Consultancy to Undertake Preliminary Remote Sensing Assessment and Biophysical Work to Map the Cuvelai and Kunene River Basins and Surrounding Areas for Sites to be Demarcated for the CUVKUN Project Activities in Namibia and Angola (Short: Consultancy

Application Deadline :26-Sep-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :40 Days
Expected Duration of Assignment :40 Days

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.


The Enhanced Water Security and Community Resilience in the Adjacent Cuvelai and Kunene Transboundary River Basins (CUVKUN) project aims to improve the management of water resources of the transboundary Kunene and Cuvelai basins shared by Angola and Namibia. The project will be implemented through the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) together with the Government of Angola and the Government of Namibia.

Basin management requires measures and interventions such as rainfall and flood water harvesting, and more and better-planned groundwater abstraction to fill the increasing gap between water demands and water availability. All these interventions require a coordinated, integrated and sustainable approach to planning and implementation at a transboundary basin scale. Although there is transboundary cooperation already in place, without strengthening, the management of the basin’s water and natural resources will not be adequately catchment-based. The quality of the Kunene River from source to mouth is relatively unpolluted and is considered to be good. There are areas of the Cuvelai Basin where water quality is naturally poor as a result of salinity and fluoride, measurements are lacking, so it is not possible to say whether either of these is deteriorating. Without a fully integrated basin-wide approach, management will be inefficient, and development limited.

The Cuvelai basin is the most densely populated part of Namibia, and during wet years in the Cuvelai basin fisheries are important. The ephemeral Cuvelai River basin is very dry, prone to both floods and droughts. Tens of thousands of fish belonging to about 45 species are to be found in the various channels in years of high rainfall (Mendelsohn, Fish in the Cuvelai Basin, 2018). By contrast, fish are effectively absent during dry years. The basin supports a large rural population whose livelihoods are, in most cases, directly dependent on agriculture and the availability of water. A high proportion of the fish biomass is harvested by people in the Cuvelai, thus providing food to several. This means that the basin population is particularly vulnerable to the highly variable nature of the hydrological patterns of the Basin in addition to other negative impacts as a result of climate change.

Hydropower is generated along the course of the Kunene River, with a current total installed capacity along the river of around 350 MW, and a potential capacity of over 2 300 MW. All of the major hydraulic structures in the basin are in Angola, with the exception of the Ruacana Plant, which straddles the border with Namibia. Many sites for large hydropower schemes have been identified and studied both in Angola and especially along the joint border where the river slope is at its steepest. During the CUVKUN project implementation phase, the focus will be on an assessment of groundwater potential, flood management through food risk mapping and the development of flood early warning systems, and water harvesting for the basin. This will include a pilot demonstration project, with a detailed Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) which will be developed and used to update the existing preliminary Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Plan.

Transboundary cooperation in the Kunene, through the Permanent Joint Technical Commission (PJTC) has been in existence for several decades and has contributed to the development of large-scale infrastructure on the Kunene River. However, there is a need to extend the scope of this cooperation beyond the development of water transfers and hydropower schemes. For the Kunene River Basin, groundwork is required for the sustainable development of the Kunene River which has significant potential for hydropower and irrigation development. This will be achieved through a basin-wide e-flows assessment, the modelling of water resources development and management, as with the Cuvelai, a detailed TDA and a long-term IWRM Plan. The IWRM plan will be informed by preliminary results from pilot demonstration projects. Additionally, five-year investment programmes for both basins will be drawn up.

The San, the Himba and their related groups constitute the indigenous peoples of Angola. In Namibia, the indigenous peoples of include the San, the Ovatue and Ovatjimba. The Ovatjimba and Ovatue (Ovatwa) are largely pastoral people, formerly also relying on hunting and gathering, residing in the semi-arid and mountainous north-west (Kunene Region) and across the border in southern Angola. These communities have strong links with the land, water resources and other surrounding natural resources. The engagement process in the implementation project phase will have to take into consideration the rights of Indigenous People and the disadvantages faced by them, linked to vulnerabilities, such as limited access to education, low literacy levels, negative stereotyping and inadequate understanding of national or project-specific processes.

Land degradation has led to reduced ecosystem productivity, contributing to widespread poverty, poor health and the increase of the highly vulnerable population in many parts of the two basins. It is important to stress the very strong dependence of the population on the available natural resources. When these resources become degraded as a result of over-exploitation, there is a tendency to try and exploit the resources even further beyond the limits of sustainability, supporting a vicious cycle that becomes increasingly challenging to break out of.

The proposed project will also undertake a suite of other activities designed to strengthen joint management and planning capacity and practices at the transboundary basin level.  These activities include strengthening of the Cuvelai Water Course Commission (CUVECOM) and the Kunene PJTC, and eventual joint basin Secretariat to support IWRM implementation at the basin level; addressing critical information gaps that prevent effective IWRM implementation; developing information management tools to consolidate information and present it to policy makers and other audiences to raise awareness of issues critical to the sustainable management of the two basins.  

Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Gather and review relevant documents pertaining to the biophysical environment of both Cuvelai and Kunene River Basins in Namibia and Angola using existing datasets, taking into account existing and emerging knowledge on climate change.
  2. Map and identify key stakeholders to participate in Angola and Namibia to be interviewed and consulted for meetings and field work to ensure that the Remote Sensing Assessment is done in areas of targeted communities and sites.
  3. Using available mapped data and identifying areas for field reconnaissance and ground-truthing for quantifying the surface transboundary water resources in space and time for both basins.
  4. Carry out field reconnaissance by collecting data on the biophysical environment and analysis thereof to provide recommendations for the design of the pilot demonstration projects.
  5. Providing key elements on the biophysical environment to be used for future use in the TDAs and IWRM plans for both basins, based on literature, field visits and interaction with stakeholders.
  6. Using GIS and remote sensing tools to map out both basins and provide recommendations for the development of an IWRM plan for the management of the basins: In addition, the consultant is expected to:
    1. Conduct a rapid assessment on the initial determination of environmental flows for the Kunene River and surface water resources modelling work;
    2. Carry out an assessment of groundwater potential and flood management for the Cuvelai River basin, flood risk mapping and recommendations for the development of flood early warning systems.
  7. Assessment of flood water harvesting in the Cuvelai River basin based on the existing knowledge base, emerging issues on climate change and making an inventory of the current state of flood water harvesting from upstream to downstream and recommendations for floodwater harvesting approaches at different scales.
  8. Assessment of opportunities for conjunctive use of surface and groundwater for the project in both Cuvelai and Kunene River Basins in Namibia and Angola.
  9. In consultations with UNDP, CUVECOM and its partners participate in virtual Remote Sensing Assessment validation workshops (Inception, Scoping and final validation).


  • The Lead Consultant should have conducted similar work in the last 5 years, of which three (3) recent references of previous similar consultancy work should accompany the proposal.
  • Given the transboundary nature of the assignment, the Consulting Team is highly recommended to be complemented by various national consultants from both countries with specialisation in any of the above related respective fields.
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to express ideas clearly, concisely and effectively, both orally and in writing.
  • Full command of English, including the ability to set out a coherent argument in writing, presentations and group interactions.
  • Working knowledge of Portuguese and local languages is desirable
  • Experience working with community-based organisations, international development cooperation partners, and the private sector.

Required Skills and Experience

  • An M.Sc or higher in GIS/Geology with a focus on remote sensing.


How to apply:

To apply please access UNDP Jobs site

Recommended Presentation of Offer;

  • Completed Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the template provided by UNDP;
  • Personal CV or a P11 Personal History 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;
  • Brief description of approach to work/technical proposal of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment, and a proposed methodology on how they will approach and complete the assignment (max 1 page).
  • Financial Proposal that indicates the all-inclusive fixed total contract price, supported by a breakdown of costs, as per template provided (based on the number of working days mentioned ToR.


  • Please group all your documents into one (1) single PDF document as the system only allows uploading maximum one document.
  • Qualified women and members of minorities are encouraged to apply;
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please make sure you have provided all requested materials.FAILURE TO SUBMIT A TECHNICAL AND FINANCIAL PROPOSALS WILL LEAD TO CANDIDATES BEING DISQUALIFIED.

Incomplete applications will be excluded from further consideration.

To download the full Terms of Reference (TOR), P11 History Form and The Financial Proposal Template,  please access the UNDP Procurement Notice site on the below link: UNDP | Procurement Notices - 95773 - Consultancy to Undertake Prelimi

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