Lead Consultant At Central Asian Regional Environmental Center


Drought is a worldwide threat to food and water security and is a constant presence in all Central Asian countries. Past droughts revealed the gaps and limitations in drought management in the region and drought impacts are further aggravated by the scarcity and uneven distribution of water resources in most parts of Central Asia. It is also revealed that drought management need is further heightened by any analysis of future climate conditions in the region which, based on regional climate simulations, highlighted the likely future increases in temperatures, decreases in rainfall and increases in extreme events, particularly drought.

Currently, the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) Program in partnership with the UNCCD is implementing a project to develop regional approaches for combating drought and sand and dust storms. The need for drought monitoring and early warning systems to support drought management efforts has been identified. During the first virtual workshop held in July 2020, local stakeholders, local and international experts including UNCCD, UNEP, UNDRR, FAO, CAREC and ICBA, highlighted the need for strengthening national knowledge and capacity on drought and sand and dust storms related events, understanding the vulnerability indicators, use of monitoring and forecasting tool to ensure long term strategic planning, that will be beneficial across borders.

Through the new Strategic Framework (2018-2030), the UNCCD is increasing its attention to drought. One out of the five strategic objectives of the framework are focusing on drought with the aim to “mitigate, adapt to, and manage the effects of drought in order to enhance resilience of vulnerable populations and ecosystems”. This prioritization was confirmed in the COP 13 (2017) decision. COP13 guided the process of developing national drought plans and drought preparedness systems, promoted the use of the UNCCD drought resilience, adaptation and management policy (DRAMP) framework that aims to reduce drought risk and increase resilience, and most importantly the COP requested the secretariat to implement a drought initiative (Decision 29/COP.13).

Following the endorsement of the Advocacy Policy Framework, UNCCD Secretariat launched the Regional Pilot Project in CA aimed at developing and implementing the Drought and SDS risk reduction strategies at national and regional levels utilizing the methodological frameworks and tools developed by the UNCCD Secretariat. The Pilot Project will be implemented during the 2020 – 2021 in five CA countries under the supervision of the UNCCD Secretariat, in close collaboration with UNCCD National Focal Points and management of Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC).

In January 2021, CAREC jointly with UNCCD and ICBA initiated a thematic discussion meeting with UNCCD National Focal Points, drought and climate experts from the region of Central Asia and HydroMet services representatives from each Central Asia country, to discuss drought monitoring and forecasting systems for the region. During this virtual meeting, ICBA presented a prototype of a drought monitoring system and the methodology to develop an early warning system for the Central Asian countries. An interest and specific requests from participants and countries for this system were voiced. The requests were diverse, both in terms of complexity and in terms of sectors of the economy they intend to cover. The participants noted that the system is of interest to them and that it should be tested and adapted to the realities of Central Asian countries.

The Drought Monitoring and Early Warning System (DMEWS) will monitor and predict regional drought conditions, assist officials who are charged with relief efforts by providing “value-added” information during drought events. A critical part of this project’s mission is to provide training and capacity development throughout the region in the operation of monitoring and early warning, developing communications and delivery technology, and conducting stakeholder engagement activities.

This project will partner with and build on previous and on-going efforts in the region including the current project on regional approaches for combating drought and sand and dust storms. The outcome will be a unique capability for regional drought management, providing effective, collaborative, science-based programs for developing a unified regional platform for drought monitoring and early warning to support policy and preparedness.

Purpose of the Consultancy:

The purpose of this assignment is to carry out a drought impact assessment and identify stakeholders need in terms of drought monitoring and early warning and develop a full proposal document to be presented to potential donors.

Envisioned Tasks under this assignment include:

Milestone 1: Supervision of national consultants (20 days)

  1. Jointly with CAREC and ICBA prepare ToR for national consultants to assist in achieving the Milestone 2 of this Consultancy;
  2. Supervise the national consultants in their tasks of data collection;
  3. Assess and approve submitted reports;
  4. Synthesis the data collected in accordance with tasks under milestones 2 and 3.

Milestone 2: Past droughts characteristics and their impacts (10 days)

  1. Assemble and share previous projects reports on drought in the countries using meteorological and other primary data.
  2. Undertake literature review on drought history (occurrence, severity, duration, extent) at the regional, national and sub-national/river basin/water utility levels (Departments).
  3. Assemble and share primary and secondary data and write synthesis report on the impacts of past droughts on water supply systems at the national and/or river basin/water utility level including details of the effects on people and the economy.
  4. Assemble and share primary and secondary data and write synthesis report on the impacts of past droughts on rainfed agricultural systems and agro-pastoralism systems at the national and/or more local level including details on the effects of droughts on people and the economy.

Milestone 3: Needs assessment, stakeholders’ engagement, and proposal development (60 days)

  1. Coordinate with the national consultants the organization of meetings with local partners and key stakeholders involved in drought management (including ministries of agriculture and water) in each of the 5 countries to identify their needs in terms of drought monitoring and early warning systems and write a synthesis report on the matter.
  2. In partnership with ICBA and CAREC, write a comprehensive methodology to validate the drought monitoring prototype and to develop an early warning system for Central Asia. Identify data needed for such exercise at different scales and for various components of the system.
  3. Write a comprehensive methodology on information sharing, data dissemination and capacity development as part of the final proposal document.
  4. Develop a logical framework and the budget needed to implement the DMEWS project in Central Asia.
  5. Write and share with ICBA, CAREC and UNCCD the full proposal document describing the stakeholders needs, the methodology to validate the DMEWS and data needed for this exercise.


Consultancy deliverables related to project document will be spread over the 90-day contract period.

Deliverable 1: Project inception report – (20% of set project fees payment)

a. ToR for national consultants prepared;

b. National consultants recruited;

c. Project initiation report describing the methodological approach, data sources and key contacts to be used.

Deliverable 2: Drought History and Impact Assessment Report (30% of set project fees payment)


d. Synthesis report on the drought history in each country.

e. Synthesis report on the drought impacts of previous events on the different sectors and regions in each country.

f. Bibliography of sources used.

g. Update on difficulties faced in the assessment.

Deliverable 3: DMEWS proposal document (50% of set project fees payment)

h. Proposal document describing the methodology, data, resources, logical framework and the budget needed to implement the project.

i. Bibliography of sources used.

j. Meetings minutes and supporting documents.


· High level (ability to read, write and speak) of Russian and English languages are required;

· Advanced university degree in environmental engineering, natural resource management, sustainable development (preferably with a focus on sustainable land management);

· A minimum of 5 years working experience related to natural resource management, sustainable land management, drought, food security in a national/regional context;

· Extensive knowledge on drought management, monitoring, including methodologies on monitoring and assessing drought, early warning systems, risk mitigation measures;

· Excellent demonstrated understanding of the workings of international conventions, preferably the UNCCD;

· Demonstrated knowledge in the effective facilitation of complex multi stakeholder processes;

· Demonstrated ability to work independently, handle multiple tasks, work under pressure and deliver assignments on time;

· Experience working for international and regional organizations is an asset;

· Excellent writing, presentation and analytical skills.

How to apply

  • Send an email to: riss[email protected] with a copy to: [email protected] by March 25, 2021;
  • Email subject: A1095 – Lead Consultant (DMEWS) – Last name First name
  • Attachments:

o CV (in English: required, in Russian: optional);

o A brief motivation letter (maximum 500 words);

o Other relevant information (optional).

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June 2023
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