Available evidence and the decisions adopted by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) indicate a significant gap in finance for biodiversity management, for countries to scale up their efforts and achieve the 20 Aichi Targets defined in the CBD’s Strategic Plan for 2011-2020. A recent global top-down assessment conducted by the CBD High Level Panel for Resource Mobilisation estimated that the global investment required amounts to between US$ 130 and 440 billion annually. However detailed national-level (bottom-up) assessments are required to provide more robust information on the biodiversity finance gap, fully taking into account the effects of the enabling policy environment. In this context, at COP-11 in October 2012, UNDP and the European Commission (EC) launched a new partnership project “Building Transformative Policy and Financing Frameworks to Increase Investment in Biodiversity Management” that seeks to build a sound business case for increased investment in the management of ecosystems and biodiversity at the national level. With the Governments of Germany and Switzerland having recently joined, this project has since grown into a multi-partner global endeavour – the UNDP-managed Biodiversity Finance Initiative.

The Initiative will have a multi-tiered approach by:

  • Mainstreaming biodiversity into national development and sectoral planning, to reduce the pressures exerted by the drivers of biodiversity loss and thereby reduce the investment needed to safeguard biodiversity, including through a significant strengthening of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs);
  • Determining the national-level biodiversity finance gap, by defining the current investment baseline across those sectors relevant for the achievement of the Aichi Targets, and by defining the true investment needed to address biodiversity loss, taking into account cost-effectiveness and the effects of an improved enabling environment;
  • Rolling out appropriate national-level biodiversity financing strategies and mechanisms through which countries can identify, access, combine and sequence multiple sources of environmental and development finance, both national and international, for meeting their biodiversity management needs and achieving the CBD’s Aichi Targets;
  • Conducting the first-ever Biodiversity Public and Private Expenditure and Institutional Reviews (BPPEIRs), in support of the above three components.

The Initiative will first develop new methodologies and tools needed to produce coherent and comprehensive frameworks for each of the above aspects. In a second step, these frameworks will be piloted, and inform the development of NBSAPs and further transformational measures, in up to 20 countries including at least Argentina, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Philippines, Seychelles, South Africa and Uganda. In a third step, the methodological frameworks will be refined, based on the results of the country piloting, and then disseminated for wider application.

UNDP is now building a fully dedicated team - the Central Technical Unit (CTU) – to globally lead and implement the Biodiversity Finance Initiative. The Initiative will be hosted by the Ecosystems and Biodiversity (EBD) cluster under the Environment and Energy Group (EEG) of UNDP’s Bureau of Development Policy, responsible for providing leadership and technical support to engineer delivery of the Environment and Sustainable Development pillar of UNDP’s Strategic Plan. Its main focus is on helping countries incorporate environmental sustainability into development, through environmental mainstreaming, environmental finance, advancing climate change adaptation and sustainable energy, and conserving and sustainably managing natural resources and biodiversity.

The Project Specialist will work under the supervision of the Project Manager and Technical Advisor-Environmental Finance (PM), who will head the Initiative’s CTU. The Project Specialist will be initially based at the UNDP Regional Centre in Istanbul, Turkey, however, this position may be redeployed, in accordance with capability, consent, and due process, as needed.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Project Specialist contributes to the overall implementation of the UNDP Biodiversity Finance Initiative, providing inputs on technical, policy and management matters, as well as knowledge and capacity development services. The Project Specialist will contribute to, and partially lead on, research and consultations underpinning the development of global methodological frameworks, support technical and piloting work at national level, and play a key role in the preparation of a consolidated set of cutting-edge tools and products aimed at addressing the biodiversity finance gap.

The Project Specialist works primarily, but not exclusively, with the CTU, UNDP country offices, pilot and donor country governments, other international/multi-lateral organisations, and contractors. In this context, the Project Specialist will liaise with other UNDP staff and consultants involved in relevant UNDP-GEF and related projects focusing on (a) the in-country development of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs), (b) the “NBSAP Forum” platform aimed at technically supporting and benchmarking the development of NBSAPs globally, (c) the development and application of tools for sustainable financing of Protected Area systems and of mechanisms for Payments for Ecosystem Services, and (d) other relevant UNDP projects. Any required additional technical expertise on biodiversity (policy, field conservation, etc.) will be provided by a number of UNDP technical staff.

The following are the specific key functions/results expected:

Contribute to the implementation and management of the UNDP Biodiversity Finance Initiative

  • Support the management and monitoring of the overall UNDP Biodiversity Finance Initiative to ensure implementation is on track;
  • Support compliance with management and administrative requirements (technical and financial reports, time sheets, budget compliance and audits, communication guidelines, evaluations, etc.) of the different partners/donors of the Initiative (notably the European Commission);
  • Support compliance with UNDP-specific processes;
  • Support and facilitate results-based programme development and management throughout the different stages of projects/programme implementation;
  • Help prepare and organise global meetings and workshops including of the Global Steering Committee (GSC);
  • Liaise with other relevant UNDP staff including the PTA, CTA, Technical Advisors (TAs)/Technical Specialists (TSs) and in-country colleagues regarding the Initiative, including to share information about trends and issues in the thematic area;
  • Support the PM in identifying necessary technical expertise and support, and contribute to the recruitment of CTU staff members, international consultants and service providers (preparing TORs, identifying and evaluating experts, reviewing recruitment and assessment reports, etc.);
  • Analyze UNDP projects and the Biodiversity Finance Initiative to identify linkages to draw from and feed into each other, avoiding duplication and maximizing synergy;
  • Respond to queries on programme/project progress, impacts and lessons.

Contribute to the development of the methodological frameworks at global level

  • Conduct research and provide input and partial leadership on technical and policy matters, identifying and securing additional input required from UNDP colleagues, external experts and international and national consultants;
  • Contribute to the definition of indicators and benchmarks for the overall Initiative to form the basis for M&E;
  • Support the PM in ensuring technical excellence of implementation/outcomes and outputs/products (and of resulting policy recommendations, practices, guidelines, publications, etc.) by providing input to, and critically reviewing, these;
  • Contribute to the operationalisation of a global Methodology Advisory Group (MAG). Aid in the preparation and organization of global workshops aimed at developing and discussing methodologies and ensuring these build on and inform relevant policy processes at the national and global levels;
  • Share relevant expertise on public and private (environmental) finance with key players in both the global and national teams working for or towards the Biodiversity Finance Initiative;

Guiding and supporting the technical and piloting work carried out at national level

  • Support the PM by contributing to planning and implementation in pilot countries to align the Initiative’s global methodologies and standards, so that these are reconciled with national NBSAP development processes, and that key milestones are met including towards global policy processes;
  • Stimulate the uptake of best practices and knowledge;
  • Support the recruitment of national institutions / service providers (preparing TORs, identifying and evaluating experts, participating in interview processes, reviewing recruitment and assessment reports, etc.) to carry out the respective in-country activities;
  • Support and monitor implementation progress in each of the pilot countries by contributing to and testing out the global methodology development; this will involve liaising with and supporting the UNDP-GEF TAs/TSs and the involved UNDP country offices to a) establish and convene a National Advisory Committee, b) contract relevant national institutions / service providers to carry out the respective in-country activities, c) ensure links with the UNDP-GEF NBSAP support projects and their coordinators, and d) convene national workshops aimed at commenting on the methodologies and ensuring these, and the results of the Initiative, feed into relevant policy processes at the national level;
  • Compile and analyse pilot country feedback for appropriate integration into the global methodology development process;
  • Support and participate in oversight missions to selected pilot countries to provide guidance and training, assess progress and develop an analytical understanding, and to incorporate into the cumulative learning feeding into national and global processes.

Contributing to the consolidation and positioning of outcomes and outputs

  • Interact and exchange communications with relevant initiatives and stakeholders such as WAVES and TEEB and their host organisations;
  • Contribute to the development of suitable communication and knowledge materials and knowledge-sharing platforms, tools and mechanisms;
  • Assist in the production of a consolidated set of outputs/products aimed at addressing the biodiversity finance gap that can be replicated globally;
  • In consultation with the PM, create communication tools to present and position the outcomes and outputs of the Initiative in appropriate technical and policy circles;
  • Provide support to the development of UNDP’s global and regional work on environmental/ biodiversity finance, as required
  • Contribute relevant biodiversity finance input to UNDP publications, presentations, websites, newsletters, and other outreach products, as required.
  • Actively research and support opportunities and entry-points for UNDP assistance and financial resources for strengthening, growing and continuing the Initiative;
  • Contribute to the preparation, design, submission and approval of programme/project concepts and full-fledged proposals for financing.

Impact of Results

The results of the work of the Project Specialist are critically important for the successful and efficient implementation of the initiative. More specifically, the contributions of the Project Specialist impact upon programme quality, success or failure, and affect overall credibility of the initiative.


Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates commitment to UNDP’s vision, mission and values;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Ability to work with multiple stakeholders from a wide range of disciplines and fields, from both developed and developing countries, and having diverse and competing worldviews and interests.

Technical Competencies:

  • Sound knowledge in public or private sector finance, development or environmental finance, environmental mainstreaming, innovative resource mobilisation strategies, or a related field; competence in environmental policy development as well as in biodiversity conservation and biodiversity finance would be an additional advantage;
  • Understanding of the dimensions and challenges linking biodiversity policy, biodiversity conservation measures, biodiversity finance accounting and resource mobilisation;
  • Understanding of relevant information sources and stakeholders;
  • Ability to innovate, combining methodological approaches and data from various levels and disciplines including economics, finance, development and conservation;
  • Ability to process, analyse and synthesise complex, technical information from different disciplines;
  • Ability to contribute to the development of high quality knowledge materials and exchange platforms;

Functional Competencies:

Development and Operational Effectiveness, Knowledge Management and Learning, Client Orientation, etc.:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, with analytic capacity and demonstrated ability to synthesize complex information in high quality papers/reports and in effective presentations to technical and political audiences;
  • Good interpersonal and networking skills, ability to establish and maintain effective working relations, supports and encourages open communication in the team, and facilitates team work;
  • Ability to effectively work with a multi-disciplinary dedicated team and expert consultants, and to work effectively over the distance with in-country committees, teams and consultants and government representatives;
  • Results-driven, initiative-taking, ability to work under pressure and to meet strict deadlines;
  • Ability to plan and organise work and establish priorities; remains calm and in control even under pressure, and consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
  • Informed and sound, transparent decision-making;
  • Shares knowledge and experience actively;
  • Maturity and confidence in dealing with peers from national and international institutions, government and non-government; ability to deal with politically sensitive issues;
  • Skills in facilitating meetings effectively and efficiently;
  • Ability to develop and maintain partnerships/relationships, including with clients, focusing on results for the client/partner and responding positively to feedback;
  • Ability to work under minimum supervision.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Masters degree or higher in economics, environmental economics, public administration, financial management, natural/environmental sciences, social sciences with a specialization in environmental finance and development, or other closely related field.


  • Minimum of 5 years of professional experience of which at least 3 years working in public or private sector finance, development or environmental finance, environmental mainstreaming, innovative resource mobilisation strategies, biodiversity policy, or a related field
  • International and developing country experience desirable;
  • Experience in environmental policy development as well as in biodiversity conservation and biodiversity finance is an advantage;
  • Experience with projects/contracts financed by the European Commission is an advantage;
  • Experience in results-based and results-oriented project implementation and management;
  • Experience in the development of knowledge and exchange materials and platforms;
  • Experience organising exchange workshops and training activities at the international level;
  • Working experience in an international organization is an advantage as is knowledge of UNDP policies, procedures and practices.
  • Full computer literacy.

Language Requirements:

  • Excellent knowledge of the English language, with exceptional writing, presentation and communication skills;
  • Proficiency in other UN languages, especially Spanish, is an asset.

UNDP Personal History form (P11 required of all applicants):