Environmental Affairs Officer (Project)

Geneva, Switzerland 🇨🇭

Special Notice

This is a project post. Appointment against this post is for an initial period of one year and may be subject to extension. 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.

All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply on-line as soon as possible after the job opening has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the job opening. On-line applications will be acknowledged where an email address has been provided.

If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received.. If the problem persists, please seek technical assistance through the Inspira “Need Help?” link.

The United Nations 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

The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between states. Its aim is to endure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP and is located at the Geneva duty station. The Environment Affairs Officer, Flora, works under the overall supervision of the Head of Team, serves as the principal officer in the CITES Secretariat for all issues related to flora. The incumbent is responsible for the development and delivery of all programmes aimed at the implementation of the Convention for flora. Included are activities relating to the Identification Manual for plants, the nomenclature of flora in CITES, training programmes for Authorities from Parties and others involved in the implementation of the Convention and supporting the Head of Team in regional co-ordination. The incumbent will be responsible for the following:


1. To represent the CITES Secretariat in matters related to the implementation of the Convention for flora by:

a. Acting as the principal contact for the Secretariat with Parties, other States and non-governmental organizations with regard to matters related to flora, the Plants Committee, and for matters related to flora with Nomenclature Committee;
b. Reviewing all proposals related to flora and drafting Secretariat recommendations to the Conference of the Parties on each propsal;
c. Developing projects, programmes or proposals for amendments to improve the implementation of CITES in relation to flora.

2. To collect, analyse and disseminate information related to flora in trade by:

a. Assisting in the preparation of special regional or national training seminars to explain CITES regulations for trade in flora and participating in general CITES seminars for the subjects related to implementation of CITES for flora and other subjects as required;
b. Reviewing national legislation with regard to the implementation of CITES for flora, making recommendations and developing programmes for assistance in developing effective national legislations;
c. Maintaining contact with government agencies, non-governmental conservation organizations and academic institutions regarding trade in flora;
d. Developing materials and programmes explaining the CITES system for the regulation of trade in flora;
e. Preparing identification materials and other relevant information on flora for inclusion in the CITES Indentification Manual;
f. Monitoring and reporting on the utilization and enforcement of annual export quotas.

3. Under the Head of the Team, carry out assignments:

a. Establishing contracts with Parties Permanent Missions in Geneva and Management Authorities in Party countries providing direct assistance in regard to the provision of documentation or information, facilitating the identification of needs, such as training, enforcement, legislation and species projects;
b. Providing technical input to queries from Parties both those addressed to the Team and to other Teams;
c. During visits to any Party, contacting the Management Authority and, with the consent of the Management Authority, the Scientific Authority and any other organization concerned with the implementation of the Convention;
d. Providing assistance to Parties in the identification of infractions and providing assistance in this respect;
e. Attending and, as required, providing input into the organization of regional CITES meetings and participating in other relevant for a in the region to inform countries about CITES and its mission;
f. Visiting new Parties and providing them with information concerning the implementation of the Convention;
g. Establishing contact with non-Parties and providing information, documentation and any other assistance required.

4. Developing, implementing and evaluating assigned programmes/projects:
a. Monitoring and analyzing programme/projects development and implementation;
b. Reviews relevant documentations and reports;
c. Identifying problems and issues to be addressed and initiating corrective actions;
d. Liaising with relevant parties; ensuring follow-up actions.

5. Performs other duties as assigned, such as representation of the CITES Secretariat in international meetings and/or participation in other CITES activities.


-Has experience in the conservation management of, and international trade in plant species and species from forest
-Has knowledge of the UN system and with CITES programmes as well as of CITES institutions, mandate, polices and guidelines
-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.

-Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals
-Solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; 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

-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

– Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients ” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view;
– Establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect;
– Identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions;
– Monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems;
– Keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects;
– Meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.


An advanced university degree Masters’s (or equivalent) in botany, environmental studies, agriculture or ecology or a related field is required. A first-level degree (Bachelor’s or the equivalent) in the specified fields with two additional years of relevant work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible experience in botany, conservation science or ecology or related fields is required of which three years should be in an international environment at the international level, preferably with experience working in developing countries. Knowledge of the UN system and with CITES programme as well as of relevant CITES institutions, mandates, policies, guidelines is an advantage. Experience in the conservation management of plant species or species from forest will also be an advantage. Ability to write & edit specialized texts and materials for non-specialists. Competent in the use of modern & specialized information & communication technology.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in oral and written English is required. Working knowledge of French is desirable; knowledge of another UN language is an asset.


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.

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