Programme Specialist (Social and Environmental Standards)

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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UNDP’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan commits the organization to improving performance and facilitating innovation to make UNDP a partner of choice for SDG achievement. The Quality Programming team in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support’s Effectiveness Group is responsible to develop UNDP’s programming standards, approaches, tools, guidance and prescriptive content for programming in support of this vision.
An important aspect of the programming prescriptive content is the corporate Social and Environmental Standards (SES,, which are an integral component of UNDP’s quality assurance and risk management approach to programming. They support UNDP’s commitment to mainstream social and environmental sustainability in our Programmes and Projects to support sustainable development. The SES are being updated in 2019 to address gaps and lessons learned and to ensure alignment the new UN programming principles and approaches to safeguards. This will be launched in coordination with the roll-out of the recently updated policy on Enterprise Risk Management to facilitate a more risk-informed approach in UNDP’s programming and associated training and support. 
The Policy Specialist will be a key member of the Quality Programming team and will specifically support the implementation of UNDP’s Social and Environmental Standard.
Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Support capacity building and training on the SES and Stakeholder Response Mechanism:
  2. Support implementation of the SES in projects with high risks or undergoing a compliance review process:
  3. Support the establishment of the Stakeholder Response Mechanism at the Country Office level
  4. Support quality assurance of social and environmental screenings, assessments and management plans
  5. Support the elaboration of guidance, tools and case examples:   


  • Knowledge of methodologies, tools, systems and implementation of social and environmental standards and safeguards. 
  • Risk Management:
  • Knowledge of key elements of programmatic risk management.
  • Quality Programming:
  • Knowledge of programme and project management, results based management, and quality assurance processes.
  • Institutional Change:
  • Knowledge and experience with institutional change processes and institutionalization of policies including through capacity development, systems, reporting, etc.
  • Evidence-Based Management: 
  • Ability to set goals and indicators and to interpret and synthesize results into usable information to inform policy, strategy, and/or action.


  • Brief writing:
  • Ability to prepare quality briefs and/or speeches.
  • Partnerships: 
  • Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships.
  • Knowledge Management:
  • Ability to manage knowledge and lessons learned, facilitating knowledge exchange and shared learning in an organization.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Master’s Degree or equivalent related to Sustainable Development, Environmental and Social Policy, International Development, or related field.


  • Five years of relevant professional work experience.
  • Experience designing and implementing social and environmental safeguards. 
  • Experience conducting environmental and social impact assessments and developing management plans. 
  • Experience with conducting trainings, developing guidance and tools, and communications.
  • Familiarity with Independent Accountability Mechanisms.

Language Requirements: 

  • Proficiency in English (oral, written and presentation).