Technical Advisor

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UN Development Programme

1. Position Information

Organization: UNDP Saudi Arabia, through Stars Orbit Consultants and Management Development (SOC).

VA No. VA24-103

Position Title: Technical Advisor
Consultancy Type: International Expert

Duty Station: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Level of Effort/Duration: 12 months (renewable)

Vacancy Date of Issue: 25 June 2024

Vacancy Closure Date: 2 July 2024

Expected Starting Date: As soon as possible

This vacancy is announced by UNDP Saudi Arabia through Stars Orbit Consultants and Management Development (SOC). SOC is a sub-contractor for UNDP Saudi Arabia, assisting the programme in implementing their activities through HR and contract management of consultants working in their support.

2. Background Information

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a G20 member with very high human development index ranking 37th out of 189 countries in 2021. Heavy dependence on natural resources, especially oil and gas, presents a major challenge for future development with significant needs for rapid economic diversification. The Kingdom has made significant progress towards the achievement of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); however, it still faces major environmental challenges including accelerated land degradation and desertification, rapid ecosystem degradation, loss of biodiversity and land cover with high exposure to climate risks.

Saudi Arabia has a diversified topography and terrains spanning from desert to mountain series and coastal areas. Although known for its dominant desert and dryland climate, Saudi Arabia has about 2% of its total area covered by forests, including Juniper woodlands representing approximately 2.7 million hectares. The total number of plant species is estimated at 2,247, with 246 endemic species and 334 medicinal plants distributed across different ecosystems including 171 million hectares of rangelands and grasslands. The Sabkha are important ecosystems in the Red Sea and the Gulf areas that present – along with other marine ecosystems – an essential foundation for local livelihoods in coastal areas.

In response to growing climate and environmental risks, the Kingdom launched the ambitious Saudi Green Initiative (SGI), under Saudi Vision 2030, with the objectives of: 1) Reducing carbon emissions by 278 mtpa by 2030; 2) Greening the country by planting 10 billion trees in coming decades, equal to rehabilitating 40 million hectares of land; and 3) Protecting terrestrial and marine ecosystems by raising the surface of protected areas to more than 30% of total land area.

The National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification (NCVC) was established in 2019 under the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture to support national efforts to protect the Kingdom’s environment. NCVC is tasked with combating desertification, developing and rehabilitating forest vegetation cover, protecting local endangered plant species and developing and managing national parks. The Center is engaged in the implementation of projects and initiatives to expand the green cover through afforestation/reforestation, combating desertification, and rehabilitating and restoring degraded lands and ecosystems. The Center has four technical departments: 1) Department of Rangelands;

2) Department of National Parks; 3) Department of Forestry; and 4) Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Combating Desertification.

3. Project Description

UNDP, in collaboration with NCVC, is supporting the implementation of the project “Strengthening Institutional and Technical Capacities of National Center for Vegetation Cover and Combating Desertification”. The goal of the project is to strengthen the institutional, technical, and technological capacities of the Centre in order to conduct its mandate effectively. This will be achieved by strengthening international cooperation, building technical capacities in natural resource management, facilitating digital transformation, supporting the implementation of the National Greening Programme under the Saudi Green Initiative, and mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals into national ecosystem restoration efforts. A gender sensitive approach will be adopted to ensure that both, men and women, contribute to and benefit from project implementation.

To achieve this goal, the project will contribute to the achievement of the following outputs: Output 1: Strengthening international cooperation and network

Output 2: Mainstreaming SDGs into national ecosystem restoration efforts

Output 3: Supporting and accelerating implementation of National Greening Programme Output 4: Transforming information technology, digital infrastructure, and data excellence Output 5: Strengthening institutional and technical capacities

4. Scope of Work

The Technical Advisor on the Sustainable Development Goals will lead the project work under “Output 2: Mainstreaming SDGs into National Ecosystem Restoration Efforts”. He/she will play a key role in providing strategic guidance and fostering collaboration to advance the sustainable development goals in the Kingdom, building on the ambitious ecosystem restoration efforts under the Saudi Green Initiative. He/she will support the engagement of the Centre in national, regional and international SDG processes and activities. The scope of work will include the following:

a. Technical supervision, advice and quality assurance

The Technical Advisor on the Sustainable Development Goals will provide technical supervision, advice and quality assurance for delivering the activities under Output 2, namely:

  • Contribute to the development of an SDG Mainstreaming training pack including a basic course tailored to NCVC needs, with face-to-face sessions and advanced e-tutorials (based on UNDG Reference Guide “Mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”);
  • Backstop the SDG Team/Unit to advance the Centre’s work on the SDGs and promote the integration of SDGs into national ecosystem restoration efforts. This includes the preparation of a manual to guide the work of the Team and define the approach and methodology for mainstreaming SDGs into ecosystem restoration initiatives and projects.
  • Provide technical support to integrate the SDGs in ecosystem restoration projects implemented by Centre, including the pilot projects implemented under the National Greening Programme (NGP, Output 3);
  • Support the development of an SDG indicator monitoring framework to track the achievement of SDG targets in these projects. The framework will capture the multiple benefits of ecosystem restoration, particularly: healthy ecosystems and water security (SDGs 15, 6); improved livelihoods, economic opportunities and jobs (SDG 8); climate change mitigation and adaptation (SDG 13); and gender equality and empowerment (SDG 5).
  • Support the development of a digital SDG Monitoring Dashboard to showcase the results achieved and multiple benefits of ecosystem restoration under the NGP. The information from the dashboard will feed into status reviews, policy guidance, capacity building activities, and efforts to raise awareness on the role of ecosystem restoration in achieving the SDGs.
  • Share knowledge products, case studies and lessons learnt from ecosystem restoration projects in relevant national forums to inform and advance the integration of the SDGs within the large-scale implementation of the National Greening Programme (“SDG Accelerator”).
  • Support development of an online toolbox to provide tools, guidance and best practices for project designers and implementers within the framework of the NGP.
  • Participate in regional and international forums on SDG mainstreaming and ecosystem restoration and share the Kingdom’s experience and good practices under the NGP.
  • Develop terms of reference, assist in the recruitment and supervise the work of national and international consultants hired to support the implementation of activities under Output 2.
  • Contribute to the delivery of any other relevant task pertaining to Output 2 and the activities of the Centre on the SDGs.

b. Monitoring, evaluation and reporting

  • Monitor the implementation of the agreed activities and the achievement of the intended results for Output 2. Update and revise the indicators, baselines and targets for this output, and its activities (in the Results Framework) as needed for effective project implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Prepare the inputs regarding Output 2 for the project progress reports, including reports to national partners as required, focusing on capturing results, lessons, and follow up actions.

c. Strategic advice, capacity building and knowledge sharing

  • Provide strategic advice for the development and implementation of policies, legislation, and regulatory frameworks related to the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Contribute to building the capacities of national counterparts working on Output 2, including mentoring and identification of appropriate training opportunities;
  • Transfer and apply technical knowledge from his/her academic background and professional experience to enhance technical knowledge of national counterparts working on Output 2.
  • Contribute to the production of knowledge products, policy briefs, and research papers to enhance the NCVC’s visibility and thought leadership in the national and international arena.

5. Institutional Arrangement

The Technical Advisor on the Sustainable Development Goals (Output 2) will work under the supervision of the Project Manager, with a substantive reporting line to the Chief Technical Advisor for technical oversight, guidance and support.

He/she will work in close collaboration with the National Project Coordinator and NCVC professionals supporting the implementation of Output 2.

He/she will be based at NCVC in Riyadh and will be called upon to conduct in-country and international missions to support project implementation as needed.



Advanced degree (master’s or higher) in International Development, Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Management, or a field related to the SDGs relevant to the project (primarily 15, 13, 8, 6, 5).

Min. years of relevant Work experience

  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in sustainable development, preferably in the field of environment and natural resource management
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience with Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • A minimum of 7 years of experience in the implementation of international and/or development projects and initiatives.
  • Demonstrated experience in Results Based Management for development project implementation
  • Familiarity with the UN/DP programming is an advantage.

Required skills

  • Substantive Knowledge: Has a very good understanding of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Leadership Abilities: Exhibits the ability to lead and coordinate the work of technical experts/consultants, fostering an environment of cooperation and motivation.
  • Project Implementation Expertise: Demonstrates proficiency in the principles and practices of effective project implementation. Shows capability to effectively support the delivery of project activities.
  • Communication Skills: Shows the ability to communicate effectively and articulately in a range of forums, both written and verbal.
  • Professional Ethics: Demonstrates integrity and fairness by modeling UN values and ethical standards. Shows professional competence and is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines, and achieving results.

Desired skills in addition to the competencies covered in the Competencies section

Experience in dryland countries and/or Saudi Arabia is highly desirable.

Required Language(s)

Fluent (oral and written) in English. Working level knowledge of Arabic is an added value

How to apply

  1. CV must be submitted online in PDF through SOC’s portal via the following link:
  2. Use the English language only.
  3. To review the full ToR, click here:
  4. Indicate clear years of experience with each job (Month/Year)
  5. If the candidate is currently employed by a government institution, he/she must be able to provide an unpaid leave of absence for the duration of the consultancy.
  6. Only candidates who are short-listed will be contacted.
  7. By submitting your application, you have read the Terms of Reference for this position and agree that any false, wrong, or incomplete information might lead to your disqualification in this recruitment process.

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