Community Based Mangroves Restoration and Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Specialist

Location : Dili, Timor Leste
Application Deadline :27-Jan-17 (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 :100 days
Expected Duration of Assignment :100 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 objective of the UNDP GEF-funded project – Building shoreline resilience of Timor-Leste to protect local communities and their livelihoods is to strengthen resilience of coastal communities by the introduction of nature-based approaches to coastal protection; as well as support inter- and intra-ministerial coordination for collaborative development planning ensuring protection of coastal areas, as well as identify and research potential revenue streams for long term sustainability.

The project will be implemented in close collaboration with the Government of Timor-Leste (GoTL) through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment; Ministry of Public Works and; Ministry of Finance, as well as working with international and national NGOs and private enterprise as the issues of coastal areas are complex and cross-sectoral.  It employs an integrated approach, while tailoring activities to address the specific needs, challenges and priorities of the Government of Timor Leste.

As mangroves are vital natural defense to the impacts of climate change, extensive mangrove protection and restoration will be supported while addressing community pressures (i.e. felling for fuelwood) and introduce alternative mangrove-supportive livelihoods, as well as improve public awareness about the important role of coastal ecosystems in shoreline protection and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Since Timor-Leste’s landscape is generally steep, therefore, where relevant, the project looks at upland SLM activities to reduce impacts of sedimentation, increased runoff and flash floods, and availability of groundwater of the coastal areas.

Mangroves and coastal wetlands are highly vulnerable to the projected impacts of climate change, particularly sea-level rise (SLR). An estimated 80% of mangroves have been lost in Timor Leste, since 1940 (Boggs et al. 2009, Alongi 2014), due to a combination of both, climate related risks (i.e. sea level rise, increased storm events) and also, non-climate related anthropogenic impacts (i.e. demand for fuel wood, building materials, salt production, rice production, uncontrolled grazing).  While the relative contribution of these causal, climate and non-climate factors is unknown, anecdotal evidence (i.e. the lack of natural regeneration in many areas), suggest SLR has had major impacts, particularly on the north coast.  The loss of mangrove forests has resulted in greater exposure to sea surges, inundation, erosion and accretion processes.

These pressures from upland areas, coupled with the rapidly rising sea level, are putting coastal communities (and the ecosystems and resources upon which they depend), particularly at risk. Over the past two decades, mangroves, which serve as a natural defence to the sea, have been severely degraded – leaving the country’s shoreline and coastal communities vulnerable to coastal inundation, erosion, salt water intrusion, and impacts of sea-borne natural hazards (e.g. waves, storm surges, and in extreme cases, small scale tsunamis).

The major non-climate impacts on mangroves include large-scale, land clearance and conversion for rice farming and traditional salt production, and also, their use as fuelwood, for cooking and household income. Mangroves are also illegally cut for house construction, boatbuilding, and also, for fuel wood to support traditional salt-making livelihood activities.

With high levels of food insecurity, limited cash income and limited knowledge of climate risks, the coastal protection benefits of mangroves, and broader ecosystem goods and services (EGS) benefits of mangroves, there are currently very limited incentives for coastal communities in Timor Leste to protect and conserve mangroves.  Further, restoration projects to-date have been short-term – too short for community learnings to take place, and for mangroves to have time to regenerate, before the project stopped paying and the community stopped protecting.

Communities are currently not guided or provided with sufficient incentives to become stewards of natural resources, ecosystems or the essential services that grant coastal protection and livelihood sustainability. There are sporadic interventions by the government to improve the situation in mangrove areas, like in Ulmera village where mangrove rehabilitation and replanting have been piloted to cover 3km2 mangrove area. But rarely are mangrove rehabilitation and livelihood development linked to achieve sustainable results. Employment and income generation potential associated with mangrove rehabilitation, protection and sustainable management has not been exploited as part of the local, suco (smallest administrative area) level development plans, investments or public and private partnership initiatives.

There is limited knowledge about the win-win solutions, whereby protection of natural assets such as mangroves can effectively protect and sustain physical and economic assets against climate change induced hazards and at the same time deliver on social and economic benefits.

This project will systematically strengthen the synergistic relationship between coastal communities and mangroves ecosystems and ensure that coastal communities in Timor Leste have economic incentives to maintain and safeguard these protective natural systems, without compromising their livelihood options.  This will be achieved through community-led adaptation interventions, that include mangrove re-afforestation, conservation and livelihood diversification options (such as agroforestry, fish ponds, intensive gardening, fruit trees, developed through integrated community-based land use models and adaptation plans (such as the Forest-Fish-Fruit mound-ditch model, successfully implemented in Bangladesh.

In line with this, UNDP would like to invite experienced international consultant to lead the design and implementation of integrated community based mangrove/ coastal ecosystem restoration and highland SLM activities. 

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the overall guidance of ACD/Head of SDU and direct supervision of the Project Manager/CTA and in consultation of UNDP SDU and MAF relevant team, the Consultant will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Baseline survey:  conduct mangroves and coastal wetland inventory and assess the biophysical and ecological conditions of mangroves ecosystem and identify threats, vulnerability as well as management, institutional arrangements and socio-economic linkages that impact the coastal and highland ecosystems of Timor- Leste;
  • Base on the findings develop work plan and implement community based mangrove conservation and restoration and upstream SLM activities in all target Districts;
  • Conduct consultations with government and communities to inform (i) ecological selection of appropriate local varieties, considering their reproduction and growth specificities; (ii) hydrology types that may necessitate mangrove zonation; (iii) potential disturbance factors, including anticipated increased storminess that may require the plantation of mature species and establishment of nurseries for replacement, etc.
  • Develop and deliver training to relevant government experts and communities on coastal mapping, CBEMR and SLM practices;
  • Sensitize the communities on the value of mangrove areas and linkage between land use, groundwater quality/availability, and coastal areas management. And also convene periodic meetings of a Local Consultative Body (LCB) in support of the target mangrove rehabilitation and livelihoods enhancement activities;
  • Lead the implementation of CBEMR and SLM activities and synergy with other project activities in all target districts;
  • Develop Mangroves and coastal Ecosystem Restoration/ Rehabilitation Guideline in the context of Timor Leste;
  • Prepare reports, best practices and lessons learnt from CNEMR and SLM works for further scale up and expansion of the pilot initiatives; and
  • Develop M&E framework for regular monitoring of CBEMR and SLM activities.


  • Ability and willingness to work independently, meet tight deadlines and produce high quality work;
  • Excellent analytical aptitude, communication, writing and presentation skills; and
  • Respect for diversity and ability to work in a team of diverse people with multi-cultural background. 

Required Skills and Experience

I. Academic Qualifications:

Advanced/ MSc. Degree in Marine Ecology, Coastal Ecosystem Management, Wetland Management Natural Resources Management, Environmental Science, Forestry, or in any disciplines relevant to mangrove/coastal ecosystem restoration, coastal adaptation and shoreline management.

II. Years of experience:

  • At least 10 years of professional level experience to the stated role and responsibilities including community based ecological mangrove rehabilitation/restoration, watershed management, forestry, coastal ecosystem conservation, natural resources management preferably within the UN or international Organization;
  • Extensive practical experience related to coastal areas management, including mangroves restoration, coastal wetlands, watershed and SLM activities as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation;
  • Practical Expertise in designing and field testing surveys and other data collection instruments and demonstrated skills in evaluating coastal ecosystem services values;
  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal and motivational skills and sensitivity to the local environment as well as the ability to work with minimal supervision and proven ability to accomplish and present work with a high degree of accuracy and technical quality, in relatively short time;
  • Ability to communicated effectively orally and in writing, in order to communicate complex, technical information to both technical and general audiences, including strong policy advice skills; and
  • Experience in Small Island Developing States(SIDS) specifically in Asia and the Pacific is strong asset.

III. Language skills:

  • English language – excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Proficiency in Bahasa Indonesia, Portuguese or Tetum will be an advantage.


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