Policy Specialist (Climate Change)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
New York, NY, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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The Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) works closely with UNDP’s Crisis Bureau (CB) as part of UNDP’s Global Policy Network (GPN).  The GPN specifically provides technical advice to Country Offices, advocates for UNDP corporate messages, represents UNDP at multi-stakeholder fora, and engages in UN inter-agency coordination on specific thematic areas.  Under this umbrella, BPPS is responsible for developing all relevant policy and guidance to support the results of UNDP’s Strategic Plan.   BPPS assists UNDP and partners to achieve higher quality development results through an integrated approach that links results-based management and performance monitoring with more effective and new ways of working, including through more innovative, knowledge and data driven efforts in its programme support. 

UNDP provides technical support to its country partners to deliver on, and contribute to, sustainable development and resilience-building in the context of the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Action. This is done through a vision outlined in UNDP’s Strategic Plan (2018-2022), which responds to a changing development landscape and the evolving needs of our partners.  The Strategic Plan includes six signature solutions that define the core work of UNDP.  These include:  Keeping people out of poverty, strengthening effective, inclusive and accountable governance, enhancing national prevention and recovery capacities for resilient societies, promoting nature-based solutions for a sustainable planet, closing the energy gap and strengthening gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Climate change cuts across these signature solutions and has been identified as one of the top three priorities for UNDP’s support in 2019.  In the area of climate change, UNDP’s services to countries focus on implementation of the Paris Agreement as a critical contribution to the 2030 Agenda.  This is, specifically focused on implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which outline countries’ self-defined targets to meeting the Paris goals of the Paris Agreement. This support builds on an extensive portfolio of mitigation and adaptation projects and programmes, delivered through provision of oversight, quality assurance, global and regional policy and technical advisory services in the areas of climate change policy coherence & agenda setting: capacity building for climate finance, as well as policy and technical support to regional service centers and country offices, particularly focused on Small Island Developing States (SIDS)/Least Developed Countries (LDCs). 

The Policy Specialist, Climate Change based in New York is responsible for contributing substantive advice and technical expertise, advocacy, relationship building and knowledge to the thematic area of Climate Change within both the GPN and UNDP as a whole.  S/he sits in the Climate Change Team and collaborates with teams within BPPS and the GPN, and across UNDP’s Regional Hubs, Country Offices and Global Policy Centers. S/he provides quality policy services and technical advice on climate change in the context of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. S/he is responsible for performing and contributing to the following:

  • Policy Dialogue, Coherence, Research and Development 
  • Policy and Technical Advice/ Programme and Project Delivery Support
  • Policy Positioning and Representation
  • Partnerships and Resource Mobilization
  • Knowledge Management

Duties and Responsibilities

1. Policy Dialogue, Coherence, Research and Development: 

  • Provide substantive inputs on climate change policy issues and strategic issues emerging from the global discourse, including international climate change negotiations, particularly related to NDCs and the Paris Agreement, long-term strategies, adaptation and climate risk management
  • Provide substantive inputs for HQ policy briefs/position papers prepared in collaboration with other teams that address links between climate change and different development concerns
  • Develop guidance and tools on key areas of climate change, especially related to the UNFCCC negotiations reporting requirements, the Paris Agreement and NDCs, Long-term Strategies, SDGs and other emerging issues. including testing and roll out of tools and methodologies
  • Develop policy initiatives for different contexts on key emerging policy agendas, including on climate change mitigation, adaptation and finance, in collaboration with policy teams across the GPN, and bringing in perspectives and knowledge from Country Offices and the regions
  • Manage and provide technical advice on UNDP’s approach and engagement to the UNFCCC negotiations and related global and regional technical meetings and events
  • Coordinate UNDP’s strategy and engagement with major events and summits on climate change
  • Develop relevant analysis and guidance, in close collaboration with other teams, on emerging issues of global significance on climate change, such as NDC-SDG linkages, long-term strategies and planetary health, and contribute to new research and methodologies to drive UNDP’s support.

2. Policy and Technical Advice/ Programme and Project Delivery Support:

  • In collaboration with the BPPS teams in the Regional Hubs, provide technical advisory services related to climate change policy issues, including those related to implementation of the Paris Agreement, UNDP’s support to the Joint UN Approach on NDC Support, links between NDCs and SDGs, and other areas of high demand from governments
  • Provide technical guidance and backstopping, as needed, for climate change programme implementation and delivery, including responding to country support requests, advising on national activities, and tracking progress of the technical work towards project objectives
  • Conduct reviews of country reports, as needed, to ensure alignment with contributions to climate change programmes particularly at the global level
  • Contribute inputs from the climate policy perspective – such updates from the UNFCCC negotiations, links between NDCs and SDGs, NDC implementation - to global, regional, national and sub-national programmes and projects.

3. Policy Positioning and Representation:

  • Provide inputs to UNDP’s reporting and analysis of the global processes related to climate change, including international climate change negotiations
  • Provide substantive and content input to contribute to mobilizing, fostering and strengthening strategic partnerships with UN entities and other relevant bodies and provide inputs to those partnerships in support of UNDP initiatives on climate change
  • Prepare briefing notes and speeches for UNDP Senior Management
  • Represent UNDP in climate change-related meetings, including inter-governmental, private sector and academic fora
  • Develop and promote UNDP’s global messages on climate change and collaborate with the UNDP Communications Team to promote those messages through social media film and other tools
  • Provide substantive input into UNDP’s efforts on advocating the importance of climate change in various fora, including academia and civil society, with a view to deepen related political commitment and related reforms
  • Support Team Leaders in engagement in UN interagency coordination in relevant policy areas by drafting briefing, preparing for and participating in meetings.

4. Partnerships and Resource Mobilization: 

  • In collaboration with BERA, support the Team Leader to engage with global partners and develop/implement resource mobilization plans under corporate guidelines, including development of proposals, and undertaking corporate and donor reporting, advocacy and information-sharing requirements
  • Provide substantive inputs related to global external partnerships related to climate change
  • Collaborate with UN agencies, Governments, IFIs, private sector, academia and other partners to support system-wide outcomes at global summits and events.

5. Knowledge Management: 

  • Conduct analyses of strategic and emerging climate change mitigation and adaptation issues, particularly examining NDCs and linkages to SDGs, through a top-down/bottom-up flow of policy and programme work that is disseminated within UNDP; Collaborate across the Global Policy Network to document, analyze and support coherent sustainable development approaches to address issues related to NDC implementation and its links to SDG implementation processes
  • Coordinate team contributions and support to corporate KM activities, at all levels to help influence/advance policy dialogue around climate change in collaboration with other teams across the GPN
  • Coordinate and perform knowledge extraction, analysis, documentation, codification of results/lessons learned on climate change, particularly related to implementation of the Paris Agreement and its links to the 2030 Agenda, and verify that knowledge sharing and content management is in line with guidelines and performed using corporate tools.


Corporate competencies:


  • 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.



Climate Change and Development (SDGs):

  • Knowledge of climate change and its links to development and SDGs, and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.

Climate Change Adaptation:

  • Knowledge of climate change adaptation concepts and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.

Project and Programme Management:

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


  • Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships.

Knowledge Management:

  • Ability to capture, develop, share and effectively use information and knowledge.

Nationally Determined Contributions:

  • Knowledge of the Paris Agreement and concepts related to implementation of Nationally Determined Contributionsand the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.


Resource Mobilization:

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


  • Ability to manage complex relationships through pathways of knowledge exchange, capacity development, funding relationships and strategic engagement.

Trends and emerging areas analytics:

  • Ability to scan the horizon and identify approaches and initiatives to bring into policy and programme design.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in environmental management, sustainable development, international affairs or relations, economics, business administration, social sciences or related disciplines.


  • 7 years of professional work experience providing policy advice and programme support in the area of Climate Change, particularly in different development contexts.  Experience working in developing country settings is required.
  • Experience designing, managing and implementing climate-related projects
  • Knowledge, understanding and experience participating in climate-related global processes, particularly related to UNFCCC negotiations and UN System coordination 
  • Demonstrated experience developing innovative and analytic knowledge products on climate-related issues
  • Expertise in advancing inter-disciplinary approaches through engagement and coordination of cross-team collaboration
  • Demonstrated understanding of linkages between the Paris agreement and 2030 Agenda, including NDC and SDG implementation;
  • Expertise in gender-responsive approaches to climate action.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English, both written and oral, with proven excellent writing skills.
  • Working knowledge of another UN language is an asset.