Open position: Consultant to Support the Delivery of Knowledge Management Across Focal Areas in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) – Deadline 01 May 2023


Within the overall framework of the IOC Programmme and Budget 2023-2024, in particular the project IW:LEARN 5, the Individual consultant will work under the overall supervision of the Head of MPR/IOC and the direct supervision of GEF IW:LEARN Project Manager.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) International Waters: Learning Exchange and Resources Network (GEF IW:LEARN)’s latest phase commenced in 2022, with the endorsement of the fifth phase of the project (IW:LEARN5). IW:LEARN5 will be implemented from July 2022 until mid-2026. The project represents a cooperative effort between the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP), with the involvement of all GEF Agencies and project partners.

The GEF is a global partnership among 183 countries, international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. It provides grants for projects related to five focal areas: biodiversity loss, chemicals and waste, climate change, land degradation, and international waters. The GEF international waters (IW) focal area targets transboundary water systems, such as river basins with water flowing from one country to another, groundwater resources shared by several countries, or marine ecosystems bounded by more than one nation.

Of particular importance are the needs and constraints of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that often cut across the GEF focal areas. The knowledge generated from GEF SIDS investments are an important resource to inform the achievement of national sustainable development goals, including the priorities of the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA Pathway). For this reason, one of the components of GEF IW:LEARN5 is dedicated to the needs of SIDS, in particular the priorities adopted by GEF: The Blue Economy, Integrated Resource Management from Ridge-to-Reef, Protected Areas, and Climate Resilience.

The vision is to support GEF-funded SIDS projects with a focus on the Pacific, Caribbean and Atlantic, and Indian Ocean regions to strengthen their impact at both the regional and inter-regional level. To achieve this, GEF IW:LEARN builds on the IW portfolio’s suite of current solutions, capitalizing on aspects that have proved successful to combine the best understanding, ideas and expertise that generate collective knowledge. The aim is to facilitate knowledge exchange across GEF focal areas and accelerate progress within SIDS GEF projects and their impact on their regions. The component has been designed to leverage existing ongoing global SIDS partnerships and initiatives to ensure complementarities, efficient implementation and results generation to support SIDS for long-term impact, replication and upscaling.

A new section on the website will be created for a SIDS Hub. The SIDS Hub will prioritize cataloguing available SIDS knowledge resources and opportunities to facilitate information-sharing and learning across the GEF SIDS project portfolio. The goal will be to strengthen dissemination of existing knowledge and knowledge management mechanisms, not duplicate the existing resources. The SIDS Hub aims at becoming the face of the project towards the GEF SIDS portfolio, both including the IW community but also addressing relevant SIDS issues that cut across GEF focal areas. The SIDS hub will leverage the functionalities that already exist on the IW:LEARN web portal and build on the experiences from the similarly structured LME Hub1.


This terms of reference covers the work of a Consultant to support the component of IW:LEARN focusing on knowledge management across focal areas in SIDS. More specifically, this assignment will support the development of the SIDS Hub, the planning of training programmes and other capacity-strengthening guidance on cross-cutting topics of relevance to SIDS, and the launch of a SIDS twinning programme. The Consultant will lead and manage the implementation of the activities based on the Project Document, with specific activities and deadlines as summarized in the next section.


Key tasks for the Consultant include:

A. Setting up and launching of SIDS twinning programme

IW:LEARN will support SIDS iterative project twinning exchanges (two exchanges in each twinning initiative) between projects and their identified partners. An enhanced twinning approach will be deployed that builds on previous twinning experiences to promote lasting partnerships between projects and project beneficiaries through repeat visits and a program of goals to be set over the duration of the IW:LEARN project. The Consultant will operate in coordination with the broader project twinning activities, with a specific focus on SIDS project stakeholders and GEF-funded SIDS projects addressing relevant themes beyond the GEF IW focal area and reflecting the unique development barriers of SIDS.

The Consultant will carry out the following tasks to prepare for the launch of the SIDS twinning programme:

  • Compile a list of active GEF-financed SIDS projects under IW and other focal areas, at the regional, subregional and national levels, focusing on projects (and countries within projects) that address issues unique/specific to SIDS
  • Compile contacts of Project Managers
  • Connect with leads of other GEF focal areas and Integrated Programs (IPs) covering SIDS
  • Develop a short marketing brief to distribute to the GEF SIDS community
  • Create a GEF SIDS Community google group to disseminate announcements
  • Create a twinning execution timeline
  • Develop a proposal form for interested projects to undertake twinning
  • Identify specific twinning themes with SIDS project partners and pairs
  • Conduct online exchanges between identified pairs
  • Conduct face-to-face exchanges between identified pairs, as necessary

B. Conduct a SIDS two-fold assessment

The aim of the two-fold assessment is to inform the development of the SIDS Hub. It includes:

  • an assessment of all past and current SIDS knowledge materials available online (in English, Spanish and French, as relevant)
  • a stakeholder-driven assessment of needs, gaps, and priorities of the SIDS GEF IW project community and other focal area projects for an IW:LEARN SIDS Hub

For the purpose of this assessment, the Consultant will: 1) collect all GEF-financed SIDS or Large Ocean States info/knowledge (see also Task C below); 2) compile a list of the key stakeholders for each of the three regions (Caribbean, Africa, Pacific); 3) conduct regional stakeholder virtual chats; 4) compile a recommendations document highlighting  gaps and opportunities and priorities regionally and 5) produce categorized content, products, resources for Hub.

The recommendations will be used for the content organization of the SIDS Hub, including content assimilation, categorization, and synthesis.

C. Input to overall training strategy

One of the main value-added services of the GEF IW:LEARN project is the cross-fertilization between projects and their partners that occurs through global and regional face-to-face targeted learning. In this regard, GEF IW:LEARN will identify appropriate partners with experience in subjects relevant for SIDS to develop and/or enhance thematic capacity-strengthening training materials that will be delivered at workshops and project/partner roundtables. The selection of training topics will be informed through multiple sources (e.g. active dialogues with the SIDS community, GEF Agencies and IW community, IW portfolio surveys etc.) and will reflect the constantly evolving issues and national priorities.

Based on the outcomes of the two-fold assessment (see Task B), the Consultant will:

  • Identify appropriate partners with experience in subjects relevant for SIDS to develop thematic capacity-strengthening training materials
  • Identify specific topics and modules of the required new training material, in collaboration with partners and initiatives focusing on SIDS

This task will contribute to the development of the overall training strategy (outside the scope of assignment) and will benefit from outputs related to the development of the training strategy e.g. results of the IW Portfolio survey.

4. Duration of the Consultancy

The consultancy will be for maximum 11 months.

5. Deliverables

The key deliverables include:

  • compilation of active GEF-financed SIDS projects and contacts of Project Managers
  • short marketing brief to distribute to the GEF SIDS community
  • GEF SIDS Community google group to disseminate announcements
  • proposal form for interested projects to undertake twinning programme
  • launch of twinning programme including twinning execution timeline, identification of specific SIDS twinning themes, documentation of online/face-to-face exchanges between identified pairs
  • two-fold assessment to inform the development of the SIDS Hub (an assessment of all past and current SIDS knowledge materials available online & a stakeholder-driven needs assessment of the SIDS GEF IW project community and other focal area projects)
  • overview of new topics and modules for training and partners that can develop and deliver these trainings

Throughout the duration of this contract, the consultant will provide regular brief progress reports (status of tasks and/or deliverables submitted) to the IW:LEARN Project Manager.

6. Qualifications and Experience

  • First degree in any of the following fields: natural sciences and/or resource management, meteorological fields or climate sciences, social sciences and/or sustainable development, project management and/or administration. Master’s degree or post graduate qualification desirable;
  • At least 5 years of experience working on SIDS-related issues in any one of the SIDS regions (Caribbean, Africa, Pacific);
  • Work experience within one or more of the SIDS regions;
  • Familiarity with or, ideally, work experience in GEF International Waters recipient countries and/or with donors or related NGOs;
  • Excellent analytical, reporting, writing, editing, and oral communication skills in English;
  • High attention to detail and ability to work under tight deadlines.

7. Supervisory arrangements

The Head of IOC/MPR will assume the overall supervision of the PCU and the Project Manager who is responsible for day-to-day supervision and implementation of the project. At no point should the Consultant make representations or act on behalf of UNESCO-IOC or any of the project partners.

8. Facilities to be provided by UNESCO

UNESCO will provide the Consultant with all required access to working files, UNESCO network, knowledge-management systems (including institutional email and Microsoft TEAMS accounts), and temporary office space if needed on occasional presence at UNESCO Headquarters.

9. Taxes

UNESCO will not reimburse any taxes, duties or other contributions for which individuals may be liable in respect of any payments made to them under the terms of their contract.

10. Insurance

Individuals issued with a contract for individual consultants or other specialists are covered by UNESCO’s insurance policy for work-related illness, injury, accidents or death whilst performing their official duties or travelling on behalf of the Organization. The insurance premium for the coverage, as determined by Pension and Insurance Section (HRM/SPI), must be included in the financial commitment for the contract.

11. Social Benefits

Individual consultants and other specialists shall be responsible for arranging, at their own expense, any medical insurance that they consider necessary during the contract period. Unless they are affiliated by virtue of their status as former staff members, they cannot be enrolled in the UNESCO’s Medical Benefit Fund or United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund. Individual consultants and other specialists are not entitled to paid annual or sick leave.

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