Deputy Director (Science Division)

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)
Nairobi, Kenya
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
10+ Years
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

Org. Setting and Reporting

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. This position is located in UNEP’s Science Division which is responsible for analyzing the state of the global environment, providing early warning information and assessing global and regional environmental trends to catalyze and promote international cooperation and action on the environment. This post is located in the Office of the Director of the Science Division at the Nairobi duty station. Under the direct supervision of the Director, Science Division, the incumbent will be responsible for the following duties:


1. Develop and recommend strategies and policies on the design, implementation and monitoring of Science Division Programme of Work and maintain oversight of budgetary issues in Science Division.

a. Oversee the development and the coordination of the preparation of the Science Division biennium programme of work, and budget, liaising with chiefs of branches and units, regional offices and other UN Environment Divisions, ensuring that the proposed activities of Science Division are in line with UN Environment's overall objectives as encapsulated in the Medium Term Strategy and decisions of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) Forum. Assist the Director in the presentation of the programme of work to UN Environment Senior Management, UNEA, the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) and serve as the Divisions’ focal point for programme planning, coordination and reporting:

•Review and recommend the overall budgetary allocation of the Division liaising with chiefs of branches and heads of units, and coordinate the preparation of the Science Division costed workplan or other budget allocation documents;
•Provide management reports to the Director including progress reports;
•Hold regular consultations with chiefs of branches and units to assess and monitor the progress made on the implementation of relevant objectives and brief the Director;
•Oversee programme reporting, particularly inputs to the Integrated Monitoring and Documentation Information System (IMDIS), and programme evaluation including responses to audit and oversight evaluation recommendations.

b. Evaluate the Divisions’ financial needs and coordinate all resource mobilization efforts in cooperation with Corporate Services Division to ensure financial support to Science Divisions’ activities. Coordinate the preparation of proposals for consideration by donors and in-house mechanisms such as Project Review Committee (PRC)

c. Define and co-ordinate the information services of Science Division. Oversee all marketing and outreach activities to ensure that the Divisions’ outputs are promoted to relevant target audiences. Liaise (through Publications/Information/Outreach Officer) with Publications Board and Communication Division on matters related to publishing and outreach.

d. Oversee and monitor day-to-day functioning of the divisions’ work, provide technical and administrative support, and ensure effective coordination with other UN Environments’ Divisions and Regional Offices.

2. Maintain oversight of Administrative and Finance Units in the Science Division and make optimum use of staff and financial resources and ensure effective flow of services through the Division.

a. Recommend the most efficient administrative and organizational framework to implement the Science Division programme of work considering most effective use of financial and human resources, recommending strategies as necessary.
b. Oversee management of Administrative and Finance Units in the Science Division to provide efficient human resources management and financial management services.

3. Act as primary interface with intergovernmental bodies and relevant inter-agency committees and non-governmental fora.

a. Contribute to and coordinate the development of policies to ensure that the substantive work of the Division is consistent with and complementary to UN-wide and environmental assessment processes as well as other regional/sub-regional processes under the aegis of ministerial fora.

b. Coordinate and oversee the preparation of working documents, reports and draft decisions on strategic issues, work programme implementation and budgetary matters for presentation to intergovernmental bodies, such as, UN General Assembly, CPR, UNEA, Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), regional and sub-regional ministerial fora and other policy making organs, as appropriate.

c. Represent Science Division at intergovernmental meetings.

d. Liaise with the Environmental Management Group to ensure that scientific assessment and other divisional activities requiring UN-wide collaboration are incorporated and coordinated effectively.

e. Oversee the preparation of the Divisions’ inputs to UN Environment reports and those or external organizations, committees and relevant entities.

f. Oversee the Divisions’ information inputs to major international events such as World Environment Day, World Water Day, etc. and side events at ministerial meetings, Conference of Parties (COPs) of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), award ceremonies, signing ceremonies and other related ceremonies.

4. Support the Director of Science Division in discharging the Directors’ functions; deputized within the agreed areas of responsibility during Directors’ absence, and perform representative functions on behalf of Science Division.


PROFESSIONALISM: Knowledge and understanding of environmental related issues or environmental economics and analysis in particular. Ability to identify issues, analyze and participate in the resolution of issues/problems. Ability to conduct data collection using various methods. Conceptual analytical and evaluative skills to conduct independent research and analysis, including familiarity with and experience in the use of various research sources, including electronic sources on the internet, intranet and other databases. Ability to apply judgment in the context of assignments given, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities. 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. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

COMMUNICATION: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

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.

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.

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 the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.


Advanced university degree in Bio-physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Economics, Management or related field is required. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Sciences is desirable. A first-level university degree in combination with two (2) years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of 15 years of progressively responsible work in programme/project management of scientific or applied economic work related to environmental policy is required.
Three (3) of the fifteen (15) years of experience in a senior supervisory capacity is required.
Five (5) of the fifteen (15) years of experience at the international level is desirable.
Work experience in a multi-cultural setting is desirable.
Experience working with procedures of the UN or other international organizations and inter-agency work in the field of environment and sustainable development is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in oral and written English is required. Knowledge of another official United Nations language is an advantage.


Evaluation of qualified candidates for this position may include an assessment exercise which will be followed by a competency-based interview.

Special Notice

Appointment against this post is for an initial period of one year and may be subject to extension. 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 Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply on-line as soon as possible after the job opening has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the job opening. On-line applications will be acknowledged where an email address has been provided. If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. If the problem persists, please seek technical assistance through the Inspira "Need Help?" link.

Internal Applicants – when completing the PHP, ensure ALL fields, ALL professional experience and contact information are completed and up to date. This information is the basis for the hiring manager to assess your eligibility and suitability for the position and to contact you.

Individual contractors and consultants who have worked within the UN Secretariat in the last six months, irrespective of the administering entity, are ineligible to apply for professional and higher temporary or fixed-term positions and their applications will not be considered.

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.

The paramount consideration in the appointment, transfer, or promotion of staff shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. By accepting an offer of appointment, United Nations staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and assignment by him or her to any activities or offices of the United Nations in accordance with staff regulation 1.2 (c). In this context, all internationally recruited staff members shall be required to move periodically to discharge new functions within or across duty stations under conditions established by the Secretary-General.

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.

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