Programme Officer (Biodiversity)


The Foreign Economic Cooperation Office of the Ministry of Environmental Protection has requested GEF assistance through UNDP for the preparation of a program entitled China’s Protected Area System Reform, comprising six child projects. The program objective is to: transform China’s national protected area system through systematic legal and institutional reform and innovation for conservation of globally significant biodiversity. The four components of the program are:

1.    Improved legal and Institutional framework at national and provincial level;

2.    Systematic protected areas planning and mainstreaming at national, provincial, county spatial planning and sectors;

3.    Site level management and supervision standards raised for different PA types; and

4.    Programme Coordination and knowledge management.

Project Preparation Grants (PPGs) have been secured by UNDP to formulate these four full-size projects through situation analyses, identification and documentation of relevant baseline conditions, stakeholder consultations, identification of implementing partners and arrangements, consolidation of cofinancing opportunities, development of results frameworks having an integrated set of SMART[1] indicators and targets that monitor outcomes and key outputs, realistic assessments of risks and their mitigation, gender mainstreaming and social inclusiveness, identification and selection of target sites and pilot demonstration initiatives, and coordination with other initiatives.


The four child projects are outlined below.


Child Project 1: China’s Protected Area Reform (C-PAR) for Conserving Globally Significant Biodiversity will lead on the reform of China’s protected areas (PAs) system and serve as the coordinating project for all six child projects. Its objective is to: establish an effective National Park (NP) System through protected area reform and institutional innovation, increasing coverage of protected areas and improving effectiveness of PA management for conservation of globally significant biodiversity. It comprises three components:

1.    National Park System Establishment

2.    Provincial level National Park System strengthening

3.    Programme Coordination and Knowledge Management


Child Project 2: Enhancing conservation of globally significant biodiversity through PA (protected area) system strengthening in Gansu. Its objective is: to strengthen conservation of globally significant biodiversity in Gansu Province through strengthening and mainstreaming the protected area system into government and sectoral planning, enhancing habitat connectivity and targeted planning and threat. It comprises two components:

1.    Improved legal and institutional framework for PAs, KBAs and endangered species, and mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation in provincial planning reduction for endemic and globally threatened species.

2.    Strengthening the West Qinling Mountains-Minshan Mountains PA network and reducing threats.


Child Project 3: Strengthening the PA system in the Qilian Mountains-Qinghai Lake landscape. Its objective is: To strengthen the effectiveness of the protected area system in the Qilian Mountains-Qinghai Lake landscape to conserve globally significant biodiversity, including snow leopard and Przewalski’s gazelle. It comprises two components:

1.    PA system consolidation and institutional strengthening.

2.    Emplacement of effective PA management and incentivizing participatory conservation.


Child Project 4: Strengthening Marine Protected Areas in SE China to conserve globally significant coastal biodiversity. Its objective is: To conserve globally significant coastal biodiversity in South-East (SE) China through integrated seascape planning and threat management, MPA network expansion and strengthened MPA operations. It comprises two components:

1.    Strengthened MPA legal framework and mainstreaming and expansion of MPA network.

2.    Demonstrations of improved MPA and ESA management

3.    Monitoring, evaluation and sharing of information on coastal habitats and species


This is the Terms of Reference for the procurement of Protected Areas System Specialist who will serve as the coordinator for the C-PAR Program, and lead national consultant in supporting the team leaders of the four UNDP child projects.


[1] Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound

Duties and Responsibilities

Tasks to be performed:


The objectives of the assignment are to provide substantial technical input and guidance to the formulation of the four child projects under China’s Protected Area System Reform (C-PAR) Program to be implemented by UNDP, ensuring timely and quality generation and provision of necessary technical information for the respective Project Documents and GEF CEO Endorsement Request forms and subsequent clearance of the four UNDP child projects.


The Protected Areas System Specialist will serve as the coordinator for the C-PAR Program and, under the direction of the UNDP China Programme Manager of Energy & Environment, work collaboratively with the national executing agencies (FECO/MEP, State Oceanic Administration, Gansu Province and Qinghai Province), as well as liaise regularly with the participating GEF implementing agencies (Conservational International and FECO/MEP) of the other two C-PAR child projects to ensure that the Program is formulated in an integrated, consistent and focused manner.


The Specialist will have a further responsibility as lead national consultant in supporting the team leaders of the four UNDP child projects, including this first one entitled: “China’s Protected Area Reform (C-PAR) for Conserving Globally Significant Biodiversity”, and contributing technically to their formulation. The main tasks will entail:


1. Coordinate formulation of the four child projects under the Programme and the Project Preparation Grant (PPG) requests to be cleared by the UNDP Regional Technical Advisor (RTA) and endorsed by MOF and GEF CEO.


2. Liaise with CI, FECO/MEP and Sichuan Province f to ensure that the scope and activities of UNDP child projects 1-4 are aligned with the PFD and do not duplicate those of child projects 5.


3. Provide guidance and technical inputs to framing the reform of China’s protected area system and proactively ensure that its mainstreaming is built into the other child projects, including opportunities to pilot the proposed national park designation in the target provinces.


4. Support the work of other national consultants engaged in child projects 1-4 in the following ways:

•    assist with identifying and acquiring relevant data and information, especially from other government and international agencies;

•    review relevant government programs/initiatives and key agencies’ activities concerning biodiversity conservation and PAs planning and management;

•    mainstream social inclusion, including gender, across the C-PAR program by ensuring it is integrated across the portfolio of child projects;

•    contribute to the design of the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey for individual projects and ensure that the findings inform the communications and outreach elements of the respective child ProDocs;

•    ensure that project outcomes, outputs and activities that are monitored by a variety of tracking tools, scorecards and other means are integrated into a suite of SMART indicators in the results frameworks of the respective child ProDocs; and

•    quality assure the accuracy of indicator baselines and feasibility of targets across the suite of tracking tools, scorecards and results frameworks of the six child projects, ensuring that clear methodologies and guidelines are in place and that these tools are used in a consistent manner across the Program.


1. Assume overall responsibility for quality assuring the following:

•    Financial Sustainability Scorecard assessments at national, provincial and sub-provincial levels to inform the PA system reform, providing accurate details of currently available PA revenue and budget and clear identification of financing gaps and opportunities to increase and sustain financing;

•    Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) assessments for individual child projects and their respective PAs; and

•    UNDP Capacity Development Scorecard assessments for child project national and provincial PA agencies.


1. Working closely with the relevant consultant(s), contribute to the development of an Ecosystem Health Index (EHI) for PAs to complement the METT, quality assure the EHI baseline and targets, and ensure EHI is applied across child projects 2-4;


2. Assist team leaders with organising stakeholder consultation sessions and workshops to validate the draft ProDocs for their respective child projects to solicit their inputs and secure their engagement in the Program;


3. Support the team leaders in undertaking full UNDP Social and Environmental Screening Procedures (SESPs) of their respective child projects, with a summary report on the PPG findings and future actions.


4. Support the organisation of project appraisal committee meetings and co-signing of the four UNDP Project Documents by relevant Implementation Partners (IPs), and coordinate preparations for Program inception; and


5. Undertake any other tasks within the scope of these terms of reference, as directed by the supervisor.


Undertake the following specific tasks, for which further details can be found in the Initiation Plans of the respective Child Projects:


Tasks specific to Child Project 1:


1. Review the status of ongoing and planned initiatives to reform the national PAs system (including aspects such as governance, legislation, management designations, biodiversity representativeness and ecological integrity) In close collaboration with NDRC, which is developing a Master Plan for China’s PAs system, and key national agencies responsible for PAs (MEP, SFA, MoA and SOA). Report on key findings and priority reform measures, as solicited from key stakeholders, and identify those measures suitable for delivering through the C-PAR Program of child projects.


Tasks specific to Child Project 2:

•    Scope the design of a system of corridors to improve connectivity between PAs and other critical habitats, including KBAs, at a landscape scale for Gansu Province using GIS support provided by the Biodiversity & GIS Specialist.

•    Define the process and steps necessary to upgrade the protection status of Duoer and Yuhe provincial nature reserves to national nature reserves.


Tasks specific to Child Project 3:


Undertake a comprehensive review of historical and on-going initiatives in the Qilian Mountain – Qinghai Lake landscape; and ensure that relevant new knowledge and lessons learnt inform the formulation of this project and contribute to a strategy and action plan for the development of a climate resilient PA system.


Key deliverables:

•    Technically cleared Project Documents, compliant with current UNDP/GEF formats and templates and UNDP CO requirements, and GEF CEO Endorsement Request Forms for the four C-PAR child projects. (Note: This responsibility is shared with the Team Leaders of the respective UNDP child projects, who have ultimate responsibility for these deliverables.)

•    Technical review of present status of China’s ongoing and planned reform of its national PAs system, clearly articulating the current vision and indicating who is doing or planning to do what, and identifying a suite of priority actions prioritized by key stakeholders as potential interventions for C-PAR to deliver.

•    Profiles of the selected PA landscapes, KBAs and PAs for the Gansu, Qinghai and S.E. China coastal environment projects, with maps and information detailing physical, environmental and socioeconomic context, global and national biodiversity significance, threats, management barriers and proposed actions for improvement, including piloting national parks. Ideally, in collaboration with CI, develop a common framework for these profiles so that Sichuan Province is included in the portfolio.

•    Completed tracking tools and scorecards to include:

•    Tracking Tool for GEF-6 Biodiversity Projects: Section I – Register target PAs; Section II – Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) for PAs; Section III – Financial Sustainability Scorecard for PAs System (i.e. national), Sub-systems (i.e. provincial) and networks (i.e. sub-provincial);

•    UNDP Capacity Development Scorecard: applied to each PA agency at national and provincial levels; and

•    Ecosystem Health Index (EHI): applied to individual PAs.


•    Demonstrated strategic, technical and intellectual skills and entrepreneurial abilities in the substantive area;

•    Demonstrated coordination and facilitation skills, with ability to engage with stakeholders and facilitate long-term strategic partnerships and alliances;

•    Demonstrated ability to work in a team and independently, delivering high quality outputs in a timely and cost-effective manner;

•    Sound level of computer proficiency, including use of professional office software packages (Microsoft Office);

•    Strong communication skills, with diplomacy and experience in conflict resolution and negotiation.


Annex 1 UNDP/GEF Compliant Project Document


A UNDP/GEF compliant project document may include the following sections but templates are subject to change:

•    Development Challenge, including direct threats to and indirect pressures on biodiversity, baseline activities, long-term solution and barriers to its achievement, alignment with national priorities, contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goals

•    Strategy, including project outcomes (based on theory of change to address barriers and assumptions), innovativeness, global environmental benefits (proposal sections on project rationale and policy conformity, project goal, objective, outcomes, outputs and activities including full descriptions of pilots, project indicators, risks and assumptions, country ownership, sustainability and replicability), national socio-economic benefits

•    Results and Partnerships, including expected results without (baseline) and with GEF intervention (project alternative), outcomes with respective outputs and activities, partnerships, stakeholder engagement, mainstreaming gender, South-South and triangular cooperation

•    Feasibility, including cost efficiency and effectiveness, risk management, social and environmental safeguards, sustainability and scaling up, economic and/or financial analysis

•    Project Results Framework (with objective, outcomes and respective indicators; baseline status, mid-term and end of term targets; and assumptions)

•    Monitoring and Evaluation Plan, including M&E oversight and responsibilities, additional GEF monitoring and reporting requirements, M&E budget

•    Governance and Management Arrangements, including project organisation structure

•    Financial Planning and Management

•    Total Budget and Work Plan

•    Legal Context, with risk management

•    Mandatory Annexes, including multi-year work plan, monitoring plan, evaluation plan, GEF tracking tool(s) at baseline for biodiversity, land degradation and sustainable forest management, TOoRs for project management bodies and staff, UNDP Social and Environmental Screening Procedure, UNDP Project Quality Assurance Report, UNDP Risk Log, Capacity Assessment of Project Implementing Partner(s), HACT Micro Assessment

•    Optional Annexes, including UNDP Capacity Development Scorecards, list of people consulted, socio-economic and gender situational analysis, baseline reports, project assumptions for theory of change, threats to biodiversity/underlying factors and baseline analysis, roles of project stakeholders.

Required Skills and Experience


•    Master’s Degree or equivalent in natural sciences, environmental management or related fields that include nature conservation planning and management; especially who familiar with national park with international perspective and know the national trend.



•    Minimum of 5 years in the field of ecosystems management and biodiversity conservation in China, with particular experience in protected areas governance, planning and management at systems and site levels. At least 3 years experience working overseas in protected areas in developing and/or developed countries is an asset;

•    At least 2 years solid experience in project development, implementation and management (direct project management experience is preferable);

•    Previous working experience with GEF project agencies, such as UNDP or World Bank, and familiarity with GEF and UNDP policies, procedures and practices are assets.



•    Excellent English and Chinese language skills (both oral and written), particularly in the preparation of written documents.

Only applicants submitted through the link could be considered