International Consultant on Legal and Regulatory Inputs for the Development of National Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Policy of Myanmar on Genetic Resources (GR) and associated Traditional Knowledge (TK)

Location : Home based with travel to Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw and field locations when required, MYANMAR
Application Deadline :19-Apr-19 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :25 working days
Expected Duration of Assignment :25 working 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.


Myanmar is a regional priority for biodiversity conservation in mainland Southeast Asia. Due to the combination and interaction of geography, topography, and climate, Myanmar has a rich variety of habitats and ecosystems, including 14 terrestrial ecoregions identified by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The country supports 233 globally threatened species, including 37 critically endangered and 65 endangered species. The country also contains large expanses of species-rich and globally threatened ecosystems such as lowland tropical forests and mangrove ecosystems that are critically threatened elsewhere in the region.

The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) of Myanmar was adopted in 2011. The NBSAP identifies equity as the most important thing in using biological resources sustainably in the long run and calls for consideration of the poor and economically disadvantaged groups to secure their access to common resources. The available information on species diversity and endemism indicates that Myanmar supports extraordinary plant and vertebrate diversity, plus levels of endemism comparable to other countries in the Indo-Myanmar (Indo-Burma) Hotspot. However, detailed baseline data are still lacking for many taxonomic groups, and new species for science are still being regularly discovered in the country. In many parts of the country, exploitation of plants is taking place on a commercial scale. Myanmar’s forests support a great diversity of commercially valuable timber species, including teak and various members of the Dipterocarpaceae and Leguminosae, and the impacts of commercial logging on these forests have been documented (Brunner et al., 1998). In Myanmar decisions about natural resource use are typically based only on direct use values, such as timber or hydroelectricity revenues, ignoring indirect use, option use, and existence values. In general, natural resources tend to be severely undervalued. The NBSAP of 2011 calls for financial mechanisms to be developed that will enable the beneficiaries of dispersed ecosystem services provided by Myanmar’s natural ecosystems to contribute to their conservation.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefit Arising from their Utilization (ABS), an agreement under the Convention on Biological Diversity, was adopted on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya (Japan) and entered into force on 12 October 2014. It provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of the 3rd objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The project applies to genetic resources that are covered by the CBD and to the benefits arising from their utilization, it also covers traditional knowledge (TK) associated with genetic resources held by indigenous and local communities. Parties to the Nagoya Protocol need to fulfill core obligations to take measures in relation to access to genetic resources, benefit-sharing and compliance.

The Project aims at strengthening human resources, legal frameworks and institutional capacities to implement the Nagoya Protocol.  Specifically, it aims at assisting countries in the development and strengthening of their national ABS frameworks. The project seeks to achieve this by:

  1. Strengthening the legal, policy and institutional capacity to develop national ABS policy frameworks;
  2. Building trust between users and providers of genetic resources to facilitate the identification of bio-discovery efforts; and
  3. Strengthening the capacities of indigenous and local communities to contribute to the implementation of Nagoya protocol.

The specific problem that this project will seek to address is the lack of a functioning national legal, policy, and institutional framework that will enable the equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources and traditional knowledge (TK) between the state (national and state governments), commercial interests, and the owners and custodians of these resources and TK (such as Indigenous and Local Communities [ILCs]). This issue is compounded by the lack of trust between users and providers of genetic resources that prevents unleashing the potential of genetic resources as a source of innovation, biodiversity conservation, market development, and poverty alleviation.

Following an inception workshop organized in August 2017, a draft analysis report on Traditional Knowledge in Myanmar has been prepared and presented to selected stakeholders in February 2018. In order to take the project implementation forward, UNDP Myanmar is looking for an experienced international consultant to develop a National Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Policy of Myanmar on Genetic Resources (GR) and associated Traditional Knowledge (TK), build national capacity to implement Nagoya Protocol and National ABS Policy, and technical support and guidance to national project partners. She/he will work closely with counterparts at the Ministry of Natural Resources, and Environment Conservation and UNDP. The consultant will provide inputs in support of the International Consultant who is leading the drafting of the ABS Policy Framework for Myanmar and provide technical assistance to a local NGO engaged to conduct biodiscovery research, community education and capacity building on ABS issues.

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