Senior Programme Management Officer (Chief of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Unit)

Nairobi, , KE

Special Notice

This position is open for recruitment for an initial period of one year and may be extended subject to availability of 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.
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.
Staff members of the United Nations Secretariat must fulfill the lateral move(s) requirements, or geographical to be eligible to apply for this vacancy. Staff members are requested to indicate all qualifying lateral or geographical move(s) in their Personal History Profile (PHP) and cover note.
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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. UN Environment’s Ecosystems Division works with international and national partners, providing technical assistance and advisory services for the implementation of environmental policy, and strengthening the environmental management capacity of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. This post is located in the Ecosystems Division, at the Nairobi duty station. Under the overall guidance of the Director, Ecosystems Division, and the direct supervision of the Coordinator, Freshwater, Land and Climate Branch, the incumbent will perform the following functions:


1. Development and implementation of UN Environment’s terrestrial ecosystems portfolio
a) In the context of UN Environment’s Climate Change Strategy and Ecosystems Management Programme, lead development and implementation of UN Environment’s mountain, agricultural landscapes, forests and drylands programmes in cooperation with other Divisions and offices across UN Environment;
b) lead the implementation of UN Environment’s activities within the United Nations Collaborative Partnership on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (the UN-REDD Programme);
c) Facilitate partnerships for dialogue and implementation with, inter alia, government partners and the private sector and with experts from national and international organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme, Center for International Forestry Research, International Fund for Agricultural Development, World Agroforestry Centre and UN Forum on Forests;
d) Coordinate activities to facilitate development and implementation of the terrestrial ecosystems programme including the mobilization of resources, initiating and/or assessing the viability of environmental projects and programme elements in ecosystem management and making recommendations to the Branch Coordinator and Division management;
e) Liaise with relevant UN agencies, inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations and private sector entities to ensure collaboration in programme development and implementation;
f) Coordinate the preparation of reports for presentation to senior management, governing councils and intergovernmental bodies ensuring quality of technical papers and follow up to Senior Management Team decisions;
g) Develop and advocate innovative concepts and tools designed to improve or re-orient the management of terrestrial ecosystems with UN Environment’s policy objectives;
h) Lead, organize and/or participate in substantive discussions, meetings and conferences and represent the unit at international, regional or national meetings and provide programmatic and substantive expertise;
i) Provide policy and programme guidance to Branch Coordinator and Division management to align unit activities with UN Environment’s overall mandates and strategic objectives;
j) Report on the status of implementation of the work programme regularly as scheduled by the UN reporting requirements;
2) Enhance UN Environment’s engagement on Forests, Mountains, Drylands and Agriculturally dominated Landscapes:
a) Review and analyse UN Environment’s current work on terrestrial ecosystems and develop potential areas of future engagement into a comprehensive project portfolio;
b) Liaising and consulting to tap into the strengths of the relevant UN Environment Divisions and Regional/Country Offices to design a cross-divisional project portfolio;
c) Design and develop management tools and capacity building activities to assist countries in managing terrestrial ecosystems including agriculturally dominated landscapes.
3) Management of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Unit:
a) Recommend to the Branch Coordinator the allocation of financial resources, justifying administrative and/or results-based budget proposals and work plans; monitor and report on budgetary performance of the Unit;
b) Manage staff performance and ensure ongoing professional development, continued learning and the right mix of skills and competencies; under delegated authority from the Division Director and Branch Coordinator initiate and recommend approval of personnel actions;
c) Guide and support professional and general service staff in meeting their objectives and outputs; foster teamwork and communication in the Unit and across organizational boundaries; d) Undertake duties in accordance with the delegated authority;
e) Perform other duties as may be required.


• Professionalism: Demonstrated competence and mastery in ecosystem and/or land management. The incumbent should be conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines, achieving results and highly motivated professionally especially when faced with difficult problems and challenges.
• 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.
• 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.
• Judgement/Decision-making: 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 the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; Makes tough decisions when necessary.
• Planning & 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.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in a natural resources discipline or related field. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

At least 10 years of progressively responsible work in Land/Forestry/Biodiversity or ecosystem management/natural resources management. Of these 10 years, at least 3 years at the international level, with at least one year in leadership and supervisory capacity managing performance for at least 5-10 professional/technical staff members.Relevant professional experience in ecosystems management, developing projects and raising funds for environmental programmes/projects is desirable. Experience in national or international policy development and in engaging the private sector would be an asset.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the advertised post, fluency in oral and written English is required. Knowledge of French or Spanish is highly 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.

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