Chief of Staff

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)

Nairobi, , KE

Org. Setting and Reporting

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, 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. This post is located in the UNEP Executive Office at the Nairobi duty station.

Under the direct supervision of the Executive Director and under the guidance of the Deputy Executive Director, the incumbent will be responsible for the following duties:


1. Management of the Executive Office:

• Directing and managing the Executive Office through ensuring overall coordination of the substantive support to the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director. Directing and overseeing the formulation and implementation of the work programme of the Office. Managing the Executive Office teams of Special Assistants, Corporate Coordination staff and other Executive Office staff, including managing the recruitment of senior UN Environment Programme staff. Supporting the Senior Management Team (SMT) and serving as an ex-officio member of the SMT.

2. Provision of Strategic Advisory Support:

• Providing strategic advice in planning for the Executive Director to fulfill her/his political and managerial objectives in cooperation with the UN Environment Programme Deputy Executive Director and the SMT. Providing policy advice and recommendations to the Executive Director. Overseeing the coordination and support of the activities of UN Environment Programme’s Divisions, Regional and Country Offices and the Multilateral Environmental Agreements, related to the Executive Director’s responsibilities.

3. Key Security Related responsibilities:

• Representing the Executive Director on the Security Management Team and ensuring effective internal security/wardens’ system is in place across the organization, in cooperation with UN Security.

4. Liaison with Member States and Stakeholders:

• Maintaining proactive liaison with Heads of diplomatic missions and other senior representatives of Member States, as well as other international organizations and external partners on substantive, political, procedural and managerial questions. Direction and oversight for preparation of quality institutional products.

• Managing the preparation of and reviewing draft correspondence, official statements, communication outputs and reports for the Executive Director’s signature or clearance. Overseeing the preparation of relevant research, background papers, talking points, speeches, official statements. Coordinating follow-up across the UN Environment Programme.

5. Collaboration with Director of Corporate Services:

• In coordination with the Director, Corporate Service Division, ensuring an integrated approach to the results-based budget process, including alignment with strategic and operational plans and adequate provisions to meet resource requirements, overseeing the preparation of the budget, and human resource requirements. Working in close collaboration on all audit, legal cases and evaluations, bringing to the attention of the Executive Director matters needing attention.

6. Representation role:

• In the absence of the Executive Director or the Deputy Executive Director, receiving visitors, performing representational functions, organizing and attending meetings on their behalf.

Fostering positive organizational culture:

• Fostering teamwork, healthy work place culture and trusted and transparent communication among staff in the Executive Office, within UN Environment Programme, and across organizational boundaries.

• Ensuring a clear understanding between division priorities and support capacities; and liaises with all components to advise and ensure use of the best methods for achieving organizational objectives and priorities.

7. Provision of advice on UN protocol:

• Advising the Executive Director on all UN protocol requirements as needed, and supervising and providing guidance on the preparation and coordination of official visits.

The Chief of Staff may be requested to perform other relevant duties, as required.


PROFESSIONALISM: Excellent knowledge of the institutional mandates, policies and procedures of the United Nations; experience in the coordination of the activities of high-level officials and the provision of policy advice on a range of managerial and political questions. Strong analytical skills and proven ability to develop policy options and strategies; ability to establish and maintain contacts at all levels. Sound political judgement and diplomatic skills. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of the subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations.

COMMUNICATION: Excellent communication skills, both oral and written, ability to defend and explain difficult issues with respect to key decisions and positions to staff, senior official and members of inter-governmental bodies; ability to communicate complex management decisions; ability to prepare written reports that are clear, concise and meaningful. Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; Asks questions to clarify and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; Tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

LEADERSHIP: Serves as a role model that other people want to follow: Empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; Establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; Anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; Drives for change and improvements; Does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; Demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.

MANAGING PERFORMANCE: Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; Makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; Accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; Monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; Regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; Encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; Actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; Appraises performance fairly.

PLANNING AND ORGANIZING: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in International Relations, Management, Administration, Environmental Studies, Political Science, or other relevant field. A first level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of fifteen (15) years of professional and progressively responsible experience in such areas as: public or business administration; management; international relations, sustainable development, environment, and/or political affairs, out of which at least seven (7) years at the International level is required.
A proven track record of leadership and management in multicultural settings in a politically sensitive context is required. Experience in providing strategic policy advice to senior level officials is required.
Experience in working within the UN system and on UN inter-agency coordination is desirable.
Experience in the international environmental policy setting is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in oral and written English is required. Working knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.


Evaluation of qualified candidates for this position may include a substantive assessment which will be followed by a competency-based interview.

Special Notice

This position is open for recruitment for an initial period of one year and may be subject to extension.

Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply on-line as soon as possible after the job opening has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the job opening. On-line applications will be acknowledged where an email address has been provided.

If you do not receive an email acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. In such cases, please resubmit the application, if necessary. If the problem persists please seek technical assistance through the Inspira “Need Help?” link.

Internal Applicants – when completing the PHP, ensure ALL fields, ALL professional experience and contact information are completed and up to date. This information is the basis for the hiring manager to assess your eligibility and suitability for the position and to contact you.

Individual contractors and consultants who have worked within the UN Secretariat in the last six months, irrespective of the administering entity, are ineligible to apply for professional and higher temporary or fixed-term positions and their applications will not be considered.

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.





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