Senior Technical Advisor (Biodiversity and Nature-based Economy)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Istanbul, Turkey
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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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 is carried out through a network of advisors and specialists located at HQ, Regional and Country Office levels, to ensure that local knowledge and context specific expertise is linked to cutting-edge global perspectives and advocacy. In this context, UNDP provides its policy advisory and programme support functions through the Global Policy Network (GPN), a network of field-based and global technical expertise across a wide range of knowledge domains, 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 and works closely with the Crisis Bureau (CB) that has the responsibility to guide and implement UNDP’s corporate crisis-related strategies and vision for crisis prevention, response and recovery. 


In line with its Strategic Plan, UNDP supports countries to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities and exclusion through five inter-related areas of environment and climate work: (i) sustainable management of ecosystem goods and services; (ii) scaling up of climate change adaptation and mitigation; (iii) sustainable, affordable and accessible energy services; (iv) sustainable management of chemicals and waste; (v) improved water and ocean governance. These areas of work are fully aligned with the four environmental outputs of the Strategic Plan and are financed through various sources including the Global Environment Facility, Green Climate Fund, and other bilateral/multilateral donors.
UNDP has specialized technical and policy advisory teams in New York, Addis Ababa, Geneva, Istanbul, Bangkok and Panama working to catalyze environmental and climate finance for climate-resilient, sustainable development. These teams provide support to UNDP country offices and work closely with staff in other Bureaus through the Global Policy Network to develop country capacities needed to design and implement regulatory and financial incentives, remove institutional and policy barriers, and create enabling policy framework that attract and drive public and private sector investment into sustainable development and the SDGs. In doing this, UNDP assists partner countries to access, combine, and sequence resources from a wide range of funds, financial instruments, and mechanisms. 
UNDP’s Environment, Climate Change, and Energy work is organized into substantive technical teams (Biodiversity, Water and Oceans, Food and Agriculture Systems, Energy and Climate Change Mitigation, Climate Change Adaptation, Chemicals & Waste, and Climate and Forests) with a Principal or Senior Technical Advisor (PTA/STA) being the team leader within each area. Each team leader supports and guides a team of Regional Technical Advisors (RTAs) or Specialists (RTSs) based in regional hubs from where they support UNDP’s country offices and partners in their region, as well as policy and programme advisors or specialists.


UNDP recognizes healthy ecosystem services and biodiversity as the foundation of human wellbeing and sustainable development. It sees nature-based solutions as essential solutions for tackling multiple developmental challenges, be they climate crisis, inequality and poverty, insecurity and migration.  UNDP’s 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, sector and fiscal planning processes and practices. UNDP, with 300 country level ecosystems and biodiversity projects in 130 countries, 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 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 the environmental and climate dimensions of the UNDP Strategic Plan. The priorities of the Framework aim to advance a more integrated, programmatic and strategic approach that strengthens the environmental dimension of UNDP’s overall sustainable development vision. This will involve a medium to long-term process that strengthens UNDP internal institutional capacities to deliver on its Strategic Plan and operationalize its newly formed Global Policy Network (GPN), while in turn also enabling UNDP and partners to more effectively and efficiently deliver on-the-ground results. In this way, this Framework will ensure better dialogue, stronger partnerships, and a more coherent set of country-focused sustainable development solutions.


In line with UNDP’s Strategic Plan, the objectives of the Sida Strategic Collaboration Programme, and complementary initiatives, the Senior Technical Advisor, Biodiversity and Nature-based Economy will provide strategic and technical leadership and oversight to UNDP’s global work on wildlife conservation and creation of nature-based economy. This includes technical leadership for Sida Programme work on biodiversity and climate-resilient community development in priority countries and landscapes, through conceptualizing and overseeing a range of actions at the livelihoods-wildlife nexus to unleash synergies between conservation and community development.


The Senior Technical Advisor will represent UNDP in global fora, partnerships and initiatives related to biodiversity conservation, and lead on the identification, establishment and strengthening of multi-sector partnerships and programmes to support wildlife conservation that recognize links to poverty reduction, local economy development and good governance, and that facilitate the engagement of non-traditional actors.




Duties and Responsibilities


With the responsibility of strengthening policy, programming and partnerships on biodiversity and wildlife conservation, the role of the Senior Technical Advisor, Biodiversity and Nature-based Economy is to:

  • Provide leadership, technical guidance and team management;
  • Develop and advocate innovative policy and financial mechanisms;
  • Identify, lead and direct the development of cutting edge strategic programmes, projects and activities, and mobilize resources and partnerships in support of these;
  • Produce and communicate development impacts and results for country partners; and
  • Facilitate effective learning and management of knowledge.

The key results expected from the Senior Technical Advisor, Biodiversity and Nature-based Economy are:

Leadership, Management and Coordination (20%)

  • Support the Principal Technical Advisor (PTA) for management and oversight of the UNDP Ecosystems and Biodiversity team and its portfolio, including the biodiversity component of the Sida Strategic Collaboration Programme. This entails the provision of strategic direction, management oversight, and development of both the programme and the team, including staff and consultant supervision.
  • Represent UNDP in global, regional and national fora, and liaise with external clients and a broad range of constituencies and UNDP counterparts in government, local and international media, other international organizations, and in civil society.
  • Promote good cooperation and coordination among all technical programme and operations staff and between the various units of UNDP under the GPN, as well as external parties.

Key Results: UNDP is widely recognized for the high quality of ecosystems and biodiversity portfolio within the programme on environment, energy, and climate change in development. The Sida Programme operates efficiently and all staff perform effectively. UNDP ecosystems and biodiversity work is on the cutting edge of current knowledge and thinking and contributes to country priorities on environment, energy, and climate change in ways that advance sustainable development and poverty eradication and accelerate progress on the SDGs in line with UNDP’s Strategic Plan.


Policy Development, Dialogue and Advocacy (25%)

  • Develop key policy initiatives, advice, support and advocacy on ecosystems and biodiversity both within UNDP and with UNDP’s direct partners.This includes the development of complex policy positions at the interface of scientific knowledge and social, political and economic feasibility.
  • Engage in wide-ranging consultation with key partners and the development of strategic partnerships around positions and initiatives, as well as in dialogue and advocacy to effect change.
  • Provide advice, support and policy leadership for wildlife conservation, illegal wildlife trade and nature-based economy, and for development of key policy initiatives both within UNDP and with UNDP’s direct partners.

Key Results:  UNDP is widely recognized for its ability to drive change and innovation in global, regional, and national level discourse on wildlife and biodiversity conservation and resultant policy making, and for its ability to fully integrate and leverage its environment portfolio towards progress on the SDGs overall. UNDP is widely recognized as a partner in related global initiatives, partnerships and multi-sector efforts.

Quality Assurance, Programme Development and Resource Mobilization (25%)

  • Support the PTA with technical oversight, quality assurance and policy compliance for UNDP’s programme and project portfolio on wildlife conservation and related areas, including global, regional and national projects funded by vertical funds such as the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund.
  • Provide technical and operational policy guidance to Regional Technical Advisors in UNDP Regional Hubs, supporting greater integration of UNDP’s ecosystems and biodiversity portfolio and positioning UNDP as a solution provider to complex development challenges.
  • Lead on identifying/securing new national, regional and global projects, programmes, partnerships and initiatives, identifying funding and scaling sources and opportunities, as well as new and cutting-edge partnerships. 
  • Negotiate funding and partnerships, including with the private sector, development banks and other development finance institutions, and identify, develop and roll-out of new business opportunities and business lines.

Key Results:  Continued growth in the quality, scope, impact and influence of UNDP’s contributions to biodiversity conservation and nature-based economy within the UNDP environment, energy and climate change programme.


Delivery of Results and Impacts (20%)

  • Provide direct oversight to implementation of global and regional initiatives, including regional/global GEF-funded projects implemented by UNDP and the Sida Strategic Collaboration.
  • Ensure effective delivery of results and impacts through high quality strategic guidance, implementation support and risk management, including technical support, monitoring, risk mitigation, troubleshooting, evaluation, reporting and dissemination of results and impacts.

Key Results:  UNDP widely recognized for its ability to efficiently deliver timely and responsive high quality, strategic, cutting-edge, results and impacts across its ecosystems and biodiversity portfolio and the Sida Programme.


Knowledge, Lessons and Tools Development (10%)

  • Collate integrated lessons learned and best practices across UNDP’s biodiversity and ecosystems portfolio, including coordinated knowledge management efforts with partners on wildlife conservation and other thematic areas.
  • Analysis and synthesis of data, information, results and knowledge into papers, lessons, guidelines, methodologies, programming kits, training, and other new tools and codified knowledge products.

Key Results:  UNDP widely recognized as a source of cutting-edge tools, knowledge and information on wildlife conservation and nature-based economy and environment-development linkages. Best practices and solutions are documented, codified and made available in PANORAMA Platform and other platforms and media.





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 while exercising good judgement.

Biodiversity and Eco-systems Management

Knowledge of conservation, sustainable use and access and benefit sharing of biodiversity, land, forests and oceans and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations

Sustainable Development
Knowledge of sustainable development concepts, principles and issues and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations, covering the economic, social and environmental dimensions

Strategic Planning 
Ability to make decisions that align with strategy, vision, and mission.

Resource Mobilization
Ability to identify and organize programmes and projects to implement solutions and generate resources.

Advocacy and Representation
Ability to productively share UNDP knowledge and activities (at UN and other venues).

Knowledge Management
Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge.

Collaboration and Partnership 
Ability to develop, maintain, and strengthen partnerships with others inside (programmes/projects) or outside the organization and across a wide range of disciplines who can provide information, assistance, and support. Sets overall direction for the formation and management of strategic relationships contributing to the overall positioning of UNDP.


Required Skills and Experience



  • Master’s Degree (or higher) in Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Management, Social Development or other closely related field, ideally with a focus on biodiversity, ecosystems, and/or environment-community development linkages. 


  • At least 10 years of progressively responsible relevant leadership in the fields of ecosystems, biodiversity and development, preferably including direct experience working with developing countries on wildlife conservation, combating poaching and trafficking of wildlife, human-wildlife conflict mitigation and/or wildlife-based economy development;
  • Extensive experience with programme and project development, integrated planning and analysis, implementation, and management;
  • Proven track record of resource mobilization experience;
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain strategic partnerships, including with UN and international organizations, NGOs and the private sector;
  • Experience programming with the Global Environment Facility or similar bilateral and multilateral funding sources;
  • Experience in the policy development processes associated with biodiversity and wildlife conservation including integrated environment and sustainable development issues;
  • 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 language, with exceptional writing, presentation and communication skills;
  • Competency in other UN languages 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.

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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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