Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Specialist – UNDP

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 The target areas under the provincial projects are: 

  • Altai mountains and wetland landscape (Xinjiang); Daxing’anling forest and wetland Landscape (Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia); Hainan mangrove PAs (Hainan);
  • the PA clusters around three lakes along the Yangtze River, namely Poyang Lake (Hunan), Honghu (Hubei) and Shengjinhu (Anhui). All the seven projects under the Programme are expected to be developed and approved by the GEF Council by May 2013.The process for developing the full proposal for individual projects will commence in March 2012. 

 Most of these projects are expected to be developed in the same period, to maximise the concerted impacts and cost effectiveness under the programmatic framework.  One of the components under the programmatic framework focuses on mainstreaming wetland PAs in development and sectoral planning process and budget allocation systems. In order to increase the government investment in the wetland PA management and to integrate wetland biodiversity concerns in sectoral planning process at national, provincial and local levels, the Programme, through individual projects,  supports: (i) design and use of economic tools for proving and quantifying economic value of wetland PAs; and (ii) improvement/ development of eco-compensation schemes  directed towards strengthening of  PA system management through benefiting PA management units and PA resident and neighboring communities.  
 This Programme’s strategy is based on the understanding that a major cause of the disconnect between PA planning and management and national development and sectoral planning as well as low financial security of the PA system is insufficient understanding of the economic value of wetland biodiversity and ecosystem services and how the loss of these will economically affect various industries and peoples’ livelihoods.  Although a number of economic valuation studies on natural resources and ecosystems have been carried out in China, there is no clear synthesis to cause major policy shift.   The creation of payment for ecosystem services mechanisms has been hindered by the lack of standards for valuation methods and service indicator selection and the difficulty in determining service providers and receivers due to the complex social and economic structure of the country.  In addition, and given the fact that ecosystem service values are often much higher than compensation capacity, the evaluation results could only be considered as theoretical ceiling values when setting compensation standards.  Although the government is promoting PES like eco-compensation mechanisms, for watershed protection, grazing area reduction, afforestation and forest protection with some good successes, there is no established mechanism which is geared towards reducing threats to PAs and increasing PA financing.
 In order to design the economics component of the projects, UNDP China requires the service of an experienced International PES specialist to provide technical input into project formulation under the Programme. 


Duties and Responsibilities

  Under the guidance of the lead international consultant and supported by the lead national consultant, the specialist will:

  • review relevant literature and available studies on ecosystem service evaluations in China and identify specific additional studies to be supported under the projects which can strengthen the argument for or clarify the economic benefits derived through wise management of wetlands and the economic losses being risked through uncontrolled activities and continued loss or degradation to wetlands;
  • identify studies that can show the add-on value to biodiversity health and function of maintaining high biodiversity in wetland systems;
  • identify studies that show high rates of return for investment into wetland conservation;
  • recommend the most cost effective way of using economic tools under the programme and sub-projects to ensure attainment of NR mainstreaming and an increase in investment in wetland NR management;
  • assess the potential for adopting and institutionalising existing economic valuation  tools and methodologies;
  • develop TOR and costing for the studies/activities proposed for inclusion under the programme;
  • review China’s eco-compensation programme, existing examples of local/provincial schemes, and scheme development processes;
  • explore the opportunities for channeling eco-compensation funds in direct support of wetland PA management;
  • develop plans for establishing eco-compensation schemes in target provinces and landscapes under the programme
  • any other tasks as may be jointly agreed.

    The Specialist will work closely with the lead international and national consultants, appointed Chinese experts, the State Forestry Administration (the Government Executing Agency), provincial and local PA agencies, and UNDP (GEF Implementing Agency.



  • Conduct a review of ecosystem service valuations and eco-compensation programmes in China;
  • Support development of the economics components for four projects (National, Xinjiang, Hainan and Daxing’anling) under the programme. 
  • Demonstrated strategic technical and intellectual skills in the substantive area;
  • Demonstrated leadership, facilitation and coordination skills, ability to obtain and distil information from stakeholders with different backgrounds and nationalities;
  • Demonstrated entrepreneurial abilities and ability to work in an independent manner;
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a team, ability for managing timely and effective delivery of both quantity and quality before the deadlines;


Required Skills and Experience


  •  Master’s Degree in environmental economics or closely related fields;


  • Minimum of 15 years of demonstrable experience and knowledge in the field of environmental economics, payment for ecosystem mechanism development and/or ecosystem service valuation, in particular, experience working in relation to wetland protected area management;
  • Extensive international experience in and knowledge of various methodologies of ecosystem valuation and economic valuation of protected areas, as well as economic valuation tools;
  • Extensive experience with project component development, implementation and/or management;
    Working experience with international organizations, government is an advantage as is knowledge of GEF, UNDP policies, procedures and practices;
  • Excellent communication (both oral and written) and partnership building skills with multi-dimension partners, people skills for conflict resolution and negotiation;
  • Experience in project formulation that addresses technical assistance and capacity development for implementing partners;
  • Experience in working in the relevant field in China and its government, experiences working in international organizations in China or abroad is another strong assets;
  • Computer proficiency, especially related to professional office software packages (Microsoft Office);


  • Excellent English language skills, particularly in the preparation of written documents