Regional Technical Specialist for Ecosystems and Biodiversity

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Addis Ababa, , ET

Background
 
UNDP is the knowledge frontier organization for sustainable development in the UN Development System and serves as the integrator for collective action to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNDP’s policy work carried out at HQ, Regional and Country Office levels, forms a contiguous spectrum of deep local knowledge to cutting-edge global perspectives and advocacy. In this context, UNDP invests in the Global Policy Network (GPN), a network of field-based and global technical expertise across a wide range of knowledge domains and in support of the signature solutions and organizational capabilities envisioned in the Strategic Plan. 
 
Within the GPN, the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) has the responsibility for developing all relevant policy and guidance to support the results of UNDP’s Strategic Plan.  BPPS’s staff provides technical advice to Country Offices; advocatesf or UNDP corporate messages, represents UNDP at multi-stakeholder fora including public-private dialogues, government and civil society dialogues, and engages in UN inter-agency coordination in specific thematic areas. BPPS works closely with UNDP’s Crisis Bureau (CB) to support emergency and crisis response.  BPPS ensures that issues of risk are fully integrated into UNDP’s development programmes. BPPS assists UNDP and partners to achieve higher quality development results through an integrated approach that links results-based management and performance monitoring with more effective and new ways of working.  BPPS supports UNDP and partners to be more innovative, knowledge and data driven including in its programme support efforts. 
 
UNDP’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan emphasizes the critical links between environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and broader efforts to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement. As part of the Global Policy Network in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP’s Nature, Climate Change, and Energy (NCE) Team promotes and scales up integrated whole-of-governance approaches and nature-based solutions that reduce poverty and inequalities, strengthen livelihoods and inclusive growth, mitigate conflict, forced migration and displacement, and promote more resilient governance systems that advance linked peace and security agendas. 
 
The NCE Team works with governments, civil society, and private sector partners to integrate natural capital, environment and climate concerns into national and sector planning and inclusive growth policies; support country obligations under Multilateral Environmental Agreements; and implement the UN’s largest portfolio of in-country programming on environment, climate change, and energy. This multi-billion dollar portfolio encompasses: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services including forests; Sustainable Land Management and Desertification including food and commodity systems; Water and Ocean Governance including SIDS; Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation; Renewable and Modern Energy; Extractive Industries; Chemicals and Waste Management; Environmental Governance and Green/Circular Economy and SCP approaches. This work advances crosscutting themes on innovative finance, digital transformation, capacity development, human rights, gender equality, health, technology, and South-South learning.
 
In addition to UNDP’s bilateral partnerships on natural capital, environment and climate, UNDP is an accredited multilateral implementing agency of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Multilateral Fund (MLF), the Adaptation Fund (AF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which  includes the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund (GEF Trust Fund); the Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund (NPIF); the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF); and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF)). As part of UNDP’s partnership with these vertical funds, UNDP provides countries specialized integrated technical services for eligibility assessment, programme formulation, capacity development, policy advice, technical assistance, training and technology transfer, mobilization of co-financing, implementation oversight, results management and evaluation, performance-based payments and knowledge management services. 
 
UNDP recognizes healthy biodiversity and ecosystem services, including soil fertility and water provisioning, as the foundation of human wellbeing and sustainable development. It sees nature-based solutions as essential solutions for tackling multiple developmental challenges, be they land degradation and desertification, climate crisis, inequality and poverty, insecurity and migration.  UNDP’s Ecosystems and Biodiversity Programme adopts an approach to bringing the development agenda to biodiversity discourse enables it to engender increased public, business, and government support for biodiversity conservation and sound ecosystem management, broadening the support base necessary for achieving global biodiversity goals.  UNDP, as a convener, mobilizes global, national and local level actors, governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and communities to communicate the value of biodiversity for it to be integrated in national and local development, and sector and fiscal planning processes and practices. UNDP has 300 country level terrestrial and marine ecosystems and biodiversity projects in 120 countries, including sustainable land management projects.  These combined with a set of global projects, such as the Biodiversity Finance Initiative, Nature for Development Programme, Green Commodities Programme, linked to country level work, connects people on the ground to the national, regional and global decision makers and influencers, as well as, fostering exchange and learning between communities, landscapes, governments in different countries and continents.  
 
The Vertical Environmental Finance Unit is organized into five substantive technical teams corresponding to the five areas of work above. Each area of work is led by a Principal (PTA) or Senior Technical Advisor (STA), who supports and guides a team of Regional Technical Advisors and Specialists (RTAs/RTAs).  The regional teams are based in regional hubs/regional service centers (Addis Ababa, Istanbul, Bangkok, and Panama) from where they support UNDP’s country offices and partners in their region. As well as being a member of a technical team, each RTA/RTS is also a member of a regional team, which consists of RTAs/RTSs from all technical teams working together under the leadership of a Regional Team Leader (RTL).  
 
RTSs have global responsibilities in their area of specialized technical expertise but are deployed from Regional Hubs, normally close to the countries to which they provide most support. The RTS for Ecosystems and Biodiversity works under the overall supervision of the PTA on Ecosystems and Biodiversity.  RTSs have a secondary line of reporting to the Regional Team Leaders for the countries to which they provide support. The RTS will be based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is expected to travel frequently. RTSs may be periodically redeployed, in accordance with capability, consent, and due process, to a different regional hub as needed.
 
 
 
Duties and Responsibilities
 

The Regional Technical Specialist for Ecosystems and Biodiversity is primarily responsible for providing technical, policy, and programming implementation support and oversight, and knowledge and capacity development services pertaining to the work of the Ecosystems and Biodiversity signature programmes to UNDP country offices, working with other UN agencies, governments and inter-governmental organizations, NGO’s, donors, the private sector and many others.  Specific results are expected in the areas of:

Innovation, Strategic Leadership, Policy Dialogue and Advocacy (10%)  
  • Contributing to a strategic understanding of, and engagement with, the substantive technical issues, institutions, and processes within the region, including establishing contact and developing strategic partnerships with other agencies, donors, NGOs, the private sector, scientific institutions and the like; 
  • Participating in the development and implementation of UNDP’s global and regional strategies on environment and sustainable development within the BPPS, GN and beyond; engagement in policy and advocacy work with external partners where relevant
  • Providing policy development support and guidance to country offices and governments; 
  • Supporting the development of strategic UNDP policy position papers and internal briefing notes; 
  • Facilitating policy analysis and the development of technical tools and guidance; 
  • Maintain trusted relationships with country offices, government and non-governmental partners’ role within the region; 
  • Keeping the Regional Team informed of trends and issues with respect to the substantive technical area and contribute actively to regional UNDP-GEF programming and Business plans; 
  • Keeping the Principal/Senior Technical Advisors informed of trends and issues in the region;
  • Work in coordination with other RTAs/RTSs in the region to develop projects requiring technical guidance from multiple areas.
Key result:  New strategic opportunities for UNDP are realized, UNDP’s technical focus is leading edge and innovative, UNDP has strong partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders, UNDP has a trusted leadership role in the technical area of expertise.
 
Portfolio Management (10%)
  • Assisting in the maintenance of programme/project and portfolio information and corporate information systems;
  • Facilitating the identification, and sourcing of technical expertise and support including assisting with the preparation of TORs, identification and evaluation of experts and reviewing reports.
Key result:  Portfolio of programmes/projects managed efficiently and effectively.  UNDP recognized as providing outstanding programme and project oversight and supervision support.
 
Resource Mobilization (25%)
  • Supporting programme and project identification and development, including on integrated approaches and multifocal area projects;
  • Providing timely and quality information and technical advice on sources of funds, policies, priorities and activities – including the Global Environment Facility funds, the Green Climate Fund, other multilateral donors, bilateral donors and foundations;
  • Identifying and suggesting to the PTA and regional RTL priorities and entry-points for UNDP assistance;
  • Facilitating the process of preparation, design, submission and approval of programme/project concepts and full-fledged proposals for financing;
  • Providing guidance and support in the identification and sourcing of technical expertise and support including assisting with the preparation of TORs, identification and evaluation of experts and reviewing reports;
  • Facilitating liaisons with potential financing agencies and institutions.
Key result:  Resources are mobilized in support of developing country clients as a consequence of the identification, development and funding of high technical quality and results based programmes and projects in line with country priorities and UNDP strategic priorities.
 
Development Impact (45%)
  • Assisting with inception, contracting and start up of programmes/projects including establishment of indicators, benchmarks and work plans;
  • Supporting UNDP country offices and programme/project implementation partners in project supervision, and timely and quality implementation, providing troubleshooting and guidance for adaptive management; 
  • Providing oversight for monitoring and evaluation support including quality and timely completion of the annual Project Implementation Reports (PIRs) reports and 
  • Preparing communications pieces effectively showcasing socio-economic development benefits as well as environment results.
Key result:  UNDP programmes and projects consistently deliver high quality, high impact development results.
 
Learning, Knowledge Management and Self Development (10%)
  • Evaluating, capturing, codifying, synthesizing lessons and stimulating the uptake of best practices and knowledge, including the development of knowledge materials;
  • Peer reviewing, commenting on, and seeking to improve the technical quality of programmes/projects, policies, practices, guidelines, advisory notes, publications and the like; 
  • Contributing to the preparation of regional Community of Practice meetings; 
  • Supporting the preparation and delivering of training courses;
  • Responding to queries on programme/project progress, impacts and lessons;
  • Developing and carrying out a personal learning plan (5%).
Key result:  UNDP recognized as a learning and knowledge management organization.

 

 
Competencies
 
Core
 
Innovation
  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.
Leadership
  • Ability to persuade others to follow.
People Management
  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.
Communication
  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.
Delivery
  • Ability to get things done.
Technical
  • Ability to provide guidance on biodiversity and ecosystem management, and where relevant, on sustainable land and forest management.  Ability to guide the design and implementation of multi-sectoral and sectoral programmes and projects at different scales, and to work with multiple stakeholders across a wide range of disciplines.
Functional
 
Environmental Issues
  • Knowledge of environment issues, concept and principles and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
Natural Resource Management
  • Knowledge of NRM concepts, principles and policies and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
Partnerships
  • Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships.
Development Planning
  • Knowledge of development planning processes and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
Program Planning and Design
  • Develop programmes and projects through a process of logic.
Resource Mobilization
  • Ability to identify and organize programmes and projects to implement solutions and generate resources.
Results Based Management
  • Ability to manage programmes and projects with a strategy aimed at improved performance and demonstrable results.
Advocacy and Representation
  • Ability to productively share UNDP knowledge and activities (at UN and other venues).
Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Knowledge of methodologies, tools, systems and apply practical experience in planning, monitoring, evaluating and reporting.
Knowledge Management
  • Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge.
Project Management
  • Ability to plan, organize, motivate, and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals.
 
 
Required Skills and Experience
 
Education
  • Master’s degree or higher in ecology, biology, environmental sciences, economics, social sciences with a specialization in environment and development, or other closely related field.
Experience
  • Minimum of 7 years’ experience working with developing countries on Ecosystems and Biodiversity;
  • Experience working with developing countries on ecosystem-based mitigation and adaptation to climate change an advantage;
  • Experience with conceptualizing and developing projects and programmes, with experience with the Global Environment Facility an advantage;
  • Experience in project management (direct experience an advantage) and guiding project implementation and management; 
  • Experience in the policy development processes in Ecosystems and Biodiversity; 
  • Experience developing and maintaining strategic partnerships;
  • Experience in facilitation and coordination;
  • Full computer literacy;
  • Experience working in Africa is an advantage;
  • Working experience in an international organization is an advantage as is knowledge of UNDP policies, procedures and practices.
Language Requirements
  • Excellent knowledge of the English and French language, with exceptional writing, presentation and communication skills;
  • Knowledge of Portuguese would also be an added advantage. 
 
Disclaimer
 

Important information for US Permanent Residents (‘Green Card’ holders)

Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. 

UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

This vacancy announcement will be used to populate a roster of qualified candidates from which future Regional Technical Specialist for Ecosystems and Biodiversity assignments will be drawn. Kindly note that the Roster will consist of internal and external candidates found suitable for Regional Technical Specialist for Ecosystems and Biodiversity Fixed Term Appointments (FTA) at P4 levels. These candidates will have to be endorsed by the UNDP Compliance Review Board (CRB) after having successfully undergone a competitive recruitment process including a thorough technical assessment and a competency based interview. These individuals will be required to complete an application and, if successful, will be considered as “pre-approved” candidates for a duration of up to 3 years.

Workforce diversity

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POSITION TYPE

ORGANIZATION TYPE

EXPERIENCE-LEVEL

DEGREE REQUIRED

LANGUAGE REQUIRED