National Consultant – Mercury and Health Project At World Health Organization (WHO)




Area of expertise:

National Consultant – Mercury and Health Project



Purpose of consultancy:

The consultant is required to provide technical support to develop and implement a national plan to strengthen surveillance of mercury in skin-lightening products and other commercial products in Sri Lanka. The project is expected to help country move towards elimination of mercury containing skin-lightening products and other commercial products from the market, in compliance to the provisions of Minamata Convention on Mercury and the relevant laws and regulations of Sri Lanka.




The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) has provided fund to Sri Lanka on a project on elimination of mercury-containing skin-lightening products. The project is under the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership and is jointly being implemented by the Ministry of Health Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Environment Sri Lanka in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI).



The project aims to reduce the risk of exposure to mercury-added skin lightening products and in the longer term also in other commercial products. The consultant is expected to work with the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Health, Government of Sri Lanka, the National Minamata Covention Steering committee, and other national stakeholders and global project partners in Sri Lanka.



To implement the project, the consultant, in close consultation with the relevant stakeholders, is expected to develop and implement a national plan to phase out mercury-added skin-lightening products and other commercial products from the market. The consultant is also expected to hold national consultations, develop national knowledge-base on mercury in skin-lightening products and other commercial products, conduct capacity building programs, and develop communication materials to achieve the objectives of the project.





Facilitation of of inception workshop which include developing and finalizing the agenda of the meeting, coordination of technical sessions etc. with national and international partners to develop a workplan to implement recommended actions proposed in the meeting.

Preparing a background document on current understanding of national status on mercury and banning of the use of Mercury in cosmetics (which include policies & legislation, status of implementation of regulations/laws, public literacy, assessment of products etc.) in Sri Lanka, and draft recommendations for actions under the project.

Developing a two-year country plan of activities to support the three key pillars of GEF funded project ie. improving existing regulations with strrengthened enforcement capacity, improved monitoring halt local production, trade and distribution, and support WHO led global advocacy at national level. with clear list of outputs and deliverables.

Assisting with the identification of products commonly used in the community for skin lightening; and, as appropriate, assisting with the development of sampling designs to assist with the identification of cosmetic products suspected of using mercury.

Holding a capacity building workshop on cosmetic product testing in collaboration with Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) and other technical research partners of the project.

Assisting with the collection of targeted cosmetic products for laboratory analyses of mercury concentrations as agreed by national steering committee.

Developing policy briefs, communication products, and project reports as detailed below

during the implementation phase of the project.



Scope of work

Provide technical advice and support to prioritize project implementation, including

  1. Support the national steering committee in developing recommendations to improve regulations; provide guidance on developing compliance and enforcement strategies for legislation in place. 
  2. Provide technical support and advice to Ministries of Health and the Ministry of Environment for national level advocacy campaigns. 
  3. Facilitate implementation of country-level activities e.g. for awareness-raising and advocacy. 
  4. Support as necessary other ministries engaged in the project in carrying out tailored national activities. 
  5. Assist with the monitoring and reporting on development of compliance and enforcement strategies for legislation in place to ban mercury in skin lightening products. 



Monitor implementation of the project at the national level

  1. Prepare quarterly narrative and financial reports as per project requirements. 
  2. Participate in monthly project planning and progress meetings, held virtually each month, undertaking assigned follow-up tasks as appropriate. 
  3. Prepare a comprehensive report of country-level activities for the quarterly and final narrative reports. 
  4. Maintain regular communication with project personnel including the WHO-Sri Lanka relevant officers, WHO-SEARO Regional Advisor, UN project executing partners at regional level and the project team at WHO about activities at country level. 



Develop tailored health-related communications materials on mercury in skin lightening product including:

  1. Adapting advocacy and information materials prepared under the project to the regional or national context, including in appropriate languages, and targeted to relevant national audiences, such as policymakers, consumers, health practitioners and tailored to the products found in the national marketplace. 
  2. Maintain regular communication with local authorities, national stakeholders and WHO country and regional advisors, UN project executing partners at regional level and the project team about activities at country level. 
  3. Organize and provide logistical support for project meetings and training workshops and online coordination meetings etc. through the duration of the project. 



Qualifications, experience, skills and languages



Educational Qualifications:

Essential: University degree in public health, environmental health, biological sciences, from a recognized university.

Desirable: Postgraduate university degree in public health, environmental health, biological or social sciences from a recognized university preferably from international or internationally recognized university.




Essential: At least five years of experience in developing, supporting, or managing environmental health, health promotion or product safety-related projects . Experiences and insights on projects involving multiple stakeholders.


Established strong track record and experience in public health or environmental health.

Frequent contacts inside and outside government agencies and international organizations involved in environmental health and/or product safety.

Experience in collaborative programmes supported by bilateral or multi-lateral international agencies would be an advantage.

Experience working on heavy metals in the environment will be an advantage.




  • Knowledge and understanding of the policies and procedures on environmental health and/or 
  • product safety. 
  • Proven ability to think strategically, manage projects and processes to deliver results. 
  • Experience and proficiency in working with government and other partners in an effective 
  • and culturally competent manner. 
  • Well-developed verbal 
  • Excellent written communication skills. 
  • Ability to work harmoniously as a member of a team, adapt to diverse educational and 
  • cultural backgrounds and maintain a high standard of personal conduct. 
  • Advanced computer skills including ability to utilize the standard Microsoft Office programs. 



Languages and level required (Basic/Intermediate/Expert):

Essential: Expert knowledge of English

Desirable: Expert knowledge of Sinhala or Tamil




Off site: Directorate of environmental health, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment, with occasional attendance at WHO Country Office Sri Lanka for required coordination.




The Consultant may require to travel within the country to hold meetings with relevant stakeholders. Dates and venues to be decided as and when required.



Remuneration and budget (travel costs are excluded):

  • Remuneration: Pay band level – NO-B (LKR 595,636 per month) 
  • Living expenses: Not Applicable 
  • Expected duration of contract (Maximum contract duration is 11 months per calendar 

    year): 17 Months with contract break 



Additional Information:

  • This vacancy notice may be used to identify candidates for other similar consultancies at the same level. 
  • Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted. 
  • A written test may be used as a form of screening. 
  • If your candidature is retained for interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review. 
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  • This assignment is subject to local recruitment and will be filled by persons recruited in the local commuting area of the duty station/assignment location.

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