Chief of Branch (Water, Energy, and Capacity Development Branch)

New York, NY, United States 🇺🇸

Special Notice

– 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.

Org. Setting and Reporting

The position is located in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Division for Sustainable Development (DSD), in the Water, Energy and Capacity Development Branch. The Division for Sustainable Development, under the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, provides leadership in promoting and coordinating implementation of the sustainable development agenda of the United Nations and serves as secretariat to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development which was established following the Rio+20 Conference and GA resolutions 66/288 and 67/290. For more information, please visit our website at The Chief of Branch reports to the Director of the Division.


Under the overall supervision and guidance of the Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, the incumbent will be responsible for the following:

1. Provide policy advice, through the Director of the Division, to the Under-Secretary-General and senior officials in the Department on capacity development related to the follow to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development , the Rio+20 and World Summit on Sustainable Development outcomes, the Samoa Pathway, as well as on water, energy and on sustainable development issues and related UN activities.

2. Lead, oversee and coordinate the capacity development programme of the Division in those areas, including preparation of workshops, expert group meetings, training materials and reports on capacity building in developing countries on water and energy issues while supporting developing countries and the work of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

3. Coordinate and oversee the preparation of briefing material, presentations, draft speeches, and policy proposals on sustainable development issues, including on capacity development, water, and energy, for the Director and Senior Management.

4. Formulate, plan and manage the work programme of the Branch and its resources, including: (i) preparing biennial programme budget and strategic framework and reports periodically on budget performance and implementation; (ii) preparing Branch work plans in line with Divisional and Departmental goals and priorities; (iii) implementing and monitoring the Performance Appraisal System and working with staff to ensure their understanding and participation; (iv) cooperating and maintaining liaison with other branch chiefs in divisional level work and activities.

5. Coordinate and cooperate with other partners in the United Nations system as well as with other national, regional and global organizations for the implementation of the work programme of the Branch and the capacity development programme of the Division.

6. Act as Officer-in-Charge of the Division in the absence of the Director and represent the Director in DESA’s Directors’ meetings or other senior management meetings and represent the Division at international, regional or national meetings.


– Professionalism: Knowledge of sustainable development issues and approaches, and their implications for policy making at country level. Knowledge of the UN sustainable development agenda. Ability to deal with senior government officials on matter related to sustainable development and poverty eradication. Knowledge of analytical and capacity building skills and ability to produce reports and review and edit work of others. Knowledge of the United Nations system; ability to apply UN rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations. 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.

– 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.

– Planning and Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.

– 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; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.

– Judgment/Decision-making: Identifies 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 that the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in sustainable development, economics, public policy, natural resources management, engineering, business or public administration, finance, accounting, law, social sciences or related area is required. A first-level university degree in any of these fields, in combination with two additional years of qualifying work experience, may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of fifteen years of progressively responsible experience in policy oriented work in a broad range of sustainable development issues, ten years of which must be at the international level, either in the public or private sector, is required. Experience with capacity development is required. Supervisory experience, including the ability to organize and lead a team is required. Experience related to water and energy is desirable. Experience in supervising preparation of reports, formulating and implementing projects and recommendations for use by intergovernmental bodies is desirable. Experience in substantive servicing of intergovernmental bodies as well as broad exposure to various aspects of the Organization’s work in the economic, social and environmental fields is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of other official UN languages is desirable.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by 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.