Panel Member of Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (Multiple positions)

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Background Information – UNOPS

UNOPS supports the successful implementation of its partners’ peace building, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to serve people in need by expanding the ability of the United Nations, governments and other partners to manage projects, infrastructure and procurement in a sustainable and efficient manner.

Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, our vision is to advance sustainable implementation practices, always satisfying or surpassing our partners’ expectations.

With over 7,000 personnel spread across 80 countries, UNOPS offers its partners the logistical, technical and management knowledge they need, wherever they need it.

A flexible structure and global reach means that we can quickly respond to our partners’ needs, while offering the benefits of economies of scale. 

Background Information – WEC

This Vacancy Announcement is being published by the Water & Energy Cluster on behalf of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) to the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Background information: GEF

The GEF has a unique mandate as a financing mechanism under a number of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs): the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); the Minamata convention on mercury; and the Stockholm convention on persistent organic pollutants. The GEF also supports global and regional agreements on international waters, and transboundary water management. The GEF’s mission is to safeguard the global environment by supporting developing countries meet their commitments under these agreements. The GEF’s responsibilities are often mutually supportive, which enables the synergies between them to be harnessed in a more holistic, systems approach.

The GEF’s mission is also closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular on climate action (goal 13), life below water (14), and life on land (15) (the GEF’s core mission), and also with the goals on hunger (2), energy (7), and sustainable production and consumption (12). 

The central organising framework of the GEF is the five focal areas (climate change, biodiversity, land degradation, international waters, and chemicals and waste); this framework also provides countries with the opportunity to participate in integrated programming to generate global environmental benefits in more than one MEA or GEF focal area.

Safeguarding the health of the global environment requires both responding to pressures and addressing the drivers of environmental degradation. The latter requires integration across sectors and the promotion of transformational change in key economic systems. STAP’s guidance has recommended that: environmental degradation must be tackled in a more integrated and holistic way; GEF investment should be more coherent with sustainable development objectives; and the GEF should continue to be catalytic and innovative, while seeking to effect permanent and transformational change.

The GEF is in the midst of its quadrennial replenishment discussions which will culminate at the GEF Assembly in June 2018 with decisions on the size of the replenishment, the programming priorities and policies for its seventh phase (GEF-7).

In GEF-6 (2014 to 2018), the GEF established three Integrated Approach Pilots (IAPs) on food security in sub-Saharan Africa, taking deforestation out of commodity supply chains, and sustainable cities: these  seek to achieve market or behavioral transformations, and integrate focal area and MEA priorities into a broader, more holistic set of policies, strategies, programs and actions.

The proposed GEF-7 programming architecture will continue this approach: pursuing greater impact per unit of investment; tackling the drivers of environmental degradation; promoting greater sectoral and thematic integration; and contributing to systems change. 

The draft GEF-7 programming directions seek to maximise impact across focal areas through integrated programming. The proposals include three “Impact Programs” (IPs on food, land use and restoration; sustainable cities; and sustainable forest management) which collectively address key drivers of environmental degradation, and offer the potential to contribute to systemic change. The IPs will help countries pursue holistic and integrated approaches to promote transformational change in key economic systems in line with their national development priorities. IPs hold the potential: to enhance synergies, integration, and the impact of GEF investments; to promote a more effective use of resources; and to crowd-in private sector funding.

Food, Land Use and Restoration. Increasing demand for food is a major driver of biodiversity loss, land degradation and depletion of water resources. This IP will support countries in ensuring that productive lands are embedded within landscapes that are providing ecosystem services, as well as protecting the natural ecosystems and soil on which they depend. It will focus on the following three “entry points”: promoting sustainable food systems to tackle negative externalities in entire value chains; promoting deforestation-free agricultural commodity supply chains; and promoting large-scale restoration of degraded landscapes for sustainable production and ecosystem services.

Sustainable Cities. This IP will build on a global knowledge platform developed in the sustainable cities IAP which brings cities and global expertise together to improve urban planning, policy and financing environments, for example, by increasing the productivity of existing urban infrastructure, using evidence-based spatial planning, decarbonizing urban infrastructure, building resilience, and cascading financing solutions for urban sustainability, green infrastructure and nature-based solutions, and conservation of globally important biodiversity in urban landscapes.

Sustainable Forest Management (SFM). This IP will focus on a three key, transboundary biomes of global importance: the Amazon, the Congo Basin, and important dryland landscapes. These three biomes are major integrated ecosystems where a concerted SFM approach focused on their ecological integrity and functioning can transform the course of development and produce multiple benefits for biodiversity, climate change, and land degradation. This would include Interventions such as collaborative approaches to productive and conservation land uses which improve local livelihoods, while preserving the ecological integrity and global environmental value of ecosystems.

However, some focal area objectives are best delivered through discrete, single-focus interventions, which allows countries the opportunity to pursue interventions which are best aligned with their priorities. The proposed objectives for the focal areas are:

Biodiversity: mainstream biodiversity across sectors, as well as landscapes and seascapes; address direct drivers to protect habitats and species; and further develop biodiversity policy and institutional frameworks.

Climate Change: promote innovation and technology transfer for sustainable energy breakthroughs; demonstrate mitigation options with systemic impacts; and foster enabling conditions for mainstreaming mitigation concerns into sustainable development strategies.

Land Degradation: enhance on-the-ground implementation of sustainable land management using the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) tool; and create an enabling environment to support voluntary LDN target implementation.

Chemicals and Waste: eliminate chemicals covered by the MEAs that are used in or emitted from the industrial and agricultural sectors.

International Waters: strengthening Blue Economy opportunities; improving management in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction; and enhancing water security in freshwater ecosystems.

Each focal area strategy is designed to ensure that the GEF provides maximum impacts on the goals of their respective conventions. Countries choose among the focal area programming options in accordance with their needs and priorities.

Background Information – Job-specific

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) ( is seeking four Panel members, and currently accepting applications from highly qualified candidates with:

  • outstanding academic and technical credentials;
  • a passion for tackling global environmental and sustainable development challenges;
  • expertise in at least one of the following GEF focal areas – climate change, biodiversity, land degradation, and chemicals and waste;
  • the ability to work in an interdisciplinary, integrated manner across the focal areas; and
  • capable of bridging scientific, technological, economic, social, and policy issues.

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel ( provides independent advice to the GEF, and is made up of 7 members – a Chairperson and 6 individual members. The roles and responsibilities of the Chairperson, Panel members and STAP Secretariat are set out in STAP’s Terms of Reference ( (March 2012).

STAP’s role is to provide objective scientific and technical advice on the GEF’s policies, strategies, programs, and projects.  It does so by executing a program of work developed in collaboration with the GEF Secretariat, and by screening GEF projects. Its advice takes a variety of forms, including formal guidance, advice, information notes, policy briefs, and assessments.

Functional Responsibilities

Panel members contribute substantively to delivering the work programme.  

The Panel Members should perform their duties and provide intellectual and innovative leadership in formulating high quality advice, which challenges conventional thinking, and brings intellectual rigor to strategic and operational issues.

Specific Responsibilities

1. Demonstrate leadership and initiative in delivering the best available relevant scientific and technical advice in a timely manner;

2. Mobilize scientific and technical networks and partnerships;

3. Take an active part in developing and implementing STAP’s work programme, including drafting analytical papers, reports, and making presentations, and attending and convening meetings of experts;  

4. Undertake screens of projects and programs in biannual GEF work programs;

5. Participate in two face-to-face STAP meetings a year, with monthly STAP teleconferences; and

6. Provide contributions to the Chair’s report to twice-yearly GEF Council meetings, and STAP’s quadrennial report to the GEF Assembly;

Education/Experience/Language requirements


1. Advanced degree, preferably a PhD, in a relevant area;  

2. Minimum 15 years of experience in scientific research, and in the application of results to real world issues in developing countries;  

3. Peer-reviewed publication record relevant to the GEF;

4. Demonstrated ability to work in an integrated, interdisciplinary manner across GEF focal areas, with experience of systems thinking;  

5. Capable of bridging scientific, technological, economic, social and policy issues in the public and private sector;  

6. Familiarity with and understanding of multilateral environmental agreements;   

7. Experience of working in developing countries, including applied research; design and implementation of programs involving multilateral environmental agreements, ideally in coordination with multilateral and bilateral agencies;

8. Access to, and ability to engage with, and tap into, extensive scientific networks and partnerships globally, in both developed and developing countries, in environmentally sustainable development, and GEF focal areas;

9. Fluency in oral and written English, and a demonstrated ability to communicate, orally and in writing, in a clear, concise, and structured manner; and

10. Demonstrated experience in the facilitation of learning and knowledge management.


1. Demonstrated expertise and leadership in global environmental issues and sustainable development, supported by the candidate’s peer-reviewed publication record;

2. Demonstrated ability to initiate and manage scientific research with multiple stakeholders in multiple geographical settings; and

3. Knowledge of the scientific processes required for the implementation of MEAs in developing countries.

In addition, the following competences will also be considered:

1. Enthusiasm and commitment to dealing with global environmental issues, sustainable development, and transformational change;

2. Team work – ability to collaborate effectively and remotely in a multicultural team and share responsibilities;

3. Able and willing to travel globally to attend meetings and events; and

4. A good sense of humour.

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS/ UNEP. 

Contract type, level and duration

Time Commitment

Panel Members are expected to provide a minimum contribution of 60 days a year, up to a maximum of 90 days, if required, under exceptional circumstances, and by mutual agreement. The Panel usually meets in person twice a year, with monthly teleconferences. In addition, Panel Members usually undertake two or three trips a year, for example, workshops or meetings related to work program deliverables, MEA expert body meetings. In addition, Panel members may also be invited to join GEF discussions. Most STAP business is transacted by email and teleconference.

STAP Secretariat

The Panel is supported by a small, dedicated Secretariat of six persons. The STAP Secretariat provides substantive and operational assistance in the delivery of Panel Members’ responsibilities. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel is hosted by UNEP, on behalf of the GEF network. UNEP is an equal opportunity employer.

Interested qualified candidates are requested to provide a letter of motivation, and a completed personal history profile, together with a CV via UNOPS GPRS.

Contract type: International ICA Retainer

Contract level: OTHER

Contract duration:   

Two years, and may be renewed  for a further two years.