GEF STAP Panel Member (International Waters)

United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)



Job categories Climate, Environment

Vacancy code VA/2023/B5002/25443

Level ICS-11

Department/office ECR, AUMCO, Water, Environment & Climate (WEC)

Duty station Home based

Contract type International ICA

Contract level IICA-3

Duration The initial mandate is for a period of two years and may be extended for a further two years.

Application period 08-Feb-2023 to 25-Mar-2023

Applications to vacancies must be received before midnight Copenhagen time (CET) on the closing date of the announcement.Please note that UNOPS will at no stage of the recruitment process request candidates to make payments of any kind.

Background Information – Job-specific

This Vacancy Announcement is being published by the Water & Energy Cluster on behalf of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) to the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world.  Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organisations.  With over 6,000 personnel spread across 80 countries, UNOPS offers its partners the logistical, technical and management knowledge they need, where they need it.  By implementing around 1,000 projects for our partners at any given time, UNOPS makes significant contributions to results on the ground, often in the most challenging environments.

Background information: GEF

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) ( was established 30 years ago on the eve of the Rio Earth Summit to tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. They have a unique mandate as a financing mechanism for a number of MEAs: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); the Minamata Convention on Mercury; and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The GEF also supports global and regional agreements on international waters, and transboundary water management. The GEF’s mission is to safeguard the global environment by supporting developing countries to meet their commitments under these agreements. The GEF’s sectoral responsibilities are often mutually supportive, which enables the synergies between them to be harnessed in a more holistic way. 

STAP Secretariat 

The Panel is supported by a small, dedicated Secretariat, which provides substantive and operational assistance in the delivery of Panel Members’ responsibilities.

Background information: UNEP

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action. UNEP’s Science Division, which hosts the STAP Secretariat, is responsible for analyzing the state of the global environment, providing early warning information, and assessing global and regional environmental trends to catalyze and promote international cooperation and action on the environment. UNEP is an equal opportunity employer.

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is seeking a new Panel Member to take the lead on International Waters. This position requires an understanding of the GEF International Waters program which includes transboundary water governance, in both marine and freshwater systems, land-based sources of pollution, biodiversity, sustainable fisheries, and the blue economy. 

Candidates should have outstanding academic and technical credentials, a passion for tackling global environmental and sustainable development challenges, and expertise in international waters. 

Candidates should demonstrate the ability to work in an interdisciplinary manner to bridge scientific, technological, economic, social, and policy issues. 

STAP ( is hosted by UNEP’s Science Division on behalf of the GEF partnership. It provides independent scientific and technical advice to the GEF on its policies, strategies, programs, and projects, across the portfolio. The Panel comprises a Chair and six Panel Members, for climate mitigation, climate adaptation, biodiversity, land degradation, international waters, and chemicals and waste, and two Senior Advisers. The roles and responsibilities of the Chair, Panel Members and STAP Secretariat are set out in STAP’s Terms of Reference (March 2012).

Panel Members provide intellectual leadership in their particular area of expertise, and they are expected to work effectively across the GEF’s activities, including advising on cross-cutting issues and integrated programming, i.e. outside their area of expertise.

Functional Responsibilities

Panel Members provide intellectual leadership, to innovate and to formulate at the highest-level advice that may challenge conventional thinking, and to bring intellectual rigor to their advice on strategic, thematic, and operational issues of the GEF.  Panel Members undertake their individual activities and responsibilities pro-actively, and as part of a team to advise the GEF about scientific and technical issues across its entire portfolio.  They steer STAP advice towards the analysis of contemporary environmental challenges and the formulation of strategic options for consideration by the GEF Council.  Panel Members are responsible for contributing to the development and implementation of STAP’s annual Work Plan, which is adjusted periodically to reflect changing priorities and new tasks. 

1. Ensure the best available relevant scientific and technical advice is provided through demonstrated leadership and initiative.  

2. Mobilize scientific and technical networks and partnerships. 

3. Develop and implement STAP’s Work Plan, including drafting analytical papers, reports, making presentations, attending and convening meetings of experts. 

4. Screen all full-sized projects (above $2 million), and program framework documents, for technical and scientific soundness, in biannual GEF work programs. 

5. Actively participate in two STAP meetings a year, and monthly STAP teleconferences. 

6. Contribute to the Chair’s report and presentations to twice-yearly GEF Council meetings, and STAP’s quadrennial report to the GEF Assembly.

7. Contribute to the GEF’s corporate activities, including ad hoc requests for advice, and participating in workshops and meetings.

8. Prepare quarterly indicative work plans based on the annual STAP Work Plan and submit quarterly timesheets.

 Education/Experience/Language requirements


PhD in a relevant field, e.g., environmental science, environmental policy, systems analysis, environmental law, political science, institutional analysis, or sustainability studies is required. 



  • Minimum of 15 years of experience in scientific research, and in the application of results to real world issues in developing countries, is required.
  • Peer-reviewed publication record on issues of relevance to the GEF is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in an integrated, interdisciplinary manner across the GEF’s portfolio, with experience in systems thinking, is required.
  • Capability of bridging scientific, technological, economic, social and policy issues in the public and private sectors is required.
  • Familiarity with, and understanding of, multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) is desirable.
  • Experience of working in developing countries, including applied research, design and implementation of programs involving MEAs, ideally in coordination with multilateral and bilateral agencies is desirable.
  • Access to, and ability to engage with, and tap into, extensive scientific networks and partnerships globally, in both developed and developing countries, in environmentally sustainable development is required.
  • Demonstrated experience in facilitating learning and knowledge management is desirable.
  • Exceptional analytical, research, writing and communication skills is- required.


  • Demonstrated expertise and leadership in global environmental issues and sustainable development, supported by a peer-reviewed publication record is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to initiate and manage scientific research with multiple stakeholders in different geographical settings is required.
  • Knowledge of the scientific processes required for the implementation of MEAs in developing countries is desirable.

Desirable competencies

  • Enthusiasm and commitment to dealing with global environmental issues, sustainable development, and transformational change.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively and remotely in a multicultural team and share responsibilities.
  • Ability and willingness to travel globally. 
  • A good sense of humor.


  • Fluency in oral and written English is required.
  • Knowledge of French and/or another UN language is desirable. 

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: Individual Contractor Agreement

Contract level: IICA-3 (ICS-11) 

Duration: The initial mandate is for a period of two years and may be extended for a further two years. 

Remuneration: Quarterly, based on actual days as reflected in an activity report.

Time Commitment 

Panel Members are expected to provide a minimum contribution of 65 days per year, up to a maximum of 90 days, if required, under exceptional circumstances, and by mutual agreement. The Panel usually meets in person twice a year, in addition to monthly teleconferences. In addition, Panel Members usually undertake two or three trips a year, for example workshops or meetings related to the Work Plan, and MEA expert body meetings. In addition, Panel Members may also be invited to join GEF discussions. Most STAP business is transacted online and by teleconference. For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link:

 Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Applications by candidates from developing countries, particularly qualified women candidates, are strongly encouraged.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization – UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types.
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post.
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  
  • The screening of your application will be conducted based on the information in your profile. Before applying, we strongly suggest that you review your UNOPS Jobs profile ( to ensure completeness, especially the education and experience sections.
  • To avoid any potential conflicts of interest, members who hold positions in Government, non-governmental organizations, or who are working in, or have any contractual arrangement, as consultants or otherwise, with an Implementing or Executing Agency or the GEF Secretariat, shall disclose this information to the Executive Director of UNEP.
  • Travel will be organized by UNEP or substantive office as per UN official travel rules (ST/AI/2013/3).

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns.
Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development