Chief (Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction)

World Food Programme (WFP)

Rome, , IT


The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest humanitarian agency, fighting hunger worldwide. We are seeking to fill the position of Chief, Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction, D1, based in our Rome, Italy headquarters.


Disasters are a leading cause of hunger and malnutrition and an impediment to achieving global zero hunger goals. Climate related disasters affect the economic and physical access to food, availability and stability of supplies, and nutrition. Climate change is exacerbating these risks, affecting millions of people’s lives. Climate shocks disproportionally affect the most vulnerable people at risk of hunger, especially women and children. Without protection from disasters risks, the most vulnerable people cannot begin to build their resilience and reduce the risks they face in order to become food secure. As a result, helping countries manage the risks and address the impacts of climate disasters and climate change on food insecure people is a central priority for WFP.

About half of WFP’s programmes address the risks of natural disasters and their impacts on food security, reaching approximately 80 million people in 60 countries each year. WFP is a leading innovator in the area of food security and disaster risk reduction and has developed cutting-edge emergency preparedness and early warning systems that have been adopted globally. WFP has also led the application of innovative risk financing tools, such as index insurance, in disaster response and safety nets.

Working with governments, international partners and local communities, WFP also has expertise in developing and delivering large-scale climate resilience innovations. These innovations help communities who are the most food insecure, most at risk and with the least capacity to prepare for, respond to and recover from climate-related disasters so that food security is no longer an elusive goal for them. WFP has also been an active player in international climate and disaster risk reduction forums (including the UNFCCC and Sendai Framework) and has gained recognition for its technical support to governments on issues such as loss and damage, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction mechanisms, and the impacts of climate change on food security and nutrition.


The Chief of the Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction Programmes Unit leads WFP’s policy, programme guidance, technical support and innovations globally in this area. This includes providing both strategic and technical advice to the organization, especially to Country Offices and Regional Bureaux. The incumbent represents WFP, in close collaboration with a number of other units within the organization, in relevant inter-agency and policy processes. The incumbent manages a team of fixed-term staff, consultants, and secondments  as well as a range of specialized projects to further the organization’s ability to address the impact of climate change and disasters on food insecure people and countries.

KEY ACCOUNTABILITIES (not all-inclusive)

Lead overall policy, programme and technical support to WFP climate and disaster risk reduction activities.

  • Lead in taking the lessons learned from the pilot innovative climate and disaster risk reduction programs and embed it in the WFP corporate systems.
  • Develop a strategy for effective role out of the climate change policy and raise relevant resourcing.
  • Develop a strategy on how to develop organizational capacity in climate and disaster risk reduction related programs and lead its implementation
  • Lead WFP’s positioning and signifying its role in climate change adaptation with the external partners through active participation in relevant inter-agency, inter-governmental and other processes and forums.
  • Manage WFP’s portfolio of innovative global climate and disaster risk reduction programs and ensure these are progressively streamlined into WFP’s systems and processes. This includes a range of initiatives focused in three main areas: i. Climate change adaption, analysis and services; ii. Resilience, risk management and insurance; and iii. Fuel, stoves, and carbon credits.
  • Clarify strategy and role of Unit in light of WFP’s new climate change and environmental policies, as well as its disaster risk reduction policy, and define needed human and financial resources to achieve targets.
  • Identify key areas of collaboration with other WFP units and other organizations, including research institutions.
  • Lead WFP’s technical and policy support to Country Offices and Regional Bureaux, and through these offices to support national government efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change and disasters on those most vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition.
  • Lead WFP’s advocacy and communication efforts on climate change and disaster risk reduction.
  • Lead resource mobilization efforts for global climate and disaster risk reduction policy and programme initiatives.
  • Ensure effective management of financial, human and other resources.
  • Lead WFP’s positioning and clarifying its role in climate change in relevant inter-agency, inter-governmental and other processes and forums.


Specialized professional experience:

  • Minumum of 10 years of relevant professional experience
  • Extensive experience in climate change and disaster risk reduction policy processes, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience, the Global Framework on Climate Services, and other relevant processes.
  • Extensive experience in technical areas including climate change adaptation, early warning, preparedness, risk financing and insurance.
  • Preferably extensive experience in field operations supporting international humanitarian and/or development programmes, and across the whole project cycle, including project design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and management of personnel, budgets and communication streams.
  • A proven track record of partnering with and influencing at the highest levels within and beyond the organization.
  • Experience managing a large multicultural team

Education: Advanced  University  degree  in  International  Affairs,  Disaster Risk Management, Climate Change, Economics,  Nutrition/Health, Agriculture,  Environmental  Science,  Social Sciences  or  other  field  relevant  to international development assistance.

Language: Fluency (level C) in English language. Intermediate knowledge (level B) of a second official UN language:  Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish, and/or WFP’s working language, Portuguese.


31 January 2017