Plastic use is expected to reach unprecedented levels in the coming decades, doubling within 15 years and more than quadruple by 2050. Moreover, the petrochemical industry’s demand for oil is expected to accelerate and reach over half of global oil consumption growth by 2040. 80 percent of plastics found in the ocean originates from land-based sources, and 8 million tons of plastic enter the sea every year. Plastic waste poses high risks to aquatic life, with serious consequences for the ocean ecosystem and the sustainability of fisheries. The Mekong is one of the rivers that carries the most plastic into the world’s oceans.

Globally, only 9% of plastic is recycled or ‘decycled’, as plastics are mostly transformed in low-value materials a few times before eventually being discarded in landfills or the environment. Less than 2% of used plastics are actually recycled in a closed circuit, that is to say, recovered to produce a usable material like new plastic and indistinguishable from it. 

Tackling plastic pollution entails developing strategies for a range of sectors: packaging, construction, but also textiles and consumer products. Although the current awareness campaigns have mostly shed light on the over-use of single-use plastic by the food and beverage industries, this is only the tip of the iceberg and less commonly identified sectors deserve equal attention. 


Four ASEAN member countries are responsible, with China, for 60 percent of the plastic discharged into the ocean every year (Ocean Conservancy, 2015). These countries are indeed large plastic producers and importers, but they also possess limited waste management systems, leading to leakage of plastics into the environment. Constraints to effective implementation of such waste systems include rapid urbanization, population growth, and increase in per capita income leading to increased consumption; alongside lack of environmental awareness. However, the topic of plastic pollution is gaining momentum, and ASEAN member countries endorsed in June 2019, the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN region. 


Plastic pollution can only be reduced by a system-level shift towards a circular economy1, including both bottom-up and top-down approaches. Consequently, there is a need to identify and leverage existing solutions aimed at preventing the generation of plastic waste and improving local waste management systems.  

After being successfully implemented in Vietnam and Thailand in 2020 and The Philippines and Indonesia in 2021, the project Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge (EPPIC) seeks to reduce plastic pollution in river and ocean area in Lao PDR and Cambodia in 2023, contributing to the achievement of SDG 14 (Life Below Water) and SDG 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption). EPPIC will bring together citizens, local governments and the private sector to collaborate in establishing effective and innovative solutions. The EPPIC competition is also the opportunity to drive change by raising awareness, collecting lessons learned and trying new approaches to address localized plastic issues.  It intends to deliver two outcomes:  

  • OUTCOME 1: A portfolio of solutions is selected, supported and scaled-up through the EPPIC in six countries (Lao PDR, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines). 
  • OUTCOME 2: Capacity building in Lao PDR and knowledge, cooperation, networking in ASEAN countries for prevention and reduction of plastic waste is increased. 


The core objective of this assignment is to ensure that EPPIC competition will be effective, through conducting comprehensive baseline research and ensuring an inclusive design process. Specifically, the NC will support on the data collection and the writing of the baseline study assessing the local plastic situation in one site in Lao PDR. The NC will collaborate with 1 International Consultant (IC) in Lao PDR to deliver tasks 1 and 2. Further, s/he will frame the challenge in Lao PDR and Cambodia (task 3).  


Devoirs et responsabilités

The NC will all work under the supervision of the Head of Experimentation, Accelerator Lab. The multi-disciplinary nature of this assignment will also require tight coordination with the International Consultants, simultaneously undertaking tasks and completing deliverables. 


Task 1: Support the IC to conduct baseline study summarizing the plastic situation in 1 site in Kaysone city, Lao PDR  – 15-20 pages report.

The baseline study will explore the root causes of plastic pollution and inform the design of the challenge. As such, it aims to get a better understanding of the current situation (type and quantity of plastics produced/consumed, key actors, existing of recycling facilities, waste management system for plastic). Besides, it will increase local knowledge available on plastic and inform policy change in the context of the current efforts undertaken by the Lao government.  When conducting the baseline study, the IC and the NC are expected to: 

      A. Examine the plastic generation and composition: 

  • Household waste generation 
  • Commercial plastic generation – what are the main industries? 
  • Composition of plastic, by industries 
  • Current and projections estimation of generation (if possible) 
  • Review of disposal methods 


      B. Review the plastic management system: 

  • Segregation 
  • Collection 
  • Transportation  
  • Disposal 
  • Recycling 

  C. Produce a stakeholder mapping 

  • Understand the landscape and map the actors involved in the production, generation and consumption of plastic 
  • Existing public awareness initiatives to halt the rate of plastic generation, consumption  
  • The priorities of the communities and population affected by plastic pollution should also be reflected. 

   D. Review the local policies and legislations 

   E. Map opportunities and challenges for private sector engagement 


Task 2: Participation and contribution to the local consultation in Lao PDR

As a second step, the NC is expected to support the IC to present the findings during a 1-day consultation, in the Lao competition site. UNDP CO will design and facilitate this consultation by inviting 15-20 key stakeholders (local government, NGOs, private actors, mass organisations, development partners) and manage the logistics (facilities and translators).  The NC will capture the discussions among the local stakeholders on what are the suitable problems to be tackled and their agreement on where innovation through EPPIC could help (e.g. it could be a sector or a type of plastic).  

Task 3: Concept Note framing the challenge in Lao PDR and Cambodia – 5 pages 

During the final step, the NC will support the IC prepare a concept note framing the challenge in Lao PDR (Kaysone City) and Cambodia (Sihanoukville). For Lao PDR, the IC will use the information generated under task 1 and task 2 by the NC.  

The concept note which should include the following components: 

  • Problem definition: summarize the problem with clear causes and effects, including key facts; 
  • Challenge statement: call to action that sets out the target problem, articulates incentives and what success would look like; 
  • Challenge categories: outline the categories that will stimulate social innovation to address the identified problem (e.g.: awareness-raising, technologies etc.); 
  • Criteria for evaluation: specify how participants will be outline and judge.   

The concept note will be geared towards a broader audience, thus the language should be clear and accessible.


  • Strong analytical and writing skills.
  • Ability to work independently and/or with limited guidance.

Qualifications et expériences requises

  • At least a master’s degree with two years of experience or a bachelor’s degree with four years of work experience in the following field: natural resources, environment, economics, marine science, etc.
  • At least one year of professional experience in the fields of research; working with businesses and Government at the national level would be an asset.
  • Demonstrated experience in conducting comprehensive research studies in the fields of businesses or related fields; experience in cooperate assessments would be an asset.
  • Demonstrated experience in cooperating with public and private sectors.
  • Demonstrated a good understanding of the policy development process would be an asset.


  • Excellent command of English and Lao is required.


Please find the TOR details here   RPS_058_2023


Please apply through this link Procurement | United Nations Development Programme (undp.org)

or  Jobs | United Nations Development Programme (undp.org)