Climate Adaptation Advisor (Retainer, Multiple position)

United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)


Job categories: Environment

Vacancy code: VA/2023/B0059/25646

Level: ICS-11

Department/office: OP, IPMG, Infra and PM Group

Duty station: Home based

Contract type: International ICA

Contract level: IICA-3

Duration: 1-year, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and business needs

Application period: 20-Mar-2023 to 17-Apr-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 – IPMG

UNOPS strategic focus places increased emphasis on national capacity development and sustainable approaches to project management, procurement, and infrastructure services.  A key objective is to be recognized as an organization that delivers world-class infrastructure and project management, which is both economically and socially sustainable, even in the most challenging environments. To achieve this goal, UNOPS has established the Infrastructure and Project Management Group (IPMG). 

Within UNOPS, IPMG’s objectives are to serve the organization’s personnel and partners by broadening their infrastructure and project management capabilities, while disseminating best practices in both of these areas. Through this work, the group helps facilitate the successful delivery of programmes and projects around the world.

To achieve its objectives, IPMG has established three interrelated and interdependent technical streams, namely, Strategic Initiatives, Standards, and Engagement Assurance, that are supported by the Portfolio Support team. IPMG is managed overall by the Director of IPMG.

UNOPS Organizational readiness

The organizational readiness is focused primarily on the UNOPS mandate in infrastructure, project management, and procurement. It aims to cover the ad-hoc resource needs of the Regional Portfolios to implement the corporate strategy and address the needs of donors.

UNOPS Corporate Retainer Pool

Since November 2019, the Corporate Retainer Pool (CRP) provides ad-hoc resources to UNOPS business units in several expertise areas identified by the HQ business units and in consultation with the regions. It covers a wide range of expertise areas. It is managed by the Portfolio Support team in IPMG.

Background Information – Job Specific 

UNOPS Strategic Plan for 2022-2025 outlines how the institution will contribute to expanding implementation capacity for countries to achieve Sustainable Development Goals amid the COVID-19 crisis and the climate emergency. Particularly, climate action is outlined as a cardinal point for UNOPS to address in order to support the achievement of the SDGs and Paris Agreement goals while leaving no one behind. 

Working within the Infrastructure and Project Management Group, the Infrastructure Climate Adaptation Advisor (Retainer) will be expected to provide expert climate adaptation technical advice and guidance for various infrastructure sector programmes and projects globally (with a focus on energy, transport and buildings), in all offices where UNOPS operates. 

This retainer position falls under the UNOPS Corporate retainer pool, and the Strategic Initiatives (SI) team under IPMG will be responsible for the technical onboarding and supervision of the Climate Adaptation Expert (Retainer). All corporate retainers are invited to participate in a one-hour induction session (or two 30 minute sessions) where they are guided through UNOPS retainer management tool, the retainer contract modality and their expertise area in the UNOPS context.

The functions/responsibilities/key results of this job description are generic and may not always be applicable, nor be comprehensive, for all missions under this job title. The specific tasks and deliverables for each retainer assignment may vary and will be detailed in the terms of reference developed for each assignment by the requesting office/unit, while the SI team will exercise an oversight function. Under this contract type, the assignments will vary in scope and duration – ranging from short term assignments of a few hours at a time to longer blocks of time (e.g. several weeks or months full time, and up to a year). Work may also vary with regards to the time zone / location. Whilst most assignments can be delivered working from home, some may require presence in HQ and/or international travel on occasion, including to remote or post-conflict environments. Whilst the successful incumbent can be based in different time-zones, s/he should be able and willing to ensure a degree of time overlap with the teams ordering the retainer’s services. 

The contract modality for this Vacancy Announcement is an ICA retainer contract on project or assignment basis. However, UNOPS may offer on a need basis full-time employment for a specified consecutive period of time (up to one year maximum), in the context of technical surge capacity – with the possibility to go back and forth between the two contract modalities.

All retainer assignments will be handled via the UNOPS online retainer management tool, including the request for the retainer’s services and the provision of feedback for each assignment. 

Purpose and scope of the assignment 

Under the direct supervision of the Head of Strategic Initiatives, the main functions of the selected candidate will be:

  • Provide climate adaptation technical advisory and supervision in the conceptualization and implementation of infrastructure projects (mainly in the energy, transport and buildings sectors)  in different countries in at least one of UNOPS’ regions, and aligned with the general guidelines and strategies on climate change adaptation and mitigation to be generated by UNOPS over time. 
  • The Retainer will provide technical knowledge and will contribute to processes and decisions to add value and facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development and activities such as climate risk identification, vulnerability assessments, mainstreaming climate adaptation measures in infrastructure development and the provision of all adaptation and resilience support and services to different UNOPS partners and client countries. 
  • The Retainer will provide technical guidance on all aspects of resilience of infrastructure to inform effective project programming, management and partnerships. 
  • In addition, he/she is expected to provide  technical climate adaptation expertise in support of ongoing infrastructure  projects in other UNOPS regions as may be required.  
  • The expert will provide climate adaptation oversight on program design and management, working closely with stakeholders to  mainstream climate adaptation actions in projects. 

Functional Responsibilities

The specific tasks for each assignment may vary depending on the needs of the requesting office.  Under the overall guidance and oversight of the Strategic Initiatives Unit and direct supervision of the designated Supervisor within the requesting office, the Retainer will work on a retainer contract and will be called upon for specific projects to fulfill one or more of the following key tasks: 

Technical expertise

  • Provide technical expertise and advisory services in addressing climate adaptation and resilience infrastructure needs in developing countries to ensure compliance with the SDGs, Biodiversity convention and the Paris Agreement targets.
  • Advise on the mainstreaming of climate resilience and adaptation actions in technical documents of infrastructure projects, papers and corporate communication materials.
  • Conduct assessment of the potential risks that project implementation may cause to  the vulnerability of human populations and natural systems to climate variability and change, and/or to contribute to maladaptation, in particular for complex and/or risky projects.
  • Review, improve and recommend Climate Risk Management Plans (CRMP) for the implementation of proposed measures to reduce climate-related risks and adapt to climate change.
  • Provide advice and expert inputs in the development of strategies, regulatory frameworks, guidelines, and  enabling the environment to promote climate adaptation and resilience in infrastructure sectors, in accordance with UNOPS Climate Strategy.
  • Provide technical climate adaptation advice to project teams and partners at any life cycle stages of infrastructure project development in compliance with UNFCCC climate adaptation guidelines. 
  • Provide climate adaptation inputs and represent UNOPS at events and meetings with stakeholders and partners. 
  • Collaborate with environmental scientists, economists, and engineers across UNOPS to design and implement high-quality analysis and technical solutions for infrastructure projects.
  • Promote data collection and conceptualize new technological tools and mechanisms oriented to enhance resilience and climate change adaptation standards of UNOPS project portfolio.
  • Work collaboratively with UNOPS experts in the area of climate change mitigation and others (when requested), to achieve comprehensive infrastructure solutions aligned with the SDGs and with Paris Agreement targets.

 Capacity development and training

  • Lead the design, develop and / or implement Infrastructure climate adaptation  training programmes and capacity building initiatives for both internal and external participants
  • Deliver training tools and techniques to mainstream climate adaptation and resilience in UNOPS infrastructure and project management services.
  • Enhance and strengthen the enabling environment for the development of climate-resilient infrastructure

Practice contribution and Knowledge Sharing

  • Lead the dissemination of  climate adaptation best practice guidance and ensure communication throughout the relevant programmes and country offices and departments
  • Contribute to UNOPS knowledge management by capturing case studies and best practice examples of climate adaptation in infrastructure projects/programmes throughout UNOPS 
  • Provide substantive contribution to UNOPS Climate Change practice focusing on continuous improvement of climate adaptation and resilience; support the development of policy, guidance and tools.
  • Actively contribute to the body of knowledge to mobilizing public and private investment for climate-resilient infrastructure.
  • Create and strengthen technical support mechanisms for the dissemination of best practices to governments and other clients in the area of climate change adaptation.

Business development

  • Advise UNOPS country offices on opportunities for resilient infrastructure development in addition to sharing  with clients institutional and industry knowledge of climate adaptation options  in infrastructure.
  • Similarly, to warn about risks in the development of potential business opportunities that compromise the achievement of the SDGs, Biodiversity convention and the Paris Agreement goals, as well as the UNOPS corporate strategy.
  • Provide expert climate adaptation advice and support in formulation of new initiatives, projects and programmes related to sustainable and resilient inclusive infrastructure 
  • Provide expert climate adaptation advice to enable the delivery of resilient Infrastructure projects and provide support to UNOPS project teams and partners in line with the climate aspirations in the UNOPS corporate strategy.
  • Support the conceptualization of strategies aimed at improving UNOPS climate change adaptation actions and serve as a technical contributor for business development activities through technical approaches, teaming strategies and partner negotiations. 
  • Present results from in-depth technical research and analysis on key infrastructure sectors to support business development and thought leadership such as on climate resilience, nature-based solutions, market systems, private sector participation, financing and others.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • A Master’s Degree or equivalent in Engineering, Climate Change, Sustainable Development, International Development, Public Administration or a related field from an accredited university. 
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s Degree with additional 2 years of relevant working  experience may also be considered in lieu of the Master’s Degree. 


Required Experience:

  • A minimum of seven (7) years experience of climate adaptation and resilience in the infrastructure sectors preferably in one or more of the  following sectors: energy, transport and buildings sectors.
  • Experience in how to adapt infrastructure projects to optimize the exploitation of opportunities arising from climate change, to promote wider climate resilience, adaptation and adaptive capacity.

Desired experience:

  • Experience in identifying potential climate-related risks to infrastructure projects implementation and the successful realization of the projects’ intended benefits.
  • Experience in conducting climate vulnerability assessments and implementing climate adaptation measures.
  • Experience in the policy development processes associated with environment and sustainable development issues in the context of climate change risk and infrastructure  management.
  • In-depth knowledge of the Paris Agreement and its framework for action will be considered an asset.;
  • International experience in developing countries is highly desirable.
  • Previous assignments with the UN system will be an added advantage. 
  • Experience working with Multilateral Development Banks and other donors would be considered an asset.
  • Experience in mainstreaming climate adaptation actions in other sectors of infrastructure e.g Water, Digital development, waste management would be a plus.
  • Familiarity with the Joint MDB climate Co-Benefits methodology on adaptation, and the Paris Alignment frameworks for adaptation.


  • Proficiency in either French or Spanish is required.
  • Intermediate level of English is required. 
  • Please note that:
    • the shortlisted candidates will be invited to indicate in which language they want to take the written tests (English or French or Spanish). 
    • however, the competency based interviews will be held in English. 


  • Please attach a cover letter highlighting the experience, knowledge and qualifications relevant for the position.
  • Mandatory trainings to be completed within the first three months following the contract signature, at no cost for UNOPS (also see the terms and conditions below): (1) Ethics and Integrity, (2) the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and (3) Security awareness while on official mission. 

 Additional Information

  • Please note that  in case of discrepancies between the EN and the translated version, the English prevails.
  • Please note that UNOPS does not accept unsolicited resumes.
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process, which involves various assessments.
  • UNOPS embraces diversity and is committed to equal employment opportunity. Our workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures,  languages, races, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities. UNOPS seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. 
  • Qualified women and candidates from groups which are underrepresented in the UNOPS workforce are encouraged to apply. These include in particular candidates from racialized and/or indigenous groups, members of minority gender identities and sexual orientations, and people with disabilities.
  • We would like to ensure all candidates perform at their best during the assessment process.  If you are shortlisted and require additional assistance to complete any assessment, including reasonable accommodation, please inform our human resources team when you receive an invitation.

Terms and Conditions 

  • 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 (they take around 4 hours to complete) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS. For more information on a retainer contract here.
  • All UNOPS personnel are responsible for performing their duties in accordance with the UN Charter and UNOPS Policies and Instructions, as well as other relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, all personnel must demonstrate an understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a manner consistent with UN core values and the UN Common Agenda.
  • It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential personnel. Recruitment in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

Additional information

Infrastructure Climate Adaptation Advisor (Retainer) – TORs _FR.pdf (239 KB) 
Infrastructure Climate Adaptation Advisor (Retainer) – TORs_ES.pdf (249 KB) 






IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development