National Consultant for a study on the impact of Blue-Green Infrastructure on reducing heat-related disaster risk for women
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Result of Service
The consultant will deliver:
- Desk review of existing literature on the impacts of BGI on reducing heat-related disaster risk for women working in informal sectors or in poor communities throughout Asia and the Pacific. It should include the challenges and opportunities, as well as existing initiatives, placing focus on India.
- Consultations with MHST and other key stakeholders who have engaged in promoting and supporting women’s participation and leadership in the development of BGI.
- A short report on the findings of the desk review that outlines key findings, including existing good practices, opportunities, challenges and the identification of key recommendations on women’s leadership in BGI and how BGI can impact on the heat-related disaster risk of women in poor communities or informal sectors. The report will also include a substantive case study on Amalner, Maharashtra which links with the urban planning policies of the city and state.
- A short training toolkit targeted at urban planners and decision-makers that extrapolates from the key findings of the study, sharing recommendations and guidance that is widely applicable through Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework 2030.
Duties and Responsibilities
Created in December 1999, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) is the designated focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of efforts to reduce disasters and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities of the United Nations and regional organizations and activities in both developed and less developed countries. Led by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG), UNDRR has over 120 staff located in its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and in regional offices. Specifically, UNDRR guides, monitors, analyses and reports on progress in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (The Sendai Framework), supports regional and national implementation of the Framework and catalyzes action and increases global awareness to reduce disaster risk working with UN Member States and a broad range of partners and stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, parliamentarians and the science and technology community. It is predicted that Asia and the Pacific will face growing temperatures with increasingly intense heatwaves. With the impacts of climate change amplifying, many countries already face heat-related health issues, which has significant economic impacts. Heat-related health issues such as psychological stress, respiratory, cardiovascular or chronic issues, will have a significant impact on those in the poorest communities or working in informal sectors. There is growing evidence that increasing temperatures disproportionately affect women. The challenges posed by heat stress can exacerbate existing gender inequalities for women working in informal sectors, affecting both their health and productivity – hindering their full economic participation. Pregnancy also increases to the risks of heat exposure. Blue-Green Infrastructure (BGI) refers to ‘an interconnected network of natural and designed landscape components, including water bodies and green and open spaces, which provide multiple functions’, has been shown to be cost effective and reduce the heat-island effect in urban spaces. Its benefits extend beyond reducing risk to heat, including: improved water and air quality, reduced pressure on central water systems, and improved psychological and mental wellbeing. BGI can contribute toward enhancing resilience of the physical environment and its people. The Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHST), an Indian non-profit organisation works with women in informal sectors to improve their living and working environments. In 2016, MHST provided loans to women who invested in cool-roof technology that helped women prevent heat-related health issues and deaths, building evidence that BGI can reduce heat-related disaster risk for women in poor communities, as well as highlighting the role of women’s leadership in implementing BGI. This study will be undertaken as part of UNDRR’s flagship women’s leadership programme, the Women’s International Network for Disaster Risk Reduction (WIN DRR), in partnership with MHST, and aims to evaluate how Blue-Green Infrastructure can work to reduce heat-related disaster risk for women in poor settings, as well as the role of women’s participation and leadership in the design and development of BGI. The study will include a case study on Amalner, Maharashtra, which links to the urban planning policies of Amalner. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction outlines the inclusive, all-of-society approach that must be taken to reduce disaster risk. It acknowledges both the specific vulnerabilities that women face in disasters, due to pervasive gender inequality that exists across all societies, while recognising the indispensable role of women in risk reduction efforts. The study directly relates to Sendai Framework Targets: (c) Reducing direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030; and (d) Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030. The findings from the study will be used as an evidence base to develop and implement interventions to promote, support and reduce heat-related disaster risk of women in poor communities in urban settings. The research will identify good practice case studies from India, and develop recommendations for government and other DRR stakeholders that are applicable across Asia and the Pacific.
B. Duty and Responsibility
The consultant will work under the supervision of the Gender Advisor, UNDRR, in close collaboration with the MHST. They will be responsible for undertaking a study on the impacts that Blue-Green Infrastructure can have on mitigating or reducing heat-related disaster risk for women in poor settings, as well as the role of women’s leadership in the design and development of BGI. The study will include a case study on Amalner, Maharashtra which links the findings with the urban planning policies of the city in line with Making Cities Resilient 2030. Guided by a desk review of existing literature on the impacts of BGI on reducing heat-related disaster risk on women working in informal sectors in Asia and the Pacific, the consultant will develop a report that documents good practices from MHST and elsewhere, and identifies key recommendations on how BGI can be best used to support women in poor communities or who work in informal sectors in Asia and the Pacific, to reduce their heat-related disaster risk and enhance resilience. Finally, a short guide and training toolkit will be developed that will provide guidance to key urban decision makers on how to strengthen resilience and reduce heat-related disaster risk of women in poor communities.
Advanced university degree in Social Sciences, Gender Studies, Engineering, Business or any other relevant field is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
At least 7 years of relevant experience related to resilient infrastructure, disaster risk reduction, women’s leadership, gender equality is required.
Experience in research methodologies, and experience writing reports, related to women’s leadership or DRR/resilience is required.
Experience with the UN and in the Asia-Pacific region is desirable.
Fluency in English and Hindi is required.
THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.