Term of Reference

Consultant protected areas ETHIOPIA


Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance (RA) is an international nonprofit organization working to build a future in which nature is protected and biodiversity flourishes, where farmers, workers, and communities prosper, and where sustainable land use and responsible business practices are the norm. We envision a world where people and nature thrive in harmony. In January 2018, the Rainforest Alliance merged with UTZ in response to the critical challenges facing humanity: deforestation, climate change, systemic poverty, and social inequity. 

Collaboration is at the heart of our new certification model. We work with local partners to design and implement creative strategies to protect vulnerable landscapes and restore degraded ones. These systems engage farmers themselves, farm groups and cooperatives, forest communities, and field experts from the region. They emphasize constructive monitoring through our new standard and assurance protocols. And they provide improved data analytics to assess the specific needs of farmers and make our interventions more effective over the long term. This performance-driven approach feeds back into our own journey of continuous improvement.

Finally, we use two supporting interventions to fortify our reimagined certification model and our landscape initiatives. Our advocacy team works to advance policy and implementation to advance our key sustainability priorities — as well as increased commitments and financial investment from both governments and companies. And we work with a very small number of company partners to develop tailored supply chain services that guide them on their own sustainability journeys.



With the launch of the new RA 2020 sustainable agriculture standard, new risk-based evaluation requirements have been put in place to safeguard forest conversion from 2014 onwards and farm encroachment production into protected areas.


Due to the new requirements of the RA's new standard, the risk assessment must be performed at farm scale in every country where RA has certification activities, making it challenging to find suitable datasets that cover a global scale and have the scientific support to perform the assessment. The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is the most comprehensive global database on terrestrial and marine protected areas. It is a joint project between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), managed by UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre and shared via Protected Planet. This is the dataset that is being used to perform the risk of encroachment into protected areas in the so-called ‘non-risky countries’.


Based on the IUCN classification available for each protected area on the WDPA, a No-go/Go classification has been created to evaluate whether the farms are encroaching into areas with specific management regulations or areas where the economic/agricultural activities are forbidden. This classification groups the protected areas into two types:


  • No-go (I, II, III): High conservation priority, with a strictly protected regulation. Agricultural production is not allowed under applicable law.
  • Go areas (IV, V, VI): Protected areas where certain regulated economic and agricultural activities are allowed under specific conditions (specified in applicable law).


There are three other categories (not reported, not applicable, and not assigned), but due to the lack of information and ambiguousness it is not easy to assign a class, thus these areas are being classified as "No-go". This lack of information is related to the fact that the WDPA is updated on average every 5 years, bringing problems to the risk assessment due to the outdated version of some areas.



Project Objectives

The main objective of this consultancy is to provide the Rainforest Alliance with an updated database on protected areas & agricultural land use right in the protected areas, therefore Rainforest Alliance requires a consultant with experience in protected areas to:


Review official governmental information such as:

  • Official geoportals,
  • Land law & its related documents,
  • Environmental legislation,
  • Protected area’s management plans and,
  • Other related documentation to create an inventory of protected areas and find evidence of restriction activities to create the No-go/Go classification.



The Deliverables are:

1) Inventory of protected areas, including GIS vector information (feature class, shapefile) for Ethiopia.

  • The vector information should contain an attribute table with the protected areas information and the uses as indicated in the national legislation. The minimum attributes that should be included are:


2) A final report that explains the classification for each protected area quoting the different documents that were analysed.

Report should contain at least explanation on the current situation on the land classifications, rules and regulations for types of protected areas. Overview on land classifications and subclasses.



  • University degree, or equivalent higher education qualification, in environmental science, forestry, biology, geography, or a relevant field.
  • Applicants must have proven experience in protected area management and natural resources management and Ethiopian laws, especially land law.
  • Must be fluent in English and Amharic.


Working Structure

The consultant aligns with Rainforest Alliance on the design of the methodology for the project. After the design is approved by RA and the consultant, the latter can start with the implementation. During the implementation, the consultant will be coordinating the work together with Rainforest Alliance. The agenda of the implementation of the project will be shared with Rainforest Alliance and approved. In case of changes and updates, these will be communicated by the consultant to Rainforest Alliance and discussed to make sure the objectives of the projects are still met. Changes in costs for the implementation of the project must be communicated and agreed upon by both parties: Rainforest Alliance and the consultant. Any additional change and update must be communicated and agreed between Rainforest Alliance and the consultant to make sure the objectives of the projects are still met. The consultant reports to Rainforest Alliance.


11. Fee Structure and Billing

The payment will be made by Rainforest Alliance. The consultant is requested to make a proposal of fee for the assignment. To be further discussed with the candidate consultant: 

  • Fee/hour/day
  • Traveling costs
  • Billing


12. Proposal and time


Interested applicants with the required attributes are asked to send, in English a detailed CV (2 pages maximum) and a proposed budget and work plan to complete the consultancy to be uploaded in one file by Monday 5, December, 2022 at the latest. This should include:


Data collection design – methodology, logistics and timeline

CV with relevant experience



RA will get decided on the assignment as soon as possible. In case you have any questions regarding this project please reach out to Charlotte Masselot (cmasslot@ra.org) with subject: “Protected Areas Consultant Ethiopia”

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