Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) - GEF Adaptation Panel member

Global Environment Facility (GEF)

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Background Information – UNOPS

UNOPS supports the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to serve people in need by expanding the ability of the United Nations, governments and other partners to manage projects, infrastructure and procurement in a sustainable and efficient manner.

Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, our vision is to advance sustainable implementation practices, always satisfying or surpassing our partners’ expectations.

With over 7,000 personnel spread across 80 countries, UNOPS offers its partners the logistical, technical and management knowledge they need, wherever they need it.

A flexible structure and global reach means that we can quickly respond to our partners’ needs, while offering the benefits of economies of scale. 

Background Information – WEC
Water and Energy Cluster

Based in Copenhagen, the UNOPS Water and Energy Cluster provides specialized project management services to partners such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank. Together with partners, the cluster executes projects that support sustainable development by:

  • promoting international cooperation to prevent and reverse environmental degradation of international water systems
  • enhancing the resilience of communities and eco-systems to climate change
  • lowering emissions by bridging renewable energy solutions
  • developing Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions to strengthen climate-resilient development

This Vacancy Announcement is being published by the Water & Energy Cluster on behalf of the GEF STAP

Background Information – Job-specific

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) – a body formed to convey the best available scientific and technical advice to the GEF – is currently accepting applications from highly qualified candidates with outstanding academic and technical credentials and a passion for tackling global environment challenges in the area of Adaptation.

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel is an independent body which advises the Council, Secretariat, and 18 GEF Agencies. The Panel is made up of 6 members – a Chairperson and 6 individual members with specialized expertise in one or several focal areas of work of the GEF. The roles and responsibilities of the Chairperson, the Panel Members and of the STAP Secretariat are governed in general by the Revised Terms of Reference (ToR) of the STAP (March 2012). Each individual Panel member is responsible for overseeing, and ensuring the consistency of, the STAP program of work in their assigned areas of responsibility. The Chair is responsible for strategic oversight, coordinating the work of the Panel, and ensuring effective liaison and communication with the GEF Council.

Climate Adaptation and the GEF

The Global Environment Facility has played a key pioneering role in exploring and implementing effective climate adaptation strategies in LDCs and other countries throughout the world, as well as in supporting the creation of enabling conditions at country level to plan for and monitor the effects of adaptation to the impacts of climate change. With unprecedented levels of financing expected to be made available for mitigation and equally for climate adaptation investments, the GEF will continue to play an important role in innovation, learning and monitoring, and mainstreaming adaptation needs into other investments.

Key characteristics of the Panel and of its Members

The Panel Members will deliver their individual roles and responsibilities pro-actively and as a team to advise the GEF regarding scientific and technical issues across its entire focal area portfolio.  The main characteristics of individual Panel Members will be their ability to provide intellectual leadership, to innovate and to formulate at the highest level advice that challenges conventional thinking and to bring intellectual rigor to their advice on strategic and operational issues.  They will direct STAP resources primarily towards the analysis of contemporary environmental change and the formulation of strategic options for GEF Council consideration.  Panel Members will also be responsible for developing the Work Program and directing the STAP Secretariat’s support to the Program.

Panel Members:

Each Panel Member is responsible for the Panel’s advice regarding their respective focal areas, along with cross-cutting or integrated issues as assigned, under the direction of the Chair. Panel Members will deliver their advice calling upon the best available expertise and science and technology networks, and will ensure that appropriate peer review processes are employed to confirm the accuracy, quality of information, and credibility of the specific content and recommendations to be made by the STAP, as appropriate. Panel Members may lead and facilitate ad-hoc working groups and meetings, including those at the request of the GEF Secretariat and the GEF Independent Evaluation Office as these relate to the STAP Work Program and as resources permit, in order to enable the provision of the best available advice to the GEF. The main responsibilities of Panel Members are as follows:

Panel members will engage, as appropriate, qualified experts drawn from scientific and technical networks screened by the STAP, and will lead and facilitate task forces, working groups and meetings, in order to enable the provision of the best available advice to the GEF

As directed by the Chairperson of the STAP, the Panel Member will advise the GEF through work delivered against the following Goals and specific Targets applicable under this Individual ToR. There will be liaison, as appropriate, with other members of the Panel and with support from the Secretariat, to maximise quality of input to the STAP’s advisory service. There will also be collaboration with the GEF Secretariat to streamline and set priorities within the following indicative list of specific responsibilities.

Functional Responsibilities
  • Demonstrate technical leadership and initiative in proposing and delivering the best available scientific and technical advice for the GEF;
  • Take an active part in the development and implementation of the STAP Work Program, and to this end and supported by the STAP Secretariat prepare work program activities in consultation with the GEF focal area Task Forces, oversee expert meetings and the preparation of background documents, identify and network with the best global experts available to contribute to the task, and prepare the final report of the activity for which financial support can be made available;
  • Undertake and coordinate screens of Project Information Forms and Program Proposals to be included in GEF work programs;
  • Participate actively in STAP meetings and the GEF task forces and ad-hoc working groups;
  • At the request of the Chair, coordinate the activities of the STAP work program in their respective areas of expertise;
  • Participate in two face to face meetings of the STAP Panel annually, in collaboration with the GEF partnership, along with monthly teleconferences;
  • Participate in other meetings and events organized by the STAP, the GEF Secretariat; Independent Evaluation Office, and the subsidiary bodies of the GEF related conventions, and the Convention Secretariats, as required, and at the request of the STAP Chair;
  • Circulate briefing reports to the members and to the Secretariat on meetings and events in which the panel members represented the Panel;
  • Periodically circulate to Panel and GEF colleagues the results of scientific research that the Panel Member is aware of which is directly relevant to their focal area or integrated approaches;
  • Provide inputs to the preparation of the STAP rolling work program, including identifying trends and emerging issues that could impact the GEF operations;
  • Provide inputs into the regular reports to the GEF Council and quadrennial reports to the GEF Assembly;
  • Provide expert inputs to and undertake reviews of M&E and KM activities, as per the agreed STAP work program;
  • Identify areas for research and review proposals as necessary in accordance with the GEF policy for funding targeted research;
  • Mobilize their respective scientific and technical networks in support  of the GEF objectives;
  • Ensure that the work of STAP contributes and benefits from the work undertaken by the Implementing Agencies, the GEF Secretariat and the GEF related conventions.
Education/Experience/Language requirements


  1. Advanced degree, preferably a PhD, in a field directly related to the position; 
  2. Minimum 15 years of experience in scientific research – and in the application of results to real-world issues
  3. Demonstrated ability to work cross-sectorally in areas of importance related to the field of adaption and Sustainable Development (including the other GEF Focal areas of Chemicals & Waste, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Land Degradation, and International Waters);
  4. Capable of bridging scientific, technological, economic, social and policy issues in the public and/or private sector contexts;
  5. Experience working in developing countries, including applied research related to adaptation, and design and/or implementation of adaptation programs involving multilateral environmental agreements, preferably in coordination with multilateral and bilateral agencies;
  6. Extensive access to scientific networks and partnerships globally (in both developed and developing countries) in the area of environmentally sustainable development with a clear focus on adaptation, and demonstrated ability to engage and tap into these networks;
  7. Fluency in oral and written English, and demonstrated ability to communicate, orally and in writing, in a clear, concise, and structured manner.
  8. Peer reviewed publication record that is of relevance to the position.  


  1. Demonstrated expertise and leadership in the field of adaptation and sustainable development, supported by (but not restricted to) the candidate’s peer-reviewed publication record;
  2. Demonstrated ability to initiate and manage scientific research undertakings involving multiple stakeholders in multiple geographic settings;
  3. Knowledge of the scientific processes required for the implementation of relevant conventions in developing countries for which the GEF provides support.

In addition to the core competencies of professionalism and leadership noted above, the following additional competencies will also be considered:

  1. Enthusiasm and commitment to addressing issues related to adaptation;
  2. High level of technical and scientific awareness, including familiarity with latest tools/techniques for collection, storage, analysis, monitoring and dissemination of adaptation relevant scientific data – proactively keeps GEF up to date on latest technical and scientific developments;
  3. Team work – ability to collaborate effectively and remotely in a multi-cultural team and share responsibilities;
  4. Able to communicate in a clear, structured, and concise manner – both orally and in writing;
  5. Able and willing to travel globally to attend meetings and events;
  6. A good sense of humor.

Time Commitment

A Panel Member is expected to provide a minimum contribution of 65 days per year to the work of STAP – up to a maximum of 90 days if required under exceptional circumstances and with mutual agreement. The Panel meets in person twice a year, and at least monthly by teleconference.  In addition, Panel Members normally undertake at least 2-3 additional trips per year related to activities directly supporting the STAP Work Program (e.g. workshops or meetings related to work program deliverables, Convention subsidiary expert body meetings, etc.). The Panel Member is also expected to actively participate in GEF focal area inter-agency task force discussions, which typically involve monthly one hour teleconferences and occasional face-to face meetings. The majority of the operational business of STAP is transacted by email and teleconference.

STAP Secretariat

The work of the Panel is supported by a small, fully dedicated Secretariat supported by the United Nations Environment Program. The STAP Secretariat provides both substantive and operational assistance in the delivery of the Panel Member responsibilities outlined above including background research, development of terms of reference and draft reports/outputs, as well as to administer the contracting, task management, and delivery of the work under the direction of the Panel Member concerned.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: International ICA -3 retainer
Contract level: IICA-3
Contract duration: 65 working days per year

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: 

Additional Considerations
  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns.
Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.