Executive Secretary

Geneva, Switzerland
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
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.

Org. Setting and Reporting

The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) 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. This position is located in the UN Environment, Secretariat for the Minamata Convention on Mercury, at the Geneva Duty Station. Under the direct supervision of the Deputy Executive Director of UN Environment Programme, and the overall guidance and coordination of the Executive Director, the incumbent of the post will be responsible for the following duties:


  1. Lead the implementation of the mandate and mission of the overall strategies and policies of the Minamata Convention; Act in an advisory capacity to the UN Environment Executive Director and the President and the Bureau of the Convention as well as their subsidiary bodies; and lead the preparations for the meetings of the Convention and its subsidiary bodies and to provide them with services as required.
  2. Formulate, for adoption by the Conference of the Parties (COPs), and implement the substantive work programme of the Convention; Coordinate and lead the provision of technical assistance and capacity building development under the Convention; Coordinate the assistance to Parties, in particular developing country Parties and Parties with economies in transition on request, in the implementation of the Convention; Ensure that activities are carried out in a timely, efficient and cost effective manner consistent with the rules and regulations of the UN system. 
  3. Direct and manage efficiently and effectively the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention; Oversee the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Secretariat; lead the development of strategies and policies and undertake fund raising and donor reporting for the Convention; 
  4. Assist parties in the exchange of information related to the implementation of the Convention; 
  5. Prepare and make available to the Parties periodic reports based on information received pursuant to articles 15 and 21 and other available information; 
  6. Enter, under the overall guidance of the Conference of the Parties, into such administrative and contractual arrangements as may be required for the effective discharge of its functions;
  7. Oversee the recruitment and development of staff, encourage and foster team-work and communication among staff; chair meetings and seminars on substantive-related issues, represent the Secretariat at conferences, meetings and seminars.
  8. Lead the strategic interagency work of the Secretariat in close cooperation and coordination with UN Environment and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements and with other chemicals and waste related conventions (e.g., Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm); Coordinate the preparation of documents and reports for COPs and intersessional meetings. 
  9. Perform other related duties as may be requested by the Conference of Parties or the Executive Director; upon request, provide input to relevant reports for presentation to intergovernmental bodies and other policy-making organs, as appropriate; participate, as appropriate, in international, regional and national meetings and provide substantive expertise.


Professionalism: Knowledge and understanding of international negotiations and issues related to the Minamata Convention and its overarching objectives; Ability to think strategically and to clearly articulate a strategic direction; Capacity to manage and develop people, to lead high performance teams and to work cooperatively; Facilitation of and conducting of inter-governmental negotiating processes as well as handling of a multidisciplinary portfolio of tasks and duties; Integrity, openness and transparency in dealing with all stakeholders; Possesses understanding of the chemicals agenda; Ability to defend and explain difficult issues with respect to key decisions and positions to staff, senior officials and members of intergovernmental bodies; Ability to apply UN rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations; Shows pride in work and in achievements and is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. 

Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; Asks questions to clarify and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; Tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience; Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed. 

Vision: Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks; clearly communicates links between the Organization's strategy and the work unit's goals; generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction; conveys enthusiasm about future possibilities. 

Leadership: Serves as a role model that other people want to follow: Empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; Establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; Anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; Drives for change and improvements; Does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; Demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.

Accountability: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; Delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; Operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules; Supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; Takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.


Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in chemistry; natural sciences; law, public or business administration; international and/or environmental studies or other related area is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of fifteen years of professional and progressively responsible experience, in the area of environment and sustainable development, out of which at least seven years at the international level is required. Familiarity with the chemicals and/or mercury policies and implementation of multilateral environmental agreements in both developed and developing country contexts is highly desirable. Experience in developing countries is an asset. Knowledge of the UN system and intergovernmental negotiations on sustainable development issues is an advantage.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in oral and written English is required. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which will be followed by competency-based interview.

Special Notice

This position is open for recruitment for an initial period of one year and may be subject to extension. Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures. The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

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