Chief Climate Risk Strategist

United Nations University (UNU)

Bonn, Germany 🇩🇪

Job description

About UNU

The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in policy-oriented research, capacity development and dissemination of knowledge in furthering the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The mission of UNU is to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations and its Member States.

For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on human survival, conflict prevention, sustainable development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 12 countries, UNU’s work spans the 17 Sustainable Development Goals’ full breadth, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change. UNU maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies and leading universities and research institutions across the globe. For more information, please visit

The United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) established in December 2003, is one of 14 research and training Institutes that comprise the think tanks in the UNU system. Its mission is to advance human security through knowledge-based approaches to reducing vulnerability and environmental risks. For more information, please visit

The Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) is hosted at UNU-EHS and is a research-to-policy and practice innovation lab. MCII aims to support and ultimately influence policy making processes that enhance resilience and protect livelihoods of vulnerable communities, through pioneering risk management and risk transfer solutions (e.g. insurance mechanisms) in combination with other approaches to manage climate related risks. For detailed information, please visit:


Under the overall authority and supervision of the Deputy Director of UNU-EHS, the Chief Climate Risk Strategist is responsible for the following duties:

1. Advice the Vice-Rector in Europe/Director of UNU-EHS and the Deputy Director of UNU-EHS in matters related to climate risk strategies (climate policy, comprehensive risk management, and climate and disaster risk finance and insurance solutions):

  • Provide high level, strategic advice on the development of the research and policy activities and programming of UNU-EHS related to climate policy, comprehensive risk management, and climate and disaster risk finance and insurance solutions;
  • Advise on impact opportunities and pathways related to climate policy, climate risk insurance and climate finance;
  • Support the Deputy Director in the strategic development and management of the institute´s scientific profile and impact pathways

2. Lead the 3 teams of MCII on 1. Policy, Governance and Strategies, 2. Analytics and 3. Solutions and Practice Partnerships:

  • Lead and direct the Policy, Governance and Strategies and, plan and allocate work assignments (ensuring an alignment between UNU-EHS and MCII mission and project activities and skill sets needed to do that work), mentor and appraise personnel (including supporting team development and helping team members to take responsibility and excel in their roles), participate in the recruitment and selection of new personnel;
  • build the leadership and management structures of the respective teams;
  • oversee the operations of the MCII teams with respect to its scientific profile; budget submission, allocation and monitoring; personnel planning; and implementation of administrative policies;
  • manage the day-to-day operations of the Climate Policy team with respect to its scientific profile; budget submission, allocation and monitoring; personnel planning; and implementation of administrative policies;
  • monitor and evaluate the s’ work;
  • develop a long-term strategy, policy and operational guidelines for the MCII teams, particularly with a focus on achieving MCII’s mission, embedded into the overall strategy of UNU and UNU-EHS;
  • oversee the teams’ projects which aim to increase the impact of climate risk insurance for vulnerable people through product development, streamlining and mainstreaming index- and micro-insurance;
  • provide strategic advice and guidance on projects and emerging projects;
  • supervise the policy engagement of MCII personnel, as well as the organization of workshops, expert meetings and informal consultations;
  • ensure the MCII mission is elaborated into technically sound, viable, sustainable projects, and in prioritizing and planning activities and outputs, within existing financial realities;
  • serve as a Certifying Officer for UNU-EHS.
  • facilitate processes of the MCII e.V. when required.

3. Lead research, knowledge management, and dissemination on MCII-specific topics:

  • Advocate effective utilization of scientific knowledge available at UNU-EHS in addressing global and emergent issues relevant to the MCII research agenda, for instance concerning climate risk management;
  • ensure MCII’s mission and knowledge generated from MCII’s network and its project work are transferred into major policy processes (i.e. UNFCCC: WIM, Paris Agreement, G7) to assure relevance in the post-2015 period of policy and implementation work;
  • showcase innovative ways to design climate risk insurance, enhancing access to protection against weather extremes through insurance for vulnerable people, and embedding insurance approaches into comprehensive climate risk management;
  • advise on policy engagement, projects, and relevant other MCII activities, in particular support the assessment, development and implementation of comprehensive climate risk management and insurance projects aimed at reducing vulnerability and building resilience;
  • publish research results together with other researchers at UNU-EHS and beyond in international peer-reviewed journals and as book chapters;
  • present research in a variety of communication formats which are tailored towards a broader, non-academic audience, for example by giving media interviews, writing op-eds and engaging in relevant discussion on social media in close cooperation with the UNU-ViE Communication Unit.

4. Manage resource mobilization strategies for the three MCII teams:

  • Lead the development of resource mobilization strategies for policy-relevant topics that also open up research possibilities;
  • manage the implementation of resource mobilization strategies, plans, and efforts;
  • manage the financial resources of the MCII teams with integrity and ensure accountability to UNU-EHS governance structures, MCII governance structures, and donors, monitoring budgets and expenditures and deciding on relevant follow-up action;
  • establish and maintain relationships with government, partners, stakeholders and donors to achieve active collaboration, cooperation and strategic alliances on programme development and implementation, and resource mobilization;
  • oversee donor reports, and negotiate and/or approve cost-sharing agreements with donors; establish reporting accountability framework to ensure that donors are duly informed on a timely basis.

5. Conduct education and training initiatives:

  • Contribute to the Joint Master’s programme on “The Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security” with the University of Bonn by developing and teaching modules on concepts and theories of climate risk management and insurance; contribute to further teaching as required by UNU-EHS;
  • (co-)supervise MSc students.

6. Represent UNU and create and maintain strategic partnerships and networks:

  • Engage, based on excellent research, in international policy processes and agendas of relevance;
  • contribute actively to, and facilitate, stakeholder engagement in international, regional, and national policy making processes that move forward climate risk management solutions;
  • actively foster cooperation with UN agencies (e.g. UNFCCC, UNDRR, UNCDF, UNEP), research institutions, and other relevant governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including the private sector and civil society, in the area of climate risk strategies;
  • represent UNU-EHS and MCII in key policy processes,
  • directly support MCII’s Executive Board and Membership in policy and technical discussions in relevant working groups;
  • represent UNU-EHS on international scientific networks/boards and at major conferences.

7. Perform other duties as assigned by the Director and Deputy Director

Key Performance Indicators

  • Strategic advise provided to the Director and Deputy Director for the further development of the institutes research profile and policy impact pathway;
  • Timely and quality development and implementation of the MCII strategy and annual work plan including resource mobilization for the strategic development and implementation;
  • Timely and quality delivery on operational goals;
  • UNU is seen as a reliable and trustworthy partner by research partners, governments, donors, and civil society;
  • Performance of personnel; production of quality knowledge, research and policy outputs.



  • Inclusion – Take action to create an environment of dignity and respect for all, regardless of age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, geography, grade, language, nationality, racial identity, religion, sex, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, social origin or any other aspect of identity.
  • Integrity – Act ethically, demonstrating the standards of conduct of the United Nations and taking prompt action in case of witnessing unprofessional or unethical behaviour, or any other breach of UN standards.
  • Humility – Demonstrate self-awareness and willingness to learn from others.
  • Humanity – Act according to the purposes of the United Nations: peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet.


  • Connect and Collaborate – Build positive relationships with others to advance the work of the United Nations and work coherently as One UN
  • Analyse and Plan – Seek out and use data from a wide range of sources to understand problems, inform decision-making, propose evidence-based solutions and plan action
  • Deliver Results with Positive Impact – Hold oneself and others accountable for delivering results and making a positive difference to the people and causes that the United Nations serves
  • Learn and Develop – Pursue own learning and development and contribute to the learning and development of others
  • Adapt and Innovate – Demonstrate flexibility, agility and the ability to think and act in novel ways


Education and certification:

  • MSc, MBA or PhD in a relevant academic discipline, such as geography, economics, social sciences, environmental sciences or other relevant field.


  • At least ten (7) years of progressively responsible experience in research and academia related to climate risk management, climate policy and insurance in an international setting is required;
  • Strong track record in the leadership and management of projects in multicultural surrounding, preferably related to climate change impacts, climate risk management, climate risk solutions (e.g. index-based weather insurance or other forms of risk transfer and adaptation) is required;
  • Strong track record in the leadership and management of networks and teams is required, together with the ability to carry out work independently and in an international team;
  • Strong network in global community of climate risk management including insurance actors;
  • Demonstrated experience with climate policy at the international and regional level; partner organizations in the Global South and wider network, and practical experiences in managing public-private partnerships is an advantage;
  • Experience working in private sector organizations is desirable;
  • Excellent track record in securing third-party funding is required, coupled with demonstrated relationships with donors;
  • Demonstrated experience in successfully operationalizing projects that focus on an implementation on-the-ground in partnership with a range of stakeholders is required;
  • Demonstrated experience in collaborative, innovative partnerships in research-to-action is required;
  • Familiarity with the UN and/or other international institutions and mechanisms is required;
  • Strong publication profile in the research areas related to the MCII teams is required;
  • Experience in postgraduate programmes teaching at international higher education institutions is required; experience with the development of lectures for online courses would be an asset;
  • Experience in supervising MSc students is required;
  • Other desirable skills: excellent networking, communication and didactic skills; initiative, strong conceptual abilities; sound judgment; resilience; excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity; excellent team spirit.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English is required;
  • Knowledge of an additional UN official working language or German is an asset.


UNU offers an attractive, tax exempt compensation package including an annual net salary and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance). Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme. Benefits for internationally recruited staff may include home leave, travel and removal expenses on appointment and separation, education grant for dependent children, assignment grant and rental subsidy. For more information please see:

Duration of contract

This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment. The initial appointment will be for one (1) year with the possibility of renewal on a fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance.

For academic positions, the combined duration of fixed-term appointments with UNU may not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for United Nations staff is 65 years.

Starting date: As soon as possible

How to Apply: 

To apply to UNU, you will not need an account. Instead, we ask that you:

  • Fill out the UNU P11 form (please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations);
  • provide a motivation statement (in the P11 form);
  • provide a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position;
  • answer a few questions that are tailored to the position; and
  • apply via the apply link.

You may wish to refer to the UN Values and Behaviours Framework for more information.

Application Deadline: 13 September 2022


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview, background checks, and references.

Special notice

Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the Rector’s authority. They may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University. The Rector reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below that advertised.

UNU is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities to apply and become part of the organisation. Applications from developing countries, and from women are strongly encouraged. Eligible internal applicants are also encouraged to apply.

UNU has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNU, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.

Information about UNU rosters

UNU 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 UNU at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

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