Director (Division for Planet)

United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)

Geneva, , CH


The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is the training arm of the United Nations, with a mission to develop individual, institutional and organizational capacities of countries and other UN stakeholders through high-quality learning solutions and related knowledge products and services. Guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other major plans of action, UNITAR pursues this mission through a wide range of thematic programmes organized under the Peace, People, Planet and Prosperity dimensions of the 2030 Agenda.

The Division for Planet is composed of several distinct but related Programme Units which support the strengthening of individual, institutional, legal and technical capacities to support the transition to greater resource efficiency, renewable energy and low carbon growth, responsible consumption and production, climate resilient development, the sound management of chemicals and wastes, and the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Through a diverse set of activities, including the design and delivery of learning solutions; advice and support to governments, national educational institutions, the UN and other partners; and knowledge and experience-sharing, the Division works to develop responses to address needs to support the implementation of internationally agreed environmental commitments and the development and implementation of relevant strategies, including those to promote green growth, climate change resilience and the strategic management of chemicals. Activities target a wide spectrum of beneficiaries, including senior to mid-level government officers, representatives of the United Nations and other organizations, civil society and academia, and youth.


Under the supervision of the Executive Director, the incumbent will:

  • Formulate, coordinate and oversee the planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting on the activities of the Division with a view to foster coherence and alignment with the overall strategic framework of UNITAR;
  • Ensure that the Division’s activities are coordinated across UNITAR and with the UN System.
  • Manage and oversee the performance of the Managers of the Units in the Division;
  • Identify potential areas for further development at the Divisional and Unit level and incubate new initiatives and methodologies with the goal of enhancing the diversity and effectiveness of the Division’s portfolio;
  • Oversee the adoption of the latest technologies and methodologies across the Division and ensure that learning materials and reports meet established quality standards;
  • Foster teamwork and collaboration among the Division’s Units and across Divisions;
  • Engage in fundraising for the Division and help Unit Managers in their efforts for funding activities pertaining to their Unit with a view to ensure financial sustainability and growth of the Division;
  • Represent the Executive Director, as appropriate, by participating in international, regional and inter-agency meetings, nurturing and fostering partnerships with governments, intergovernmental organizations, UN system entities and civil society/academia with a view to enhance programme development, coordination and partnership development;
  • Support joint projects across the Institutes’ Divisions, support strategic planning and the overall growth and modernization of UNITAR with a view to enhance synergies and efficiency;
  • Manage one Unit in the Division as its Manager (see below Job Description, Manager);
  • Perform other duties, as assigned, and travel, as needed;

The job requires frequent interaction with Senior Management at the level of Division Directors, senior staff from the UN System entities, Ambassadors/Permanent Representatives representing Member States in Geneva and other UN locations, and senior representatives of partner institutions.


Supervises Managers of the Division for Planet and staff of the Unit under his/her direct responsibility.

Results Expected

Effective coordination and implementation of UNITAR Planet activities; successful management of the Division and financial sustainability of the Division; incubation of new programme areas; management and further development of the Unit of which s/he is in charge.

Job Description



Under the supervision of the Executive Director the incumbent will:

  • Plan, organize, manage and supervise the work of the Unit  by setting the general direction and strategies for the Programme; and overseeing the development and execution of its annual work plan (including programmatic coordination, programme delivery, monitoring, reporting, quality control; development and implementation of the fundraising strategy; budgetary planning and financial execution and reporting; design of new projects or products; establishing and maintaining effective donor and partner relations; and other administration and human resource-related tasks);
  • Ensure sustainable funding and sound financial management for the Unit by: developing effective relationships with, and mobilizing support from, existing and new donors; approving expenditures in accordance with budgets; assessing and incubating new initiatives capable of attracting new funding; and ensuring effective outreach and communication.
  • Ensure effectiveness and relevance of programming through monitoring contemporary developments in the areas of work and liaising with Member States and, in particular, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation; inter-governmental organizations, including the relevant agencies and organizations of the UN system, universities, and other partners/donors in view of identifying needs and latest developments for inclusion in the design, development and funding related training projects, activities and initiatives; incorporates new information as well as feedback from evaluations into new programme design, into identification and supervision of senior resource persons, into training sessions delivered by the incumbent, and into overall programme implementation with a view to continual refinement;
  • Conceptualize and implement new areas and projects to expand the Unit’s portfolio by identifying new opportunities; providing policy and technical guidance for new activities; and forging and maintaining innovative relations with partners and stakeholders
  • Interact with relevant organizations and represents the Unit, to enhance collaboration by liaising with government, civil society and private sector organizations; interacting closely with intergovernmental organizations including UN bodies, agencies and programmes; establishing partnerships and cooperation; presenting information, observations, opinions and arguments to partners and stakeholders regarding capacity development trends and needs
  • Maintain the reputation of the Unit’s activities by following high standards in capacity development and service provision; ensuring compliance with rules and regulations; managing the Unit’s public relations strategy by overseeing the construction and up-dating of the website, production of promotional material and the establishment of a network of professionals and alumni; liaising with media, opinion leaders and partners to showcase benefits and results; nurturing and expanding contacts with academic institutions
  • Maintain staff job results by communicating job expectations; planning, monitoring and appraising job results; overseeing, coaching, counseling and disciplining employees; initiating, coordinating and enforcing systems, policies and procedures; maintaining a secure work environment; and developing personal growth opportunities
  • Keep senior management informed of new initiatives, developments and performance by preparing appropriate and timely inputs to decision-making and planning processes, audits, and substantive and/or managerial reports; participating in management and staff meetings; and interacting with UNITAR Divisions and Units as appropriate; sharing best practices/lessons learnt and adapting current management strategies to meet guidelines and policies agreed upon by the Institute


  • Professionalism – Comprehensive knowledge of and practical experience in project management and expertise in designing and delivering learning solutions and related knowledge products and services; sound knowledge of substantive topics covered by the Division for Planet in the context of Agenda 2030; proven management, leadership and supervisory skills; strong research and analytical skills; knowledge of and experience with needs assessment and learning methodologies; ability to analyze, integrate and synthesize diverse information; ability to anticipate requirements, set priorities and sound decision making skills; establishment of productive and cooperative relationships with staff, colleagues, partners and donors; creativeness and vision to apply new approaches and methodologies to improve existing programmes and incubate new ones.
  • Planning & Organizing – Sound organizational skills and ability to prioritize work programme; work under pressure; capacity to develop a vision for the Division.
  • Communications – Excellent communication (spoken, written and presentational) skills.
  • Teamwork –  Strong interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with people in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Leadership – Serves as a role; empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of actors; anticipates and resolves conflict by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; drives for change and improvements; incorporates gender perspectives and ensures the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; and demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing. Promotes a culture of accountability, learning and continuous quality improvement within the Division”.
  • Managing performance/Supervision – Strong interpersonal skills; delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and mentoring to staff; encourages creativity and initiative; actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff.


Education:  Advanced degree in education, international relations, political science, law or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Experience:  At least fifteen years of relevant work experience, ten of which should be at the international level in training/education, relevant experience in project development, management and implementation. Knowledge and experience in developing learning tools and materials for professional training programmes. Field experience desirable.

Language: Fluency in English required. Fluency in French or Spanish is desirable.

Special Notice

UNITAR is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Qualified women, individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups, and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality.

English and French are the two working languages of UNITAR. Priority will be given to the applicants from the under-represented regions at UNITAR. There will be a probation period of 3 months.

UNITAR staff members are subject to the authority of the UNITAR Executive Director and their appointments are limited to service with the Institute.


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. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, or crimes other than minor traffic offences, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. UNITAR is a non-smoking environment.

The 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 Staff Regulations and Rules and UNITAR administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications to be considered for the current job opening. 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 reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

No Fee


How to apply

All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible after the vacancy has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the vacancy announcement.

A letter of motivation as well as the completed P11 form are to be sent at:  [email protected]

UN staff members must submit copies of their latest Performance Appraisal System (PAS) report at the time of application.