IC/018/22 - International Consultant for conducting a feasibility study on designing the Innovative Finance Solution for Afforestation in Uzbekistan


Location : Home-based
Application Deadline :23-May-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Management
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
06-Jun-2022
Duration of Initial Contract :50 w/d
Expected Duration of Assignment :During June – September 2022

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.


Background

Uzbekistan faces major challenges caused by climate change including desertification, water scarcity, more frequent draughts, and depletion of the Aral Sea. Climate risks are exacerbated in the country by both the average temperatures rising and mountain glaciers, a vital source of drinking water, melting at a faster pace than the global averages. While forests account for only 7.7 percent of the country’s territory according to the UN FAO, they play a major role in reversing desertification, protecting biodiversity and landscapes and are a vital storehouse of carbon.

To combat the negative impact posed by climate change, the Government of Uzbekistan has put forward an afforestation initiative, called Yashil Makon/Green Nation in November 2021. This nation-wide afforestation program was added to the Strategy for Developing the New Uzbekistan during 2022-2026 and envisages expansion of forest cover area in the country by planting 200 million trees annually. The Green Nation Programme foresees a comprehensive scheme of greening efforts with engagement of various public agencies and research community. In order to realize this ambition, the Government anticipates establishment of the Green Nation Fund that is set in the newly drafted National Development Strategy (2022-2026). 

At the same time, it is essential to conduct a thorough feasibility study and subsequently prepare a comprehensive Greening Master Plan prior to any massive afforestation/revegetation. This is particularly necessary to identify important ecological zones, types of ecosystems, expected roles and services of the restored ecosystems to define planting targets, deciding which locations are suitable for planting trees, shrubs, or grass, setting up the monitoring system, determining the land ownership issues, planning the watering infrastructure, identify future-proof tree species etc. In addition, such a masterplan would feed into a forest and even urban management plan with clear targets. Ideally, it should also give an indication/estimate of required resources required for its implementation - financial and human resources investment and logistics. 

 

Moreover, an efficient coordination system is needed to align the efforts of various stakeholders. With different institutions involved in different phases of the program implementation, such as planting, infrastructure development, maintenance and management, financing, monitoring, there is a critical need to ensure that all actions are well synchronized and coordinated. A strong leadership and coordination system needs to be in place to achieve the goals of the program. 

Finally, a well-established financing model needs to be in place for this program, it management to be funded in the long term as planned. The Government has established the Green Nation Fund that will be aimed at supporting the afforestation program. Yet, the ambitions of the afforestation program are high. This means that government investment alone cannot meet the needed funds, especially for the maintenance of the restored ecosystems. The issue is complex, and Investment and financing sources must be broadened to raise more non-governmental funds including international financing, private domestic financing into forestry to meet the needs for sustainable forest management and forestry development. Introducing carbon offset trading will help to further easing the burden from the government. 

An international Consultant will be hired to conduct a feasibility study (FS) on the establishment of a comprehensive financing model for Uzbekistan’s “Green Nation” Program and a proof-of-concept study to establish the rationale for use and consolidation of interests and resources of various stakeholders. 

The current TOR aims at conducting a feasibility study to establish a comprehensive financing model for Uzbekistan’s “Green Nation” Program through covering the following work: 

• Overview of the current and potential funding systems and sources for afforestation in Uzbekistan.

• Assessment of the current coordination mechanisms, both organizational and financial, and opportunities for their strengthening.  

• Assessing the feasibility of introducing the financing solution as described in the attached Concept Note (Annex I).

• Assessing the investment attractiveness and bankability of the Afforestation program. 

• Conducting a business analysis, market scoping, and capacity assessment. 

• Conducting a gender analysis. 

• Designing the structure of the innovative financing mechanism and blended finance solutions.

• Determining the risks and barriers to afforestation investments and scaling (national and international).

  


Duties and Responsibilities

The consultant will work under the general guidance of Inclusive Growth Cluster Leader and direct supervision of the JP on INFF Programme Manager.

The main objective of Consultant’s work is to conduct a feasibility study/needs assessment for establishing of the innovative finance solution for afforestation in Uzbekistan. In doing so, consultant will lead and coordinate the work of local experts and ensure the qualitative and timely delivery of the following tasks:

Stage I. Feasibility of the proposed innovative financing model: market analysis, Legal/Regulatory and impact assessment

• Overview of existing funding systems and sources for Afforestation in Uzbekistan.

• Assessing the business case and market conditions for innovative financing in Uzbekistan including the analysis of the demand, competition, and market for the proposed financing solutions (nature performance bond, carbon trading, payment for ecosystem services, forest products trade).

• Investigating, assessing, and elaborating the legal framework for using different financing options (payment for ecosystem services, carbon trading, etc.). 

Stage II. Designing the product and operational model for the Green Nation fund

• Developing of the fund’s operational (financial and business) model which will cover such aspects as product offer, pricing, cost of funds, and client acquisition costs.

• Defining the acceptable levels of credit and business risks when financing projects, as well as exit strategies.

• Preparing the cashflow flow projection which will cover growth, liquidity and cash needs, as well as sensitivity analysis

• Defining the list of parameters for Impact Measurement and expected contribution of the fund’s activities towards climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as gender equality.

Stage III. Presentation and validation of the feasibility study

• Consolidating all relevant parts of the feasibility study  on financing model with feasibility study on Master Plan developed by other consultant. 

• Presenting and discussing the findings of the feasibility study with key stakeholders including UNDP Uzbekistan, Ministry of Finance, State Committee on Ecology, State Forestry Committee, “Zamin” Foundation, independent experts, and others as well as revise them accordingly based on the feedback and recommendations received

• Engaging with potential investors and relevant stakeholders.

• Performing other tasks relevant to the present assignment as requested by UNDP Inclusive Growth Cluster Leader and Programme Manager.


Competencies

  • Strong analytical and advisory capacity, including the ability to analyze and advise innovative financial solutions, including green finance
  • Strong data collection, communication, research, and writing skills
  • Client-orientation and excellent interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills
  • Ability to use information and communication technology as a tool and resource


Required Skills and Experience

Education: University degree (Masters or above) in in the field of Finance, Economics, Development Economics, Public Policies, Environment, Social Policies, Development Studies or other relevant fields

Experience: 

  • At least 5 years of experience in finance and in high-quality policy advisory roles, including in areas such as capital markets, blended finance, fiscal policy, private and financial sector development, financial analysis and advisory roles, including on issues of environment, economy, sustainable development.
  • Excellent understanding of green standards and principles is required.
  • Good understanding of gender aspects and gender mainstreaming into the development and business processes is required.
  • Proven experience in preparation of feasibility studies is required.
  • Previous experience with a development partner or government will be an asset.

Language Requirements: 

Fluency in written and spoken English is required

Working knowledge of Uzbek or Russian would be an asset.

 

 

Application Process:

Interested candidates need to apply online at www.jobs.undp.org and upload requested documents in Part 4 of Procurement Notice no later than May-23, 2022 (New York time). Please combine all your documents into one (1) single PDF document as the system only allows you to upload a maximum one document. Your on-line application submission will be acknowledged to your email address provided in application. If you do not receive an email acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. In such cases, please resubmit the application, if necessary. Link to application at the UNDP Job Site - https://jobs.undp.org/cj_view_job.cfm?cur_job_id=106529   (cut and paste into browser address bar if the link does not work).

You can review detailed Procurement Notice, Terms of Reference and download templates from the UNDP Procurement Notices Site following the link: http://procurement-notices.undp.org/view_notice.cfm?notice_id=90972  (cut and paste into browser address bar if the link does not work).

Applications submitted via email, incomplete applications or received after the closing date (May-23, 2022) may not be given consideration.

For more detailed information about UNDP Uzbekistan please visit our website at www.uz.undp.org  UNDP is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified female candidates, people with disabilities, and minorities are highly encouraged to apply. UNDP Balance in Manage Policy promotes achievement of gender balance among its staff at all levels. Requests for clarification must be sent in writing to pu.uz@undp.org, ensuring that the reference number above is included in the subject line. UNDP shall endeavor to provide such responses to clarifications in an expeditious manner, but any delay in such response shall not cause an obligation on the part of UNDP to extend the submission date of the Proposals, unless UNDP deems that such an extension is justified and necessary.



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