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Title

Environmental/Resource Economist, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

Posted
Reference G/CWG/590  (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors
Location
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Senior Level
Deadline 09/12/2009
Company Name The Commonwealth
Contact Name Mr James Lek
Email j.lek@commonwealth.int
Website Further Details / Applications
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Description

Background

 

The Lake Victoria Climate Change Action Plan was agreed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Uganda in November, 2007. Among others, the Heads resolved that Commonwealth governments and the Commonwealth Secretariat should play their full part to implement shared goals and envisaged actions, working in strategic partnership and conjunction with other international institutions, raising awareness, facilitating access and sharing best practice. This statement reinforced the proposals made in February 2007, by the Commonwealth Environment Ministers who welcomed a Commonwealth Programme of Work on Climate Change. In fulfilment of this mandate, the Commonwealth Secretariat has approved a technical assistance project aimed at supporting the South Pacific Environmental Programme SPREP capacity building initiative on climate change adaptation within the Pacific Region.

 

The Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC identified small island states as being among the countries in the world most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. This vulnerability is exacerbated by the countries’ geographical characteristics. Coupled with non-climate drivers, such as inappropriate land use, overexploitation of resources, increasing urbanization and population increase, development in the region is increasingly undermined. Climate change and extreme weather events disrupt food production, water supply and the economies of Pacific island countries. Future climate projections, although approximate for the region, are bleak and, in particular, indicate reduced food security, especially at the household level.

 

 

 

 

Primary food sources (agriculture, fisheries and forests) and water are all expected to be negatively impacted by climate change. For the low lying atolls, the likely economic disruption from climate change pressures could be catastrophic and potentially lead to population relocation and therefore social and cultural disruption and disproportion. Failure to reduce vulnerability may result in loss of future risk management opportunities when impacts may be greater and options fewer. Pacific island countries are thus expected to have difficulty achieving their national development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and climate change is expected to further stunt this development. In some cases, climate change is expected not only to slow but even undo socioeconomic development in the region.

 

The issue of climate change has been recognized at the highest level of government in the Pacific islands. At a Pacific Islands High Level Consultation meeting which took place in Nadi-Fiji on the 14-16 May 2002, attended by Ministers and Senior Officials of the Finance, Planning, and Environment Ministries, it was agreed that climate change, climate variability and sea-level rise was not just an environmental, but also an economic, social, and political issue. The impacts, and in particular the related economic and social shocks, pose serious political and national financial management issues for Pacific Island countries. Climate change, climate variability and sea-level rise adversely affect GDP, balance of payments, budget deficits, foreign debt, unemployment, social services and living standards.

 

Apart from the realisation that economic risk management needs to be incorporated as part of the Pacific’s adaptation to climate change, very little has progressed in terms of commitment and high level leverage to deal with these issues. Several impediments stand in the way and foremost is the limited insight into the economic ramifications of climate change impacts, as well as in cost/benefits of adaptation measures. Therefore, this study is timely as it addresses an existing gap in the Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change, enhances the Pacific’s negotiating position by making available data on the economic impacts of climate change and help elevate the climate change issue at the domestic policy level of Pacific governments.

 

The Pacific Regional Economic Climate Change Study

 

Following the release of the Stern Review, the UK Government, has continued to provide technical support to a number of economics of climate change studies around the world in the form of Regional Economics of Climate Change Studies (RECCS). The rationale for this support from the RECCS is based on the understanding that the RECCS are critical in dispelling myths and clichés that could threaten to prevent a global deal. They can help to produce an understanding to aid policymakers, businesses and consumers in making long-term decisions and ultimately in shaping a framework for climate action.

 

The studies can also act as a catalyst for engagement with key influencing constituencies on the economics of climate change in a more informed way, relating experience and evidence to local contexts; enhance engagement between developed and developing countries particularly to break the deadlock and identifying what incentives different countries had to engage in a global deal; and have significant wider relevance in stimulating debate in the region. In some cases, the RECCS feed directly into national policymaking and negotiation strategies at international fora such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This is very likely to be the case with the Pacific RECCS.

 

 

 

Several studies on the economics of climate change have been undertaken in the Pacific region but most tend to be backward-looking, in that they can only study past experiences and extrapolate this into the future. The RECCS process could add real value in undertaking an economic analysis with more informed projections based on the latest science and an estimation of the economic cost (and opportunities where they exist) of climate change in the region. Crucially, this work will be undertaken, taking into account the various possible scenarios being considered by the international community, and assessing and quantifying the impacts on the Pacific region from these possible mitigation target scenarios. This linkage to the international negotiations is where the RECCS add significant value to economic analysis, and the results would also provide the region with a more powerful voice in these fora.

 

To date, RECCS have been undertaken in South America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. These studies intend to consolidate global data under a framework of principles (that is, adapting the Stern methodology to local contexts), so that the costs and benefits of climate change can be compared across regions. Preliminary discussions between SPREP and SOPAC indicate that this is an opportunity not to be missed and would only serve to strengthen climate change work in the region. In order for this work to be coordinated in a systematic and programmatic approach, a coordinator will be needed.

 

 

Objective of a Pacific RECCS

  • Assist the PICs better understand the impacts of climate change on their economies and enhance their negotiating stance at the UNFCCC COP and KP negotiations;
  • Support the PICs develop a better understanding of how their economies should develop into the future using information generated from the study; and
  • Assist countries understand the impacts of climate change through economic assessments at a project level: undertaking cost-benefit analyses for the 13 national adaptation projects under the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project.
  • Build capacity within the PICs to interpret the RECCS data and facilitate development of effective adaptation and mitigation policies and strategies to integrate into national development plans.

Methodology

The Pacific RECCS would be undertaken in three phases. Phase I is a technical feasibility study, including a stock-take of current programmes, and a scoping exercise to draw up the mandate and TORs for phase II. Phase I assessment would include:

 

  • a desktop review of published and grey literature;
  • consultation with key stakeholders in the region – including SPREP, SOPAC, SPC, USP, FSM, UNDP, the Stern Team, Environment, Meteorological and key central Departments in the region such as Planning, Finance, Treasury, etc ;
  • in-country data assessments and face-to-face consultations with selected countries (potential countries include Samoa, Fiji and Kiribati);
  • Identify gaps in data and data systems that underpin evidence-based and context-specific climate change mitigation and adaptation policies and strategies; and
  • Assess the relevance and scope of a Pacific RECCS.

 

 

From the results of Phase I, a detailed Phase II proposal for a Pacific RECCS would be developed. Some elements of the Phase II that will already be identified from Phase I include:

 

  • Terms of Reference for a full Pacific RECCS;
  • Appropriate arrangements for the organisational management of the project, technical coordination and budget; and
  • Identification of the appropriate stakeholder-based process to be used to develop a program of research activities for the respective agencies;

 

A technical design workshop, involving key experts, on the development of a detailed RECCS project (including a log frame, expected timeline and budget for Phase II) will be undertaken as part of Phase II planning. Phase III will focus on building capacity within the region to ensure appropriate responses based on the findings of the RECCS study can be mainstreamed into government policy options and responses to mitigation and adaptation. The specific activities of this phase will be shaped by the findings of phase II

Outcome/output of a Pacific RECCS:

 

  • An improved understanding of the impacts of climate change in the region as a result of the study being carried out;
  • Improved negotiating position at international foras as a result of improved economic data on the costs of climate change;
  • An evidence-based analytical approach and methodology/ies, to address mitigation and adaptation initiatives suited to the local socioeconomic and environmental conditions, including the integration of climate change into national development plans and policies.

 

In detail, the following outputs will be produced:

Phase I

  • A feasibility report on the implementation of a Pacific RECCS, including a general overview of activities, specific findings and recommendations including appropriate arrangements for the management, technical coordination and budget of a Pacific RECCS;
  • Detailed Phase II proposal for a Pacific RECCS, including:

- Terms of Reference for a full Pacific RECCS

- Appropriate arrangements for the organisational management of the project, technical coordination and budget

- Identification of the appropriate stakeholder-based process to be used to develop a program of research activities for the respective agencies

 

Phase II

  • Technical design workshop, involving key experts, on the development of a detailed RECCS project (including a log frame, expected timeline and budget for Phase)
  • A review of the economic impacts of climate change in Pacific island countries, with a focus on the data needs and interdisciplinary methodologies relevant to the Pacific for identifying (and implementing) context-specific mitigation and adaptation strategies; and
  • A policy brief summarising the key findings in non-economic terms for submission to regional policymakers for COP15.
  • A literature review of the economic impact of climate change, with particular focus on the areas which need strengthening for improved evidence-based policies, mitigation and adaptation in Pacific island countries.
  • Establishing data needs and interdisciplinary methodologies relevant to the Pacific for identifying (and implementing) context-specific mitigation and adaptation strategies.
  • Identification of key capacity gaps relating to implementation of the RECCS findings in national policy.

Phase III

· Practical mainstreaming guidelines for integrating climate change into national development plans and policies;

· A series of training modules for international negotiators and policymakers on the results of the Pacific RECCS;

· A capacity building programme designed to tackle skills shortages identified in Phase II of the RECCS.

Management Arrangements

 

Several partners are already involved in this study, which include the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme’s SPREP, British High Commission (Suva and Wellington) and the South Pacific Applied Geosciences Commission (SOPAC).

 

As Lead Agency for the coordination of climate change activities in the Pacific region, SPREP will coordinate administrative arrangements for the activity. The British High Commission Wellington and Suva have assisted the process by introducing SPREP and SOPAC staff to the Stern workshops and the Stern Team. They have also continued to provide technical and funding advice as they see fit. The Commonwealth Secretariat will be assisting the process by supporting a Resource Economist position that will be placed at SPREP to coordinate the RECCS study and other related Activities

 

The secondment contributes to the Comsec Programme of Work on Climate Change commissioned by the Commonwealth Environment Ministers in February 2007 and the Lake Victoria Climate Change Action Plan agreed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Uganda also in November 2007.

Strategic Guidance

 

Strategic guidance for the development and execution of the project will be provided through a Steering Committee established for the preliminary assessment. The Project Steering Committee will comprise representatives from SOPAC, SPREP, IUCN, ComSec, and a Stern Team representative. At the executive level, the Steering Committee members will provide technical assistance on the execution of work by assisting in the identification of and/or access to materials relating to climate change in the Pacific. At a more strategic level, the Committee will be responsible for reviewing project progress (including drafts of work) and providing feedback. SPREP will Chair the Steering Committee and convene meetings. It will liaise very closely with SOPAC on the technical aspect of the Pacific RECCS initiative and it may involve other partners with appropriate technical expertise. SOPAC may sub-contract parts of the preliminary assessment. At present, SOPAC houses the largest number of economists amongst CROP thus this technical expertise will be critical in the development of the RECCS.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

 

The incumbent will be the main co-ordinator of this study when in placement. The project has three distinct phases. Phase I will already be underway by the time the Lead Resource Economist begins duties. Therefore the position will commence at the transitional period between Phase I and Phase II, drawing on lessons from the scoping study and designing the programme of work for the full RECCS. Phase III will be expected to run simultaneously with Phase II to address some of the skill and capacity shortages highlighted through the study.

 

Phase II

  • Facilitate work at regional and national levels on costing climate change impacts on the various sectors that will be impacted by climate change;
  • Advise the organisations on the use of information derived from the economic assessments for decision making in climate change adaptation;
  • Liaise closely with national climate change focal points training institutions within the region and other regional institutions conducting similar or related activities.
  • Mentor and Train staff on approaches to undertaking cost benefit analyses of adaptation options including the costs of delayed action;
  • Prepare and deliver training on methods utilised in carrying out costing of impacts and valuing benefits of adaptation options to include methods for assessment of environmental goods and services.

Phase III

  • Develop training modules and train international negotiators on the results of the Pacific RECCS;
  • Develop and train regional personnel on costing adaptation options in these sectors and using these results to inform sectoral adaptation policy and implementation plans.

 

Specific tasks will include:

Phase II

  • Facilitating a technical design workshop, involving key experts, on the development of a detailed RECCS project (including a log frame, expected timeline and budget for Phase II).
  • Facilitate/Co-ordinate a team of experts to conduct general economic evaluations of the impacts of climate change for the Pacific Islands Region;
  • Develop specific costs and benefits analysis of climate change adaptation options in the various sectors that will be impacted by climate change that could be used to guide policy and strategic interventions;
  • Act as a liaison (person) between SPREP and relevant Faculties to build analytical capacities (within the region) in the economic assessment of climate change impacts, adaptation policies, programmes and projects.
  • Prepare and deliver seminars as a direct result of work on the costs and benefits analysis of climate change adaptation options in the selected sectors in the Pacific Islands.
  • Facilitate/participate in multi-stakeholder public forums to assist SPREP in the dissemination of relevant information to the public and decision makers.
  • Collaborate with a team of experts in the region to develop a methodology(ies), to address mitigation and adaptation initiatives suited to the local socioeconomic and environmental conditions of the Pacific region;

 

 

 

Phase III

  • Develop and disseminate practical mainstreaming guidelines for integrating climate change into national development plans and policies;
  • Facilitate capacity development and integration of climate change adaptation into national development plans and policies in the following countries: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu;
  • Prepare a report on work conducted during the period of attachment based on and fulfilling the terms and conditions of the agreed/approved plan of action.

 

The Expert will be expected to develop a plan of action to be agreed by SPREP and the Commonwealth Secretariat within two months of his/her taking up the position.

 

Qualifications and Experience

  • An advanced degree in resource economics or environmental economics (those with PHD in Economics will have a definite advantage);
  • 5-10 years experience working in senior management and (or) research positions in Environmental Management, Environmental Research, Resource Economics, Climate Change Adaptation or other closely related sector.
  • Experience in supporting decision making with respect to climate change and adaptation issues, investments in infrastructure and development is desirable;
  • A good understanding of climate change issues for Small Island States;
  • Experience in the use of tools related to cost benefit analysis, natural resource accounting and valuation, and risk and vulnerability assessment;
  • Strong project design capabilities; and
  • Good research, communication and report writing skills.

 

 

 

(Note: Applicants who had submitted their application previously need not re-apply again.)

Interested applicants must be nationals of Commonwealth member countries are invited to apply enclosing a detailed CV with names and contact details of three referees via e-mail to the attention of:

Mr James Lek
Human Resources (CFTC)
Commonwealth Secretariat
Marlborough House
Pall Mall
London SW1Y 5HX
Fax: +44 (0) 207 747 6520.
E-mail:
j.lek@commonwealth.int

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