The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers.
In most cultures volunteerism is deeply embedded in long-established, ancient traditions of sharing and support within the communities. In this context, UN Volunteers take part in various forms of volunteerism and play a role in development and peace together with co-workers, host agencies and local communities.
In all assignments, UN Volunteers promote volunteerism through their action and conduct. Engaging in volunteer activity can effectively and positively enrich their understanding of local and social realities, as well as create a bridge between themselves and the people in their host community. This will make the time they spend as UN Volunteers even more rewarding and productive.
Organizational Context & Project Description
High Range Mountain Landscape (HRML) in the Western Ghats mountains of peninsular India is a globally significant biodiversity region. Its key attributes are: a) high levels of endemism and biological diversity; b) Important Bird Area; c) presence of globally threatened species of fauna and flora; d) part of one of the five viable breeding centre of tiger in India; e) harbour the largest global population of Nilgiri tahr and a significant population of Grizzled Giant Squirrel (both threatened species); f) catchment of three major river systems of peninsular India; g) strong eco-cultural affinities; and h) support important economic sectors like cardamom, tea and tourism. At present, HRML is a complex mosaic of land uses where conservation, economic production and livelihood requirements assume equal primacy and profoundly influence each other. These contribute to competitive use of natural resources and affecting vital ecological processes. The rapidly altering developmental context, demographic contours, resource use configurations place a challenge for HRML’s long term ecological sustainability and livelihood security. The existing planning and policy framework, as well as the institutional arrangements in HRML are inadequate to address biodiversity conservation from a landscape perspective. The project aims to put in place a collaborative governance framework for multiple-use management of HRML. The project will attempt a paradigm shift from current sector based planning to an approach for integrated multiple-use management of mountain landscapes to deliver global environmental benefits. The project aims to achieve this through the following Outcomes: a) Effective governance framework for multiple-use mountain landscape management in place; b) Multiple-use mountain landscape management is applied securing the ecological integrity of HRML; and c) Strengthened capacities for community based sustainable use and management of wild resources.
The project region covers 2190 sq. km spread across three districts of Kerala viz. Idukki, Ernakulam and Thrissur in Kerala.
The project is supported by GEF, UNDP and Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC). At the state level, Haritha Keralam Mission is the implementing agency with the support of the Kerala State Forest Department.
Duties and Responsibilities
Under the direct supervisor of State Project Director and State Nodal Officer, the UN Volunteer will undertake the following tasks:
- Support the LLPMU in implementation and monitoring of project activities at landscape level as per the agreed workplan
- Mobilise Panchayati Raj Institutions, Line departments, CBOs and Communities for implementing activities as per the work plan
- Provide technical and capacity building support to field partners for community based sustianble natural resource management and mainstreaming biodiversity concerns in key production sectors
- Provide all project related field support to State Project Director and State Nodal Officer and Project Management Units at state and national level
- Ensure proper coordination of co-finance activities in the field
- Provide quarterly, mid-term and annual progress reports from the field as per the requirement of Project Management Unit at state and national level.
Furthermore, UN Volunteers are required to:
- Strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the concept of volunteerism by reading relevant UNV and external publications and take active part in UNV activities (for instance in events that mark International Volunteer Day);
- Be acquainted with and build on traditional and/or local forms of volunteerism in the host country;
- Reflect on the type and quality of voluntary action that they are undertaking, including participation in ongoing reflection activities;
- Contribute articles/write-ups on field experiences and submit them for UNV publications/websites, newsletters, press releases, etc.;
- Assist with the UNV Buddy Programme for newly-arrived UN Volunteers;
- Promote or advise local groups in the use of online volunteering, or encourage relevant local individuals and organizations to use the UNV Online Volunteering service whenever technically possible.
- Effective implementation and monitoring of project activities at landscape level as per the agreed workplan
- Panchayati Raj Institutions, Line departments, CBOs and Communities mobilised for implementing activities as per the work plan
- Technical and capacity building support provided to field partners for community based sustainable natural resource management and mainstreaming biodiversity concerns into key production sectors wherever required
- Report on co-financing activities being implemented at the landscape level submitted
- Quarterly, mid-term and annual progress reports submitted from the field as per the requirement of Project Management Unit at state and national level
- Integrity and professionalism: demonstrated expertise in area of specialty and ability to apply good judgment; high degree of autonomy, personal initiative and ability to take ownership; willingness to accept wide responsibilities and ability to work independently under established procedures in a politically sensitive environment, while exercising discretion, impartiality and neutrality; ability to manage information objectively, accurately and confidentially; responsive and client-oriented.
- Accountability: mature and responsible; ability to operate in compliance with organizational rules and regulations.
- Commitment to continuous learning: initiative and willingness to learn new skills and stay abreast of new developments in area of expertise; ability to adapt to changes in work environment.
- Planning and organizing: effective organizational and problem-solving skills and ability to manage a large volume of work in an efficient and timely manner; ability to establish priorities and to plan, coordinate and monitor (own) work; ability to work under pressure, with conflicting deadlines, and to handle multiple concurrent projects/activities.
- Teamwork and respect for diversity: ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries; ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and harmonious working relations in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity and gender;
- Communication: proven interpersonal skills; good spoken and written communication skills, including ability to prepare clear and concise reports; ability to conduct presentations, articulate options and positions concisely; ability to make and defend recommendations; ability to communicate and empathize with staff (including national staff), military personnel, volunteers, counterparts and local interlocutors coming from very diverse backgrounds; ability to maintain composure and remain helpful towards the staff, but objective, without showing personal interest; capacity to transfer information and knowledge to a wide range of different target groups;
Flexibility, adaptability, and ability and willingness to operate independently in austere, remote and potentially hazardous environments for protracted periods, involving physical hardship and little comfort, and including possible extensive travel within the area of operations; willingness to transfer to other duty stations within area of operations as may be necessary;
Genuine commitment towards the principles of voluntary engagement, which includes solidarity, compassion, reciprocity and self-reliance; and commitment towards the UN core values.
Required Skills and Experience:
- Masters’ degree in Environment Science/ Natural Resource Management/ Conservation science/wildlife science or any other related field
- At least 2 years of experience of working in development projects/ biodiversity conservation/natural resource management in India
- Experience of working with governments, PRIs, government funded projects, government missions, NGOs, Civil Society Organisations and disadvantaged communities
- Experience of working with Central and/or State Governments would be an added advantage