Environmental Affairs Officer (Secretary of the UNECE Water Convention)

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
Geneva, Switzerland
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 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 position is located in the ansboundary Cooperation Section, Environment Division of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). UNECE Environment Division contributes to the overall objectives and mandate of UNECE as a multilateral platform facilitating greater economic integration and cooperation among its member States, and to the broad aim of the Environment subprogramme to safeguard the environment and human health, and to promote sustainable development in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The incumbent reports to the Chief of Section.


Under the supervision of the Chief, Transboundary Cooperation Section, the incumbent is responsible for managing the water unit and for planning, implementing and monitoring the water programme. The main duties are: 

  • Manage the water unit: manage, guide and encourage the development of staff in the water unit; ensure the allocation of adequate time and resources to achieve planned tasks, foster teamwork and communication among staff in the unit and across organizational boundaries; carry out administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the water unit, evaluation of staff performance.
  • Act as Secretary to the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) and as co-Secretary to the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health. Plan, organize and follow up of Meetings of the Parties; assist elected officers; overview and support implementation of decisions taken by Convention governing bodies; support compliance monitoring; maintain necessary contacts and correspondence. Review national policies and strategies; prepare a variety of studies, reports, background papers, etc. on a wide range of environmental and water related issues. Coordinate the work of staff of the unit and provide them with necessary guidance in order for them to prepare for, service and follow up seminars, workshops, task forces and expert meetings and consultations, including organizational support to host authorities; draft reports and minutes of meetings.
  • Act as ECE water programme focal point: provide substantive input on water issues to ECE and UN related meetings and processes; support the implementation of Agenda 21 and Rio+20 outcome; provide relevant input to the Committee on Environmental Policy; coordinate and cooperate activities with other programmes of the ECE secretariat – in particular other ECE multilateral environmental agreements - and UN system organizations, in particular WHO/Europe for the work under the Protocol on Water and Health, and UN-Water, other relevant international governmental and non-governmental organizations and relevant private sector organizations; exchange information with these organizations and their experts; represent the ECE secretariat at governmental and non-governmental meetings in her/his field of competence; prepare inputs and comment on water-related aspects in Secretary General reports and other UN products, including ECE Environmental Performance Reviews; prepare speeches and other inputs for presentations by senior staff.
  • Financial management: support and actively participate in the efforts of Parties to raise funds for the activities under the Water Convention and the Protocol on Water and Health; be responsible for donors’ relations, including reporting; manage relevant trust funds and arrange for the appropriate use of the funds; monitor expenditures and mobilize resource contributions.
  • Project management: coordinate the design and management of field projects under the Water Convention and the Protocol on Water and Health to build capacity on different aspects of the implementation of the two instruments in countries with economies in transition and, for the Water Convention, other developing countries beyond the ECE region; work in close cooperation with the ECE Regional Advisor on Environment; guide and coordinate governmental appointed experts as well as consultants to the secretariat, interns and other resource persons in the implementation of activities of the water programme.
  • Promotion and communications: organize the development and maintenance of tools for information and communication, including via Internet and e-mail; prepare publications, press releases, public relation bulletins and other media work.



Professional competence and knowledge in the field of water or environment, ability to identify key issues, opportunities and risks and to prioritize, ability to establish and maintain relationships with a broad range of actors to understand needs and gain support, practical experience in project management and administration, proven analytical and problem-solving skills, ability to apply good judgment in the context of assignments given. 


Proven ability to manage a team, capacity to delegate the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority, capacity to ensure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member, capacity to judge the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and to match tasks to skills, capacity to provide feedback and coach staff. 


Ability to plan his/her own work and the work of others, ability to handle multiple concurrent activities under tight deadlines, ability to develop clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies and to identify priority activities and assignments and adjust priorities as required, ability to anticipate problems and find solutions, experience in organizing and servicing intergovernmental bodies and technical meetings.


Advanced University degree in natural sciences, economics, social sciences, law, engineering or other relevant disciplines.

Work Experience

At least 7 years of professional experience at the national and /or international level related to water or environmental issues. Knowledge and experience of multi-lateral environmental agreements (Conventions/Protocols), in particular the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Water courses and International lakes, is required.


Fluency in oral and written English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable.


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

Special Notice

  • This position is temporarily available from 1 August 2019 for a period of 1 year, with a possibility of further extension. If the selected candidate is a staff member from the United Nations Secretariat, the selection will be administered as a temporary assignment.
  • While this temporary assignment may provide the successful applicant with an opportunity to gain new work experience, the selection for this position is for a limited period and has no bearing on the future incumbency of the post.
  • Subject to the funding source of the position, the eligibility for this temporary job opening may be limited to candidates based at the duty station.
  • This temporary job opening may be limited to “internal candidates,” who have been recruited through a competitive examination administered according to staff rule 4.16 or staff selection process including the review of a central review body established according to staff rule 4.15.
  • Staff members of the United Nations common system organizations who will reach the mandatory age of separation or retirement within the duration of the current temporary need period are not eligible to apply.Submitting an application or selection for the current temporary job opening does not delay or increase the mandatory age of separation.
  • Retirees above the mandatory age of separation who wish to be considered for the current temporary job opening must indicate the reason for their last separation as "retirement." Such retirees shall not be employed by the Organization, unless (a) the operational requirements of the Organization cannot be met by staff members who are qualified and available to perform the required functions; and (b) the proposed employment would not adversely affect the career development or redeployment opportunities of other staff members and represents both a cost-effective and operationally sound solution to meet the needs of the service.