National specialist for piloting a sustainable charcoal value chain in Cambodia

Location : Phnom Penh, CAMBODIA
Application Deadline :19-Oct-17 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction
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 :41 days, and from November 1 2017 to July 31, 2018
Expected Duration of Assignment :41 days, and from November 1 2017 to July 31, 2018

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.


In Cambodia, the demand for woodfuel (which typically consists of fuelwood and charcoal) is rapidly growing, reaching an annual level of consumption of 6 million tons of wood. This is equivalent to more than 71,600 ha of deciduous forests.

Woodfuel plays a significant role in supporting rural livelihoods and urban industry. About 80% of the Cambodian population lives in rural areas and is highly dependent on fuelwood for daily cooking, and charcoal production for income generation. Fuelwood is also the main source of energy for urban industry.

A large amount of wood (77%) is estimated to be harvested from unsustainable sources: 29% from natural forests including protected areas, and 48% from Economic Land Concession (ELC) areas–long-term leases in which concessionaires are allowed to clear land for large-scale commercial agriculture. Large-scale forest-clearing operations in these areas generate many wood products, including woodfuel, which has now become available to rural populations.

This situation is likely to change in coming years due to a moratorium on ELCs introduced by the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) in May 2012 to ensure the conservation of the remaining Cambodian forests. However, as ELC areas no longer supply wood products in high demand, there could be a shift resulting in mounting pressure on surrounding natural forests. Thus, further degradation of natural forests is likely to follow.

In addition to this environmental concern, there is also concern about the negative impacts of the current use of woodfuel on health and climate change. Burning biomass in simple small-scale devices can release significant amounts of particulate matter (PM) and carbon monoxide (CO), among other pollutants. Woodfuels, and especially firewood, are significant contributors to household air pollution, along with smoke, burning trash and any other source of outdoor pollution.

Thus, the creation and promotion of sustainable forms of production and consumption of woodfuel (hereafter referred to as sustainable woodfuel) is crucial not only to ensure the sustainability of forests in Cambodia but also from the perspective of human health and global climate change.
There are already numerous initiatives that can help promote sustainable and cleaner biofuel. These include: 1) Efficient charcoal kilns, 2) Efficient cook stoves for households and restaurants, and 3) Switch to alternative energy sources (e.g. bamboo, rice husk, coconut shells).
However, there are a range of barriers to promoting sustainable woodfuels. These barriers are: 1) Lack of training and awareness of the benefits of new and more efficient technologies and alternative energy sources that can be applied for charcoal production, cooking and industrial uses, 2) Higher prices of these more efficient technologies and alternative energies, 3) Household concern for safety of and convenient access to these technologies and energies, and 4) Household/industry customs and preferences for conventional uses of charcoal/fuelwood. In addition to the above barriers, the report highlights that most wood is sourced almost free of cost. As a result, wood collectors/households and industries have fewer incentives to invest in more expensive technologies or alternative energy sources. Likewise, there is limited interest in producing or purchasing legally sourced woodfuel such as community forestry, as this legally sourced wood is costly; incorporating costs for management and certification.

This situation points to the need to create an enabling policy environment for the promotion of sustainable woodfuel, from production to consumption.
One of the interventions, this assignment seeks to test is creation of a production and consumer network for sustainable firewood and charcoal.
For community forestry-sourced woodfuel (which is considered to be sustainable) to be competitive against illegal, non-sustainable actors, there is a critical need to achieve the necessary efficiency gains. Such gains could be achieved through formation of a producer and consumer network.

On the production side, a cooperative could be formed with a network of registered community forests, traditional charcoal producers, and distributors for the production, processing and distribution of sustainable woodfuel.
This production can be further assisted with provision of incentives for tree planting and the implementation of a low cost certification scheme.  Integrated production models like coppicing with standards could be used to provide a significant amount of woodfuel. This could generate both short-term income from woodfuel production and long-term higher-added value income through the production of roundwood. The implementation of a low-cost certification scheme is one instrument that could trace a chain of custody and ensure sustainable production of fuelwood and charcoal.

On the consumer side, modern technology, for example a mobile application to enable online ordering of charcoal, could be introduced to gather a network of regular consumers, for example households and restaurants. This could enable factories to significantly reduce the transaction costs associated with searching for customers. 

Duties and Responsibilities

The main task of the Consultant is to conduct a proof of the concept of a proposed business model of a producer and consumer network for sustainable firewood and charcoal, with the specific goal to enable Community Forests to access the higher value market.
The business model should be designed to realize:

  • Increased competitiveness of sustainable charcoal on domestic market by improving the efficiency in production, distribution and sales as well as providing better service to charcoal consumers (e.g. lower delivery time, invoice, standard quality, traceability etc.);
  • Creation of incentives for sustainable wood sourcing to produce sustainable charcoal, leveraging communities investment in silviculture and enrichment planting in Community Forests, and to encourage woodlot establishment in non-forest areas;
  • Improved access to high-value markets for stakeholders along the Sustainable Charcoal value-chain (CFs, producers, etc.), enhancing their livelihood based on Sustainable Forest Management;
  • Robust traceability of the sustainable charcoal through the integration of a Chain of Custody certification and labeling scheme;
  • Increased visibility of sustainable charcoal on market and secured market shares by raising  awareness of consumers on benefits of sustainable charcoal.

The Consultant is to lead in piloting a business model in Community Forestry Communities in Kampong Chnnang and Pursat provinces under the guidance provided by an international consultant. Throughout the assignment the Consultant shall play a key role in coordinating with the Forestry Administration and Community Forestry Groups for the smooth implementation of the pilot activities.

  • Organize information sharing meetings with potential stakeholders to raise awareness of the objectives of the pilot activities. This work requires preparation of an agenda, list of participants, invitations, and presentation materials.
  • Provide information of Community Forestry (CFs) Groups in the provinces and identify target CFs, traditional charcoal producers and charcoal buyers
  • Engage CFs, traditional charcoal producers and charcoal buyers in the piloting of the business model. Keep identifying bottlenecks along the supply-chain and implement corrective measures.
  • Engage with Forest Administration (FA) on the training of CFs in silviculture and other sustainable forest management practices so that the CFs receive a satisfactory level of training from FA
  • Facilitate with FA the development and endorsement of easy and low cost procedures for FA to (re) assess the potential sustainable supply of CFs
  • Engage with FA and assist them in defining wood collection quotas for the 5 Community Forests, serving as base for the sustainable certification of the charcoal
  • Facilitate the development of procedures with FA and Communities for the verification and certification of the fuelwood origin in line with CF management plans
  • Facilitate the recognition and endorsement by FA of the Chain of Custody (CoC) developed across the supply chain
  • Facilitate the capacity building process within FA to use the smartphone based CoC functionalities to control the CFs’ compliance with the allocated quotas
  • Assist an international consultant in preparing a report detailing mechanisms for the pilot programame. This includes
  1. A list of key stakeholders including CFs,  wood collectors, charcoal producers, FA officers,
  2. Information of CFs, including the size of forests, quality of forests,
  3. Kinds of interventions conducted for silviculture/Sustainable Forest Management, and plantation,
  4. Mechanisms for an official system of quota and the CoC for the sustainable charcoal and can effectively use the smartphone application for verification purposes.
  • Organize a reflection meeting with relevant stakeholders to seek their inputs into the proposed model and its results. This work requires preparation of an agenda, list of participants, invitations, and presentation materials

Interested offeror must read the Individual Consultant (IC) Procurement Notice, which can be viewed at for more detail information about term of references, instructions to offeror, and to download the documents to be submitted in the offer through online.


  • Demonstrated capacity to network and work with a wide range of relevant stakeholders at all levels (national, provincial, local)

Required Skills and Experience


  • Advanced university degree in forestry, natural resources management, rural development, economics, policy, or other related fields in social sciences.


  • At least 3 years’ experience in the field of natural resources management, preferably in relation to Community Forestry issues;
  • Prior experience in providing capacity building support for community based organizations in the areas of natural resources management in coordination with governments such as the Forestry administration.

Language Requirement:

  • Fluency in English and Khmer

Interested offeror must read the Individual Consultant (IC) Procurement Notice, which can be viewed at for more detail information about term of references, instructions to offeror, and to download the documents to be submitted in the offer through online.

UNDP reserves right to reject any applications that is incomplete.

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Interested Offerors are required to submit application via UNDP jobsite system as the application screening and evaluation will be done through UNDP jobsite system. Please note that UNDP jobsite system allows only one uploading of application document, so please make sure that you merge all your documents into a single file. Your on-line applications submission will be acknowledged where an email address has been provided. If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. In such cases, please resubmit the application, if necessary. Please combine all your documents into one (1) single PDF document as the system only allows to upload maximum one document.

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