Sustainable Development Officer

New York, NY, US

Special Notice

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.

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat (UNFFS), Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The Sustainable Development Officer will work under the overall guidance of the Director of the UNFFS and the direct supervision of the Senior Forest Policy Officer. The incumbent reports to the Senior Forest Policy Officer.

The UNFFS provides leadership in promoting the implementation of sustainable forest management of all types of forests at all levels, including the achievement of the Global objectives on Forests, and the effective implementation of the UN Forest Instrument. The UNFFS also contributes to the implementation, follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including its forest-related Sustainable Development Goals and targets. It provides substantive secretariat support to the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). The UNFF is composed of all Member States of the United Nations and specialized agencies. More information on UNFF and the UNFFS can be found from


Under the overall guidance of the Director and direct supervision of a Senior Forest Policy Officer, the Sustainable Development Officer will be responsible for the following duties:

•Monitors and analyzes sustainable forest management and the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network (GFFFN) programme/project development and implementation; reviews relevant documents and reports; identifies problems and forest financing and sustainable forest management issues to be addressed and initiates corrective actions; liaises with relevant parties; ensures follow-up actions.
•Performs consulting assignments, in collaboration with clients, (e.g. Member States, regional and sub regional organizations), by planning and facilitating workshops on forest financing and sustainable development issues, through other interactive sessions and assisting in developing action plans, policies, strategies and measures related to financing for implementation of the activities of the International Arrangement on Forests (IAF) strategic plan and the GFFFN.
•Researches, analyzes forest financing and sustainable development issues and presents information gathered from diverse sources.
•Develops draft policy recommendations on forest financing and sustainable development issues, including the review and analysis of issues and trends, preparation of evaluations or other research activities and studies.
•Formulates survey initiatives; designs data collection tools; reviews, analyzes and interprets responses, identifies forest financing and sustainable development problems/issues and prepares conclusions.
•Organizes and prepares written outputs on forest financing and sustainable development issues, e.g. draft background papers, analysis, sections of reports and studies, inputs to publications, etc.
•Provides substantive backstopping to consultative and other meetings, conferences, etc. on the development of the international arrangement on forests strategic plan and quadrennial programmes of work related to the work of GFFFN and forest financing, including proposing agenda topics, identifying participants, preparation of documents and presentations on forest financing and the GFFFN activities.
•Provides substantive support and technical advice on means of implementation on forests and sustainable development issues to the United Nations Forum on Forests and other intergovernmental bodies such as the Economic and Social Council, the High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development and the General Assembly.
•Participates in or take the lead in specific inter-agency or expert task forces or working groups either internally or with outside parties.
•Initiates and coordinates outreach activities; conducts training workshops, seminars, etc.; makes presentations on sustainable forest management and the GFFFN topics/activities.
•Leads and/or participates in large, complex field missions, including provision of guidance to external consultants, government officials and other parties and drafting mission summaries, etc.
•Coordinates activities related to budget funding (programme/project preparation and submissions, progress reports, financial statements, etc.) and prepares related documents/reports (pledging, work programme, programme budget, etc.).on forest financing and GFFFN projects/programmes.
•Prepares speeches and other inputs for presentations by senior staff on sustainable development issues.
•Designs, manages and monitors the implementation of national, interregional/global capacity building projects and other activities of the GFFFN, forest financing, and increasing and enhancing countries’ access to financing for sustainable forest management.
•Performs other duties as required.


•Professionalism: Knowledge of financing for sustainable forest management, policy analysis at the national and international levels, particularly with emphasis on means of implementation for sustainable forest management; Ability to develop sound policy options and recommendations; Familiarity with the UNFF, the Collaborative Partnership on forests (CPF), the Economic and Social affairs programme of the United Nations and the UN system at large, its programmes and intergovernmental processes; Knowledge of the working modalities of regional and multilateral financing mechanisms and instituitons as they relate to sustainable forest management; Understanding of the political environment and the programmes and activities of the UN system in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 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; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

•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.

•Client Orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in sustainable development, forest economics, forest policy/sciences, public administration, finance, natural resources management, law, social sciences or related field is required. 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 seven years of progressively responsible experience in sustainable forest/environmental project or programme management, forest policy-oriented work is required. Three years of work experience in an international organization on issues related to forest financing is required. Experience in development and implementation of policies and measures furthering sustainable forest management in an international organization is desirable.


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


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

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, including but not limited to, respect for international human rights and humanitarian law. Candidates may be subject to screening against these standards, including but not limited to, whether they have committed or are alleged to have committed criminal offences or violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

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 At-a-Glance on “The Application Process” and the Instructional Manual for the Applicants, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The screening and 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, including but not limited to, their education, work experience, and language skills, according to the instructions provided on inspira. Applicants will be disqualified from consideration if they do not demonstrate in their application that they meet the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations. Applicants are solely responsible for providing complete and accurate information at the time of application: 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 a reference-checking process to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at midnight (New York time) on the deadline date.