Climate Security Policy Specialist

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

New York, NY, US


UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


Job Purpose and Organizational Context

The accelerating effects of climate change increasingly extend beyond the domains of the environment and development and into the political and social realm. Adverse impacts on ecosystems affect livelihoods, in particular those of populations depending on natural capital. Such pressures interact with social, political, economic and demographic dynamics and, when critical thresholds are met and coping capacities exhausted, can create a web of cascading effects that may ultimately threaten human, community, national and international security.

While climate change does not cause violent conflict in and of itself, it can multiply risks known to contribute to insecurity, overburden state capacity, and make already vulnerable communities more desperate and susceptible. The pathways through which these risks play out are highly contextual and determined by the localized interplay of climatic hazards, the parameters of exposure, and, most importantly, the vulnerability and coping capacity of states and societies. The risks are greatest where institutions and communities are unable to manage the stress or absorb the shock of multi-hazard events and stressors and become trapped in a vicious cycle. Situations of conflict and insecurity, where underlying vulnerabilities are pronounced and adaptive capacity is weak, are likely to exacerbate the adverse effects of climate change.

In view of these complex interlinkages between climate, peace and security, a more holistic approach is needed to find sustainable solutions. This includes recognition of the importance of effective, accountable and participatory local governance; equitable management of and access to natural resources and ecosystem services; availability of climate-sensitive alternative livelihoods; and the peaceful and safe management of migration and displacement. The possible implications of disruptions to systems must be understood in the short term as well as the more medium and long term. Such an approach can be the catalyst for collective efforts to address climate change in conjunction with other potentially destabilizing factors and ultimately facilitate a systemic shift away from crisis response towards coordinated risk prevention, early warning and effective adaptation. The United Nations, at HQ and in the field, plays an important role to ensure integrated analysis and response in this context.

In 2018, UNDP, DPPA and UNEP jointly established the Climate Security Mechanism (CSM), an interagency initiative to strengthen the capacity of the UN system to systematically address the linkages between climate change, prevention and sustaining peace. The CSM develops guidance and supports action in the field by working with UN entities to integrate considerations of climate-related security risks into analysis, planning and programming. Focus regions in the global portfolio of the CSM include West Africa and the Sahel, Central Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Arab States, Northern Central America, and the South Pacific. At the beginning of this year, the CSM entered Phase II of its work programme (2020-2022), which will build on the progress, expertise and partnerships built in Phase I (2018-2019).

The Policy Specialist will be hosted at the offices of DPPA/PMD, primarily supporting the analytical, partnership-building and knowledge management work of DPPA under the CSM, in close collaboration with operational teams in DPPA, UNDP and UNEP. A regional focus will be on DPPA’s work in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific to provide support to and advise field missions, special political missions and UN Country Teams on national, sub-regional and regional strategies to address climate-related security risks.

The Policy Specialist will have a primary reporting line to Team Leader, Policy and Mediation Division, DPPA and second/administrative reporting line to Head, Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding & Responsive Institutions (CPPRI).

Duties and Responsibilities

The Policy Specialist will be responsible for the following duties:

Support to political analysis and research (40%)

  • Supports the capacities of DPPA under the joint UNDP-DPPA-UNEP project “Strengthening the UN’s capacity to address climate-related security risks”.
  • Provides inter-agency coordination and prepares inputs for analytical reports and papers to the General Assembly, Security Council, or other bodies.
  • Collects and analyses information on climate-related security risks in the country or region assigned; assesses trends which might affect the political situation and the political impact of intra-regional issues.
  • Drafts notes, background papers, talking points, speeches and other correspondence for senior UN officials.
  • Supports the UN peace and security pillar in strengthening internal capacity or the analysis of the impact of climate change on prevention and sustaining peace.
  • Supports the Climate Security Mechanism’s function as Secretariat of the Security Council Informal Experts Group on Climate and Security.

Support to inter-agency coordination with the UN Secretariat (30%)
Meets regularly with operational teams including those from DPPA, UNDP, UNEP and other agencies to plan projects and review project activities.

  • Supports programme management, coordination and implementation of DPPA-led activities under the Climate Security Mechanism and inter-agency communication as required.
  • Provides up-to-date information to senior officials regarding substantive political matters and country or regional issues with a focus on climate-related security risks.

Advocacy and awareness raising (30%)

  • Strengthens existing knowledge management structures in the context of the Climate Security Mechanism and supports the development of focused knowledge products in the area climate-related security risks.
  • Participates in conferences, seminars and academic fora related to his/her assigned area of expertise.
  • Develops and maintains partnerships with Member States, other international organizations, the research community, and civil society.



  • 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.


Peacebuilding and Reconciliation

  • Ability to support peace processes to facilitate recovery and development.

Conflict-Sensitive Programming

  • Ability to use methods and tools to monitor conflict triggers and determine impact of various dynamics in conflict-prone situations.

Project Management

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

Relationship Management

  • Ability to engage with other parties and forge productive working relationships.

Knowledge Management

  • Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge.


  • Ability to manage complex relationships through pathways of knowledge exchange, capacity development, funding relationships and strategic engagement.
Required Skills and Experience


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s Degree) in political science, conflict studies, political economy, or other related social sciences;
  • In lieu of an advanced degree, a Bachelor university degree with 2 additional years of experience.


  • Minimum of 7 years (Master) of progressively responsible experience in the areas of conflict prevention, peacebuilding, conflict sensitivity and/or social cohesion;
  • Experience working on environmental and climate change issues is required;
  • Experience of conflict prevention programmes at the regional, national and/or global levels required;
  • Experience in conflict and political analysis, and strategy development required;
  • Experience in political economy analysis is required.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluent written and spoken English is required;
  • Working Knowledge of an additional language is a plus.