Director (Ecosystem Division)

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)
Nairobi, Kenya
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

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. 

The UN Environment Division of Ecosystem 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 position is located in the UN Environment /Ecosystem Division at the Nairobi Headquarters Duty Station.


Under the direct supervision of the Deputy Executive Director and the overall guidance of the Executive Director, the Director will be responsible for the following:

  • Formulate and implement the substantive work programme of the Division, determine priorities and allocate resources for the completion of outputs/results and their timely delivery, in co-operation and co-ordination with other UN Environment divisions and offices and with other organizations of the UN System, donors and agencies; 
  • Prepare and implement activities pertaining to the protection and development of the environment aimed at building the capacity of Governments and other stakeholders, especially those in developing countries, to address environmental problems and providing technological support.
  • Co-ordinate and oversee the preparation of reports for presentation to donors and inter-governmental bodies such as the UN Environment Assembly of UN Environment, Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budget Questions, Committee for Programme Coordination, Economic and Social Council, other subsidiary bodies of the General Assembly and other policy-making organs;
  • Undertake or oversee the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Division, including preparation of budgets, assigning and monitoring of performance parameters and critical indicators, reporting on budget/programme performance, preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting, development of staff work plans and evaluation of staff performance; 
  • Oversee the recruitment of staff for the Division, including appropriate delegation of tasks such as conducting interviews of candidates for job openings and evaluation of candidates, taking due account of the relevance of educational background and professional experience, geographical and gender balance and other institutional values;
  • Manage, guide, develop, encourage and train staff under his/her supervision; 
  • Foster teamwork and communication among staff in the Division and across organizational boundaries; Chair meetings and seminars on substantive related issues; 
  • Represent the Organization at international, regional, inter-agency meetings, seminars and conferences; 
  • Provide programmatic/substantive expertise and, when appropriate, hold programmatic/substantive and organizational discussions with representatives of other institutions.


  • Professionalism: Knowledge of the environment and development field in general and in particular in the area of ecosystems, environment and disasters; Proven ability to produce reports and papers on technical issues; Ability to review and edit the work of others. Demonstrates integrity, openness and transparency in dealing with all stakeholders; Ability to defend and explain difficult issues with respect to key decisions and positions to staff, senior officials and members of intergovernmental bodies; Ability to provide technical assistance and advisory services for the implementation of environmental policy; Shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; Ability to identify issues, formulate opinions, make conclusions and recommendations. 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.
  • 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.
  • Managing Performance: Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; Makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; Accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; Monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; Regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; Encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; Actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; Appraises performance fairly.
  • Accountability: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; Supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; Takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable. 
  • Communication: Tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience; Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed; Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in Environmental Management, International Relations, Social Sciences, Business Administration, Economics, or related area. A first university degree with a combination of two years professional and academic qualifications may be accepted in lieu of the advanced degree.

Work Experience

Over fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible experience in the field of environment and development or related area. Experience in programme management and organizational management is required. Experience in environmental policy analysis, formulation and implementation is required. Experience at the senior level managing human and financial resources is required. Experience working in an international setting is required. Experience in providing technical assistance and advisory services for the implementation of environmental policy is required. Experience in building environmental management capacity of developing countries or countries with economies in transition is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required. Working knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of another official United Nations language is an advantage.


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

Special Notice

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.
An impeccable record for integrity and professional ethical standards is essential.
Appointment to this position is subject to mandatory adherence to the United Nations Financial Disclosure programme.
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.

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.