and present at technical meetings or task team meetings for consultations with and input from relevant stakeholders;
  • Revise and finalize the deliverables upon comments and requirement from the relevant stakeholders
  • Assist the Task team in delivering the Eswatini Big Five Reserve.

Expected deliverables and Implementation Schedule

The consultant shall conduct and provide the deliverables (in hard and soft copy, in English) as per implementation schedule presented in the table below:



Certifications and Approval

Inception report

Within 10 days

after contract


UNDP Team Leader/MTEA Chief Environment Coordinator

Assessment report on the areas to be merged and fencing needs

Within 6 weeks after contract signing

UNDP Team Leader/MTEA Chief Environment Coordinator

Action plan for the implementing a Big 5 reserve landscape

10 weeks after contract signing

UNDP Team Leader/ MTEA Chief Environment Coordinator

Management plan for the proposed conservation area

15 weeks after contract signing

UNDP Team Leader/ MTEA Chief Environment Coordinator

Resource Mobilisation strategy for the implementation of the action plan

 20 weeks after contract signing

UNDP Team Leader/ MTEA Chief Environment Coordinator

Institutional Arrangements and Reporting

The Consultant will report to the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs through the Chief Environment Coordinator on all technical aspects and day to day execution of the assignment, and to the UNDP Resident Representative through the Team Leader for Environment and Climate Change on all contractual obligations. A multisectoral Technical Committee established by the Principal Secretary shall be responsible for the organization and convening of technical/consultation meetings to collect inputs to the deliverables.

The Technical Committee shall provide oversight and support the consultant in working with local authorities during the implementation of the assignment, in line with agreed schedule of meetings with stakeholders. All deliverables are subject to review and acceptance of the technical committee and UNDP in terms of qualification. Relevant costs for meetings and field missions shall be covered separately by UNDP.

Duty Station and Duration

This is a home-based assignment requiring 60 days of consulting effort spread over 6 months.



Corporate and Core Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modelling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Treats all people fairly without favouritism.
  • Communication – Facilitate and encourage open communication and strive for effective communication.
  • Planning & Organizing – Develops clear goals in line with agreed strategies, identifies priorities, foresees risks and makes allowances accordingly.
  • Organizational Awareness – Demonstrate corporate knowledge and sound judgment.
  • Teamwork – Demonstrate ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment and to maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds.
  • Accountability – Takes ownership of all responsibilities and delivers outputs in accordance with agreed time, cost and quality standards.

Functional Competencies

  • Excellent inter-personal and teamwork skills, networking attitude.
  • Capacity to deliver as per deadlines;
  • Familiarity with the International Conventions related to biodiversity
  • Ability to pick up new terminology and concepts easily
  • Ability and willingness to travel to mountainous areas
  • Willing to work in a team with national and international experts.
  • Demonstrated experience in drafting business plan
  • Good analytical skills and effective communication and training skills and competence in handling external relations at all levels
  • Good communication skills, organization skills and presentation skills
  • Ability to work well with authorities at local level;
  • Understanding of Swati culture and traditions and added advantage.


Required Skills and Experience


  • Minimum master’s degree in natural resources/environmental management, ecology, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, aquaculture, or related field.


  • 10 years of working experiences related to biodiversity, environment, wildlife ranching, protected area management.
  • Minimum 5 years of experiences related to planning of natural resources use, or sustainability-oriented, conservation-oriented projects and programmes,
  • Experience with International level planning frameworks and/or protected area planning and management
  • Relevant experience demonstrated in planning for conservation and sustainable use
  • Demonstrated experiences in working with development projects and with international partners

Language Requirement:

  • Proficiency in written and spoken English
  • Ability to communicate in Siswati is an added advantage;

Additional Information:

Scope of Price Proposal and Schedule of Payments

Proposals must be expressed as an all-inclusive Lump Sum Amount and fixed for the contract period regardless of cost components.  Payment shall be based on submission of satisfactory deliverables on assigned tasks


Payment (%)


Inception report


UNDP Team Leader/MTEA Chief Environment Coordinator

Assessment report on the areas to be merged and fencing needs


UNDP Team Leader/MTEA Chief Environment Coordinator

Action plan for the implementing a Big 5 reserve landscape


UNDP Team Leader/MTEA Chief Environment Coordinator

Management plan for the proposed conservation area


UNDP Team Leader/MTEA Chief Environment Coordinator

Resource Mobilisation strategy for implementation of the management plan


UNDP Team Leader/MTEA Chief Environment Coordinator


A. Recommended Presentation of Offer

Qualified candidates should submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications in one single PDF file:

  1. Duly accomplished Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the template provided by UNDP; OFFEROR’S LETTER TO UNDP
  2. Personal CV or P11, Link for the P11 form: 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.
  3. Technical proposal:
  • Brief description of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment
  • A methodology, on how they will approach and complete the assignment.

4. Financial proposal that indicates the all-inclusive fixed total contract price, supported by a breakdown of costs, as per template provided (Annex II)

B.Criteria for Selection of the Best Offer

  1. Combined Scoring method – where the qualifications and Experiences will be weighted a max. of 70%, and combined with the price offer which will be weighted a max of 30%

Technical Criteria – Maximum 70 points

  • Criteria A Relevance of Education – Max 5 points
  • Criteria B Special skills, Language, etc.- Max 10 Points
  • Criteria C Relevance of experience – Max 40 points
  • Criteria D Description of approach/methodology to assignment – Max 150 Points


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