Associate Academic Officer (Climate Insurance)

Bonn, , DE

United Nations University Objectives:

The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars, engaged in research, postgraduate teaching and 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 more information, please visit

United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS):

UNU-EHS, established in December 2003, is part of the UNU system, a worldwide network of Research and Training Institutes. Its mission is to advance human security through knowledge-based approaches to reducing vulnerability and environmental risks. For more information, please visit

The Environmental Migration, Social Vulnerability & Adaptation Section – (EMSVA):

The EMSVA section of the UNU-EHS undertakes pioneering research on how society manages climate stressors such as floods, drought, storms, sea level rise, and climatic shifts. The section works with governments, the private sector, and civil society to identify and design innovative climate risk management solutions to build resilience. Specific themes of adaptation-related research include 1) human mobility, 2) livelihood resilience including loss and damage, and legal dimensions of global environmental change, and 3) climate risk insurance.

The Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII):

MCII is hosted at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) located at the UN Campus in Bonn, Germany. MCII 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.

The Associate Academic Officer will be supervising and leading the day-to-day work of the MCII project office at the UN Campus, and will be part of

  • Ensuring 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; G7) to assure relevance in the post-2015 period of policy and implementation work.
  • Overseeing a range of new and ongoing projects that aim to increase the impact of climate risk insurance for vulnerable people through product development, streamlining and mainstreaming index- & microinsurance. You will contribute actively to- and facilitate stakeholder engagement in international, regional, and national policy making processes that move forward climate risk management solutions.
  • Showcasing 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.


Under the overall authority of the Director of UNU-EHS / Vice-Rector in Europe, and the supervision of the MCII Management Board, the successful candidate will manage the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) Programme hosted at United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), including a total of ten (10) staff. He/she will report directly to the Director of UNU-EHS.

Expected key results:

  • Strategy, Policy and Operational Management and Advice
  • Intellectual and Technical Leadership
  • Resources Management (human resources, project acquisition, budget management)
  • Representation

The successful candidate will have the following responsibilities:

  1. Develop strategy, policy and operational guidelines to ensure the achievement of MCII´s mission:
  • Develop and implement a strategy for interacting and cooperating with partners, including but not limited to United Nations processes and agencies, research institutions and other relevant governmental, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations including the private sector and civil society in the area of climate risk management; and
  • Advise to the MCII governance structure on policy engagement, projects, and relevant other activities; in particular support the assessment, development and implementation of comprehensive climate risk management and insurance projects aimed at reducing vulnerability and building resilience.
  1. Provide technical leadership to the substantive work of the MCII project office:
  • Provide in-depth advice and guidance on projects and emerging projects;
  • Provide substantive leadership and strategic guidance to the MCII project office staff; supervising policy engagement; managing the organization of activities such as workshops, expert meetings and informal consultations; and developing and implementing measures for quality control of MCII´s work, including publications and communications with relevant partners;
  • Ensure that MCII mission is elaborated into technically sound, viable, sustainable projects, and in prioritizing and planning activities and outputs, within existing financial realities;
  1. Resource Management: Ensure the effective and accountable management of the MCII financial, human and material resources by:
  • Planning and managing the financial resources of MCII with integrity, and ensuring accountability to MCII governance and donors, monitoring budgets and expenditures and deciding on relevant follow-up action.
  • Ensuring equitable and transparent management of MCII´s project office staff; planning and establishing the human resources needs based on their most effective use to achieve the core mission of MCII; leading and managing staff, including providing technical, policy and administrative guidance, delegation of relevant responsibilities, advising on the relevant work strategies to achieve MCII´s project goals, monitoring performance of staff and following up on staff performance; Ensure alignment between MCII mission and project activities and skill sets needed to do that work (staff development, staff recruitment); and
  • Ensuring that the material resources allocated to MCII are maintained and secured. Enhance MCII´s effectiveness in resource mobilization efforts by identifying potential donors and strategic partnerships. This includes but is not limited to writing strategy documents including proposals and budget lines; donor liaisons, developing momentum and willingness to increase funding to climate insurance-related projects including donor relationship building / strengthening, and travel to donor briefings and other meetings to exercise influence; advising donors strategically on their funding related to insurance
  1. Representation:
  • Represent MCII and UNU-EHS in key policy processes, and directly support MCII´s Executive Board and Membership in policy and technical discussions in relevant working groups.
  • Exchange information with, provide as well as receive guidance from, and enhance coordination with representatives of Parties, UN and other international organizations and bodies, research institutions and officers of the negotiating bodies of relevant policy processes.
  • Enhance relationships with donors.
  • Provide input for communications work including strategic development and messaging, interacting with media and audiences in events MCII participates in to advance its mission.
  1. Knowledge Management:
  • Ensure synergy and coordination of the work of MCII with other Sections at UNU-EHS as well as with other significant groups in MCII´s network to ensure that the work of MCII is informed by, and of, other relevant activities, and that it contributes to achieving the overall vision and goals of MCII;
  • Lead and participate in literature and other reviews of current knowledge and science, good practices and lessons learned, pertaining to climate risk management issues, through regular contact with existing and new members of MCII´s networks.
  • Contribute to the identification, creation, distribution and adoption of substantive data, information, insights and experiences relating to MCII´s mission, project activities, and engagement with policy and communities of practice to promote knowledge-to-action in the area of climate risk insurance.

Qualifications and Experience Requirements:

  • MBA or PhD in Geography, Economics, Social Sciences, Environmental Sciences or other relevant field;
  • Proven background and strong skills in managing projects in multicultural surrounding, preferably related to climate change impacts, disaster risk management, index-based weather insurance or other forms of risk transfer, and adaptation;
  • Established international profile with minimum of three (3) years of internationally recognized scientific and applied working experience related to climate risk management and insurance;
  • Established professional networks and demonstrated relationships with donors / ability to consistently secure significant project funding;
  • Demonstrated experience in successfully operationalising projects that focus on an implementation on-the-ground in partnership with a range of stakeholders;
  • Demonstrated leadership capabilities and ability to carry out work independently and in an international team;
  • Advanced computer skills (Microsoft Office), statistical packages (SPCC, etc.);
  • Demonstrated skills in collaborative, innovative partnerships in research-to-action;
  • Excellent communication skills with fluency in spoken and written English. Knowledge of a second United Nations official language is an advantage;
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills demonstrated by the ability to manage a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic team with sensitivity and respect for diversity.

Desirable experience and competencies:

  • Experience working in private sector organisations;
  • Familiarity 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;
  • Strong network in disaster risk reduction and management, and climate sciences.


We offer competitive net salary (tax-exempted) at P-2 level commensurate to level of experience and allowances including post adjustment. Post adjustment is subject to change.

The post carries the standard set of United Nations benefits and entitlements for international positions in the UN Common System, including participation in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the possibility of participation in a health insurance programme, education grant, removal expenses and home leave.

For more information about United Nations salary and entitlement/benefits, please visit;

UNU Rector reserves the right to appoint a suitable candidate at a lower level than advertised.

Duration of Contract:

This is a full time fixed-term appointment and an internationally recruited post. The initial appointment will be for a period of one (1) year with the possibility of renewal on a rolling fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance. The combined duration of fixed-term appointments shall not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for United Nations staff is 65 years old.

Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the authority of the Rector and may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University.

Starting date: As soon as possible