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Call for Expression of Interest: Consultant to conduct Mid-term Review of GEF Blue Forests Project

GRID-Arendal is seeking a consultant to conduct a Mid-term Review of the GEF Full-size Project “Standardized Methodologies for Carbon Accounting and Ecosystem Services Valuation of Blue Forests” (Blue Forests Project). Under the supervision and guidance of the Project Manager and Project Coordinator at GRID-Arendal and UN Environment Task Manager, and with input from the project partners, the Mid-term Reviewer (‘the Consultant’) will be responsible for the development of the mid-term review of the GEF project "Standardized Methodologies for Carbon Accounting and Ecosystem Services Valuation of Blue Forests" (Blue Forests Project) as outlined in the CEO-endorsed project document.

Background and Objective:

This project is a direct response to an urgent priority identified in the Global Environmental Facility 5 Programming Document under the International Waters Focal Area which states that “stopping the loss of the oceans’ - blue forests (which some studies show exceed carbon absorption of the land) is an urgent priority for coastal management to protect these important carbon sinks’. Objective 3 under the International Water programme a core output is identified as ‘demo-scale local action implemented… to restore/protect coastal ―blue forests”. There is a clear need to fill our gaps in knowledge concerning the carbon fluxes, sequestration, storage, possible greenhouse gas emissions from habitat degradation and ecosystem service values of these ecosystems, to develop standardized methodologies to measure these values consistently, to advise international policy in order to create international mechanisms for protecting these values and to ensure that GEF International Waters projects have tools available for understanding the values of coastal ecosystems. This presents a new opportunity for evaluation of carbon storage and sequestration as well as wider ecosystem services that is consistent with the priorities of the GEF International Waters Focal Area.

Long-term goal: Through a better understanding and consistent methodologies of blue forests ecosystems, this project will provide ecosystem managers and decision-makers essential economic tools for better protection of coastal and marine ecosystems around the globe.

Global environment objective: The proposed project consists of six components and will strive to achieve global environmental benefits through five small-scale blue forests interventions as well as facilitate adoption of blue forests carbon and ecosystem services valuation methodologies, toolkits, and lessons learned into the larger international community and future GEF IW projects. These projects results will lead to more robust and socio-economically driven decision making by coastal communities and governments to ensure sustainable and long-term conservation of critical blue forests ecosystems across the globe. 

Project Objective: To develop, enhance and apply methodologies for standardised and replicable carbon accounting and ecosystem services valuation in blue forests ecosystems to be recognized by the international community and the GEF.

Objective and Scope of the Review:

The Mid-Term Review (MTR) will provide an independent assessment of project performance at mid-term, to analyze whether the project is on track, what problems and challenges the project is encountering, and which corrective actions are required so that the project can achieve its intended outcomes by project completion in the most efficient and sustainable way. In addition, it will verify information gathered through the GEF tracking tools. The review will be carried out using a participatory approach whereby parties that may benefit or be affected by the project will be consulted.

Specific duties and responsibilities of the Consultant include the following:

1. A desk review of project documents including, but not limited to:

     a.  The project documents, outputs, monitoring reports (such as progress and financial reports to UNEP and GEF annual Project
            Implementation Review reports) and relevant correspondence.

      b.  Reports from the Steering Committee and Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee meetings.

      c.  Other project-related material produced by the project staff or partners.

      d. Relevant material published on the project website.

2. Interviews with project management and technical support including staff of the Project Co-ordinating Unit in GRID-Arendal; staff of the coordinating Units in each of the lead agencies for each component; and focal points in the core executing agencies and other partners as deemed necessary.

3. Interviews and Telephone interviews with intended users for the project outputs and other stakeholders involved with this project, including in the participating countries and international bodies. The Consultant shall determine whether to seek additional information and opinions from representatives of donor agencies and other organizations. As appropriate, these interviews could be combined with an email questionnaire.

4. Interviews with the UNEP Task Manager and Fund Management Officer, and other relevant staff in UNEP dealing with International Waters related activities as necessary.

5. Travel to one of the project's small-scale intervention sites, either in Latin America, Africa or Asia, to meet with the local implementation unit. Location to be determined in consultation with the Project Manager and Coordinator, and the UN Environment Task Manager.

The Consultant will prepare a report that assesses project performance, identifies problems and challenges encountered in the project, and identifies corrective actions are required so that the project can achieve its intended outcomes by project completion in the most efficient and sustainable way.


Academic Qualifications: Advanced university degree in environmental sciences or other relevant environmental, political or social science areas


  • Extensive review experience using a theory of change approach;
  • Broad understanding of climate change adaptation issues, and experience in working with developing countries;
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Knowledge of the UN system and specifically of UNEP;
  • Knowledge of the Global Environment Facility and its review processes;
  • Attention to detail and respect for deadlines;
  • Minimum of 10 years of professional experience

Language: Excellent spoken and written skills in English

The review consultant shall have had no prior involvement in the formulation or implementation of the project and will be independent from the participating institutions.


Applications should include the following:

  • Brief covering letter, including relevant experience and information about availability
  • CV (including contact details of at least 2 referees for which similar work has been undertaken
  • Costs (in USD): The consultant should identify their daily rate (travel costs will be covered by GRID-Arendal)

Consultants replying to this Call for Expression of Interest should send applications to: and mark in the subject "Call for Expression of Interest – Blue Forests Mid. term review" by close of business on 17 January 2018.

For more info, please contact: Steven Lutz, Project Coordinator ( or Tiina Kurvits, Project Manager (

We thank you for your interest. 

Value of Contract: $12,500 plus travel

Location: Remote

Type: Independent Consultancy Contract

Duration: Approximately 25-30 days within the period of 16 January to 16 March 2018.

Starting date: 2018-01-16

Ending date: 2018-03-16

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