Head of the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA)

Incheon, , KR

Org. Setting and Reporting

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) signed an agreement with the Republic of Korea in 2010 for the establishment of the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD), as a Research and Training Office of the Department under the Division for Sustainable Development Goals, which will be located in the premises of Yonsei University in the city of Incheon. The Head of UNOSD reports to the Director of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals through the Chief of the National Strategies and Capacity Building Branch in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), United Nations in New York. The Division for Sustainable Development Goals, under the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, provides leadership in promoting and coordinating implementation of the sustainable development agenda of the United Nations, notably the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and serves as secretariat to the Sustainable Development Goals.


Within delegated authority, the incumbent will assume the overall responsibility for the substantive direction and overall management of the Office, ensuring the implementation of the Office’s programme of work. More specifically:

Formulates and implements under the guidance of the Director, Division for Sustainable Development Goals, and with advice from the Steering Committee, the substantive work programme of the Office , with the objective of assisting and providing developing countries with a resource facility, policy relevant knowledge and advice on sustainable development (including training materials) as well as a network of experts and institutions through the organization of training modules and policy research to translate the outcomes of major international conferences and summits on sustainable development, in particular the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, into national and regional development policies and strategies.
Leads, supervises and carries out the work programme of the Office including setting out the office’s overall vision as well as the concrete outputs, determine priorities and optimal allocation of resources;; Ensures that the outputs produced by the Office maintain high-quality standards; that reports are clear, objective and based on comprehensive data. Ensures that all outputs produced by the Office meet required standards before completion to ensure they comply with the relevant mandates.
•Leads the preparation of the work programme of the Office with an emphasis on supporting regional and national development programmes and conducting capacity building and training activities to assist developing countries.
•Undertakes or oversees the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Office, including preparation of budgets, reporting on budget/programme performance, evaluation of staff performance (PAS), interviews of candidates for job openings, evaluation of candidates and preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting.
•Oversee the development of fundraising proposals which will diversify the Office’s funding base, with a particular emphasis on projects which relate to the follow up on the outcomes of major conferences and summits on sustainable development.
•Recruits staff, taking due account of geographical balance.
•Manages, guides, develops and trains staff under his/her supervision.
•Fosters teamwork and communication among staff in the Office and across organizational boundaries.
•Leads and supervises the organization of meetings, seminars, etc. on substantive issues. Manages the substantive preparation and organization of such meetings or seminars.
•Participates in international, regional or national meetings and provides programmatic/substantive expertise on an issue, or holds programmatic/substantive
•Ensures on-going liaison with developing country partners, host country representatives, partner organizations in the United Nations System, regional and interregional bodies, key academic, research and training institutions and other policy making organs, as appropriate
•and organizational discussions with representatives of other institutions.
•Represents the Division at international, regional or national meetings.


•Professionalism: Knowledge of the substantive field of work in general and of specific areas being supervised. Ability to provide substantial policy advice to the Member States on sustainable development based on the full cycle experience of policy formulation, implementation and evaluation and feedback. Ability to produce reports and papers on technical issues and to review and edit the work of others. Ability to apply UN rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of 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.
•Planning& 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.
•Accountability: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules; supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.

Managerial Competencies
•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.

•Judgement/Decision-making: Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and
comes to the heart of the problem quickly; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information; checks assumptions against facts; determines that the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in a field relevant to national and regional development policy, such as business or public administration, finance, accounting, economics, international relations, environmental policy and planning, social sciences or related area. A Ph.D. is considered an asset. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of fifteen years of progressively responsible experience in national and regional policy development, particularly in the context of sustainable development of which at least 10 years of experience must be in leading a core team undertaking relevant policy research, design and implementation of relevant policy measures or instruments, capacity building and training with successful outputs such as training workshops, seminars, conferences, symposiums, expert or stakeholder meetings, as well as policy reports/outcomes, training materials, tools, manuals, discussions groups and/or platforms is required.
Experience working with or in an international organization, including but not limited to the UN system is required.
Knowledge/experience working with or in developing countries would be highly desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the UN Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in oral and written English is required; knowledge of other UN official languages is an advantage. Knowledge of Korean is desirable.


Evaluation of qualified applicants may include an assessment exercise, which may be followed by a competency-based interview

Special Notice

This JO refers to a capacity development project position. The initial appointment is for one year and it is subject to availability of funds. Annual renewal of the appointment is subject to continuation of the project’s mandate, priorities, and availability of funds. 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 as a Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

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.





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development