Unit Chief, Climate Change and Environmental Determinants of Health

World Health Organization (WHO)

Washington, D.C., USA 🇺🇸

Grade: P5

Contractual Arrangement: Fixed-term appointment

Contract Duration (Years, Months, Days): Two years, first year probationary period.

Job Posting: Nov 12, 2021, 4:11:52 PM

Closing Date: Dec 5, 2021, 1:59:00 AM

Primary Location: United States-Washington, D.C.

Organization: Office of the Assistant Director

Schedule: Full-time  

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note that the deadline for receipt of applications indicated above reflects your personal device’s system settings. .


This requisition is for employment at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO)

The Communicable Diseases and Environmental Determinants of Health Department (CDE) promotes, coordinates, and implements technical cooperation activities directed toward the surveillance, prevention, control, elimination and/or reduction of communicable diseases, zoonosis, and environmental threats to health that are technically sound and appropriate for the political and sociocultural context in which they are implemented.  It strives to achieve a sustainable impact on health by providing normative guidance, furthering the implementation of evidence-based interventions, fostering alliances that strengthen country capacity, improving the effectiveness of inter-country collaboration, and facilitating policy and decision-making processes. 


Under the general supervision of the Assistant Director (AD), and the direct supervision of the Director, Communicable Diseases & Environmental Determinants of Health (CDE), the incumbent is responsible for, but not necessarily limited to, the following duties:

  1. Provide technical, policy and strategic advice and programmatic direction for the development of the Organization’s technical cooperation strategies at the regional and subregional levels to address climate change and environmental determinants of health, and to determine national environmental health agendas aimed at reducing health vulnerability;
  2. Lead and define the establishment of objectives, strategies, plans, and budget of the Climate and Environmental Determinants of Health (CE) Unit to implement the PAHO Agenda for the Americas on Health, Environment, and Climate Change 2021-2030; collaborate with other Departments for planning, implementing, monitoring and resourcing of work plans related to climate change and environmental determinants, consistent with country needs and the Organization’s overall Strategic Plan; coordinate and integrate delivery of technical support to country offices in order to develop strategies, norms, standards and guidelines and build capacity to reduce health vulnerability to climate change;
  3. Lead and provide guidance to advocate and support implementation measures to prevent health impacts of climate change; provide leadership to enhance the health and climate co-benefits, and oversee the development of technical work on evidence and tools; promote policy interventions for better governance for health and development among Member States;
  4. Provide guidance to operationalize One Health policies and measures in Member States to address health threats at the human-animal-environment interface; 
  5. Provide programmatic and policy advice to senior officials in the Organization and Member States on climate change and determinants; plan and guide the development, implementation and monitoring of the Organization’s mandates on air quality, environmental epidemiology, toxicology, environmental determinants, climate change, and water, sanitation and hygiene, in coordination with internal offices and other partners, including inter-programmatic strategies;
  6. Lead, oversee, and coordinate the preparation of reports and expert group meetings on climate change and environmental determinants of health, including PAHO’s Regional Plans on Climate Change, PAHO’s Air Quality Program, PAHO Toxicology Program, PAHO’s Water & Sanitation Program, and other activities related to environmental health;
  7. Formulate, plan and manage the program of work of the Unit and its resources, including biennial program and budget, strategic framework and reports on budget performance and implementation; establish goals and priorities; implement the HR Plan and monitor the performance of the staff to ensure their understanding and participation; cooperate and maintain liaison with other Departments, PWRs and EXM on relevant work and activities of CE;
  8. Coordinate and cooperate with other partners in WHO and the United Nations system especially the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as well as with other national, regional and global organizations including multilaterals for policy analysis, networking and the implementation of the work program of PAHO on Climate Change and Environmental Determinants of Health;
  9. Assess and interpret major policy issues including toxicology, environmental epidemiology, air quality, water & sanitation and climate change; establish or adapt technical cooperation policies, procedures and practices to improve the Unit’s effectiveness and efficiency;
  10. Provide technical cooperation to Member States in collaboration with partners, the network of collaborating centers in environmental health, and determine and recommend technical cooperation projects and program elements, as well as the modality of project implementation, including suitable project financing and executing arrangements and ensuring the timely monitoring, reporting and evaluation of project and program results and accomplishments;
  11. Advise Member States and negotiate with representatives of specialized agencies and with representatives of multilateral and bilateral donors, as well as nongovernmental organizations, to mobilize resources and ensure the coherence, coordination and integration of the technical cooperation process and the effective achievement of related objectives;
  12. Promote coordination and inter-programmatic work with other Departments and Units of the Organization, so as to maximize integration, efficiency and effectiveness, particularly with the topics afore-mentioned related to the sustainable development and health equity institutional framework; establish and maintain liaison with counterpart Departments and Units in WHO, in order to ensure consistency in policies and strategies and coordination in the delivery of normative functions and technical cooperation to Member States;
  13. Develop and implement guidelines, norms, practices and procedures on the Unit themes for the use and benefit of Member States to ensure national environmental agendas are crafted and implemented by Member States;
  14. Support the Organization’s response to emergency situations within the Region by identifying resource needs; seek and provide technical expertise and human and material resources in order to facilitate timely intervention and control;
  15. Support and participate with the work related to the Cross-Cutting Themes Secretariat of the Organization and make sure these topics are considered in all the work performed within CE;
  16. Formulate and recommend policies, plans, strategies, and budgets, in support of the Governing Bodies’ mandates related to the work of the Department and the Unit; report to Governing Bodies, through executive presentations and reports, on the status or results of the Unit;
  17. Administer, allocate and monitor the Unit’s financial, logistical and staff resources; prepare, and justify the Unit’s program and budget proposals; plan and organize the formulation, development, implementation and control of systems to monitor performance in accordance with the results-based management approach;
  18. Provide leadership, guidance and monitoring of supervised staff by setting clear work objectives, ensuring timely and effective use of performance reviews and feedback mechanisms, engaging in regular communications, and solving interpersonal or technical conflicts; establish and support a learning environment, to include staff development in the Organization’s fundamentals, managerial competencies and technical expertise;
  19. Promote a culture of ethical behavior and integrity in accordance with the Organization’s Code of Ethical Principles and Conduct, in order to ensure a culture of respect, responsibility, accountability, and compliance;
  20. Perform other related duties, as assigned.



Essential:  A bachelor’s degree in environmental health, climate change, biological sciences, sanitary engineering or other health discipline, and a master’s degree in public health, sustainable development, or any other field related to the functions of the post from a recognized university.

Desirable:  A PhD degree on any of the areas of responsibility of the position would be an asset.

In the event that your candidature is retained, you will be required to provide, a scanned copy of the degree(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED/UNESCO).  The list can be accessed through the link:  http://www.whed.net/. PAHO will also use the databases of http://www.chea.org and  https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator to support the validation process.


Essential: Thirteen years of combined national and international progressively responsible experience working in a broad range of sustainable development and environmental health programs.  Experience should include at least five years working in areas related to environmental health, climate change and health, and/or toxicology, indoor and outdoor air, epidemiology, water and sanitation and hygiene, and chemical, biological, and physical environments.

Desirable: Experience in the development, implementation of and fundraising for environmental health and development projects, preferably in an international organization would be an asset.


PAHO Competencies:

  • Overall attitude at work: Maintains integrity and takes a clear ethical approach and stance; demonstrates commitment to the Organization’s mandate and promotes the values of the Organization in daily work and behavior; is accountable for work carried out in line with own role and responsibilities; is respectful towards, and trusted by, colleagues and counterparts.
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences: Relates well to diversity in others and capitalizes on such diversity – Treats all people with dignity and respect. Relates well to people with different cultures, gender, orientations, backgrounds and/or positions; examines own behavior to avoid stereotypical responses; considers issues from the perspective of others and values their diversity.
  • Teamwork: Advocates for collaboration across the Organization -Creates and encourages a climate of team- working and collaboration across the Organization.
  • Communication: Share knowledge – Shares decisions and directives of senior management and communicates them in a manner that ensures both understanding and acceptance; shares knowledge and best practice at the three Organizational levels (country, regional and global), as necessary.
  • Creating an empowering and motivating environment Provide direction/Support, motivate and empower others – Oversees and provides teams and departments with clear managerial directions which are translated from Organizational strategy.  Builds a performance culture in the Organization; contributes to setting Organizational performance goals and standards.
  • Ensuring effective use of resources: Strategize and set clear objectives/Monitor progress and use resources well – Sets specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely objectives for own team and/or the Organization; systematically analyses and anticipates priority projects for own team and allocates necessary resources to achieve them; identifies the cross-Organizational resources needed for large- scale projects in line with key Organizational objectives.  Anticipates foreseeable changes and adapts own and team’s projects in the face of unforeseen circumstances and/ or challenges; creates measures and criteria to monitor progress of overall projects against key Organizational objectives; creates cost-effective solutions for the Organization.
  • Driving the Organization to a successful future: Constructive leadership style/ Set the vision and build commitment – Leads and develops a road map for successfully achieving real progress in the Organization’s mandate, including consultation with key stakeholders; demonstrates respectful, trustworthy, transparent and accountable behavior in order to develop a reliable and coherent identity for the Organization. Creates a coherent Organizational vision of shared and successful goals; fosters a culture of vision and long- term goals, recognizing and rewarding efforts to maximize the Organization’s value.

Technical Expertise:

  • Technical: Extensive progressive expertise at a senior decision-making level in environmental health with specialization in assessing, understanding, controlling, and managing the impacts of the environment on people and of people to their environment. These include, but are not limited to, treatment and disposal of liquid and airborne wastes, purification of drinking water, effects of toxic chemicals and radioactive wastes, and climate change. Ability to provide authoritative technical advice. 
  • ManagerialExtensive expertise in senior, progressively responsible positions in the management of a large public or private administration with administrative and technical matters requiring sensitive negotiation and high-level interventions. Demonstrated ability to provide professional leadership to strategic, organizational, managerial. and analytic work in health; resourcefulness, initiative, highly developed judgment and interpersonal skills to deal with difficult situations and sensitive issues. Establish and maintain effective working relations with people of different professional levels, discipline, nationalities, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Administrative: Skills in the creation and integration of administrative procedures for the delivery of highest quality results from the teams, as well as experience in resource mobilization (including fundraising and partner collaboration) and financial management for the delivery of expected results.


Very good knowledge of English or Spanish with working knowledge of the other language. Knowledge of French and/or Portuguese would be an asset.

IT Skills:

Demonstrated ability to effectively use a computer and utilize software programs such as Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.  Other IT skills and knowledge of other statistical software programs would be an asset.


Annual Salary: (Net of taxes)

US $89,837.00 + post adjustment

Post Adjustment: 49.6% of the above figure(s).  Variations may occur each month either upwards or downwards due to currency exchange rate fluctuations or inflation.


Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to PAHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and e-Manual. For information on PAHO please visit: http://www.paho.org.

PAHO/WHO offers an attractive compensation package including an annual net salary and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance).  Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme. Benefits for internationally recruited staff may include home leave, travel and removal expenses on appointment and separation, education grant for dependent children, assignment grant and rental subsidy. Candidates appointed to an international post with PAHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world. All applicants are required to complete an on-line profile to be considered for this post. Candidates will be contacted only if they are under serious consideration. The post description is the official documentation for organization purposes.

5 days remaining

Apply by 4 December, 2021