Regional Technical Specialist for Ecosystems and Biodiversity

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 🇪🇹

The Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) has corporate responsibility for developing all relevant policy and guidance to support the results of UNDP’s Strategic Plan.  BPPS’s staff provides technical advice to Country Offices; advocates UNDP corporate messages, represents UNDP at multi-stakeholder fora including public-private dialogues, government and civil society dialogue initiatives, South-South and Triangular cooperation initiatives and engages in UN inter-agency coordination in specific thematic areas.  
The Cluster on Sustainable Development focuses on integrating UNDP’s economic, social and environmental work into a coherent sustainable development policy and programming framework. It seeks to provide an integrated package of services covering all strands of sustainable development, including on integrated development planning and inclusive and sustainable growth, sustainable livelihoods and economic recovery in post crisis situations and natural capital and the environment. 
Based in UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, Sustainable development Cluster, the UNDP-Global Environmental Finance Unit (UNDP – GEF Unit) has as objective to help countries achieve the simultaneous eradication of poverty and significant reduction of inequalities and exclusion by assisting Country Offices in accessing environmental finance for sustainable development. This objective is achieved through five inter-related areas of work: (i) sustainable management of ecosystem goods and services; (ii) scaling up of climate change adaptation and mitigation; (iii) sustainable, affordable and accessible energy services; (iv) sustainable management of chemicals and waste; and (v) improved water and ocean governance. These areas of work are fully aligned with the four environmental outputs of the UNDP Strategic Plan.
UNDP is an accredited implementing entity for the following environmental vertical funds: (i) the funds managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF): the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund (GEF TF), the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF); (ii) the Adaptation Fund (AF); and (iii) the Green Climate Fund (GCF). As an Implementing Agency for these funds, UNDP offers countries highly specialized technical services for eligibly assessment, programme/project formulation, due diligence, mobilization of required co-financing, project implementation oversight, results management and evaluation, performance-based payments and knowledge management. 
The UNDP – GEF Unit is organized into five substantive technical teams corresponding to the five areas of work above. Each area of work is led by a Principal (PTA) or Senior Technical Advisor (STA), who supports and guides a team of Regional Technical Advisors and Specialists (RTAs/RTAs).  The regional teams are based in regional hubs (Addis Ababa, Istanbul, Bangkok, and Panama) from where they support UNDP’s country offices and partners in their region. As well as being a member of a technical team, each RTA/RTS is also a member of a regional team, which consists of RTAs/RTSs from all technical teams working together under the leadership of a UNDP – GEF Regional Team Leader (RTL).  
UNDP’s work in Ecosystems and Biodiversity has as an overall strategic objective to maintain and enhance the goods and services provided by biodiversity and ecosystems in order to secure livelihoods, food, water and health, enhance resilience, conserve threatened species and their habitats, and increase carbon storage and sequestration. The value of all UNDP-managed biodiversity and ecosystems projects currently in planning or under implementation is US$1.6 billion, with UNDP supporting 132 countries to access Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other vertical funds’ grant finance for biodiversity conservation, combating Land Degradation, Sustainable Forest Management, and ecosystem-based mitigation and adaptation, and to combine this with domestic and bilateral sources of finance.  Through this project portfolio UNDP provides support to countries’ work in three programming areas: (i) Integrating biodiversity and ecosystem management into development planning and production sector activities; (ii) unlocking the potential of protected areas, including indigenous and community conserved areas to contribute towards sustainable development; and (iii) managing and rehabilitating ecosystems for climate change adaptation and mitigation. 
RTSs have global responsibilities in their area of specialized technical expertise but are deployed from Regional Hubs, normally close to the countries to which they provide most support. The RTS for Ecosystems and Biodiversity works under the overall supervision of the UNDP-GEF STA on Ecosystems and Biodiversity.  RTSs have a secondary line of reporting to the Regional Practice or Team Leaders for the countries to which they provide support. The RTS will be based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is expected to travel frequently. RTSs may be periodically redeployed, in accordance with capability, consent, and due process, to a different regional hub as needed.
Duties and Responsibilities

The Regional Technical Specialist for Ecosystems and Biodiversity is primarily responsible for providing technical, policy, and programming implementation support and oversight, and knowledge and capacity development services pertaining to the work of the Ecosystems and Biodiversity signature programmes to UNDP country offices, working with other UN agencies, governments and inter-governmental organizations, NGO’s, donors, the private sector and many others.  Specific results are expected in the areas of:

Innovation, Strategic Leadership, Policy Dialogue and Advocacy
  • Contributing to a strategic understanding of, and engagement with, the substantive technical issues, institutions, and processes within the region, including establishing contact and developing strategic partnerships with other agencies, donors, NGO’s, the private sector, scientific institutions and the like; 
  • Participating in the development and implementation of UNDP’s global and regional strategies on environment and sustainable development; 
  • Providing policy development support and guidance; 
  • Supporting the development of strategic UNDP policy position papers and internal briefing notes; 
  • Facilitating policy analysis and the development of technical tools and guidance; 
  • Maintain a trusted leadership role amongst the countries served; 
  • Keeping the Regional Practice/Team Leader and other RTAs serving the same countries informed of trends and issues with respect to the substantive technical area;
  • Keeping the Principal Technical Advisors informed of trends and issues in the countries served.

Key result:  New strategic opportunities for UNDP are realized, UNDP’s technical focus is leading edge and innovative, UNDP has strong partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders, UNDP has a trusted leadership role in the technical area of expertise.

Portfolio Management 
  • Assisting in the maintenance of programme/project and portfolio information and corporate information systems;
  • Facilitating the identification, and sourcing of technical expertise and support including assisting with the preparation of TORs, identification and evaluation of experts and reviewing reports.
Key result:  Portfolio of programmes/projects managed efficiently and effectively.  UNDP recognized as providing outstanding programme and project oversight and supervision support.
Resource Mobilization
  • Supporting programme and project identification and development 
  • Providing timely and quality information and technical advice on sources of funds, policies, priorities and activities; 
  • Identifying and suggesting to the STA priorities and entry-points for UNDP assistance; 
  • Facilitating the process of preparation, design, submission and approval of programme/project concepts and full-fledged proposals for financing; 
  • Providing guidance and support in the identification and sourcing of technical expertise and support including assisting with the preparation of TORs, identification and evaluation of experts and reviewing reports; 
  • Liaising with potential financing agencies and institutions.
Key result:  Resources are mobilized in support of developing country clients as a consequence of the identification, development and funding of high technical quality and results based programmes and projects in line with country priorities and UNDP strategic priorities.
Development Impact 
  • Assisting with inception, contracting and start up of programmes/projects including establishment of indicators, benchmarks and work plans;
  • Supporting UNDP country offices and programme/project implementation partners in supervision, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, troubleshooting and adaptive management.
Key result:  UNDP programmes and projects consistently deliver high quality, high impact development results.
Learning, Knowledge Management and Self Development 
  • Evaluating, capturing, codifying, synthesizing lessons and stimulating the uptake of best practices and knowledge, including the development of knowledge materials; 
  • Peer reviewing, commenting on, and seeking to improve the technical quality of programmes/projects, policies, practices, guidelines, advisory notes, publications and the like; 
  • Contributing to the preparation of regional Community of Practice meetings; 
  • Preparing and delivering training courses; 
  • Responding to queries on programme/project progress, impacts and lessons;
  • Developing and carrying out a personal learning plan.
Key result:  UNDP recognized as a learning and knowledge management organization.
  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.
  • Ability to persuade others to follow.
People Management
  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.
  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.
  • Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement.
Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management
  • Knowledge of conservation, sustainable use and access and benefit sharing of biodiversity, land, forests and oceans and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
  • Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships.
Resource mobilization
  • Ability to identify and organize programmes and projects to implement solutions and generate resources to support initiatives at the national and regional levels for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management.
Program Planning and Design
  • Develop programmes and projects through a process.
Sustainable development
  • Knowledge of sustainable development concepts, principles and issues and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations, covering the economic, social and environmental dimensions.
Knowledge Management
  • Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge.
Gender issues and analysis
  • Knowledge of gender issues and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations, including analysis of projects from a gender perspective.
Results-based management
  • Ability to manage programmes and projects with a strategy aimed at improved performance and demonstrable results.
Environmental Issues
  • Knowledge of environment issues, concept and principles and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
Natural Resource Management
  • Knowledge of NRM concepts, principles and policies and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
  • Knowledge of economics concepts, principles and policies and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
Development Planning
  • Knowledge of development planning processes and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
Advocacy and Representation
  • Ability to productively share UNDP knowledge and activities (at UN and other venues).
Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Knowledge of methodologies, tools, systems and apply practical experience in planning, monitoring, evaluating and reporting.
Project Management
  • Ability to plan, organize, motivate, and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals.
  • Ability to provide guidance on biodiversity and ecosystem management, and where relevant, on sustainable land and forest management.  Ability to guide the design and implementation of multi-sectoral and sectoral programmes and projects at different scales, and to work with multiple stakeholders across a wide range of disciplines.
Required Skills and Experience
  • Master’s degree or higher in ecology, biology, environmental sciences, economics, social sciences with a specialization in environment and development, or other closely related field.
  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience working with developing countries on natural resource management/governance, ecosystem management and/or biodiversity conservation themes; 
  • Experience working on supporting developing countries to address biodiversity loss, and forest, land, and ecosystem degradation within the context of multilateral environmental agreements (i.e. CBD and UNCCD) is an advantage; 
  • Experience in the policy development processes in ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation and natural resource governance; 
  • Experience working with developing countries on ecosystem-based mitigation and adaptation to climate change and resilience building an advantage;
  • Experience with conceptualizing and developing projects and programmes in line with the biodiversity, land degradation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation of multilateral funding agencies such as Global Environment Facility is an advantage;
  • Experience in project management (direct experience an advantage) and guiding project implementation and management; 
  • Experience developing and maintaining strategic partnerships;
  • Experience in facilitation and coordination;
  • Full computer literacy;
  • Experience working in Africa is an advantage; 
  • Working experience in an international organization is an advantage, as is knowledge of UNDP policies, procedures and practices.
Language Requirements
  • Excellent knowledge of the English language, with exceptional writing, presentation and communication skills;
  • Knowledge of French and/or Portuguese would be an added advantage;
  • Proficiency in other UN languages is an asset.

Important information for US Permanent Residents (‘Green Card’ holders)

Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. 

UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

This vacancy announcement will be used to populate a roster of qualified candidates from which future Regional Technical Specialist for Ecosystems and Biodiversity assignments will be drawn. Kindly note that the Roster will consist of internal and external candidates found suitable for Regional Technical Specialist for Ecosystems and Biodiversity Fixed Term Appointments (FTA) at P3 levels. These candidates will have to be endorsed by the UNDP Compliance Review Board (CRB) after having successfully undergone a competitive recruitment process including a thorough technical assessment and a competency based interview. These individuals will be required to complete an application and, if successful, will be considered as “pre-approved” candidates for a duration of up to 3 years.

Workforce diversity

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