Environmental Affairs Officer (UNECE Water Convention)

Geneva, Switzerland 🇨🇭

Special Notice


•The temporary position is intended to fill the functions of short-term duration with an estimated start date 15 March 2017 up to 31 December 2017.
•The duration of the appointment is subject to the availability of funds.
•Candidates should have no expectation of any fixed-term appointment possibility after the end of this temporary assignment. If the selected candidate is an internal staff member of the UN Secretariat, the selection will be recorded as a temporary assignment.
•Subsequent to the initial temporary appointment, new and successive temporary appointments may be granted for service in the same office or in a different office any number of times, for any duration, provided that the length of service does not exceed the period of 364 calendar days.
•Upon separation from service, including, but not limited to, expiration or termination of, or resignation from, a fixed-term, continuing or permanent appointment, a former staff member will be ineligible for re-employment on the basis of a temporary appointment for a period of 31 days following the separation. In the case of separation from service on retirement, a former staff member will be ineligible for re-employment for a period of three months following the separation. This equally applies, mutatis mutandis, with respect to a former or current staff member who has held or holds an appointment in another entity applying the United Nations Staff Regulations and Rules and who applies for a temporary position with the Secretariat.
•A current staff member who holds a fixed-term, permanent or continuing appointment may apply for temporary positions no more than one level above his or her current grade. However, a current staff member who holds an appointment at the G-6 or G-7 level may also apply to temporary positions in the Professional category up to and including the P-3 level, subject to meeting all eligibility and other requirements for the position.
•A staff member holding a temporary appointment shall be regarded as an external candidate when applying for other positions, and may apply for other temporary positions at any level, subject to section 5.7 below and staff rule 4.16 (b) (ii). Therefore, a staff member holding a temporary appointment in the General Service or related categories may only apply to positions within those categories. For full information on eligibility requirements, please refer to section 5 of ST/AI/2010/4Rev.1 on Temporary Appointments. In its resolution 66/234, the General Assembly further “stressed that the Secretary-General should not recur to the practice of temporarily filling posts in the Professional and higher categories with General Service staff members who have not passed the General Service to Professional category examination other than on an exceptional basis, and requests the Secretary-General to ensure that temporary occupation of such posts by the General Service staff shall not exceed a period of one year, effective 1 January 2013…” Consequently, eligible candidates in the General Service or related categories for temporary job openings in the Professional category that have not passed the competitive examination may be selected only on an exceptional basis endorsed by the Office of Human Resources Management where no other suitable candidate could be identified.
•While this temporary assignment may provide the successful applicant with an opportunity to gain new work experience, the selection for this position is for a limited period and has no bearing on the future incumbency of the post. An external candidate selected for this position is bound by the prevailing condition of the staff selection system under ST/AI/2010/3, as amended, and ST/AI/2010/4/Rev.1. A staff member holding a temporary appointment who is recruited in the Professional and above categories on a temporary appointment, and placed on a position authorized for one year or longer may not apply for or be reappointed to his/her current position within six months of the end of his/her current service. This provision does not apply to staff members holding temporary appointments and placed on positions authorized for one year or more in duty stations authorized for peacekeeping operations or special political missions.
•The expression “Internal candidates”, shall mean staff members who have been recruited after a competitive examination under staff rule 4.16 or after the advice of a central review body under staff rule 4.15.
•For more details on the administration of temporary appointments please refer to ST/AI/2010/4/Rev.1.
•For information on special post allowance, please refer to ST/AI/1999/17. The Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and administrative issuances governing staff appointments can be viewed at: http://www.un.org/hr_handbook/English

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Transboundary Cooperation Section of the Environment Division of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). The incumbent reports to the manager of the water unit and Secretary to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses (Water Convention), Transboundary Cooperation Section. The incumbent provides support to the implementation of activities under the Water Convention that is serviced by the unit.


Under the general supervision of the Chief, Transboundary Cooperation Section and the direct supervision of the manager of the water unit and Secretary to the Water Convention, the Environmental Affairs Officer will support the planning, implementation and monitoring of the programme of work under the Water Convention, in particular:

(a) Plan and organize, in cooperation with international and national partners and including both substantial and logistical arrangements, international, regional and subregional workshops and other events to promote the implementation of the Water Convention at national and basin levels and the exchange of experience between countries, subregions and regions;
(b) Prepare background documentation, including regional, subregional and national reviews of policies, legislation, agreements, institutions and practice in the field of management of transboundary surface and ground-waters;
(c) Plan, supervise and contribute to work climate change adaptation under the Convention, including projects in specific transboundary basins;
(d) Plan, supervise and contribute to other projects related to the implementation of the Convention and its Protocol;
(e) Organize, in cooperation with national and international partners, other regional, subregional and national workshops in support of the implementation of the programme of work, including both substantial and logistical arrangements;
(f) Prepare and service meetings of intergovernmental bodies under the Convention, including the preparation of agendas, background documents and session reports;
(g) Plan and supervise publications as necessary, including drafting, editing, formatting and layout, the production of graphics, and printing and translation;
(h) Identify and coordinate interaction with programmes of the ECE secretariat, UN organizations, UN-Water, other relevant international governmental and non-governmental organizations, and private sector organizations; exchange information with these organizations;
(i) Update the website, draft press releases, public relations bulletins and other media work to increase awareness and publicize the work;
(j) In collaboration with the supervisor, prepare budget proposals and resources requirement, arrange for appropriate use of funds, actively participate in drafting of project proposals and fund raising activities, report on the use of the funds;
(k) Assist the rest of the Convention’s secretariat in tasks related to the implementation of its programme of work;
(l) Represent the ECE secretariat at international meetings and be willing to travel as required;
(m) Provide input to processes related to the programmes of work by ECE and other UN agencies, relevant international organizations and others, and support the Convention’s involvement in the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda;
(n) Provide input to ECE senior management in his/ her field of competence, as requested and required.


PROFESSIONALISM: Professional competence and knowledge in the field of water resources management and understanding of relevant multilateral environmental agreements.
Demonstrates professional competency in project implementation and administration, including fund-raising, budgeting and donor reporting as well as in preparing intergovernmental meetings. Proven analytical and problem-solving skills. 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.

PLANNING AND ORGANIZING: Ability to plan his/her own work, ability to handle multiple concurrent activities under tight deadlines, ability to identify priority activities and assignments and adjust priorities as required, ability to anticipate problems and find solutions, experience in organizing and servicing intergovernmental bodies and technical cooperation activities.

TEAMWORK: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

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.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in environmental management, science, law, engineering or related area. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

Minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible professional experience at the national and international levels in the areas related to water resources management, climate change, or international environmental policy cooperation or environmental law. Experience in organizing and implementing projects at the sub-regional, regional or international levels is required. Experience in servicing multi-stakeholder intergovernmental processes and meetings, preferably in connection with global or regional environmental legal instruments is desirable.


Fluency in English is required. Fluency in Russian is highly desirable.


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

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, including but not limited to, respect for international human rights and humanitarian law. Candidates may be subject to screening against these standards, including but not limited to, whether they have committed or are alleged to have committed criminal offences or violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

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.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the At-a-Glance on “The Application Process” and the Instructional Manual for the Applicants, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The screening and 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, including but not limited to, their education, work experience, and language skills, according to the instructions provided on inspira. Applicants will be disqualified from consideration if they do not demonstrate in their application that they meet the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations. Applicants are solely responsible for providing complete and accurate information at the time of application: 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 a reference-checking process to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at midnight (New York time) on the deadline date.