Social Science Expert, Early Warning System Survey, Lao PDR

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UNDRR - United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

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Application deadline 1 month ago: Friday 24 May 2024 at 03:59 UTC

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Result of Service

The consultant will contribute to an enhanced policy environment for disaster risk reduction and the institutional capacity to deliver early warning systems that have a strong integration of gender equality, disability, and social inclusion.

Work Location

Vientiane, Lao PDR

Expected duration

June-November 2024

Duties and Responsibilities

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 efforts to reduce disasters and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities of the United Nations and regional organizations and activities in both developed and less developed countries. Led by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG/ASG), UNDRR has over 140 staff located in its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and in regional offices. UNDRR guides, monitors, analyses, and reports on progress in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. It supports regional and national implementation of the Framework and catalyzes action and increases global awareness to reduce disaster risk working with UN Member States and a broad range of partners and stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, parliamentarians and the science and technology community. One of the UNDRR’s strategic areas of work in Lao PDR is to support the country’s efforts to strengthen disaster risk governance, particularly, to develop, implement and finance national and local strategies and plan to promote concrete actions for climate and disaster risk reduction across multiple development sectors. In November 2022, the UN Secretary General launched the Early Warnings for All (EW4ALL) initiative to advance the efforts to protect everyone in the world by the end-to-end multi-hazard early warning system (MHEWS). UNDRR, together with World Meteorological Organization (WMO), leads the global coordination of the EW4ALL in close collaboration with International Telecommunication Union (ITU), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society (IFRC), and some regional entities such as Economic and Social Commissions for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to support the country-level efforts to elevate the investment for early warning systems enhancement. The Government of Lao PDR has developed a country roadmap for EW4ALL in 2023. The roadmap lays out the countries’ priorities over the period from 2024 to 2027 to strengthen all aspects of end-to-end multi hazard early warning systems that are disaster risk knowledge and management; detection, observation, monitoring, analysis, and forecasting; warning dissemination and communication; and preparedness and response capabilities. In Lao PDR, the DMH is responsible for monitoring and forecasting early warnings, while the MoNRE and MoLSW disseminate these messages to the public. The MoLSW oversees disaster management policies, strategic planning, and coordination among stakeholders. Evaluating the effectiveness of early warning messages, user information utilization, and individual reactions is essential for understanding their role in reducing risks and saving lives and properties. One of the vital elements of an effective MHEWS is to ensure the reach of early warnings and their effectiveness among the end users that are particularly vulnerable to disaster events. It is important to understand the perspectives of women, persons with disabilities, and particular age groups (older persons and children), and other minority groups who may not have regular access to early warnings. The national perception survey's findings are expected to improve the clarity, accuracy, timeliness, and precision of early warnings, and aid decision-makers to make informed choices. The perception survey will be conducted by a team composed of a team leader, a social science expert, an information management specialist, and enumerators who will be working together with the government. This perception survey is an initiative jointly carried out by UNDRR, WMO, and World Food Programme (WFP) Lao PDR in support of the implementation of the national EW4ALL roadmap 2024-2027. The main responsibility of the social science expert is to support the team leader in the timely and quality execution of early warning systems perception survey by designing the methodologies and tools and other tasks as advised by team leader as required. The consultant will be based in Lao, PDR and work closely with UNDRR’s Climate and Disaster-Resilient Development Specialist based in Vientiane, Lao PDR under the supervision of Programme Management Officer, UNDRR Regional Office for Asisa and the Pacific (ROAP). Specific Tasks: - Conduct a literature review on similar surveys conducted to inform the methodologies required for this assignment. - Assist the team leader in designing focus group discussions and interviews questionnaire that has a strong attention on women, persons with disabilities, older persons, children, and ethnic minorities to gather insight on their current perceptions and reactions to weather forecasts and early warning messages. - Assist the team leader in designing a survey questionnaire to accurately capture user perceptions of weather forecasts and early warning systems, focusing on receipt, utilization, and response to weather forecasts and early warning messages/information, as well as their effectiveness in reducing disaster risk. - Support the team leader to analyse the qualitative data adequately that comes from focus group discussion, key informant interviews, case studies and other similar qualitative data collection to tools. - Support the team leader in preparing the inception report and compilation of the final report.

Qualifications/special skills

An advanced university degree in social science disciplines is required. A first-level university degree in combination with at least 2 additional years of qualifying experience maybe accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree. A minimum of 5 years of experience in undertaking or managing research projects, related to social/behavioral science climate change, disaster risk reduction/management, natural resources management, or early warning systems is required. Experience in designing methodologies for surveys, research studies, or social science research is required. Experience working in Lao PDR's policies, mechanisms, and procedures of disaster risk governance and forecasting or early warnings systems is desirable


Fluency in English and Laotian language is required.

Additional Information

Due to the high volume of applications received, only successful candidates will be contacted.

No Fee


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