Environmental Affairs Officer (Water Convention)

Geneva, Switzerland 🇨🇭

Special Notice

Extension of the appointment is subject to extension of the mandate and/or the availability of the funds.

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.

The United Nations is Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Transboundary Cooperation Section in the Environment Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Geneva. The broad aim of UNECE’s environment activities is to safeguard the environment and human health, and to promote sustainable development in its member countries in line with the 2030 Agenda.


Under the direct supervision of the Chief, Transboundary Cooperation Section, Environment Division and with guidance from the Secretary to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), the incumbent will be responsible for and manage the Water Convention’s programme area on the “European Union Water Initiative” by managing the project “European Union Water Initiative Plus for the Eastern Partnership (EUWI+ 4 EaP)” funded by the European Union, as well as related activities in Central Asian countries.

The main objective of the EUWI+ project is to improve the management of water resources, in particular of transboundary waters in countries in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, by improving the legal and regulatory framework through National Policy Dialogue (NPD) processes.
The incumbent will manage the NPDs, provide strategic and technical expertise to the process and be responsible for the relation with donors and with partners (in particular the European Commission, OECD and other bilateral donors), including fund-raising, reporting, etc.

The incumbent will be responsible for the following duties:

•Manages the National Policy Dialogue process with a focus on Integrated Water Resources Management.
-Manages the National Policy Dialogues (NPDs) by, among others, facilitating the work of national Steering Committees with the direct participation of high-level decision makers.
-Directs, in cooperation with the Steering Committees and their chairs in the respective countries, the achievement of the NPDs strategic objectives and guide the development and implementation of the national NPD work plans.
-Produces and delivers substantive and strategic presentations/reports during Steering Committee and other meetings.
-Liaises and ensures coordination with activities under the EUWI+, in particular the activities led by OECD, relevant activities of partners in the region and other activities under the Water Convention and its Protocol on Water and Health.
-Assists national authorities in building consensus and articulating common positions, by providing technical and policy advice on a broad range of issues related to water governance and integrated water resources management.
-Supervises the work of government-appointed rapporteurs and consultants to the secretariat, interns and other resource persons in the drafting of legislation and preparation of draft proposals, research studies and background papers on subjects related to the NPD process.
-Contributes strategically and substantively to the policy packages and other activities developed in the framework of the NPDs.
-Participate and represent UNECE in EUWI+ project meetings or in meetings on issues related to the NPD process

•Manages and develop the project:
-Is responsible for the administrative and financial aspects of the EUWI+ project and arrange for the appropriate use of funds.
-Oversees consultancy contracts, grant agreements and other needed contracts to carry out activities under the EUWI+ project.
-Is responsible, as programme manager, to meet the deadlines for specific tasks established in the annual work programme, such as preparation of the budgets and other working documents
-Identifies and develops partnership with donors, private sector and other actors in the field.
-Produces project reports to the European Commission and other donors according to project documents.
-Drafts project proposals to the EU and other donors, develop budgets and fundraise for activities.
-Provides information required by UN organizations, donors and other partners.

-Performs other related duties as required and assist the rest of the Convention’s secretariat to implement the programme of work under the Water Convention and the Protocol on Water and Health.
-Represents the ECE secretariat at international meetings and be willing to travel as required.
-Provides input to ECE senior management in his/her field of expertise as requested and required.
-Drafts publications, press releases public relations bulletins and other communication material.
-Publishes information on the Convention’s website and keep the webpages on the NPDs updated.
-Undertakes on-the-job and other training activities, both internally and externally.


– In-depth understanding of environmental issues and water management issues.
– Knowledge of international legal instruments in the field of environment and water.
– Ability to identify issues, analyse and participate in the resolution of issues/problems.
– Ability to apply judgment in the context of assignments given.
– Excellent drafting ability in English.
– 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.

-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 the audience.
-Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

-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.

-Identifies the 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.

-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 improvement; 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.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in environmental management, science, engineering, economics or related field. 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

A minimum of seven (7) years of progressively responsible professional experience at the national or international levels in the areas related to water resources management or environmental management is required. Extensive experience in managing environmental or water projects at the national or international levels is required. Experience in servicing multi-stakeholder intergovernmental processes and meetings is desirable, preferably in connection with global or regional environmental legal instruments. Experience in resource mobilisation and reporting to donors is desirable. Experience in providing policy and technical advice on water or environmental issues to national authorities is desirable. Relevant professional experience in countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required; fluency in Russian is desirable.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which will 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.