Result of Service
The consultant will prepare a draft report consisting of a bibliometric literature review.
Remote – home-based
Duties and Responsibilities
The United Nations Environment Programme is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for ‘sustainable development’. The Convention on Biological Diversity was opened for signature in Rio in 1992. The Convention has three main objectives: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) is located in Montreal and administered by United Nations Environment Programme. Its main tasks are to arrange for and service meetings of the Conference of the Parties, including preparation of pertinent documentation, operation of the central node of the clearing-house mechanism, liaison and coordination with other international bodies and processes and, in close collaboration with these partners, the provision of technical support for the effective implementation of the Convention.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the primary international forum addressing governance of this rapidly growing field. Synthetic biology has been under discussion at CBD for several years. The Conference of the Parties first turned its attention to synthetic biology at its tenth meeting in 2010, where Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations were, inter alia, invited to apply the precautionary approach to the field release of synthetic life, cell, or genome into the environment. Consideration of synthetic biology as a substantive issue was subsequently placed on the agenda of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice at its sixteenth meeting in 2012, and since then it has been debated intensively.
In Decision 14/19 the Conference of the Parties (COP), broad and regular horizon scanning, monitoring and assessing of the most recent technological developments is needed for reviewing new information regarding the potential positive and potential negative impacts of synthetic biology vis-à-vis the three objectives of the Convention and those of the Cartagena Protocol and Nagoya Protocol.
In decision 15/31, the Conference of the Parties (COP) established a process for broad and regular horizon scanning, monitoring and assessment of the most recent developments in synthetic biology. Through this intervention, the Secretariat will facilitate the process of horizon scanning anticipated in the decision 15/31 and prepare the information required for the multidisciplinary AHTEG to undertake this process.
Under the overall supervision of the Head of Unit, Biosafety, the consultant will provide the needed expertise to facilitate the literature review of the horizon scanning process in support of decision 15/31.
Duties and Responsibilities
The consultant will carry out the following duties and responsibilities, under the supervision of the Head of Unit, Biosafety and in collaboration with the Associate Programme Management Officer:
– Develop a methodology for conducting literature reviews in the setting of horizon scanning in collaboration with the Secretariat
– Develop and fine tune Boolean search terms to facilitate a bibliometric literature review
– Analyze the information obtained through the literature searches and develop short descriptions for a select number of trends in synthetic biology pertaining their potential impacts on the Convention of Biological Diversity
– Facilitate the technical work of the multidisciplinary AHTEG through the literature review
– Document the methodology and identify limitations of the literature review performed
– Provide the Secretariat with suggestions on how to improve the literature review process
– Compile a bibliography and list of resource materials.
Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in biology, biotechnology, environmental sciences or related fields is required. A Ph.D would be desirable. A specialization in synthetic biology or genetic engineering is desirable.
A minimum of 5 years of working experience carrying out research in life sciences is required.
A combination of qualifications and experience in preparing publications in the field of life sciences is required.
Experience developing and carrying literature reviews is required.
Experience is Scopus or Web of Science is desirable.
Experience working with intergovernmental or supra-national institutions is desirable.
Experience with the Convention on Biological Diversity, Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety either at the national level or intergovernmental level is desirable.
Proficiency in using Microsoft Word and Excel is required.
Planning & Organizing
English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official United Nations language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) is desirable.
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.