Call for Expressions of Interest:

Coordination of the ASCOBANS Jastarnia and WBBK Plans for harbour porpoises

Closing date: 20 January 2023


The ASCOBANS Secretariat is welcoming Expressions of Interest (EOI) from organisations and individuals to provide technical coordination for the implementation of the ASCOBANS Recovery Plan for the Baltic Harbour Porpoises (Jastarnia Plan, 2016), and ASCOBANS Conservation Plan for the Harbour Porpoise Population in the Western Baltic, the Belt Sea and the Kattegat (WBBK Plan, 2012), as outlined below. 

A. Background

The ten ASCOBANS Parties have adopted three Action Plans targeting harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena): the Recovery Plan for Baltic Harbour Porpoises (Jastarnia Plan) targeting the critically endangered Harbour Porpoises in the Baltic proper; the Recovery Plan for Harbour Porpoises in the North Sea (North Sea Plan); and the Conservation Plan for the Harbour Porpoise Population in the Western Baltic, the Belt Sea and the Kattegat (WBBK Plan). There are two Working Groups which regularly review and provide guidance on the implementation of the three action plans. The longest standing, Jastarnia Group, has acted as Steering Group for the Jastarnia Plan and since its adoption in 2012, and it also covers the WBBK Plan. The North Sea Group is responsible for the North Sea Plan.

As outlined in the ASCOBANS Recovery Plan for Harbour Porpoises in the North Sea, “Experience has shown that in order to be effective, Conservation Plans must have a recognised, full-time co-ordinator. This is particularly true where effective conservation requires action (including legislative action) by a number of stakeholders including: intergovernmental and national authorities, scientists from several disciplines, representatives from industry, local communities, and interested NGOs. The scale of work required by this Plan exceeds the resources available within the (part-time) ASCOBANS Secretariat.”

ASCOBANS Parties have therefore since 2017 (AC23) put in place a “Coordinator for the Harbour Porpoise Action Plans” and allocated funds accordingly[1]. Currently, the Jastarnia and WBBK Plans are coordinated separately from the North Sea Plan.

B. Aims of the Contract

Building on the work already undertaken the individual or organization providing coordination should, under the supervision of the Secretariat, deliver on the following tasks:

  1. Coordinate efforts to deliver the action plans, identifying synergies and opportunities for efficiency savings;
  2. Review progress under the Jastarnia and WBBK Plans and make proposals for amending the Action Points in advance of the Jastarnia Group meeting;
  3. Review latest available information on harbour porpoise bycatch from the fleets operating in the Belt and Baltic Seas;
  4. Collate regional information on life history parameters (e.g. age structure, age at sexual maturity, reproductive information) for harbour pporpoises in the areas covered by the two plans, ensuring synergies with other fora;
  5. Provide technical support at the ICES WGBYC annual meetings and other relevant fora (e.g. Baltic Sea Advisory Council, HELCOM) as feasible;
  6. Provide technical support at meetings of the Regional Coordination Group which will develop the regional implementation of the Data Collection Framework (DCF), assuming this is practically feasible; and
  7. Provide advice on appropriate funding mechanisms for the long-term implementation of the two action plans and support fundraising efforts.

C. Deliverables and timelines

The overall output to be achieved is the effective implementation of the above-mentioned two ASCOBANS Action Plans. Specific outputs resulting from the above-mentioned task list under B. include:

  1. Regular liaison with Parties and key stakeholders providing implementation support in line with the tasks outlined in B above;
  2. Regular progress reports, including   
    • Analysis of the implementation of the Action Plans since the previous report (past progress reports can be found here).
    • Report on each of the standing Action Points for both Action Plans by Range State.
    • Quantitative assessment on progress for both Action Plans, following the format in the past progress reports (“summary table of progress in the implementation”).
    • Progress reports should be submitted to the Secretariat prior to the meeting of the Jastarnia Group. Once the Jastarnia Group meeting has reviewed the progress reports, final versions are to be produced and submitted to the ASCOBANS Secretariat within 6 weeks of the meeting;
  3. Review the Action Points from the previous Jastarnia Group meeting (and standing Action Points for the Action Plans) prior to the Jastarnia Group meeting, and propose amendments to the ASCOBANS Secretariat, as appropriate, prior to the meeting;
  4. Upon the request of the Secretariat or the Chair of the Jastarnia Group, produce reviews and reports as outlined in the above-listed task list under B, provide technical support to meetings and attend these, if required.

Estimated Duration & Available Budget

From February to November 2023. Possibility for a one-year extension, upon successful completion of the contract.

USD 11,100. The Secretariat retains the liberty to adjust the amount according to the start date of the contract and currency exchange rate EUR-USD.

Required Profile and Qualifications

The ASCOBANS Secretariat welcomes EOIs from organizations or individuals with substantive proven experience and capacity to provide the required activities and outputs as described above can apply. In particular, the organization or individual should:

  • Have significant experience in marine nature conservation as well as experience and a proven understanding of the political and legal context and of scientific issues concerning harbour porpoise conservation in the Agreement area, with particular emphasis on the Baltic proper given the conservation status of “critically endangered” in this region;
  • Have excellent communication skills in English (other official languages spoken in ASCOBANS Party countries are an advantage), able to establish and maintain relations with and to represent ASCOBANS positions vis-à-vis the various stakeholders;
  • Have good understanding of the mandates and work of ASCOBANS.


The ASCOBANS Secretariat is looking forward to receiving EOIs by Friday 20 January 2023, 09:00 CET.  The EOI should be brief (2-3 pages) and include a technical proposal, description of the individual / team involved (incl. CVs annexed), and budget. Please send your EOI to the ASCOBANS Secretariat by email:




An internship at the ASCOBANS Secretariat provides a good opportunity to gain experience in a multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary environment, as well as in the day-to-day functioning of an Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) Secretariat.

The ASCOBANS Secretariat offers interships to qualified university graduates or students, enrolled in a tertiary course of study, interested in gaining experience in the areas of:

  • Biology
  • Environmental and political sciences
  • Law
  • International studies
  • Any other area related to the work of the Secretariat

Internship - Areas of Work

Interns are supervised by the ASCOBANS Coordinator, supporting her with particular tasks. Some examples are:

  • Assistance with preparations and servicing ASCOBANS meetings or workshops
  • Research in preparation for reports, documents or publications
  • Assistance with outreach and education, incl. the annual International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise (IDBHP)
  • Dealing with website content
  • Other support to the day-to-day operations of the Secretariat

Internship – Facts

Depending on places available, the ASCOBANS Secretariat offers internships for a period of 3 – 6 months, beginning at any time. The Secretariat is located at the UN Campus in Bonn, Germany.

Internships are not remunerated – all expenses must be covered by the intern or a sponsoring Government or institution. Written confirmation of enrolment in an appropriate health insurance scheme and in an university must be provided in advance.

Internship – Requirements and Application Procedure

Students should:

  • Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’ s level or equivalent), or be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent  or higher), or have graduated with an university degree (as defined above) and, if selected, must commence the internship within a one-year period of graduation
  • The working language of the Secretariat is English; full ability to work in English (written and spoken) is required. Knowledge of further languages spoken in the Agreement Area is an asset
  • Interns should have standard computer skills (Microsoft Office)
  • Interns need to agree with the scope of tasks before the start of the internship

Internships at the ASCOBANS Secretariat are advertised at the UN Careers Portal. Interested candidates can also find further information about internships at the UN Environment Program website

For further information contact the ASCOBANS Secretariat at