Head of the Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development Division

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Paris, France
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

The OECD is a global economic forum working with 36 member countries and more than 100 emerging and developing economies to make better policies for better lives. Our mission is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The Organisation provides a unique forum in which governments work together to share experiences on what drives economic, social and environmental change, seeking solutions to common problems.


The OECD has earned a leading role in supporting entrepreneurship and SME policy, tourism policy, local and regional development, and cities, as well as multi-level governance and decentralisation issues. The Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE) is the focal point for the OECD’s work in these areas. It advances the Strategic Orientations of the Secretary-General and his “21 for 21” agenda, ensuring impact of the OECD work in its range of work in the international governance architecture and provides comparative statistics, analysis and capacity building. It helps local and national actors work together to unleash the potential of entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), promote inclusive and sustainable regions and cities, boost local job creation, and implement sound tourism policies. It also serves the Regional Policy Development Committee (RDPC) and its three Working Parties on Urban Policy, Rural Policy and Territorial Indicators, the Working Party on SMEs and Entrepreneurship (WPSMEE), the Tourism Committee and its Working Party on Tourism Statistics and the Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Directing Committee.


The Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development Division (CITY) advises governments on policies to enhance economic competitiveness of cities, improve well-being of residents, address urban inequality, and tackle environmental challenges at the local level. The Division produces evidence, analysis and standards on a range of urban-related policies from transport to housing, spatial planning, land use, urban financing, metropolitan governance, water management, smart, green and circular cities, localising the SDGs, and climate change. CITY serves the Regional Development Policy Committee (RDPC) and its Working Party on Urban Policy (WPURB), and provides technical support to the OECD Water Governance Initiative and the OECD Champion Mayors Initiative.


CFE is looking for a dynamic and visionary Head of its Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development Division with strong leadership and management skills and sound knowledge of the Division’s policy areas. In close co-ordination with the CFE Senior Management team, s/he will be expected to continue to develop the Division’s existing streams of work, advance and implement a new vision and strategy for CFE’s work on cities, in line with the OECD’s overall strategic priorities. S/he will be tasked with deepening the OECD’s relationships and visibility vis-à-vis key urban policy stakeholders (i.e. mayors, city leaders, other senior public officials at the national and local levels, international organisations, city associations and networks, civil society and other stakeholders as appropriate).


The Head of Division will have a long-established experience in a multidisciplinary and international work environment, and exhibit innovative strategic thinking and political acumen. S/he should have a demonstrated experience in managing a complex programme of work and budget and strong fundraising capacity to sustain and develop the Division’s activities. S/he should maintain deep connections with the policymaking community and contribute to global agendas, set and manage high-profile multi-stakeholder networks, and participate in high level international meetings and conferences.


The selected candidate will report to the Director and as a key member of the CFE’s management team, s/he will work closely with the Director and Deputy Director to support, advance and provide strategic direction to the Directorate’s work and to work closely with the Office of the Secretary-General (OSG), the OECD Sherpa team and the rest of the Organisation in the development and implementation of horizontal projects, and on strategies to advance implementation of OECD advice in member and partner countries.


Main Responsibilities


  • Support the advancement of the Strategic Orientations of the Secretary-General, in particular as they relate to cities and urban policies as well as to climate change, water and sustainable development, liaising and coordinating as necessary with the Office of the Secretary General.
  • Assist in providing support to the Sherpa and the Sherpa team on targeted policy advice and on the Organisation’s contributions in the work areas covered by the Division, including to the G20 and G7.
  • Contribute to ensure the global impact of the OECD cities and urban policies work, including through increased engagement with key partners, and in line with the global relation strategy of the OECD.
  • Contribute to flagship corporate initiatives such as NAEC, and horizontal projects such as Inclusive Growth, Innovation Strategy, Gender, among others.
  • Contribute to the development and implementation of the strategic direction of the Division, linking it to OECD priorities as well as member and partner country needs.
  • Ensure quality control of the Division’s outputs in support of its work programme.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with key stakeholders (i.e. city leaders, international networks of cities), in line with the Regional Development Policy Committee’s (RDPC) work programme and as part of the stakeholder’s engagement strategy of the Division.
  • Ensure the strategic planning, development and oversight of the Division’s work programme and contribute to OECD horizontal projects.
  • Manage the Secretariat for the Working Party on Urban Policies (WPURB) and contribute to the Regional Development Policy Committee (RDPC) , with support from the Committee Secretary. Facilitate dialogue, liaise with the WPURB chairperson and bureau, build consensus and encourage productive meetings.
  • Contribute actively to the management of the Directorate more generally, and actively co-operate with other CFE divisions, especially with the Section on Economic Analysis, Statistics and Governance (ESG) and the Local Employment, Skills and Social Innovation Division (LESI).


  • Demonstrate a commitment to excellence by ensuring high standards of recruitment, performance management, project planning and management, effective working methods and a working environment conducive to teamwork, continuous learning, and innovation.
  • Manage the Division’s resources to ensure optimal utilisation of available human and financial resources. Maintain high standards of financial management and reporting.
  • Develop and implement a sustainable fundraising strategy for the Division, in collaboration with staff leading the various streams of work and CFE Senior Management. Actively fundraise to support the activities of the Division.

Communication, representation and Liaison

  • Provide advice and briefings to the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General in charge of CFE, the OECD Sherpa office, the Director and other senior officials, as needed.
  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with OECD colleagues within CFE and other Directorates.
  • Deepen and expand the Division’s connections to cities and their leaders, other senior public officials at the national and local levels, international organisations, civil society and other stakeholders as appropriate.
  • Lead the development of the OECD’s policy messages and communications strategy on cities and urban policy with key stakeholders, the media and the general public.
  • Expand the OECD’s visibility related to its work on cities, urban policies and sustainable development, and represent the OECD at international meetings and conferences involving senior policy makers and other relevant stakeholders.

Ideal Candidate Profile


Academic Background

  • Advanced university degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline (economics, environment, public administration, political science).

Professional Background

  • A minimum of ten years of senior level experience promoting policies for well-being of cities, integrated urban policy and sustainable development in an international context .
  • Proven experience in providing strategic leadership at a senior management level within area of expertise.
  • Excellent political sense and strong established networks and connections with city leaders and other senior public officials, other relevant international organisations and networks, and other stakeholders.
  • Ability to lead discussions and develop consensus in international meetings.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead, motivate and manage a high-performing, multidisciplinary and multicultural team.
  • Demonstrated ability to conceive, plan and execute complex and dynamic work programmes in co-operation with others, to deploy resources effectively, and deliver expected results on target and within budget.
  • Solid experience in fundraising and innovative methods to engage stakeholders.


  • Fluency in one of the two OECD official languages (English and French) and knowledge of the other, with a commitment to reach a good working level.
  • Knowledge of other languages would be an asset.

Core Competencies

  • For this role, the following competencies would be particularly important: Achievement focus, Analytical and Flexible thinking, Managing resources, Teamwork and leadership, Organisational alignment, Strategic networking and thinking.
  • Please refer to the level 5 indicators of the OECD Core Competencies.

Contract Duration

  • Two-year fixed term appointment, with the possibility of renewal. 

What the OECD offers 

  • Monthly base salary starting from 9,679 EUR, plus allowances based on eligibility, exempt of French income tax. 

The OECD is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes the applications of all qualified candidates who are nationals of OECD member countries, irrespective of their racial or ethnic origin, opinions or beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, health or disabilities.


The OECD promotes an optimal use of resources in order to improve its efficiency and effectiveness. Staff members are encouraged to actively contribute to this goal.