Regional Technical Specialist for Ecosystems and Biodiversity

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Amman, Jordan 🇯🇴

Job Description

Background

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

The NCE Team works with governments, civil society, and private sector partners to integrate natural capital, environment and climate concerns into national and sector planning and inclusive growth policies; support country obligations under Multilateral Environmental Agreements; and implement the UN’s largest portfolio of in-country programming on environment, climate change, and energy. This multi-billion dollar portfolio encompasses: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services including forests; Sustainable Land Management and Desertification including food and commodity systems; Water and Ocean Governance including SIDS; Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation; Renewable and Modern Energy; Extractive Industries; Chemicals and Waste Management; Environmental Governance and Green/Circular Economy and SCP approaches. This work advances crosscutting themes on innovative finance, digital transformation, capacity development, human rights, gender equality, health, technology, and South-South learning.

 In addition to UNDP’s bilateral partnerships on natural capital, environment and climate, UNDP is an accredited multilateral implementing agency of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Multilateral Fund (MLF), the Adaptation Fund (AF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which  includes the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund (GEF Trust Fund); the Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund (NPIF); the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF); and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF)). As part of UNDP’s partnership with these vertical funds, UNDP provides countries specialized integrated technical services for eligibility assessment, programme formulation, capacity development, policy advice, technical assistance, training and technology transfer, mobilization of co-financing, implementation oversight, results management and evaluation, performance-based payments and knowledge management services.

UNDP recognizes healthy biodiversity and ecosystem services, including soil fertility and water provisioning, as the foundation of human wellbeing and sustainable development. It sees nature-based solutions as essential solutions for tackling multiple developmental challenges, be they land degradation and desertification, climate crisis, inequality and poverty, insecurity and migration.  UNDP’s Ecosystems and Biodiversity Programme adopts an approach to bringing the development agenda to biodiversity discourse enables it to engender increased public, business, and government support for biodiversity conservation and sound ecosystem management, broadening the support base necessary for achieving global biodiversity goals.  UNDP, as a convener, mobilizes global, national and local level actors, governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and communities to communicate the value of biodiversity for it to be integrated in national and local development, and sector and fiscal planning processes and practices. UNDP has 300 country level terrestrial and marine ecosystems and biodiversity projects in 120 countries, including sustainable land management projects.  These combined with a set of global projects, such as the Biodiversity Finance Initiative, Nature for Development Programme, Green Commodities Programme, linked to country level work, connects people on the ground to the national, regional and global decision makers and influencers, as well as, fostering exchange and learning between communities, landscapes, governments in different countries and continents. 

The Vertical Environmental Finance Unit is organized into five substantive technical teams corresponding to the five areas of work above. Each area of work is led by a Principal (PTA) or Senior Technical Advisor (STA), who supports and guides a team of Regional Technical Advisors and Specialists (RTAs/RTSs).  The regional teams are based in regional hubs/regional service centers (Addis Ababa, Amman, Istanbul, Bangkok, and Panama) from where they support UNDP’s country offices and partners in their region. As well as being a member of a technical team, each RTA/RTS is also a member of a regional team, which consists of RTAs/RTSs from all technical teams working together under the leadership of a Regional Team Leader (RTL). 

RTSs have global responsibilities in their area of specialized technical expertise but are deployed from Regional Hubs, normally close to the countries to which they provide most support. The RTS for Ecosystems and Biodiversity works under the overall supervision of the PTA on Ecosystems and Biodiversity.  RTSs have a secondary line of reporting to the Regional Team Leaders for the countries to which they provide support. The RTS will be based in Amman, Jordan and is expected to travel as required. RTSs may be periodically redeployed, in accordance with capability, consent, and due process, to a different regional hub as needed.Position Purpose

The Regional Technical Specialist for Ecosystems and Biodiversity is primarily responsible for providing technical, policy, and programming implementation support and oversight, and knowledge and capacity development services pertaining to the work of the Ecosystems and Biodiversity signature programmes to UNDP country offices, working with other UN agencies, governments and inter-governmental organizations, NGO’s, donors, the private sector and many others. 

Key Duties and Accountabilities

Innovation, Strategic Leadership, Policy Dialogue and Advocacy (10%)

Example of Duties:

  • Contributing to a strategic understanding of, and engagement with, the substantive technical issues, institutions, and processes within the region, including establishing contact and developing strategic partnerships with other agencies, donors, NGOs, the private sector, scientific institutions and the like;
  • Participating the development and implementation of UNDP’s global and regional strategies on environment and sustainable development within the BPPS, GPN and beyond; engagement in policy and advocacy work with external partners where relevant
  • Providing policy development support and guidance to country offices and governments;
  • Supporting the development of strategic UNDP policy position papers and internal briefing notes;
  • Facilitating policy analysis and the development of technical tools and guidance;
  • Maintain trusted relationships with country offices, government and non-governmental partners’ role within the region;
  • Keeping the NCE Regional Team informed of trends and issues with respect to the substantive technical area and contribute actively to regional NCE programming and Business plans;
  • Keeping the Principal/Senior Technical Advisors and RTL informed of trends and issues in the region;
  • Work in coordination with other RTAs/RTSs in the region to develop projects requiring technical guidance from multiple areas including collaborations with NCE regional team members and broader GPN and RBAS teams at the Regional Hub on delivery of integrated support to Country Offices.

Portfolio Management (5%)

Example of Duties:

  • Assisting in the maintenance of programme/project and portfolio information and corporate information systems;
  • Facilitating the identification, and sourcing of technical expertise and support including assisting with the preparation of TORs, identification and evaluation of experts and reviewing reports.

Resource Mobilization (20%)

Example of Duties:

  • Supporting programme and project identification and development, including on integrated approaches and multifocal area projects;
  • Providing timely and quality information and technical advice on sources of funds, policies, priorities and activities – including the Global Environment Facility funds, the Green Climate Fund, other multilateral donors, bilateral donors and foundations;
  • Identifying and suggesting to the PTA and regional RTL priorities and entry-points for UNDP assistance and linkage with broader UNDP priorities;
  • Facilitating the process of preparation, design, submission and approval of programme/project concepts and full-fledged proposals for financing;
  • Providing guidance and support in the identification and sourcing of technical expertise and support including assisting with the preparation of TORs, identification and evaluation of experts and reviewing reports;
  • Facilitating liaisons with potential financing agencies and institutions.

Development Impact (55%)

Example of Duties:

  • Assisting with inception and start-up of programmes/projects, ensuring the implementation teams’ understanding of technical and operational aspects of the projects, and strong technical and operational capacity of project management units;;
  • Supporting UNDP country offices and programme/project implementation partners in project supervision, and timely and quality implementation, providing troubleshooting and guidance for adaptive management;  
  • Undertaking virtual and physical supervision missions aimed at

(a) verification of results and

(b) troubleshooting to manage technical quality assurance risks;

  • Undertaking technical quality assurance of the Annual Work Plan cleared by the CO, ensuring alignment with the approved project document and technical robustness of proposed AWP activities in line with the approved project result framework;
  • Undertaking risk management oversight including conducting risk-based second tier portfolio oversight and address escalated GEF project risks/critical issues through Action Plan;    Providing oversight for monitoring and evaluation support including quality and timely completion of the annual Project Implementation Reports (PIRs) reports and technical oversight related input during mid-term reviews (MTRs) and terminal evaluations (TEs)
  • Facilitate production of project communication pieces effectively showcasing socio-economic and environmental impacts of individual projects and its linkage to the UNDP Strategic Plan priorities and targets.

 Learning, Knowledge Management and Self Development (10%)

Example of Duties:

  • Evaluating, capturing, codifying, synthesizing lessons and stimulating the uptake of best practices and knowledge, including the development of knowledge materials;
  • Peer reviewing, commenting on, and seeking to improve the technical quality of programmes/projects, policies, practices, guidelines, advisory notes, publications and the like;
  • Contributing to the preparation of regional Community of Practice meetings;
  • Supporting the preparation and delivering of training courses;
  • Responding to queries on programme/project progress, impacts and lessons;
  • Developing and carrying out a personal learning plan (5%).
  • Supervisory/Managerial Responsibilities: The RTS will be responsible for supervision, performance management and development of the Associate

Requirements:

Education

  • Master’s degree or higher in ecology, biology, environmental sciences, economics, social sciences with a specialization in environment and development, or other closely related field.

 Experience, Knowledge, and Skills

  • Minimum of 7 years’ experience working with developing countries on Ecosystems and Biodiversity;
  • Experience working with developing countries on ecosystem and biodiversity, including integrated programming on climate, ecosystem restoration and sustainable land management. Experience on these issues in the Middle East and North Africa/Arab region is an advantage,;
  • At least 2 years’ experience with conceptualizing and developing projects and programmes, with experience with the Global Environment Facility an advantage;
  • At least 2 years’ experience in guiding project implementation and management 
  • Direct donor financed project management experience is an advantage
  • Experience in supporting policy development processes related to Ecosystems and Biodiversity;
  • Experience in portfolio and project risk management;
  • Full computer literacy;
  • Working experience in an international organization is an advantage as is knowledge of UNDP policies, procedures and practices
  • Excellent knowledge of the English language, with exceptional writing, presentation and communication skills;
  • Knowledge of French and/or Arabic

Expected Demonstration of Competencies

Core

  • Achieve Results: LEVEL 3: Set and align challenging, achievable objectives for multiple projects, have lasting impact
  • Think Innovatively: LEVEL 3: Proactively mitigate potential risks, develop new ideas to solve complex problems
  • Learn Continuously: LEVEL 3: Create and act on opportunities to expand horizons, diversify experiences
  • Adapt with Agility: LEVEL 3: Proactively initiate and champion change, manage multiple competing demands
  • Act with Determination: LEVEL 3: Think beyond immediate task/barriers and take action to achieve greater results
  • Engage and Partner: LEVEL 3: Political savvy, navigate complex landscape, champion inter-agency collaboration
  • Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 3: Appreciate benefits of diverse workforce and champion inclusivity

People Management

  • UNDP People Management Competencies can be found in the dedicated site.

Cross-Functional & Technical competenciesBusiness Direction & Strategy

  • Strategic Thinking – Ability to develop effective strategies and prioritized plans in line with UNDP’s objectives, based on the systemic analysis of challenges, potential risks and opportunities; linking the vision to reality on the ground, and creating tangible solutions

Business Development

  • Knowledge Generation – Ability to research and turn information into useful knowledge, relevant for context, or responsive to a stated need

Business Management

  • Results Based Management – Ability to manage programmes and projects with a focus at improved performance and demonstrable results
  • Project Management – Ability to plan, organize, prioritize and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals
  • Resource Management – Ability to allocate and use resources in a strategic or tactical way in line with principles of accountability and integrity

Planet

  • Nature, Climate and Energy – Ecosystems and Biodiversity

For external applicants, please note that continuance of appointment beyond the initial 12 months is contingent upon the successful completion of a probationary period.

Disclaimer

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.

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.

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POSITION TYPE

ORGANIZATION TYPE

EXPERIENCE-LEVEL

DEGREE REQUIRED