Regional Specialist (Africa)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Istanbul, , TR


UNDP is the UN’s global development network and assists countries to build and share solutions to the challenges of globalization and human development. UNDP helps countries pursue a development response to all citizens, to ensure that economic growth benefits everyone, including those at greater risk of exclusion (ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, internally displaced persons, rural populations, women and young people). Through investments in improved care of natural resources, we support a sustainable balancing of human and environmental priorities. This includes:

  • Promoting human development and tackling the drivers of social exclusion to ensure that disadvantaged groups are not left behind;
  • Integrating the Millennium Development Goals into national development strategies and transitioning to post-2015 development framework of the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Promoting social protection systems to extend greater protection to the poor and at-risk groups from major natural, economic, and conflict-related shocks;
  • Policy design and monitoring that enables trade and productive capacities that are diversified, add value, and help create employment and livelihoods;
  • Sustainable management of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services for expanded employment and livelihoods.

The UNDP-GEF Project: Strengthening human resources, legal frameworks, and institutional capacities to implement the Nagoya Protocol (“Global ABS project”, 2016-2019), is a 3-year project that specifically aims at assisting countries in the development and strengthening of their national ABS frameworks, human resources, and administrative capabilities to implement the Nagoya Protocol.  The expected outcomes of the project are:

  1. Strengthening the legal, policy and institutional capacity to develop national ABS frameworks;
  2. Building trust between users and providers of genetic resources to facilitate the identification of bio-discovery efforts;
  3. Strengthening the capacity of indigenous and local communities to contribute to the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol;
  4. Implementing a community of practices on ABS and South-South Cooperation mechanisms.

The Regional Project Specialist (RPS) will be responsible for the overall coordination of all aspects of the Global ABS project at the regional level in 7 countries in Africa (Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Seychelles, Comoros, Rwanda and South Africa). S/he will liaise directly with designated officials of the Participating Countries, UNDP Country Offices, and existing and potential additional project donors and stakeholders. In addition, the RPS will be available to provide technical expertise to other ABS projects implemented by UNDP in the Africa region.

The RPS will be based in Istanbul, Turkey and will report to the Global Project Manager (GPM).

Duties and Responsibilities
  • Coordinate and supervise the technical and operational work carried out at national levels
  1. Directly supervise the implementation of operational and technical activities in the seven participating countries of the project;
  2. Provide technical assistance on issues related to access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing required by the seven participating countries, the project itself and any other ABS project implemented by UNDP in the Africa region;
  3. Coordinate and monitor the activities described in the Work Plan for the seven participating countries;
  4. Review together with the project coordinators of the seven participating countries all UNDP/GEF monitoring and evaluation reports, including Project Implementation Reviews, Work Plans, mid/term and terminal evaluations, etc.;
  5. Collect and analyze lessons learned and best practices, and design replication strategies within the region/countries of work;
  6. Ensure consistency between the various project elements and related activities provided or funded by other donor organizations within the region/countries of work;
  7. Draft in coordination with the communication specialist stories on the achievements and lessons learned of national projects;
  8. Liaise with UN Volunteers.

Key Result: Effective support to the Country Offices in the implementation of operational and technical activities and ensuring that they are fully compliant with UNDP and donor requirements

  • Contribute and support the GPM in the implementation and management of the project
  1. Assist the GPM in organizing all technical reporting activities to UNDP and the GEF, Implementing and Executing agencies, ensuring adherence to the Agencies’ technical reporting requirements;
  2. Assist the GPM in the preparation of an Operational Work Plan for the duration of the project and corresponding Annual Work Plans based on the Project Document and Inception Report, under the general supervision of the Project Steering Committee and in close consultation and coordination with related Projects, National Focal Points, GEF Partners, and relevant donors;
  3. Promote the Project and seek opportunities to leverage additional co-funding;
  4. Represent the Project at meetings and other project related fora within the region and globally, as required.

Key Result: Effective support to the global management of the project that is fully compliant with UNDP and GEF requirements.

  • Providing expert knowledge to lead and contribute to the consolidation and positioning of outcomes and outputs of the global ABS project
  1. Contribute relevant ABS input to UNDP publications, presentations, websites, newsletters, and other outreach products as required;
  2. Participate in national and international fora and disseminate lessons learned and state of the art approaches for implementation of the Nagoya Protocol;
  3. Regularly liaise with the project coordinators of UNDP ABS projects, the ABS Capacity Development Initiative, UNEP, IUCN, IDB and other agencies implementing ABS projects to identify cooperation opportunities and ensure the exchange of successes and lessons learned;
  4. Liaise with donors and develop funding proposals in coordination with countries that facilitate implementation of the Nagoya Protocol beyond the lifetime of the ABS global project.

Key Result: The ABS global project has a high profile within and beyond UNDP and maintains strong partnerships that help it grow




  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.


  • Ability to persuade others to follow.

People Management

  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.


  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.


  • Ability to get things done.


  • Ability to provide guidance on implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS), including design and implementation of ABS and traditional knowledge policy and bioprospecting projects, and to work with multiple stakeholders across a wide range of disciplines.


Environmental Issues

  • Knowledge of environmental issues, environmental law and policy concept and principles and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.

Natural Resource Management

  • Knowledge of NRM concepts, principles and policies and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.

Project Management

  • Ability to plan, organize, motivate, and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals. 

Program Planning and Design

  • Develop programmes and projects through a process of logic. 

Resource Mobilization

  • Ability to identify and organize programmes and projects to implement solutions and generate resources.

Results Based Management

  • Ability to manage programmes and projects with a strategy aimed at improved performance and demonstrable results.


Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Knowledge of methodologies, tools, systems and apply practical experience in planning, monitoring, evaluating and reporting.

Knowledge Management

  • Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge. 
Required Skills and Experience


  • Master’s Degree or higher in environmental law or policy, conservation of biodiversity, natural resources management, or other closely related field, or;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Law or policy, Conservation of Biodiversity, Natural Resources Management or other closely related field plus 2 additional years of relevant experience as outlined below. 


  • 5 years of relevant experience in environmental law or policy, biodiversity, and/or natural resources management, including experience in Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing at national and/or international levels;
  • Experience in planning, management, and coordination of multi-disciplinary projects, preferably of bi-national or regional scope;
  • Familiarity with the goals and procedures of international organizations, in particular those of the GEF, UNDP, and those of other partner institutions related to the ABS Global project, will be considered an asset;
  • Previous work experience in one or more of the participating countries and/or regions on issues related to Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing, will be favorably considered;
  • Experience in the usage of computers and office software packages, and handling of web based management systems.

Language Requirements:

  • Excellent spoken and written English language skills;
  • Knowledge of French, Arabic, Portuguese and/or Spanish and other languages used in the Project’s region will be considered an asset. 

Important information for US Permanent Residents (‘Green Card’ holders)

Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. For more information please click here and here.

UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

Workforce diversity

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Scam warning

The United Nations does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you receive a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web.