The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is requesting Expressions of Interest from qualified consultants or consultancy teams to develop an Environmental and Social Management Framework and other safeguards documents, including a Stakeholder Engagement Plan and Gender Mainstreaming Plan for the GEF-7 project entitled “Enduring Earth: Accelerating Sustainable Finance Solutions to Achieve Durable Conservation”. Deadline: January 20, 2023
Please click on the following pdf link to view the full job description: GEF7 Enduring Earth Safeguards Consultant
Background and Introduction
The GEF-7 Enduring Earth Project (“the project”) will catalyze Project Finance for Permanence ("PFP”) initiatives in Gabon and Namibia, as well as develop a PFP design in one additional geography (likely the Eastern Tropical Pacific or “ETP”), and undertake global work to promote enabling conditions for sustainable financing for protected and conserved areas.
The project objective is to catalyze sustainable, long-term investment in globally significant conservation areas in two target countries and enable scaling out of the Enduring Earth approach in additional countries, contributing to 30x30 goals.
In Gabon, the GEF project will catalyze government commitments toward a comprehensive and ambitious nation-wide PFP and advance durable protection for Gabon’s important biodiversity and carbon stocks, thus helping to close land and freshwater protection gaps and contributing to the protection and effective management of 30% of its terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems by 2030. The Government of Gabon aims to transition from an oil-based economy to a more sustainable, inclusive low-carbon, blue-green economic model. Conservation of this 30% coverage will provide biodiversity, climate, and livelihood benefits in line with this vision. Also, this project will directly contribute to the achievement of Global Biodiversity Framework (“GBF”) Target 3 currently in design as part of the Post-2020 GBF – that is, to ensure that at least 30% globally of land and sea areas are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative, and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.
In Namibia, the project aims to develop the first PFP in the developing world to focus on community conservancies as an area-based management strategy. The conservancies are self-governing entities legally recognised by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT). The conservancy model has empowered rural communities to manage their lands and wildlife sustainably, resulting in recoveries in wildlife populations, including lions, rhinos, cheetahs, and giraffes. The conservancies cover about 20.2 percent of the country (166,179 km2) and encompass approximately 227,802 community members (9% of Namibia's population). As Category VI Protected Areas under the IUCN Protected Area Categories System, conservancies have greatly contributed to the protection of Namibia’s major biomes, vegetation types and wetlands. Specifically, conservancies have increased the protection of savanna landscapes by 70%, and river systems, lakes, dams and flood plains by 68%, respectively, of what is protected under the State Protected Areas system.
The project will channel resources to an endowment that would fully-fund the provision of critical extension services in perpetuity to strengthen community-based natural resource management in Namibia and deliver community-driven protection and conservation impact in approximately 100 communal conservancies covering an estimated 20M hectares of land.
The Theory of Change will be implemented through in-country investment in Gabon and Namibia (Component 1), global scale out of PFP in Component 2, and project level monitoring and evaluation (“M&E”) and knowledge management (“KM”) in Component 3. Project Component 1 will develop a multi-partner strategy for long term financial sustainability of the marine, freshwater and terrestrial protected and conserved areas of Gabon, and the terrestrial conservancies of Namibia. PFP will be the approach used to deliver long term financial sustainability, which will be tailored to the scope and characteristics of each country. Initial assessments suggest that PFP will be viable in both Gabon and Namibia. If inherent risks or other factors jeopardize either deal, the project support will still be used to establish sustainable financing mechanisms for Gabon’s protected area system and for support services to Namibia conservancies. In Gabon, this would be complemented with a revision in the scope of the conservation plan, focusing the available resources in a subset of jointly agreed priority areas and interventions. In Namibia, this could occur either through a scaled down level of sustainable financing for extension services for conservancies, or through directly funding those extension services. Component 2 will assess the viability of a PFP in the additional geographies (ETP) and also facilitate learning and exchange among countries with PFPs in implementation or design. Component 3 will conduct project level KM and will ensure effective project M&E.
The project’s proposed “reference” sites, i.e. a representative sample of conservation areas that will anchor safeguards analyses will be determined in the coming weeks and shared in due course.
The project development process will require, among other things, carrying out the development of the full GEF project document, the definition of institutional arrangements, and the costing of proposed activities under the project.
WWF GEF Accredited Entity requires that all GEF projects comply with WWF’s Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework, as detailed in the Environment and Social Integrated Policies and Procedures (SIPP). WWF’s Environment and Social Safeguards Integrated Policies and Procedures include the following standards:
- Standard on Environment and Social Risk Management
- Standard on Protection of Natural Habitats
- Standard on Restriction of Access and Resettlement
- Standard on Indigenous Peoples
- Standard on Grievance Mechanisms
- Standard on Pest Management
- Standard on Cultural Resources
- Standard on Stakeholder Engagement
- Standard on Community Health, Safety and Security
- Guidance Note on Dams and Dam Safety
- Guidance Note on Labor and Working Conditions
- Guidance Note on Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment
The necessary safeguards assessments and/or mitigation plans will be commissioned subsequent to the Environmental and Social Safeguards (ESS) Screening. The Screening was started at an early stage of the project development phase to determine the local socio-cultural, economic and political baselines. The consultant/s will assist in completing any missing information from the screening, which will result in defining the detailed scope of the necessary safeguards management plans by providing a preliminary description of potential environmental and social impacts to be analyzed and specific instruments required by the standards triggered.
The objective of the consultancy is to prepare the necessary safeguards documents to comply with WWF’s Environment and Social Safeguards Framework (ESSF), as detailed in the Safeguards Integrated Policies and Procedures (SIPP), as well as with the mandatory requirement of conducting a gender analysis and developing a gender action plan, separate from the ESSF.
This includes a team of consultants working in close coordination with one another on the three components of the Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework. This call for consultants is predicated upon a team approach, and all positions must be submitted as part of a package. This must include an explanation of how the consultants will work in tandem to coordinate efforts, activities, research and stakeholder engagement.
In line with WWF’s SIPP (2019:40), an Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) shall be developed and address the risks and impacts identified in an Environmental and Social Assessment Report (ESAR) required to ensure compliance with the specific safeguard policies included in WWF’s SIPP 2019.
The objective of the ESMF is to propose mitigation measures identified during the screening and due diligence visits to mitigate any potential negative social and environmental impacts triggered by the Project. The ESMF might encompass other mitigation plans such as the Indigenous Peoples Planning Framework, Process Framework, Environment Management Plan or any other specific type of mitigation plan depending on the needs identified in the ESS Screening.
 Namibia's Nature Conservation Amendment Act (Act 5 of 1996) grants rights to manage and benefit from wildlife to communal area residents who choose to voluntarily organize themselves as conservancies. These communal conservancies are recognized as Category VI areas by IUCN.
Scope of Work and Tasks
The analysis should make use of existing literature and available statistics and analysis and will involve comprehensive exchange with all relevant stakeholders. The ESMF will be prepared after visits to the sites and through consultations with local communities, indigenous people groups and other key stakeholders that may potentially be affected by project activities. The ESMF will include guidance for developing site specific management plans once the project design activities have been identified during project implementation (see Annex 1).
Scope of Work
The scope of work details the process the consultant must follow to complete the assignment:
- Coordinate with the Project Development Team (PDT) for the general planning and development of the Environmental and Social Management Framework and the associated documentation necessary for the proposal to the GEF.
- Develop a work plan, including interviews or other consultation mechanisms.
- Hold meetings with PDT staff.
- Assist PDT staff in filling in missing information/gaps in the ESS Screening in order to finalize the screening.
- Evaluate and identify existing institutional, political, and legal frameworks of relevant sectors to ensure the development of the Environmental and Social Management Framework, including the Indigenous Peoples Planning Framework and Process Framework (see Task A below).
- Conduct a thorough review of relevant literature and documents, including, but not limited to: background documents related to environmental and social safeguards; the PIF; current GEF projects and their action plans and policies on environmental and social issues; WWF's Environmental and Social Safeguards Integrated Policies and Procedures (SIPP); the WWF landscape screenings for each of the target landscapes (if available); Government of Gabon policy, legislation and regulation related to safeguards; and any other documentation relevant to the project area of Gabon and for the development of the project.
- Collect primary data in the project area:
- Perform stakeholder mapping and analysis.
- Organize information exchange meetings with project stakeholders (local authorities, community leaders, nature scientific studies organizations, etc.) to inform them about research objectives, methodologies used and timeline for data collection.
- The objectives, methodologies and timeline for data collection must be approved by the PDT.
- These meetings should also include consultation events held with affected people and other stakeholder groups.
- Conduct individual interviews and/or conduct discussions in focus groups with local people, grassroots organizations, indigenous people, local authorities, scientific research organizations and others, to collect more qualitative and quantitative data in the context of each particular area.
- Collect gender-specific data that will lead to the identification of gaps, opportunities and in gaining knowledge on roles of women and men in the project area (which can also be done through individual interviews, focus groups, consultations, household surveys, etc.).
- Conduct interviews with households according to pre-selected sites for surveys.
- With all the primary and secondary information obtained, carry out an analysis of the environmental and social risks, identifying the risks, their likelihood and intensity (see Task D below).
- Identify and recommend environmental and social mitigation activities that are appropriate in the implementation of the project, and thereby develop the Environmental and Social Management Framework for the project, which will include the elaboration of the Process Framework and the Indigenous Peoples Planning Framework. This document details the processes that the project team will use to work with communities to identify and manage the potential negative impacts of project activities (see Task E below).
- Provide a list of related environmental and social indicators that must be included in the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) plan.
- Ensure compliance with WWF and government policies and best practices, from an environmental and social safeguards perspective, are included in the project design, implementation arrangements, and budget, incorporating lessons learned from past projects.
- Carry out a process of review and validation of the work, to ensure that the Environmental and Social Management Framework meet the needs of various stakeholders and the requirements of WWF and the Government of Gabon.
- Completion of the Environmental and Social Management Framework for the project, incorporating all observations and suggestions of the PDT team.
In relation to the above scope of work, the Consultant is expected to undertake the following tasks:
- Policy, legal and administrative framework
Analyze the policy, legal and administrative framework within which the project takes place and identify any laws and regulations that pertain to environmental and social matters relevant to the project. This includes:
- regulations about assessment and management of environmental and social risks;
- policies and regulations related to issues covered by WWF Environment and Social Safeguards Integrated Policies and Procedures;
- requirements for public consultation and disclosure;
- environmental authorization procedures relevant to the project; and
- policies and regulations implementing the host country’s obligations under international law (e.g. on indigenous peoples, human rights.).
If gaps are identified, it will need to be described how this will be addressed by the project.
- Environmental and social baseline
Describe and analyze the environmental and social context in which the project operates. The main purpose of this step is to provide an understanding of current environmental and social conditions that form the baseline against which project impacts can be predicted and measured during project implementation. While some broad contextual information is necessary, the analysis should focus on the immediate context of the project site and aspects that relate to the identified impacts in order to be relevant to decisions about project design, operation, or mitigation measures. The analysis will cover a range of physical, biological, socio-economic and cultural conditions relevant and/or potentially impacted by the project.
- Identification of affected groups
Based on the stakeholder analysis prepared by the project design team, stakeholders need to be identified that might be affected by project activities (positively or negatively). The analysis should cover all relevant social groups present in the sites, in particular vulnerable groups, including women, youth, indigenous, tribal or traditional peoples. It should consider formally organized stakeholder groups such as government organizations, civil society organizations, academia and private sector as well as individuals present in the intervention sites without any formal organization. The identification of affected groups is instrumental for identifying the stakeholders to be consulted during the development of the ESMF. This activity will require coordination with the stakeholder engagement consultant and gender consultant to ensure proper identification of stakeholders and project affected people.
- Assessment, prediction and significance of environmental and social impacts
This Project is considered a moderate-risk project and hence does not require a scoping study. Therefore, the first step is to complete and substantiate the results of the ESS Screening by confirming potential impacts and/or identifying other potential impacts in consultation with relevant stakeholders and key informants. The WWF GEF Agency Safeguards Coordinator will make a determination of which safeguards management plans are needed based on this ESS Screening.
Once the list of impacts has been consolidated, predictions need to be made in terms of the impact’s probability and their magnitude. In accordance with the WWF’s Policy on Environment and Social Risk Management, the assessment should pay particular attention to impacts related to the WWF Environment and Social SIPP such as adverse impacts on indigenous peoples, cultural heritage, biodiversity or on people’s livelihood through access restrictions or resettlement. However, thematic coverage of the WWF’s Policy on Environment and Social Risk Management also involves other potential social impacts including impacts on women or vulnerable groups, health and safety risks, environmental risk issues not covered by the Standard on Protection of Natural Habitats or risks triggered by the project failing to take climate change effects into consideration.
When analyzing the risks both direct and indirect impacts should be taken into consideration, such as inadvertent knock-on effects or cumulative effects that materialize through interaction with other developments, impacts occurring at the project site or within the project’s wider area of influence and impacts triggered over time. Once the impact issues have been confirmed, they need to be rated on their significance, which is important for prioritizing the mitigation measures. For social impact issues this task should be undertaken in consultations with the respective affected groups. Significance rating should consider the expected likelihood of the potential impact and the impact’s anticipated magnitude. The magnitude is influenced by factors such as sensitivity of receptor, severity of impact, manageability of impact, its duration and reversibility.
The methods and analytical tools for analyzing impacts should be commensurate with the type and significance of the impacts. It should allow rigorous assessment of the significant impacts using qualitative and to the extent possible, quantitative methods. Participatory research and assessment tools should be employed wherever sensible to enable participation of affected groups in the assessment of significance of impacts and the development of mitigation measures.
- Environmental and social management framework (ESMF) (see Annex 1).
The main output of the ESMF process is a strategy for managing risks and mitigating impacts at the project sites. The aim of the project is to arrive at a suite of interventions for achieving intended restoration and ecosystem management outcomes in which adverse environmental and social impacts are avoided; if complete avoidance is not feasible it will need to be ensured that impacts are minimized and/or compensated for in a fair, equitable and agreed way
- Stakeholder Consultation and Plan (SEP) (see Annex 2)
An appropriate level of stakeholder engagement in the ESMF process will ensure that impact scoping is comprehensives, that significance is thoroughly assessed, and that proposed mitigation actions are feasible, culturally appropriate and gender inclusive. Following WWF’s Standard on Stakeholder Engagement, the scale and depth or intensity of engagement in the ESMF process is dependent on the concerns expressed, as well as the magnitude of expected impacts.
Consultation events held with affected people and other stakeholder groups need to be documented by providing dates of consultations, a list of participants together with a summary of issues raised and how they are or could be addressed in project design. A final stakeholder meeting should be organized towards the end of the fieldwork for gathering views on the draft ESMF.
- Gender assessment and Gender Action Plan (see Annex 3)
This assessment’s purpose is to collect gender-specific data that will lead to the identification of gaps, opportunities and in gaining knowledge on roles of women and men in the “Enduring Earth: Accelerating Sustainable Finance Solutions to Achieve Durable Conservation” project area to identify gender-specific actions and indicators relevant to the project and as part of the gender action plan, mainstreamed in all project components and results framework.
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