Technical Senior Analyst – Environmental [Spatial Planning Analyst]

United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

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UNOPS supports partners to build a better future by providing services that increase the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of peace building, humanitarian and development projects.  Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organizations.

New York Service Cluster (NYSC) supports the United Nations Secretariat, as well as other New York-based United Nations organizations, bilateral and multilateral partners in the delivery of UNOPS mandate in project management, infrastructure management, and procurement management

Sustainable Development Cluster (SDC) supports diverse partners with their peacebuilding, humanitarian and development operations. It was formed by combining the following portfolios: Grants Management Services (GMS), UN Technology Support Services (UNTSS), Development and Special Initiatives Portfolio (DSIP) It provides Services to partners’ programmes that are designed, structured, and managed with a global perspective and primarily serving partners that are headquartered in New York.  The SDC has a footprint of approximately 125 countries.

UNOPS has signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to implement the project activities for the Global Programme on Nature for Development.

UNDP’s Global Programme on Nature for Development brings together three different initiatives — the Equator Initiative, and the National Biodiversity Initiative, and Learning for Nature under one program in order to identify, foster, showcase and celebrate nature-based solutions that help achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at local, national, and international levels. The work of the Global Programme on Nature for Development contributes to UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021 by charting sustainable development pathways through the conservation, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystems; and by promoting inclusive and effective democratic governance in the area of natural resources.

The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. The Equator Initiative seeks to:

–          Identify and recognize the success of Indigenous and local initiatives,

–          Create opportunities and platforms to share knowledge and good practice,

–          Inform policy to foster an enabling environment for Indigenous and local community action, and

–          Develop the capacity of Indigenous peoples and local communities to scale-up their impact.

The National Biodiversity Initiative supports countries to manage their ecosystems and biodiversity to improve national planning and governance of biodiversity, ecosystems, and development, and to promote resilience for sustainable development. The National Biodiversity Initiative works in three project areas to support countries in their commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity: National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) Support, National Reporting, and Capacity Building. The use of spatial data for spatial planning is an important cross-cutting theme across these project areas, including our flagship platform UN Biodiversity Lab and our work to map Essential Life Support Areas (ELSAs). The UN Biodiversity Lab, created in partnership with UN Environment and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, provides policymakers with access to 100 of the world’s best spatial datasets on nature, climate, and sustainable development for planning, monitoring, and reporting. Building on this base, our work to map ELSAs brings together the world’s best scientists and governments in 11 pilot countries to use spatial data to identify where nature-based actions to protect, manage, or restore ELSAs can deliver efficiently across national priorities for biodiversity, climate, and sustainable development.. A nascent area of work is building the spatial literacy of Indigenous peoples and local communities and ensuring their participation in spatial planning.

Learning for Nature is a capacity-building offer provided by the Global Programme on Nature for Development, cutting across the three areas of work. This programme connects biodiversity policymakers, change-makers, and on-the-ground subject matter experts to facilitate the delivery of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Access to the global multi-stakeholder networks mobilized by the Equator Initiative and the National Biodiversity Initiative allows Learning for Nature to circulate knowledge while promoting best practices. Building on our learnings on the ground, we seek synergies, build linkages, and engage thousands of course participants on their journey towards sustainable development solutions for people, nature, and resilient communities. Learning for Nature builds capacity to scale up efforts for nature-based sustainable development through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), webinars, self-paced e-learning modules, podcasts, and private training courses.

Knowledge Sharing is a main goal of the Equator Initiative, the National Biodiversity Initiative, and Learning for Nature. The Equator Initiative has a large series of research papers, books, and other publications focusing on local approaches to poverty reduction and conservation, informed by community-based initiatives. 180 case studies in over 30 languages have documented the Equator Prize winners’ innovative practices that deliver the win-win-win solutions that ensure social, economic, and environmental sustainability. The National Biodiversity Initiative works with partners to share knowledge on the role of spatial data in biodiversity planning, policymaking, and reporting through story maps, blogs, Google Earth stories, articles etc.

For further information please go to:,,, or

This is a position to support a project which UNOPS is implementing for the United Nations Development Programme. The incumbent of this position will be personnel of UNOPS under its full responsibility.


UNOPS is seeking the support of a Spatial Planning Analyst, to support on biodiversity, climate, and development-related policies.

The Spatial Planning Analyst will support the Global Programme on Nature for Development’s work to enable governments to use spatial data in their conservation plans and monitoring. The Spatial Planning Analyst will support the project team in working with the world’s best scientists and governments in select pilot countries to develop approaches to use spatial data to identify where nature-based actions to protect, manage, or restore ‘essential life support areas’ (ELSAs) can deliver efficiently across national priorities for biodiversity, climate, and sustainable development. The ELSA concept will be used to support governments in their commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Duties and responsibilities include:

Data Management

●        Assist pilot country colleagues to determine and curate relevant national level data, as available on: biodiversity, climate, and sustainable development, such as: biodiversity (e.g., species, Key Biodiversity Areas, Protected Areas, ecoregions), ecosystem services (e.g., aboveground biomass and below ground carbon), agricultural potential (preferably for key crops in pilot), water (supply or demand), erosion control, desertification, and land zoning.

●        Ensure communication with national data expert by managing regular check-in on science and monitoring of the shared workspace, including data lists and the databases.

●        Support the Spatial Planner with unpacking of data from countries, including additional useful layers to geopackage, ensuring the initial processing of layers, and cleaning up the data sheet.

●        Ensure the creation of ELSA collection in countries’ private workspaces on the new UN Biodiversity Lab and uploading of all data for old and new countries.

●        Support the Spatial Planner in maintaining an inventory of current data that is available in the UN Biodiversity Lab platform, and help determine how frequently each dataset needs to be updated and develop/implement a timeline for data updates.

●        Support the Spatial Planner in gathering, processing and uploading datasets, or correct data access parameters and settings into the UN Biodiversity Lab platform, including correct available metadata.

Platform support and management

●        Upon request, provide data and technical support, as well as administrative assistance, to countries and users of the UN Biodiversity Lab platform.

●        Monitor requests from UN Biodiversity Lab users, including data, success stories and feedback submission forms, and elevate to colleagues for more complex issues.

●        Create, upon request, private workspaces on UN Biodiversity Lab for new users.

Stakeholder engagement and capacity building

●       Support training and virtual capacity building events on UN Biodiversity Lab and ELSA, including providing advice and input on data-related questions.

●        Ensure the development of first drafts of guidance and training materials related to UN Biodiversity Lab and the ELSA project.





●        Master’s degree preferably in geography, environmental management/sciences, international relations, sustainable development, and/or other closely related field is required.

●        Bachelor’s degree in the above-mentioned years can be accepted with two additional years of relevant working experience (as outlined below).

Work Experience

●        At least two (2) years working or internship experience using spatial data/Geographic Information Systems (GIS)/remote sensing for biodiversity conservation is required.

●        Experience working with international institutions, civil society organization or national, regional or local governmental authorities on biodiversity, conservation, and/or sustainable development is required.

Desired experiences (the following experience is optional candidates who do not have it are welcome to apply)

●        Experience with GIS and spatial database software, including, ArcGIS, QGIS, PostgresSQL/PostGIS, R and R-shiny, GDAL/OGR, and/or Google Earth Engine is an advantage.

●        Experience working on projects using Systematic Conservation Planning is an advantage.


●        Excellent oral and written communication skills in English.

●        Fluency in another UN language is an advantage.





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development