The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.
UNCDF’s financing models work through three channels: inclusive digital economies, connecting individuals, households, and small businesses with financial eco-systems that catalyze participation in the local economy, and provide tools to climb out of poverty and manage financial lives; local development finance, that capacitates localities through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance to drive local economic expansion and sustainable development; and investment finance, that provides catalytic financial structuring, de-risking, and capital deployment to drive SDG impact and domestic resource mobilization. By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to Sustainable Development Goal-SDG 1 on eradicating poverty and SDG 17 on the means of implementation. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to a broad diversity of SDGs.
UNCDF’s Local Development Finance Practice (LD) is a center of excellence and innovative fund for local government finance and local economic development finance in the world’s 47 least developed countries (LDCs). LD promotes and supports transformative investments through local governments and domestic financial institutions (banks, pension funds) in LDCs by piloting and scaling up innovative financing mechanisms and policies in the public and private sectors.
As part of LD’s flagship programme on Municipal Investment Finance, UNCDF has developed expertise in water and municipal investments. LD has partnered with Swiss Development Corporation to launch a new programme called Blue Peace Financing. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, government efforts alone will not suffice, additional private capital will need to be further deployed towards development. The Blue Peace Financing initiative is focused on developing innovative financial products. that enable transboundary, multisectoral and transgenerational investments leading to sustainable development and peace, using water as an entry point. The innovative finance products will include investments funded with local public finance, private capital both local and international, and investments that have a blended finance component.
Water is a supporting factor for sustainable economic development and creates shared benefits for agriculture, energy/hydropower, potable water for people, connectivity/navigation transport, tourism, ecosystem services, sanitation / wastewater re-use. Water does not know administrative boundaries (e.g. in Africa 80% of the water is shared between countries) and ultimately it is managed by the municipal / local level. When investments in infrastructure or other water-related projects are envisaged, financing arrangements do not sufficiently consider and value the transboundary and multi-sectoral nature of water and its uses at a basin or municipality level. Blue Peace advocates for investments to be further enhanced in two areas that will have a transformative impact: at transboundary and at local municipality level.
Therefore, the Blue Peace Financing initiative, is advocating a new model of investment with the investor community that will allow the creation of a new marketplace advancing the goal of attaining a carbon-neutral economy. Natural capital such as atmospheric carbon as well as water bodies, are not confined to administrative borders. However, these same natural resources, are usually managed within administrative systems and states, under sovereign principles. At the same time, most of the consumption and production occurs within household or industrial structures, which are located and regulated at the level of municipalities. In addition, current financial markets, public investment and private capital responds to sectoral and administrative approaches defined by sovereign states and therefore are missing the necessary common strategic orientation of an evolving society. They are unable to respond to the transboundary, trans-sectoral and sub-national realities which are required to reach the SDGs. Therefore, the Blue Peace Financing overall goal is to enhance sustainable economic development and peaceful societies by creating new ways to access financial capital at transboundary and sub-national level based on integrated multisectoral investment plans that incorporate water as both public good and an ecological asset that needs to be managed with all the political, economic, social and environmental know how. For Blue Peace Financing to be successful, the process is highly integrated with strong stakeholder participation, inclusivity of society, especially gender and youth groups.
Blue Peace Partners:
The Blue Peace partners include UNCDF, the Swiss Development Corporation, and the Geneva Water Hub, and the Advisory firm iGravity (connects innovative ventures, entrepreneurs, NGOs, governments), advises Swiss govt. Additional partners are likely to include Strategic Foresight Group, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Blue Peace Index Project, Global Blue Peace and Regional Blue Peace Initiatives; UNECE Transboundary Water Convention, UNESCO, IUCN, multilateral development banks, foundations, such as Rockefeller Foundation etc.
Programme Key results to date:
Key outputs of the programme:
Phase I: Piloting, consists of an initial scoping analysis, followed by testing of the idea to the officials in Gambia river basis. As of January 2020, the program has been approved by the council of ministers of the Gambia River Basin commission. Also, the Municipality of Freetown has approved it.
Phase II: The project will be implemented starting with the technical assistance of the project, get the masterplan, the joint investment plans, all the way to get the bond issued. This phase of the project needs to be completed within three years. There is room for extension but that will be based on specific reasons.
Phase III: Scaling-up, due to the demand by other river basin commissions and municipalities for the Blue Peace program, it is anticipated that the project can grow further than its initial west African implementation phase. This scaling – up phase will be based on the results of the previous phases and lessons learned, and fund raising.
In this context, UNCDF is seeking a Programme Specialist, under the MIF/Blue Peace programme, to contribute to the effective delivery of the Programme’s activities, reporting to the Global MIF Programme Manager P-5, also based in New York, USA while working in close collaboration with other LD managers and programme colleagues across the regions.
This position will be based in New York, USA. At a later stage, the UNCDF management may decide to redeploy the position (alongside incumbent) to a Programme Country to best serve the organization need and project performance.
Duties and Responsibilities
The Programme Specialist, MIF/Blue Peace P3 is responsible for providing technical, policy, and programming implementation support and oversight, and knowledge and capacity development services for the effective deployment of Blue Peace programmatic activities globally and within assigned countries. Furthermore, the staff member will provide substantive and operational support to the regional UNCDF LD teams and link to other ongoing programmes. The staff member is expected to contribute to MIF/Blue Peace resource mobilization activities on an ongoing basis.
The Programme Specialist’s key focus areas will be:
Detailed Roles and Responsibilities:
1) Programme Management Support and Technical Assistance (50%)
2) Partnership/Network Building and Resource Mobilization (25%)
3) Operational Support (15%):
4) Knowledge management and communication (10%)
Required Skills and Experience
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Programme Specialist (Blue Peace Initiative)
United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
New York, NY, US