Job Opening: UNDRR consultancy on DRR Research Agenda and Institutional Landscape

Details and Application:


Posting Title: DRR Research Agenda and Institutional Landscape
Department/Office: United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 02 July 2020 – 14 July 2020
Job Opening Number: 20-United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction-137741-Consultant


Result of Service

Reporting to the head of the Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement Unit, and working in close collaboration with the lead of the Core Group, the consultant is expected to carry out the below tasks:
1. Provide project management support to the lead of the Core Group for the development of the DRR research agenda. Work will include undertaking relevant desk review and mapping and gap analysis on DRR science and broader risk science; coordinating linkages with the literature review currently undertaken by the IRDR; drafting iterative versions of the DRR research agenda jointly with the core group and coordinating the review process including implementing feedback into the draft; managing and facilitating inputs from an expert group set up as part of the process into the draft agenda and organizing broad consultations with relevant other scientific and other stakeholders, including from the private sector; leading the preparations for consultations with the global research funding community;
2. Supporting the IRDR SC Chair and Core Group with the presentation and consultations of the draft research agenda in key meetings including the SDG and climate science related international and regional policy discussions and meetings as well as UNDRR GAR and GRAF expert groups;
3. Working hand-in-hand with the IRDR SC Chair, supporting the IRDR IPO in the preparations for the launch of the DRR research agenda at the International Science Conference planned to be held in the Peoples Republic of China in May 2021; work includes providing inputs to conference documentation, related consultations, and identification and outreach to key participants;
4. Develop a proposal for a restructured IRDR, strategically located within the broader risk science field in order to enable better transdisciplinary research, collaboration and funding; work in 2020 will include a comprehensive review of the current institutional risk science landscape at the global, regional and national levels, including strategic engagement and setting of the UNDRR STAGs and other relevant UNDRR, ISC and IRDR bodies and groups (GAR Advisory Board, GRAF Steering Group and working groups, IRDR National Committees and ICoEs; etc), working in close collaboration with ISC, UNDRR and the IRDR community. Triangulate the risk science review with the development of the SDG science mission, including review of science bodies and structures in the development and climate change science arena, engineering, technology etc. Based on the review of the institutional landscape and the research gaps and priorities identified in the draft risk Research Agenda, develop an initial recommendation on the restructuring of the IRDR.
5. All products are expected by 31 December 2020, with a detailed timeline to be developed by the selected candidate upon contract commencement.

Work Location


Expected duration

ASAP but latest 01 August 2020 until 31 December 2020

Note: An extension of the contract to support the implementation of a Phase 2 of the project (implementation focus) is possible, pending funding availability.

Duties and Responsibilities

The consultancy focuses on the development of a new DRR research agenda and review and the restructuring of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) which is cosponsored by the International Science Council and UNDRR and hosted at the Aerospace Information Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
On the commencement of the first phase of the IRDR (2010-2020, extended to 2021), a science plan was developed to guide the work of the program. As this plan is nearing the end of its intended life, a process was developed to revise and update the plan in developing a DRR research agenda. At the outset it was decided to expand the process beyond the traditional DRR community, to address the changes in the disaster risk reduction science arena since 2010, in particular the broadened scope of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and related risk and resilience discussions under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Paris Climate Agreement and other 2030 agreements. The process is implemented by a Core Group under the leadership of the Chair of the IRDR Scientific Committee (IRDR SC) with support from the IRDR International Programme Office (IPO). In addition, an international Expert Group is being set up to support the review of reiterative drafts of the DRR Research Agenda.
Informed by progress on the DRR Research Agenda, and aligned with the end of the first phase of the IRDR by the end of 2021, a detailed review of the institutional DRR science landscape will be undertaken by UNDRR and ISC, in close collaboration with the IRDR SC Chair, to develop a proposal for a restructured IRDR post-2021. The new structure should reflect new and emerging science requirements for the implementation of risk-informed and regenerative sustainable development, and the Sendai Framework and the 2030 Agenda. In this regard, it should be closely connected to the UNDRR Science and Technology Advisory Groups (UNDRR STAGs) and other key actors, networks and groups working in the area of risk science, to strategically support the comprehensive integration of DRR science and research into the broader development and climate agendas and their related science programs.
The penultimate draft of the new research agenda and proposal for a restructured IRDR will be presented at an international science conference planned for May 2021.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications:

An advanced degree in disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, disaster or climate science or related science discipline, engineering, international affairs, international economic development, or a related field from a college/university is required. A first-level university degree in combination with a minimum of 2 years additional qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

– Project references demonstrating a minimum of five (5) years relevant project management work experience relating to science projects in the area of sustainable development, development finance, economic development or disaster risk reduction; business administration or a related field is required;
– Expertise in conducting scientific and policy research and analysis, including data analysis, quantification, strategic planning, programmes and project development and management, or a related area is required.

– Ability to lead projects involving a wide range of actors.
– Solid understanding of the DRR, development, climate and other related institutional science arenas, challenges and opportunities regarding d science policy application and the risk and development research funding landscape and priorities.

Language: Fluency in English (written and spoken) is required.

Additional Information

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 disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities of the United Nations and regional organizations and activities in socio-economic and humanitarian fields. Led by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDRR has around 100 staff located in its HQ in Geneva, Switzerland, and 5 regional offices and other field presences. Specifically, UNDRR coordinates international efforts in disaster risk reduction, and guides, monitors and reports on the progress of the implementation of the international strategy for disaster reduction, now the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015-2030; campaigns to create global awareness of disaster risk reduction benefits and empower people to reduce their vulnerability to hazards; advocates for greater investments in disaster risk reduction to protect people’s lives and assets, and for increased and informed participation of men and women of all stakeholder groups in reducing disaster risk; and informs and connects people by providing practical services and tools such as PreventionWeb, publications on good practices, and by leading the preparation of the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction and the organisation of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
In the upcoming years, the strong commitment and involvement of political leadership in every country and partnerships at all levels are required to achieve the outcome set by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: “The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries”. As highlighted by the Sendai Framework and other international agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, a resilient future for all is only possible with an all-of-society engagement for comprehensive and coordinated action.
Building resilience and promoting disaster risk reduction is a collective responsibility and challenge which calls for coordinated actions. UNDRR works closely at all levels with a wide variety of partners and stakeholders towards a global and comprehensive effort in support of country-level actions.
The goal of engaging with partners and stakeholders is to build and enable systematic engagement and action between governments and stakeholders to reduce existing risks and prevent the creation of new risks for resilient socio-economic development at the global, national and local level.
UNDRR’s work is guided by a Partnership and Engagement Strategy and directly supports paragraph 35 of the Sendai Framework: “While States have the overall responsibility for reducing disaster risk, it is a shared responsibility between Governments and relevant stakeholders. In particular, non-state stakeholders play an important role as enablers in providing support to states, in accordance with national policies, laws and regulations, in the implementation of the present framework at local, national, regional and global levels. Their commitment, goodwill, knowledge, experience and resources will be required.”