Consultancy: Environmental programme focused on air quality

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Consultancy: Environmental programme focused on air quality with adolescent/youth engagement for the Western Balkans, Europe and Central Asia Regional Office

Job Number: 534254
Locations: Asia and the Pacific: Kazakhstan, Headquarters Locations: Switzerland
Work Type : Consultancy

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

Background/Rationale for the Assignment

The Western Balkan (WB) countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia have become a hot spot in relation to air pollution due to outdated coal plants, smoke-emitting cars and many households using fossil fuel and woods.  The population of the Western Balkans region is exposed to some of the highest concentrations of air pollution in Europe, up to five times higher than the national and EU guideline levels, let alone WHOS’s AQG.

Air pollution is a significant contributing factor to premature deaths among the population in 19 cities in the Western Balkan countries, with the total number of premature deaths directly attributable to air pollution standing at nearly 5,000 per year (UNEP, 2019) . The health effects of air pollution are well documented in global toxicological, clinical and epidemiological research studies. Epidemiological studies and meta-analyses provide data on functional relationships between concentrations of air pollutants and increased health risks associated with exposure (WHO H., 2013). Since 2005, the evidence for a biological mechanism, derived from both epidemiological and toxicological studies, has also increased and indicates that exposure to PM2.5 is associated with systemic inflammation, oxidative stress and alteration of the electrical processes of the heart (Brook et al., 2010).  Other effects of air pollution on health include acute and chronic respiratory infection, lung cancer, and impaired immune response.

Among the population affected, children are uniquely vulnerable to air pollution – due both to their physiology, and the type and degree of their exposure.  Children breathe twice as quickly as adults and take in more air relative to their body weight, their immune systems are weaker, and their brains are still developing. Their respiratory tracks are more permeable and thus more vulnerable.  Air Pollution will cause children to suffer from both short-term health impacts (i.e. respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma); and long-term health impacts (i.e. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, neurodevelopmental impacts such as cognitive development, neurodegenerative disease, and diabetes).

At the same time, children and young people can play a key role in addressing climate-related risks and environment protection issues, including air pollution,  by exercising their views, opinions and concerns, identifying and working on solutions, and promoting environmentally sustainable lifestyles – setting an example for their communities.

Purpose & Expected Results

The consultant will help develop UNICEF’s input to a joint proposal for a sub-part of a SIDA funded regional program for the Western Balkans in cooperation with Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Swedish EPA). The programme will cover issues related to, inter alia, air quality improvement and adolescent/youth engagement on environmental issues.  Swedish EPA’s and UNICEF’s cooperation in the program will form a substantive sub-part of the regional programme as a whole, with multiple linkages to other program parts yet to be determined.

The consultant will provide technical assistance to UNICEF Regional Office (ECARO) in consultation with UNICEF’s Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo  and Serbia country offices (COs) to consolidate UNICEF’s inputs for the proposal. UNICEF’s role in the programme will focus on youth/ adolescent engagement in decision making and advocacy for air quality improvement and will be defined and expanded based on country needs, gap assessments and opportunities in the area of air pollution/environment protection and youth engagement. To facilitate this, the consultant will undertake the following:

  • Support the Regional Office to facilitate discussions and development of UNICEF inputs to the programme, in coordination with UNICEF WB COs and Swedish EPA;
  • Provide technical support and coordination on needs, gaps assessment and opportunities at country level and consolidation of UNICEF inputs to a cohesive programme;
  • Draft and finalize UNICEF’s inputs to the regional proposal, in consultation with WB COs, ECARO and Swedish SEPA as per the provisional structure of the proposal (see annex as an example);
  • Help to organize/convene, participate in, and provide technical inputs in SIDA-SEPA-UNICEF meetings at planning, drafting and finalization of the proposal stages throughout September 2020- April 2021.  Key meetings with SEPA, SIDA planned in late September/early October 2020, December 2020 and the final meeting to present the proposal to SIDA in April 2021.
  • Develop and share with SEPA/UNICEF COs a comprehensive presentation (slides) on UNICEF’s contribution to the proposal at key stages and for key meetings related to proposal development.
  • Develop a written report on the activities implemented during the proposal development stages by UNICEF (throughout September 2020 – April 2021).  The report should be submitted by UNICEF to Swedish SEPA no later than 31 April 2021.

Work modality:

The consultant will be home-based.  She/he will work in active and close consultation with the UNICEF ECARO Advisors on Emergency and Adolescent Development and other colleagues as required. Close coordination with the WB country offices focal points and SEPA focal point should be established from the beginning of the assignment.  She/he will be reporting on a day to day basis to the UNICEF Regional Emergency Advisor.

Qualifications and Competencies


Advanced University degree in Social Science, Environment Protection and related fields.

Skills and Experience

  • Minimum 5 years of experience in the field of environment protection, climate change adaptation, air pollution, education, research, assessment.  Experience on youth and adolescent development is a strong asset;
  • Demonstrated capacities in conceptualizing, planning and executing complex programmes and donor proposals, in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders
  • Advanced ability to express clearly and concisely ideas and concepts and proven writing and budgeting skills.
  • Experience/knowledge of the UNICEF programmes, strategies and tools on adolescent and youth development, environment protection and climate change, education, etc.
  • Familiarity, experience of working in the countries in the Western Balkan region;
  • Familiarity with SIDA and Swedish EPA funding modalities
  • Familiarity with the EU Approximation and Accession processes and evolving EU policy, like the new Green Deal and IPA 3 and other relevant multilateral agreements and initiatives effecting the environmental work in the Western Balkans.
  • Experience in the work of international development and/or humanitarian organizations
  • Demonstrated ability to operate with minimal supervision and professional discretion
  • Demonstrated ability to establish harmonious and effective working relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders


  • Fluency in English is required.

Estimated Duration of the Contract

Total of 85 working days during the period of 25 September 2020 – 15 April 2021

Duty Station and Official Travel

The consultancy is home based.  One or two missions to Geneva/WB country if required and COVID situation allows.

Payment Schedule

50% upon deliverable 1, 2, 3.

50% upon deliverable 4, 5.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

View our competency framework at

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit:

  • A letter of interest demonstrating how you will meet or exceed the requirements for this assignment;
  • A CV;
  • A technical proposal clearly indicating:
  • Detailed response to the TOR, including your understanding of the work and proposed action plan for delivering the output.

Detailed list of suggested documents/sources;

  • Abstracts of similar work along with publication reports, where applicable (provide links)
  • A minimum of three references /contact person details, including your current/most recent supervisor.
  • A financial proposal indicating your daily fee. Proposals without fees will not be considered.


Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

Opening Date Fri Sep 04 2020 09:00:00 GMT+0200 (Central European Summer Time) W. Europe Daylight Time
Closing Date Tue Sep 15 2020 23:55:00 GMT+0200 (Central European Summer Time)

Full TOR and application process.

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