Job Opportunity: Short Term Consultant - Chemicals and Waste


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) provides support to address global environmental concerns related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, chemicals and waste, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. Since its inception in 1991, the GEF has provided developing countries and countries with economies in transition USD 23 billion in grants and mobilized more than USD 129 billion in co-financing. These grants are implemented through a network of 18 accredited agencies (GEF Agencies). The GEF receives its funds through a four-year replenishment cycle.

The GEF Independent Evaluation Office (GEF IEO) has a central role in ensuring the independent evaluation function within the GEF. The GEF IEO is based in Washington D.C. It is administered by the World Bank but is independent of its management as well as the management of the GEF. Its director reports directly to the GEF Council, the GEF governing body. All contracts with the IEO are World Bank contracts.

The GEF IEO is conducting an evaluation of its chemicals and waste focal area. The GEF serves as the financial mechanism for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and the Minamata Convention on mercury. The GEF also supports countries with economies in transition to implement the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, and the GEF provides support to countries to undertake several objectives of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). For more information visit GEF IEO website.

This IEO study on chemicals and waste will cover GEF grant funding for activities focused on the use of mercury in skin lightening products. Many skin lightening products include mercury, posing significant risks to human health and the environment. Using cosmetics to inhibit the body’s production of melanin, leading the skin to appear lighter, is a centuries-old practice in many parts of the world that continues to take a toxic toll today. However, consumers are often unaware that many of these products contain harmful chemicals including mercury, a toxic substance which poses risks to human health and contaminates the environment. The Minamata Convention on Mercury has set a limit of 1mg/1kg (1ppm) for mercury in skin lightening products. However, a 2018 Zero Mercury Working Group and Biodiversity Research Institute test of over 300 products from 22 countries found that approximately 10 per cent of skin lightening creams exceeded this limit, with many containing as much as 100 times the authorised amount.  
Led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and executed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI), the Eliminating mercury skin lightening products project works to reduce the risk of exposure to mercury-added skin lightening products, raising awareness of the health risks associated with their use, developing model regulations to reduce their circulation, and halting production, trade and distribution across domestic and international markets.   
“Mercury is a hidden and toxic ingredient in the skin lightening creams that many people are using daily, often without an understanding of just how dangerous this is”, GEF CEO and Chairperson Carlos Manuel Rodriguez said.   
“This initiative is significant as it focuses not only on substitutions for harmful ingredients, but on awareness building that can help change behaviours that are damaging to individual health as well as the planet.”   
Skin lightening products don’t just pose a risk to the user – children can be exposed through breastmilk, and food chains can become contaminated when cosmetics are washed off into wastewater. In addition, the compound can travel far from its point of dispersal, accumulating in the earth, water and soil without breaking down in the environment. With demand for skin lightening products projected to grow to US$11.8-billion by 2026, fuelled by a growing middle class in the Asia-Pacific region and changing demographics in Africa and the Caribbean, the use of harmful ingredients in skin lightening products is a global issue.

Responsibilities and Accountabilities

The Consultant will provide advice on and help deliver the following tasks:

  1. Develop the theory of change and determine the clear areas of intervention for addressing the issue.
  2. Assessing the GEF interventions in this area and the extent to which the GEF is helping countries fulfill their commitments towards the Minamata conventions in addressing the use of mercury in skin lightening products.
  3. Write a brief report.


The position is a senior level position. Candidates must have the following qualifications:

  • A Master's degree or Ph.D. or professional medical degree understanding the use and application of mercury in creams or amalgams; and some knowledge of economics or public policy.
  • Ability to understand and evaluate the use of mercury and its health and environmental effects. This includes the knowledge and implementation of projects that reduce the use of mercury, helping countries in implementing requirements of the Minamata convention.
  • In addition, the Consultant would have some experience with the private sector reducing chemicals and waste in an industry, such as the cruise, shipping, or hotel industry, refiners and jewelers in the gold industry, garment associations, or with waste management.
  • Knowledge of recent developments in the use and phasing out of mercury in the medical industry. The GEF IEO is proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce and does not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.
  • At least some experience in international development.
  • Highly skilled in conducting analysis and preparing synthesis reports.
  • Fluency in English.

Contract duration

The tasks need to be accomplished during the period of March 2024 to June 2024. The selected Consultant will work for 30 workdays.


The interested candidates should submit their CV along with a cover letter at with a “STC Mercury in Skin Products” as the subject line. The last date of submission is February 28, 2024, cob. The CV should provide information on academic training, professional skills, writing skills, and relevant work experience.