Programme Officer (UNEP)

United Nations Volunteers (UNV)

Nairobi, Kenya 🇰🇪


Mission and objectives

Since its inception in 1972, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been the global authority that sets the environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

UNEP’s mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, UNEP works through its divisions as well as regional, liaison and out-posted offices and a growing network of collaborating centres of excellence.


The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. UNEP’s Policy and Programme Division consolidates the policy, programme, monitoring, gender, and social safeguards functions of UNEP as well as its engagement with the United Nations system and key global processes such as the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other landmark global policy decisions in the context of the UN Development System (UNDS) reform.

Task description

Under the direct supervision of the Programme Management Officer of the Policy Coordination Unit (PCU), the UNV is responsible for the following duties. Assist with:
• Undertake analysis and review of UNEP’s substantive contribution to key SDGs
• Support the identification of key topics on SDGs for a collective narrative and effort across UNEP.
• Support the engagement of staff across the organisation in defining and contributing to a collective effort on the SDGs
• Carrying out research and drafting documents to support policy and normative work related to thematic priority areas (e.g., SDG Policy, South-South Cooperation, UN support to Least Developing Countries (LDCs) and Land-Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs))
• Contribute to the development of UNEP South-South Cooperation-related materials and meetings.
• Support preparations and follow-up to the 5th conference on LDCs, including positioning of environmental sustainability in the context of the next plan of Action on LDC
• Drafting of various reports and briefing notes for UNEP internal and external stakeholders on topics relating to South-South Cooperation, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).
• Preparation of briefing and presentation materials for meetings on assigned topics/activities South-South Cooperation, SDGs, LDCs and LLDCs.
• Project concept preparation (research, problem analysis, Theory of Change, concept note drafting)
• Preparation of meetings/events summaries and reports.
• Support connecting UNEP’s work on the SDGs with its work on the UN Development System Reform.
• Support the Secretariat of the UN reform Task Team in UNEP.

Eligibility criteria

Age: 27 – 80

Nationality: Candidate must be a national of a country other than the country of assignment.


Required experience

3 years of experience in supporting implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda particularly in environmental management or policy.
Master’s degree with at least 2-year relevant experience is acceptable

  • Knowledge of the UN or an international organisation will be an advantage.
  • Previous experience in a setting in which they have exposure to colleagues of different cultures (i.e. studies, volunteer work, internship) would be highly regarded;
  • Ability to work independently and creatively with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to work under stress and tight deadlines; Can-do attitudes; Result- and client-oriented; Teamwork; People skills;
  • Ability to work in an international and multicultural environment;
  • Willingness in continuous learning;
  • Demonstrated knowledge and interests in international social, environmental and development issues. Knowledge in gender mainstreaming, safeguards, environment issues, project management and prior exposure to UNEP are considered an advantage;
  • Demonstrated skills in desk research, data synthesis, professional writing and production of communications materials (including simple design), note-taking and report writing; and
  • Skills in creative writing, interviews, website management, social media and graphic design are considered an asset.

Area(s) of expertise: Energy and environment


English, Level: Fluent, Required

Required education level

Bachelor degree or equivalent in Management, International Relations, International Development, or related areas

Competencies and values

• Integrity and professionalism: demonstrated expertise in area of specialty and ability to apply good judgment; high degree of autonomy, personal initiative and ability to take ownership; willingness to accept wide responsibilities and ability to work independently under established procedures in a politically sensitive environment, while exercising discretion, impartiality and neutrality; ability to manage information objectively, accurately and confidentially; responsive and client-oriented.
• Accountability: mature and responsible; ability to operate in compliance with organizational rules and regulations.
• Commitment to continuous learning: initiative and willingness to learn new skills and stay abreast of new developments in area of expertise; ability to adapt to changes in work environment.
• Planning and organizing: effective organizational and problem-solving skills and ability to manage a large volume of work in an efficient and timely manner; ability to establish priorities and to plan, coordinate and monitor (own) work; ability to work under pressure, with conflicting deadlines, and to handle multiple concurrent projects/activities.
• Teamwork and respect for diversity: ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries; ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and harmonious working

Other information

Living conditions and remarks

The Republic of Kenya is an equatorial nation on the coast of East Africa, neighbouring Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, and the Indian Ocean. Kenya has two levels of Government; National Government and 47 sub-national Governments called Counties. Counties are further divided into sub-counties. Kenya is a multi-party state with Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. Kenya’s population of more than 40 million is growing at an annual rate of 2.2%. The country’s GNP per capita estimated at purchasing power parity (PPP) is $975, and the GNP is growing at an average rate of 0.1% annually. More than 26% of Kenya’s people live below the international poverty line of $1 per day. Kenya’s main food crops are “maize, wheat, pulses, roots and tubers.” (FAO).

Nairobi is a modern metropolitan city where most basic goods and services, health facilities, public transport, telecommunication and banking services and educational facilities are readily available. The city is widely connected through its main airport, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the smaller Wilson Airport. Air transport is also available to many up-country destinations. The city is home to some 3,000 UN personnel mainly attributed to the fact that it serves as the headquarters for both the UN HABITAT and UNEP.
The socio-economic and cultural background of the immediate society the UNV would be living and working in is diverse and prevailing security conditions at the place of assignment is modest. The topographic and climatic features of the assignment location is highland cool and warm tropical climate.

Inclusivity statement

United Nations Volunteers is an equal opportunity programme that welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, care protected characteristics. As part of their adherence to the values of UNV, all UN Volunteers commit themselves to combat any form of discrimination, and to promoting respect for human rights and individual dignity, without distinction of a person’s race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.

Note on Covid-19 vaccination requirements

Selected candidates for certain occupational groups may be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in line with the applicable host entity policy





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development