Programme Senior Advisor (Climate Action)

United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
New York, NY, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Background Information - UNOPS
UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

Background Information - Job-specific

Background information: Secretary-General’s Climate Action Team (CAT), Executive Office of the Secretary-General (EOSG)

The 2019 Climate Action Summit mobilized significant public momentum and new commitments from Member States, private sector and subnational governments to turn the page on the climate change crisis. Such commitments identified new catalytic solutions and coalitions necessary to bend the emissions curve before 2030 – from the transformation of the world’s energy, transport, urban and natural ecosystems to the revamping of the world’s financial systems.

After the Summit, climate change remains at the top of the Secretary-General's priorities and one of the core priorities of the Decade of Action to Deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. In the context of the Decade, 2020 and 2021 are “make or break” years for climate action and the transformations needed for the world to truly adopt a sustainable, low emission development trajectory and to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

It is vital that we build upon the momentum from the 2019 Climate Action Summit to raise ambition levels on Nationally Determined Contributions, elevate our commitment to biodiversity, secure funding for climate adaptation and resilience and accelerate the just transitions we need from fossil fuel dependent energy and transport systems to ones powered by renewable energy.

In order to build on the momentum and realize the commitments secured at the Summit, the Secretary-General is building a new Climate Action Team. This Team will focus on the following:

  • Raising ambition levels and concrete commitments by the major emitters, particularly the G20;
  • Mainstreaming climate change (portfolio shifts to low emission investments, embedding climate risk factors in investment decision-making and carbon pricing) within financial markets and firms;
  • Developing and implementing a targeted strategy for fossil fuel and coal phase-out;
  • Strengthening and delivering the Climate Action Summit commitments and coalitions and incubating new commitments and coalitions related to energy transition, transportation, urban and local climate action, nature based solutions and climate resilience;
  • Enhancing UN system support to countries to deliver on the climate and environment-related Sustainable Development Goals – from water scarcity to industrial innovation and sustainable urbanization;
  • Provision of up-to-date analytics and policy guidance for the Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, UN leadership and Member States.
  • Designing and executing a cross-UN global communications campaign and movement focused on SG and UN leadership on climate action at all levels, and messaging and storytelling to build political will, elevate local solutions and mobilize individual actions.

In order to deliver the level of ambition needed, the new team will be led by a Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Climate Action, supported by a director on Climate Action and a director on Climate Ambition.

This is a position in UNOPS for supporting projects carried out for the UN Executive Office of the Secretary General. The incumbent of this position will be a personnel of UNOPS under its full responsibility.

Functional Responsibilities

Under the overall supervision and guidance of the Climate Ambition Team Lead (Director) / Climate Action Team Lead (Director), the incumbent will provide substantive senior-level support on member state engagement, fossil fuel phase-out ambition and acceleration of climate action.

It is expected that the incumbent may focus in one or the two of the areas below mentioned. The responsibilities of the Programme Senior Advisor include:

A. Enhancing climate ambition

  • Design and develop targeted fossil fuel and coal phase-out and related just transition strategies with member states - in close collaboration with Action Team and EOSG units, particularly the Sustainable Development Unit (SDU);
  • Develop and manage relationships for the team with coal phase-out civil society and analytic partners, to ensure ongoing collaboration and up-to-date analytics;
  • Support the engagement with Member States in furtherance of the coal phase-out and related just transition strategies.
  • Support development of NDC Enhancement and Long-Term Decarbonization by 2050 (Net Zero) strategies, with focus on specific countries.
  • Support coordination on all of the above with the COP 26 Presidency team and the UNFCCC Climate Champions team.
  • Develop regional group engagement strategies for NDC and Net Zero commitments in collaboration with the Action Team.
  • Prepare briefing notes, key messages and analytic products for SG and DSG engagement with member states.

B. Accelerating climate action

  • Support development of strategy to ensure successful delivery and evolution of 2019 Climate Action Summit tracks and related commitments, with concrete milestones throughout 2020, by COP26 and throughout 2021.
  • Support development of briefing notes, key messages and inputs into speeches for SG and DSG engagements with private sector, subnational government, academic and scientific partners, with a focus on raising the ambition in high-emitting sectors.
  • Monitor trends and innovations in high-emitting sectors, including high-emitting industries (coal, steel, aluminium, heating and cooling systems, infrastructure, transportation, buildings, forestry).
  • Support strong outcomes for key 2020 milestones, with particular focus on Transport Conference, Oceans Conference, Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), Food Systems Summit and High-Level Meetings on Water and Energy in 2021.
  • Support management of partnerships and new coalitions with private sector, subnational governments and scientific institutions to support all aspects of the Climate Team.
  • Support management of High-Level panels and external advisory committees as needed (e.g. Scientific Advisory Committee, Council on Engineers for Climate Action, etc).
  • Perform other duties as may be reasonably required and in line with the incumbent’s scope of services above.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

a. Education

  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree), preferably in International Relations or Climate Change/Science or other relevant fields is required.
  • Two (2) additional years of relevant work experience, in combination with a relevant first level university (bachelor’s degree or equivalent), may substitute for the requirement of a master’s degree.

b. Work Experience 

  • At least ten (10) years of relevant professional experience is required; 
  • Experience working with high-level government officials required.

c. Language

  • Fluency in English (written and oral) is required