Director (Africa Centre For Sustainable Development)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Rome, Italy
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
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 carried out at HQ, Regional and Country Office levels, forms a contiguous spectrum of deep local knowledge 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. 


The Africa Centre for Sustainable Development was established through the declaration endorsed by the G7 meeting of the Environment Ministers in June 2017, with the aim to facilitate coordination among the G7 and African countries on common initiatives in Africa, to achieve the goals set by the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda. Subsequently, at the request of the Italian Government, UNDP agreed, in September 2017, to host and establish the above Centre, using its extensive country office network and programmatic hubs, and global expertise and knowledge, to enable countries to access the resources available through it. 


The Centre was inaugurated in January 2019. By the end of 2019, ACSD has completed its start - up phase: a minimum core staffing has ensured the setting up of the elementary vital functions of the office; all operational and management procedures have been successfully established; a number of country engagements have already started, and a joint Steering Committee of the Italian Environment Ministry and UNDP has been set up in order to define the Centre’s governance and management arrangements and programmatic focus in the years to come.


The Centre’s revised senior management outlook entails two key roles:

  • The Centre’s Director, acting as the strategic supervisor of the Centre and responsible for the external outreach and representational activities of the Centre; 
  • The Centre’s Manager, responsible for its day-to-day activities and operations. 

The Director of the Centre will report to Deputy Director of the UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) or designate. As a UNDP staff member, the s/he will also ensure that all actions taken on behalf of the Center respect UNDP policies and guidelines and are compliant with UNDP rules and regulations. 


The Director will be based in Rome, Italy and expected to travel frequently.




Duties and Responsibilities


Under the supervision of BPPS, and the overall guidance of the Centre’s Steering Committee, the Director of the Africa Centre for Sustainable Development (ACSD) will be responsible for the strategic supervision of the Centre and for the external outreach and representational activities of the Centre.


The ACSD Director, under the guidance of the Steering Committee will, inter alia:

  • Be responsible for ACSD’s external relations and advocacy functions; 
  • Lead and support the Centre in cultivating, building and nurturing strategic relationships and alliances that are essential for advancing and successfully achieving the mission of ACSD. These relationships encompass a wide range and number of key constituencies and development partners, especially those related to resource mobilization and donor relations, G7, G20 and programme countries, multilateral institutions such as the IFIs, the European Commission, civil society, the private sector, foundations, academia and think tanks, the wider UN system, and various UN inter-governmental bodies; 
  • Contribute to shaping and monitoring overall strategic directions, contributing to the achievements of organizational priorities and identified outcomes;
  • Supported by the Manager, lead external communications function for the Centre;
  • Represent ACSD in key international fora as appropriate;
  • Lead by example and encourage excellence, professionalism, competence, integrity and ethics and values enshrined in the UN Charter;
  • Guide, mentor and develop a team of qualified staff; 
  • Oversee, under the guidance of the Steering Committee, the Centre’s financial, human resources, procurement and general operations, in line with UNDP Policies and Procedures.


Leadership and Management

  • Lead the conceptualization of the activities and outreach of the Africa Centre for Sustainable Development;
  • Lead the organization and reporting for, as appropriate, regular meetings with the donor(s);
  • Promote, advocate for and represent the ACSD at key events;
  • Identifies new partnerships and strengthens existing ones through innovative approaches to partnership development;
  • Maintains collaboration and coordination within the GPN and RBA to ensure programmatic integration and sharing of best practices;
  • Liaise with UNDP senior management, technical partners, as well as, the Government of Italy on interventions and initiatives on the relevant focus areas of ACSD.

Resource Mobilization and Communication

  • Responsible for the appropriate use and management of resources attributed to the ACSD;
  • Develops strategies and advocates for the mobilization of further resources, and ensures effective utilization, of resources for the center;
  • Engage with funding partners, especially of the G7, to contribute to the functioning and results of the ACSD;
  • Communicate the value and results of the ACDS to contributors and constituents to advocate for the mandate and role of the ACSD.

Operational effectiveness

  • Responsible for the overall efficient delivery of ACSD programmes/projects including planning processes and timely delivery of results taking into consideration agreed upon work plans and priorities;
  • Oversees the selection process of the ACSD staff, as necessary;
  • Supervises the work of the Manager of the ACSD;
  • Provide inputs, review and endorse annual work plans and progress reports for the Steering Committee and UNDP;
  • Ensure the necessary results and financial reports of the project are compliant with UNDP rules and regulations;
  • With support from the Manager, ensures that the security needs of office and projects are met. Under the supervision of BPPS and in collaboration with the Security Advisor, ensures enforcement of security procedures and requirements for the office in Rome;
  • Mitigates possible risks and impacts associated with the office operations (e.g. logistical, security, etc.) by proactively designing reduction measures in collaboration with the ACSD Manager and Security Advisor.

Knowledge management

  • Provide the relevant conceptual inputs related to the activities of the Africa Centre for Sustainable Development.









  • 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.





  • Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships.

Financial Planning and Budgeting 

  • Ability to create and manage processes to achieve UNDP's long and short-term financial goals.

Multilateral Affairs 

  • Knowledge of multilateral agencies (OECD, IFIs, EU, Regional Development Banks, etc.), including respective mandates and ways of working. 

Human Resources Management (General)

  • Knowledge of HR management issues and principles and the ability to apply them to strategic and/or practical situations.

Project Management

  • Ability to plan, organize, and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals.

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.


Required Skills and Experience



  • Master’s Degree or higher in management, economics, international relations, law, natural or social sciences related to sustainable development.


  • A minimum of 15 years of relevant work experience related to sustainable development; 
  • A strong record of progressively responsible, substantive and results achievement experience at the international level, including in development programming, resource mobilization and advocacy is especially relevant;   
  • Experience in interagency and international co-operation, negotiation of partnerships, mobilization of resources, and management of programmes are especially relevant. The candidates will have held leadership roles and demonstrated his/her ability to advocate for effective solutions;  
  • The candidates should have in-depth knowledge of developing Countries’ contexts, managing complex situations, including the ability to influence/advance dialogue and present such material at global and regional fora; 
  • Prior experience of working in developing countries or countries with economies in transition is an asset;
  • Knowledge of G7 processes is an asset;
  • The candidates should have held senior positions in the UN and/or other intergovernmental institutions and international entities. 

Language Requirements

  • Excellent knowledge of the English language, with exceptional writing, presentation and communication skills;
  • Fluency in Italian and/or French is highly desirable. 




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