Environmental Affairs Officer

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

Geneva, Switzerland 🇨🇭

Org. Setting and Reporting

This post is located in the Environment for Europe and Sustainable Development Section of the Environment Division or the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Geneva. 
UNECE Environment Division contributes to the overall objectives and mandate of UNECE as a multilateral platform facilitating greater economic integration and cooperation among its member States, and to the broad aim of the Environment subprogramme to safeguard the environment and human health, and to promote sustainable development in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Incumbent reports to the Programme Manager in charge of the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention).


Within delegated authority, the Environmental Affairs Officer will be responsible for the following duties: 

• Assists the secretariat in servicing the official processes related to the Aarhus Convention and promote the effective implementation of the Convention in such areas as public participation in decision-making, amendment of the Convention on genetically modified organisms, promotion of the Convention’s principles in international forums, and, providing substantive support, as required, to other work areas as well as assist in providing expert legal support to the secretariat. 

• Assists the secretariat in preparing for, servicing and following-up to the sessions of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention and meetings of subsidiary bodies established by the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention, in particular the Compliance Committee, and provide the required support to e.g. task force on public participation in decision; to the Working Group of the Parties, the Bureau of the Meeting of the Parties, task force on access to justice and task force on access to information. This includes drafting e.g. legal documents, thematic background documents, reports of meetings, discussion papers, publications and other material; 

• Supports the secretariat’s work in relation to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including the organization of workshops and expert meetings, and cooperation with the Convention on Biological Diversity. 

• Provides expert legal support to the secretariat through advice and assistance in legal matters arising in the course of the secretariat’s work; supporting legal aspects of the work of the Meeting of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies, as necessary; drafting responses to written inquiries for the secretariat. 

• Supports the secretariat’s work in relation to promotion and raising awareness of the Convention through servicing thematic sessions on promoting Convention’s principles in international forums; cooperation with partner organizations and institutions, as well as through participation in relevant regional and international events and processes on issues relevant to the Convention; maintains contacts with national focal points and other relevant contacts, drafts correspondence and provides information to delegations as required. 

• Provides other support to the secretariat as necessary, including contracting consultants, individual contractors and other experts in preparation of relevant documents and research studies; maintenance of relevant pages of the Convention’s website, preparing entries for the Clearinghouse, dealing with written enquiries from the public, supporting fund-raising efforts; support to the Unit Chief (Secretary to the Convention), to other activities of the Aarhus Convention unit; and assisting the secretariat in complying with requests from other parts of the Division, UNECE or other parts of UN.


PROFESSIONALISM: Knowledge of the Aarhus Convention, including the processes and mechanisms established under its auspices, is a strong asset. Knowledge and understanding of concepts and approaches relevant to environmental rights, international environmental law, sustainable development, democratisation and civil society engagement; practical experience in programme/project management and administration; excellent analytical and problem-solving skills; ability to apply good judgment in the context of assignments given. 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. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

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. 

TEAMWORK : 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.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in law, preferably with a specialization in environmental law, or related area. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in the areas of international environmental law, sustainable development, democratisation, human rights, civil society engagement or a related field is required. Experience in drafting legal documents and in the field of legal and policy analysis and advice with the special focus on legislative frameworks is required. Experience with servicing or supporting multi-stakeholder intergovernmental processes, preferably in connection with global or regional environmental legal instruments is required. Experience in project management and in organizing capacity-building activities is required.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required, knowledge of French and/or Russian is an advantage.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which will be followed by competency-based interview.

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


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. 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. 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 Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

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 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 according to the instructions provided in inspira 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.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee