Posted on 23 February 2021
Over the past decade, Africa has experienced significant and unprecedented growth across a host of development indices. Much of this growth is related to the rich natural capital with which the continent is endowed: water and fertile lands for agriculture, minerals feeding the extractives industry, fish stocks and forest resources supplying both local demands and export markets, wildlife, coral reefs and other natural assets attracting an important tourism sector.
As has in the past the Ebola crisis and other epidemics, the current COVID-19 crisis underlines this strong inter-dependency between economic opportunities, people health and well-being, and the provisioning and regulatory functions of the underlying ecological systems. In this regard, firstly, the spread of the Corona virus, as in the past with Ebola and similar zoonotic diseases, has been directly associated with illegal and unregulated wildlife trade and markets. In addition, there is a widespread understanding among scientists
that the destruction of forests and other habitats for growing crops, urban expansion and building road networks, is creating the enabling ecological conditions for viruses and bacteria, naturally occurring in wild animals, to spread towards humans.
In our world of globalized trade & investment links, the COVID-19 crisis provides a wake-up call for Africa, which growth potential is increasingly dependent on global value chains and therefore sensitive to abrupt falls in commodity prices, fiscal revenues, foreign exchange receipts, foreign financial flows, travel restrictions, frozen labour markets, etc., which are seriously affecting business opportunities as well as people’s related livelihoods. Among the sectors most dramatically affected is Africa’s tourism sector, source of approximately 10% of GDP and 1 in 10 jobs in Africa. Estimates by the African Union suggest that the economic impact on the Africa tourism and travel sector alone may be as much as $50 billion USD (nearly 7 times greater than the 2008 economic crisis), in addition to wide spread job losses. As the management of national parks and other conservation assets depends largely on income from tourism, the potential implications for the maintenance of this critical ecological infrastructure are enormous, including its impact on the livelihoods of the many communities depending on it.
The pandemic therefore shows how vulnerable humanity is to major environmental and human health emergencies and how a local event may soon turn into a global crisis. In this regard, the COVID-19 pandemic could be seen as the global effect of natural habitat destruction combined with the effects of globalisation.
In order to cushion the effect of the crisis on households and firms, Governments are designing a wide range of policy responses. The immediate priority in this regard is the health and well-being of people. There is also a clear need to ‘keep the lights on’ for critically affected economic sectors, including Africa’s natural parks and conservation systems. However, our long-term recovery from this crisis also provides for an opportunity to review the prevailing development paradigms in Africa, and to ‘Build Back Better’ towards a future development pathway for Africa that increases its resilience against futures crises, were it health, climate change or otherwise related, through better management of its ecological infrastructure.
This proposed analysis is intended to provide important reflections related to the inter-dependence of people, health, livelihoods and wellbeing on the one hand, and nature on the other hand. This analysis will be placed against the backdrop of Africa’s economic development patterns and growing globalization. The results of this analysis are intended to provide the basis for policy dialogues with Governments in the Central African region, as well as their supporting institutions – International Finance Institutions, Economic Commissions and the like – in regard to the policy and investment decisions to be taken now in order to secure a better, resilient and sustainable development for the future. In the immediate sense, this initiative responds also to the call for ‘Green and Just Recovery’ to the current COVID-crisis, including the African Union Green Stimulus Programme and related policy advisories.
The initiative will build on the ongoing policy-engagement work undertaken by WWF and partners in the context of ‘Green and Just Recovery’ and ‘Africa Ecological Futures’. WWF holds an existing MOU with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), which will form the basis for the planned policy engagement related to this assignment.
The role of ECCAS will include the following:
- Providing relevant documents to help in the analysis and participate in interviews, response to questionnaires and discussions, etc.
- Participate in the review of scenarios, recommendations made by the consultant, through virtual or physical work sessions and other external partners, including WWF.
- Participate in the validation of the orientation document as well as the approach to be adopted for taking into account the recommendations in the development of desired national and regional policies.
- Facilitate discussions between member states through the organization of a working session.
- Facilitate discussions / consultations with different ministries, institutions and other parties concerned in member countries.
Within the context of the before-mentioned, WWF is seeking the services of an appropriate consultant to undertake a number of critical analyses and develop a policy discussion paper for ECCAS.
Scope of work
Based on the above-mentioned intended outcomes, WWF is seeking to engage a suitable Consultant to perform a number of critical analyses as input into a policy discussion paper:
- An analysis of the principal dependencies between economic growth, human health and nature in the Central African region. This analysis will incorporate at least:
- A macroeconomic analysis of the region that describes the relationship between economic growth and Natural Capital and the link between nature and human well-being.
- A specific analysis of the critical people-health-nature dependencies and vulnerabilities as exposed by the COVID-19 crisis.
- Concrete examples illustrative of such dependencies from within the Central African context, backed up with tangible socio-economic data and facts as much as possible on the basis of natural capital assessment/accounting studies (e.g. studies of specific economic sectors such as tourism and forestry). At least 5 case studies (but preferably more) would be expected.
- The development of a set of recommendations and scenarios that establish key policy directions with regard to preserving and improving the overall resilience of people and its underlying ecological systems and natural capital (in particular, but not exclusively related to post COVID-19 recovery). Recommendations and scenarios should include at least:
- An overall vision of what adopting an Ecological Futures approach would mean for the Central African region, from a humanitarian, economic and environmental opportunity perspective.
- A description of relevant approaches and principles that could help mainstream the consideration of people-health-nature dependencies in policy- and investment decision-making (e.g. the One Health approach, natural capital assessment, etc.).
- A set of general scenarios / trajectories illustrative of the choices and trade-offs to be made in the direction towards an Ecological Future for the Central African region.
- Concrete policy directions and investment opportunities in sectors with a nature-positive impact, with an analysis of the social (e.g. jobs), economic/financial and other related benefits.
- Consolidation of the above analysis and scenarios in the form of a policy brief for Governments, inter-Governmental Bodies and International Finance Institutions.
This assignment will be desk-based, using documented data and information as much as possible. In this regard, WWF will make available an initial database of materials, including internal reference materials such as the Africa Ecological Futures analyses, briefs on Green and Just Recovery and COVID-related matters. The Consultant will be required to source and analyze available further information as appropriate.
It is intended that this assignment will be undertaken in close collaboration between WWF and the Consultant. For this purpose, WWF will put in place a task force to guide this assignment, provide concrete inputs as well as facilitate review and validation of results. Regular, bi-weekly calls between the Consultant team and the WWF Task Force should be foreseen.
Instructions for expressions of interest
Interested parties are invited to submit a technical proposal outlining
- An understanding of these terms of references;
- A proposed methodology/approach;
- A capacity statement with short CVs of individuals to be involved in this assignment;
- A high-level work plan.
The technical proposal should be accompanied by a financial proposal with cost breakdown.
How to apply
Interested candidates should send an up-to-date CV (detailing previous experiences as well as proof of similar experience, mentioning professional references and service in terms of fees) and a cover letter by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
, copy email@example.com
Please indicate in the subject line, Consultant_Central Africa Ecological Futures
We thank you in advance for your interest in this position. Only candidates meeting the required criteria will be contacted. If you are not contacted two (2) weeks after the deadline, consider that your application has not been accepted.
Deadline for submitting applications: March 15, 2021.
See e.g. Ostfeld, R.S. (2009). Biodiversity loss and the rise of zoonotic pathogens, Clinical Microbiology and Infection
, 15(1), p40-43; and Zohdy et al. (2019). The Coevolution Effect as a Driver of Spillover. Trends in Parasitology
, 35 (6): p399-408.
See e.g. Lebov et al. (2017). A framework for One Health research, One Health, 3, p44-50.