Overview

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) embarked on the “R2R- Pacific Islands Ridge-to-Reef National Priorities – Integrated Water, Land, Forest and Coastal Management to Preserve Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, Store Carbon, Improve Climate Resilience and Sustain Livelihoods” in the last decade to “provide an opportunity for Pacific SIDS [Small Island Developing States] to develop and implement truly integrated approaches for the sustainable development of island economies and communities”. Under the umbrella of this larger project, several Pacific Island nations including Tuvalu, established demonstration sites within their national boundaries. For Tuvalu, a sub-component of the larger Pacific R2R programme was initiated in 2015, the “Implementing ‘Ridge to Reef’ approach to protect biodiversity and ecosystem functions in Tuvalu (Tuvalu R2R Project)” which has the main aim “to preserve ecosystem services, sustain livelihoods and improve resilience in Tuvalu using a ‘ridge-to-reef’ approach”.

To achieve this objective, the Tuvalu R2R programme has four components: “enhancing and strengthening conservation and protected areas (Component 1); rehabilitating degraded coastal and inland forests and landscapes and supporting the delivery of integrated water resource management (IWRM) and integrated coastal management (ICM) at a national scale whilst piloting hands-on approaches at the island scale (on three selected pilot islands) (Component 2); enhancing governance and institutional capacities at the national, island, and community levels for enhanced inland and coastal natural resource management (Component 3); and improving data and information systems that would enable improve evidence-based planning, decision-making, and management of natural resources in Tuvalu (Component 4)”.

The Tuvalu R2R Project is a 5-year project, implemented by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour (MFATTEL) in partnership with the Department of Environment of MFATTEL, Ministry of Home Affairs and Rural Development (MHARD), Ministry of Natural Resources and UNDP. There are multiple outcomes projected with the most relevant to the BioRap survey being: “formalized community management systems of marine conservation areas across 9 islands equipped with functional management plans; enhance and/or develop a centralized GIS database system on biodiversity, natural resources, and governance systems; implement sustainable land management interventions and agroforestry interventions; and enhance awareness and build capacities on the Ridge to Reef approach”.

The Tuvalu archipelago consists of three islets (Nanumanga, Niutao and Niulakita) and six atolls (Funafuti, Nanumea, Nui, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae and Vaitupu), with a total land area of approximately 26 km2. Funafuti is the largest atoll, and includes numerous islets situated around a central lagoon that is approximately 25.1 x 18.4 km. The island nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) covers an oceanic area of approximately 900,000 km2 which is home to a highly diverse array of marine life, with estimates of species richness ranking amongst some of the highest in the Indo-Pacific realm. The predominant vegetation type (covering ~ 40% of land surfaces) on the islands of Tuvalu is said to be “coconut woodland”. Terrestrial fauna and flora communities are typically depauperate for isolated coral atoll/ reef islets, and are dominated by coastal/littoral pantropical species. With rising sea levels and subsequent land loss, Tuvalu’s terrestrial habitats are imminently threatened, and as a consequence, so too are the local and scientific knowledge of the biodiversity that exists within.

Duties and Responsibilities
The Tuvalu R2R Project partners plan to undertake a Biodiversity Rapid Assessment (BioRap) on four islets/atolls in the Tuvalu archipelago, namely Niutao, Funafuti, Vaitupu and Nukulaelae. It is intended that biodiversity surveys will be conducted at these four locations, involving baseline field ecological surveys of plants, vegetation, avifauna, and marine habitats, as well as information on mammals (native and introduced/invasive), reptiles and invertebrates.  For this purpose, a specialist team of consultants are required to achieve the following objectives:

To develop specific and feasible methods for conducting baseline field ecological surveys of plants (vegetation), avifauna (birds), mammals (native and introduced/invasive), reptiles, amphibians, insects, and marine species, with a particular focus on species of cultural significance and unique to Tuvalu. Survey methodologies utilized in the BioRap are to be compatible and build on experiences of similar ecological surveys conducted in other Pacific Islands but adapted to the specific focus of the Tuvalu R2R Project.
To conduct field work/surveys for an environmental baseline of the biodiversity of the four islets/atolls (Niutao, Funafuti, Vaitupu and Nukulaelae), implementing the developed methods (in 1 above).
Based on the data collected, subsequent analysis thereof, and described within consequent report(s), the consultants should provide a set of key management and policy options that national and local stakeholders should consider employing to strengthen existing conservation efforts, such as the protection and management of important ecosystems and species found in Tuvalu.
Whilst coordinating and conducting the BioRap surveys, the consultants are expected to work alongside, and build local capacity amongst a team of national (including local community) representatives. From the initial information collected the team of consultants are to provide specialized training for government staff in surveying and/or monitoring methods and the identification of biological indicator species.
From the surveys and the stakeholder interactions, the team is expected to generate a detailed technical and scientific report with results and findings, including conclusions and recommendations on (1) healthy ecosystems; and, (2) key biota indicators that could be used for monitoring changes in important ecosystems.

The Terrestrial Vertebrate Ecologist will be directly responsible for the following sub-components of the BioRap:

To develop the methodologies for the BioRap terrestrial vertebrate surveys that will be conducted on the four islets/atolls, taking into consideration the nature of the locations to be surveyed, and specific to each terrestrial vertebrate group (amphibian(s), reptiles, avifauna, mammals and others). Particular attention should be given to surveying the endemic Lepidodactylus tepukapili and the survey of small islets.
To conduct vertebrate surveys during the BioRap missions, collate the data and perform relevant analyses to describe the status and distribution of each vertebrate group. In doing so, the consultant will compile a baseline terrestrial vertebrate species inventory, noting the status of resident species (i.e. in terms of international distribution and local abundance) and introduced/ invasive species.
Baseline maps describing the distribution of vertebrate species with a focus on biological indicator species that could be used for monitoring and assessment of long term environmental change on the four islets/atolls.
Training materials for workshops/training sessions with government staff in surveying and/or monitoring methods and the identification of biological indicator vertebrate species.
The terrestrial vertebrate section of the final report, addressing the relevant aforementioned objectives.
Detailed Terms of Reference can be obtained from UNDP Pacific Website https://procurement-notices.undp.org/view_notice.cfm?notice_id=63128
Competencies
At least 10 years of experience in conducting terrestrial vertebrate surveys, and the analysis and reporting of fauna datasets for BioRap assessments (whether as an individual or as a team member) in the Pacific and/or small island developing nations;
Demonstrated experience in conducting terrestrial vertebrate surveys on coralline islets and atolls, with similar habitats to those present on the four islets/atolls to be surveyed.
Proven track record of being a member of a related project team and experience with working alongside government, NGO, and other key stakeholders in the Pacific Islands;
At least 10 years of experience in developing local community/stakeholder capacity for terrestrial vertebrate surveys and monitoring; and,
Demonstrated experience in reporting for GEF/UNDP projects and/or other development agency supported projects.
Required Skills and Experience
Minimum master’s degree in animal biology, ecology, environmental science, natural resource management, or a related field and/or at least 10 years of relevant work experience.
Interested individual consultants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications.
Personal CV , indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate and at least three (3) professional references.
Technical proposal, including a) a brief description of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment;
Financial proposal, using UNDP  confirmation of Interest and submission of financial proposal Template

Incomplete proposals may not be considered. Failure to submit these documents may result in disqualification of proposal.

 

Relevant templates can be obtained from the UNDP Fiji website under the procurement section: www.pacific.undp.org

 

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