Climate Change Specialist

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

New York, NY, US


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 provide technical advice to Country Offices; advocate for UNDP corporate messages, represent UNDP at multi-stakeholder fora including public-private dialogues, government and civil society dialogues, and engage in UN inter-agency coordination in specific thematic areas.  BPPS works closely with UNDP’s Crisis Bureau (CB) to support emergency and crisis response and ensures that issues of risk are fully integrated into UNDP’s development programming. BPPS also assists UNDP and partners to be more innovative, knowledge and data-driven, including in programming support efforts, in order to achieve higher quality development results through integrated approaches that link results-based management and performance monitoring with more effective and new ways of working. 

Tackling climate change is critical to a sustainable future and to ensure that efforts to date to advance Agenda 2030 are not rolled back. People’s lives and livelihoods around the world are threatened by food and water scarcity, extreme weather events and climate-change induced displacement. The annual average economic losses from climate-related disasters are in hundreds of billions of dollars. UNDP has made climate change a top priority, advocating for bold climate action needed to achieve resilient, low-carbon pathways that are aligned with the global goals of the Paris Agreement. Working in over 170 countries and territories, UNDP is uniquely placed to work with all sectors of society to help mobilize the institutions and resources required to support countries define and implement their climate action plans under the the Paris Agreement, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

The NDC Support Programme is a UNDP flagship project delivered by, and embedded within, the GPN. The Programme, launched in November 2017 with funded from the European Commission and the governments of Germany and Spain, provides technical and financial assistance to nearly 40 countries to implement their NDCs and design more ambitious climate targets that are aligned with national sustainable development priorities. The Programme is a key initiative under UNDP’s strategy to support NDC implementation and enhancement at the global level, which also builds on UNDP’s larger support to countries on climate change. The Programme also provides the foundation for UNDP’s ambition Climate Promise through which at least 100 countries will be supported to submit enhanced NDCs in 2020. The NDC Support Programme is playing an integral role in delivering the Climate Promise by providing dedicated technical assistance and quality assurance to more than 60 Country Offices on definition of their Promise workplans, as well as leading capacity development efforts of Country Offices and guiding thematic teams within the GPN on how to substantively engage in NDC revision efforts. Lastly, the Programme is also generating evidence on good practices and country examples that provide learning and/or help elevate ambitious leaders. 

The Climate Change Specialist will be based in HQ and ensure that the NDC Support Programme can both deliver on its existing obligations to donors, while also contributing substantively to UNDP’s Climate Promise. S/he is responsible for contributing to the following:

  1. Research and Evidence
  2. Strategic Communications


Duties and Responsibilities


  • Contribute substantively to knowledge products on the NDC-SDG nexus, by mining examples from the NDC Support Programme and Climate Promise countries that can be reflected in enhanced NDCs submitted in 2020;
  • Analyse emerging country, regional, global and thematic trends on water and urban issues in the context of the NDCs, working closely with GPN thematic teams, and prepare infographics and other policy/advocacy materials for the Climate Promise;
  • Provide inputs for talking points, presentations, speeches, briefing notes for senior management and ExO to promote NDC work on water and urban issues, internally and externally;
  • Develop and/or contribute editorial content for advocacy, knowledge and communication products on other thematic areas, as requested, to influence the global policy agenda and highlight UNDP’s particular niche in the NDC space;
  • Contribute to analysis of NDC Support Programme results to date, identifying case studies and good practices that can be used to populate a knowledge base for the Programme.
  • Contribute editorial content from the NDC Support Programme that contributes to Climate Promise corporate communications;
  • Promote roll-out of knowledge products through Programme and corporate networks, as well as those of strategic partners;
  • Guide consultant(s) on maintenance of Programme website and contributions to social media posts; 
  • Oversee design and branding for communication and knowledge products rolled out by the NDC Support Programme’s national teams and/or partners;
  • Undertake a review of the NDC Support Programme’s web presence in all Programme countries and follow up with UNDP Country Offices to create a stronger presence, as appropriate.


  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.
Drive for Results
  • Ability to prioritize work for results and impact, Focuses on impact and result for the client
  • Ability to work effectively as part of a team;
  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform
  • Ability to get things done
Climate Change, Negotiations and NDCs
  • Knowledge of climate change and Paris Agreement-related concepts, terms, principles and policies and the ability to apply in strategic and/or practical situations.
Research, Analysis and Writing Skills
  • Familiarity with research in multi-cultural contexts, ability to analyze issues, strategically write for diverse audience and media. Demonstrated ability to coordinate processes to collate information and facilitate discussion and analysis of material.
Knowledge Management
  • Ability to capture, develop, share and effectively use information and knowledge. Proficiency to handle sensitive information with discretion and professionalism
  • Highly developed communications skills, especially in a multi-cultural and multi-actor environment. Demonstrated knowledge of UN terms, language and style
  • Ability to advocate a point of view and influence others.
  • Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships.
  • Demonstrates integrity by modelling the UN’s values and ethical standards; Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP; Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability; Treats all people fairly without favoritism.
Required Skills and Experience
  • Master’s degree in international development, public policy, environmental studies or related field
  • A minimum of five years of professional experience with the UN system or an international organization, providing support for advocacy, knowledge management, and/or partnerships in the environmental field;
  • Good knowledge of climate change concepts related to the Paris Agreement, NDCs and UNFCCC negotiations;
  • Excellent analytical, research and writing skills for diverse audiences (ideally on topics related to the Paris Agreement, NDCs, and climate change, as well as urban and water issues);
  • Good understanding of issues related to climate change and NDCs in developing countries; 
  • Good knowledge of sustainable development issues and the linkages between NDCs and SDGs; and
  • Experience with web design, social media and corporate communications. 
Language Requirements:
  • Fluency in English, both written and oral. Working knowledge of another UN language is an asset.

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.

Workforce diversity

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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