SIDS Blue Economy Policy Specialist

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Suva, , FJ


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 linked 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, advocates for 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 is committed to Small Island Developing States, working to connect the UN global processes to regionally and locally owned development priorities for SIDS and supporting and advocating for SIDS-specific development solutions. One of the outcomes in the UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021 is tailored to give special attention to “capacities developed across the whole of government to integrate the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other international agreements (including the SAMOA Pathway) in development plans and budgets, and to analyze progress towards the SDGs, using innovative and data-driven solutions”. UNDP provides support to SIDS through policy and programme development and implementation that builds on international, national and local priorities. In line with these objectives, key priorities for UNDP’s offer for SIDS include Blue Economy, Climate Action and Digital Transformation to build capacity and implement holistic, integrated development solutions in line with SIDS’ priorities, the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.

Further to these goals and in line with the objectives of UNDP’s Strategic Plan, the Government of Sweden, through Sida, has agreed to fund a four-year, USD$40m global Strategic Collaboration Programme designed to strengthen UNDP capacities to achieve its overall SD vision for poverty eradication through a more integrated, coherent approach to UNDP’s environmental and climate portfolio. Sida funds will be used to augment the delivery of programming and policy support to countries in ways that leverage synergies across UNDP’s technical service delivery options. Addressing environmental and climate change priorities in an integrated manner is one of the key global challenges and objectives for UNDP.

With a broad country presence, UNDP has a major organizational investment and a multi-sectoral programme portfolio in SIDS, and is uniquely placed to work with all sectors of society to help mobilize the institutions and resources required to achieve integrated development solutions in SIDS. SIDS are small islands, but increasingly refer to themselves as ‘Large Ocean States’.  Their combined ocean area is 20.7 times that of their land territory and SIDS represent some 19.1 % of all the world’s Exclusive Economic Zones. These huge differences between the size of SIDS sovereign territory in the ocean and on land underscore the potential for SIDS to realize greater socioeconomic benefits from their sustainable ‘blue economies’.  Sustainable blue economy opportunities in SIDS range across a broad spectrum of areas including existing sectors such as fisheries and coastal tourism as well as actual or potential new contributors: aquaculture, ocean-based energy, sustainable maritime transport, desalination, marine genetic resources, etc. The blue economy can also include non-market economic benefits such as carbon storage, coastal protection and resilience, cultural values and biodiversity. Unlocking the potential of their blue economies can assist SIDS in accelerating sustainable development, contributing towards achieving not only SDG 14 but having ripple effects on other goals including SDG 1 (Poverty), SDG 5 (Gender), SDG (8 Growth/Work), and others.

In response to SIDS growing ambitions to advance the blue economy, UNDP’s vision is to provide support to transform SIDS’ blue economies towards prosperity through an integrated approach rooted in sustainable finance.  To support SIDS in realizing their blue economy opportunities and aspirations, UNDP is committed to providing SIDS with significant technical, financial and capacity building assistance.

Building upon UNDP’s sizeable baseline of blue economy programmes and projects, and based on gaps and needs identified in this portfolio, the ambition of the SIDS Blue Economy pillar consists of three strategic outputs:

  1. 20 – 30 national SIDS Blue Economy Strategies, fully integrated into national development plans and budgets, across all three SIDS regions by 2025, with strong elements for safeguarding natural resources and ecosystem functions.
  2. 20 – 30 SIDS Blue Economy on-the-ground pilots by 2025, with strong social and sustainability elements.
  3. $30 million or more in new and additional Blue Economy grant finance mobilized by 2025.

The acceleration of the Blue Economy pillar towards delivery of these Outputs will be achieved through the following activities under each of the main three outputs:

  1. National SIDS Blue Economy Strategies
    1. National Blue Economy Assessments (status, trends, marine resource valuation, etc.)
    2. National Blue Economy strategic plans
    3. Introduction of innovative blue economy financial instruments in SIDS
    4. Fostering SIDS governance frameworks more conducive to private sector investment
    5. Capacity building (training – blue economy planning, innovative finance, private sector engagement, governance reform, stakeholder engagement, etc.)
    6. Partnerships between UNDP, SIDS and external academia, NGOs, IGOs, UN, private and other stakeholders;
    7. SIDS Blue Economy advocacy, awareness raising and knowledge products.
  2. On-the-ground demonstrations of Blue Economy investments, including both ecosystem restoration and protection that restores lost economic activity, and new and additional public and/or private investments in sectors deemed to be sustainable.
  3. $30 million or more in new and additional Blue Economy grant finance mobilized by 2021.   


UNDP seeks to engage the services of a Blue Economy Policy Specialist to support the implementation of UNDP’s assistance to SIDS on delivering the Blue Economy pillar of UNDP’s enhanced SIDS offer. The Policy Specialist is expected to contribute to this work in an integrated manner in alignment with UNDP’s support for countries’ broader environmental and climate objectives, with a specific, although not exclusive, focus on the Pacific and Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea (AIS) SIDS. The chosen candidate will be expected to effectively assist with ensuring alignment of all Programme activities and to organize, coordinate and deliver technical assistance to client countries. He/she will coordinate, liaise with and work with global and region-based technical advisors on policy and programming support for the operationalization of the Blue Economy pillar of UNDP’s SIDS offer. This work will be done in line with countries’ requirements and ensure that donors’ expectations are adequately met in accordance with the approved global and country project documents. In working with other UNDP teams within and outside the GPN, the Policy Specialist will actively support coordination with relevant UNDP initiatives that can contribute to the Blue Economy pillar such as vertical fund programming (GEF, GCF, etc.), the Sida-UNDP Strategic Collaboration Programme, climate action (especially NDC enhancement under the Climate Promise, as well as implementation support), adaptation and resilience, and digital transformation.  

Duties and Responsibilities
SIDS Programme management:
  • Support the operationalization of UNDP’s SIDS offer, with a primary focus on the Blue Economy pillar;
  • Support effective development, resource mobilization and implementation of Blue Economy activities in alignment with country and UNDP strategic priorities;
  • Develop a detailed implementation plan in consultation with others, to achieve Blue Economy objectives, setting strategic direction for the SIDS Programme, and ensuring results are delivered through annual workplans that respond to countries’ requirements and donors’ expectations;
  • Support technical staff at the global and regional levels in providing their technical support to SIDS Country Offices and governments on achieving Blue Economy targets and priorities and monitoring key results and impacts of the SIDS Blue Economy Programme;
  • Support staff to communicate results and knowledge that maintains donor visibility and demonstrates UNDP’s Blue Economy thought leadership and integrated service offering to countries;
  • Prepare the Blue Economy budget including resource mobilization options needed to achieve Programme deliverables in accordance with the Annual Workplan;
  • Work closely with Blue Accelerator Lab (Barbados) on the implementation of the Blue Economy pillar of the SIDS Offer including cross SIDS-region knowledge sharing.
Support effective delivery of SIDS Blue Economy activities: 
  • Coordinate workplans and provide strategic guidance to ensure sound and substantive deliverables at country level aligned with the Blue Economy pillar of UNDP’s SIDS offer and UNDP’s strategic plan;
  • Support UNDP Country Offices to establish a strategic understanding of the substantive technical issues, institutions, and processes for the appropriate engagement of government and non-government organizations in achieving Blue Economy objectives and targets;
  • Evaluate, capture, and synthesize findings and stimulate the uptake and dissemination of best practices and knowledge that can be used in advancing the SIDS Blue Economy more broadly;
  • Coordinate the preparation and consolidation of impacts and results of UNDP’s Blue Economy programming that can be disseminated to relevant SIDS stakeholders and feed into UNDP programming; 
  • Coordinate and Contribute to the knowledge management for the SIDS CO’s through SIDS Yammer Group, SIDS Webinar cycles and UNDP’s SIDS Bulletin;
  • Oversee the publication of results, experiences, and lessons learned on Blue Economy and a dissemination strategy to ensure knowledge sharing at a global level.
Results based management:
  • Assist with critical thinking and reflection on the formulation of technical and policy support to SIDS to maximise impact and ensure project ownership and sustainability at country level;
  • Identify opportunities to create linkages with other relevant initiatives, including the Governance for Resilient Development in the Pacific (GRDP)  and other adaptation and resilience initiatives, in close coordination with the relevant thematic leads within the GPN;
  • Support implementation of capacity building activities to strengthen technical expertise of partners responsible for Blue Economy in participating countries;
  • Support staff and troubleshoot issues with technical backstopping activities in the different thematic areas under the SIDS offer, with a primary focus on Blue Economy;
  • Assist with the strategic direction of workshops and training events on the implementation of Blue Economy pillar of UNDP’s SIDS offer.
Maintain strategic partnerships and donor relations and support resource mobilization for the SIDS Programme:
  • In coordination with the BPPS SIDS lead and thematic leads, support the strengthening of partnerships with relevant organizations, donors, NGO’s, the private sector, and scientific institutions to support SIDS Programme implementation;
  • Support strong coordination between the SIDS Programme and relevant initiatives (particularly Vertical Funds projects, Climate Promise initiative, and PRRP ) to facilitate collaboration on support to countries on Blue Economy and SIDS offer operationalization;
  • Represent UNDP, when necessary, in international fora discussions in the area of Blue Economy related areas in  SIDS;
  • Support with mobilizing external partnerships to enhance support to the SIDS Programme and expand its experience to a broader constituency.
  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.
  • Ability to persuade others to follow.
People Management
  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.
  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.
  • Ability to get things done.
Programme Management
  • Ability to create and manage processes to achieve deliverables and oversee/design work plans and budgets to ensure proper admin and financial procedures.
Coordination of a wide range of competing tasks 
  • Ability to efficiently identify priorities to define a sound course of actions to ensure timely and high-quality results. 
Technical understanding of climate change 
  • Ability to guide the Programme’s team on the key technical issues on climate mitigation and adaptation actions in the context of sustainable development.
UNDP corporate strategy
  • Ability to define strategic and concrete linkages between Programme’s objectives and UNDP’s priorities to support its climate and development agendas.
Knowledge management and communications
  • Ability to plan and guide the preparation of knowledge products and communication strategies to ensure Programme visibility.
Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
  • Knowledge of climate change mitigation and adaptation concepts and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Ability to track programme impacts and develop solid reporting systems.
Required Skills and Experience
  • Master’s degree or higher in marine resource management, marine resource economics, environmental sciences, economics, business, or social sciences.
  • At least 5 years of relevant progressively responsible experience on marine resource management/economics in developing countries, preferably in SIDS 
  • Experience advising government (preferably SIDS) and other stakeholders on various areas pertaining to advancing the Blue Economy.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and skills in application of Blue Economy concepts and principles at country level, preferably SIDS. 
  • Knowledge and/or experience in key sectors of the Blue Economy such as fisheries, shipping, tourism, renewable energy, etc. 
  • Solid understanding of capacity building needs and demonstrated experience in the design and coordination of country support to achieve Blue Economy objectives.
  • Extensive experience in assisting national governments from different regions (preferably SIDS) on project design and implementation.
  • Extensive working experience in an international organization; knowledge of UNDP policies, procedures and practices.
Language Requirements:
  • Excellent knowledge of English. 

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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. 

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