September 5, 2023
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Result of Service
To inform ATPC’s trade-related work with climate change and broader environmental considerations and to contribute to building the capacity of African policymakers to implement their trade policy priorities in a manner that does not hamper the pursuit of environmental imperatives.
Duties and Responsibilities
Background: The African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) is a specialized unit within the Regional Integration & Trade Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Its mission is to act as the leading Africa-based Centre of excellence and a continental hub for providing and coordinating technical support for the development of trade policies in Africa. ATPC works with stakeholders at all levels to enhance the implementation of sound national, regional and international trade strategies, polices, and programs.
The Centre also conducts research to generate and disseminate knowledge on trade and provides policy advice, training, and capacity building based on the needs identified by its partners. The Centre has recently established a work program to analyze important linkages between trade and the environment. As the world’s environmental emergencies continue to occur at increasing frequency the impact trade can have on the environment has become ever more integrated into global trade discussions. Recent global events such as the Covid-19 Pandemic and conflict in Europe have highlighted the fragility of Africa’s supply chains and its dependence on third parties for critical goods. This fragility has been further compounded by recent events that have put further pressure on global supplies and accentuated the need for Africa to develop more robust and resilient regional value and supply chains that will help it adapt to and mitigate future climate shocks.
Recent trade policy developments in Africa have rekindled interest in the linkages between trade and environmental issues within the Continent. For example, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), under which trading has recently begun, promises to significantly increase intra-African trade and help reduce Africa’s dependency on imports from outside the Continent. The question now becomes whether or to what extent increases in intra-African trade resulting from the AfCFTA can be achieved without significant adverse impacts on the environment. This question requires careful consideration and a balanced approach whereby the Continent pursues its trade-led development goals on the one hand and adheres to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change on the other. Ensuring that the AfCFTA Agreement is implemented in a manner that is sensitive to climate change and related environmental concerns is imperative. Proper alignment of trade policy with environmental policy holds the promise to help Africa unleash the social and economic development potential of the AfCFTA while delivering on the Paris Agreement in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 on climate action.
ATPC has initiated several workstreams to study the interface between trade and environmental policy in the context of the AfCFTA. For example, the Centre has initiated value chain, sectoral, and product analysis to study the effects of increased trade on the environment. It has also initiated research on value chain discovery to identify areas in which Africa should concentrate that are both environmentally- and climate-friendly while also supporting the continental goal to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. The Centre now seeks to hire a senior expert with expertise in both trade policy and environmental issues to contribute to its multiple workstreams on trade and the environment.
Objective of the Assignment:
The primary objective of this assignment is to contribute to ATPC’s various workstreams centering around the interface of trade policy on the one hand and climate change and environmental concerns on the other within the context of African integration led by trade. The addition of a trade-and-environment expert to ATPC’s pool of experts will allow the Centre to expand, deepen and refine its work and provide opportunities for more robust and in-depth analysis of initiatives taken in this area. The outcomes of the research projects overseen by the trade-and-environment expert and the knowledge products generated therefrom will be used to engage policymakers and stakeholders on environmental matters as they relate to trade. Knowledge generated will also be used to help countries put in place policy that is environmentally friendly in the broader context of the ongoing implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement.
Duties and Responsibilities
The consultant shall work under the direct supervision of the ATPC Coordinator and assigned staff to achieve the above-mentioned objective. To do so, the consultant will perform the following key tasks:
• Review and analyze ATPC’s several projects relating to trade and the environment to gain a holistic understanding of the Centre’s workstreams.
• Coordinate and oversee ATPC’s environmental projects from their current state through completion by working closely with staff assigned to each initiative, including colleagues from other ECA units, such as the Technology, Climate and Natural resources management Division (TCND) and the Private Sector Development and Finance Division (PSDFD).
• Lead on new projects as identified through ATPC’s Environmental Management Plan and other workplans.
• Contribute to research initiatives on ATPC’s climate and related workstreams intended to inform trade policymakers and continental stakeholders.
• Conduct a holistic review of ECA’s other climate workstreams as performed by other divisions (e.g. TCND and PSDFD) to help guide and inform ATPC’s current and future work program.
• Respond to ad-hoc requests in relation to trade, climate, and environment related topics and participate in forums and events as the need arises.
• Perform other tasks as may be assigned by the ATPC Coordinator and the Director of RITD.
Master’s degree in economies, environmental policy, international trade, or related field is required. Particular consideration will be given to candidates with an academic background in environment issues. A minimum of seven (7) years of relevant professional experience working on trade and environment issues or a related area, is required. Demonstrated skills in high level research, analysis, and professional writing, supported with evidence, is essential. Experience working on the African continent, particularly in trade and environmental policy areas is desirable.
English and French are the working languages of the United Nations. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required. Working knowledge of French is desirable.