Social and Environmental Safeguards Specialist

$115,738 - $155,087 / YEAR Expired 3 weeks ago
This job has expired.


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are core principles at UNDP:  we value diversity as an expression of the multiplicity of nations and cultures where we operate, we foster inclusion as a way of ensuring all personnel are empowered to contribute to our mission, and we ensure equity and fairness in all our actions. Taking a ‘leave no one behind’ approach to our diversity efforts means increasing representation of underserved populations. People who identify as belonging to marginalized or excluded populations are strongly encouraged to apply. Learn more about working at UNDP including our values and inspiring stories.
UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

UNDP is the knowledge frontier organization for sustainable development in the UN Development System and serves as the integrator for collective action to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNDP’s policy work carried out at HQ, Regional and Country Office levels, forms a contiguous spectrum of deep local knowledge to cutting-edge global perspectives and advocacy. In this context, UNDP invests in the Global Policy Network (GPN), a network of field-based and global technical expertise across a wide range of knowledge domains and in support of the signature solutions and organizational capabilities envisioned in the Strategic Plan.

Within the GPN, the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) has the responsibility for developing all relevant policy and guidance to support the results of UNDP’s Strategic Plan.  BPPS’s staff provides technical advice to Country Offices, advocates for UNDP corporate messages, represents UNDP at multi-stakeholder fora including public-private dialogues, government, and civil society dialogues, and engages in UN inter-agency coordination in specific thematic areas.  BPPS works closely with UNDP’s Crisis Bureau (CB) to support emergency and crisis response.  BPPS ensures that issues of risk are fully integrated into UNDP’s development programmes. BPPS assists UNDP and partners to achieve higher quality development results through an integrated approach that links results-based management and performance monitoring with more effective and new ways of working.  BPPS supports UNDP and partners to be more innovative, knowledge and data driven including in its programme support efforts.

BPPS’s Hubs on Nature, Climate, Energy, and Chemicals and Waste, with the support of the Vertical Fund Programme Support Oversight and Compliance Unit, work with governments, civil society, and private sector partners to integrate nature, climate, energy and waste related concerns into national and sector planning and inclusive growth policies, support country obligations under Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and oversee the implementation of the UN’s largest portfolio of in-country programming nature, climate change, energy and waste. This multi-billion-dollar portfolio encompasses:

  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services including forests.
  • Sustainable Land Management and Desertification including food and commodity systems.
  • Water and Ocean Governance including SIDS.
  • Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.
  • Sustainable Energy.
  • Extractive Industries.
  • Chemicals and Waste Management.
  • Environmental Governance and Green/Circular Economy and SCP approaches.

This work advances crosscutting themes on innovative finance, digital transformation, capacity development, human rights, gender equality, health, technology, and South-South learning.

In addition to UNDP’s bilateral partnerships in Nature, Climate, Energy and Chemicals & Waste, UNDP is an accredited multilateral implementing agency of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Multilateral Fund (MLF), the Adaptation Fund (AF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). As part of UNDP’s partnership with these vertical funds (VFs), UNDP’s Vertical Fund Programme Support Oversight and Compliance Unit supports UNDP’s Nature, Climate, Energy and Waste related Hubs and provides countries specialized integrated technical services for eligibility assessment, programme formulation, capacity development, policy advice, technical assistance, training and technology transfer, mobilization of co-financing, implementation oversight, results management and evaluation, performance-based payments and knowledge management services.

The Social and Environmental Safeguards Specialist (SES Specialist) position will coordinate and lead the global SES Team to improve knowledge and learning gained from the application of the UNDP Social and Environment Standards (SES).  The SES Specialist will lead the development and continuous improvement of the quality assurance process provided to environmental vertical fund projects, lead the development and improvement of safeguards-related standard operating procedures, and lead the consolidation of lessons learned through technical quality assurance for wider outreach to the SES team and Country Offices heavily invested in environmental vertical funds programming.

The SES Specialist will be part of the global safeguards team reporting to the Head of Safeguards and Risk Management in the Vertical Fund Programme Support Oversight and Compliance Unit, and will be based in New York, USA.  This position may be periodically redeployed, in accordance with capability, consent, and due process, to a different location as needed.

Position Purpose

The SES Specialist is responsible for overseeing policy alignment of the UNDP SES policy with that of the Vertical Funds (VF), supporting SES compliance of VF programming, and the development of guidance and tools to support this.

UNDP adopts a portfolio approach to accommodate changing business needs and leverage linkages across interventions to achieve its strategic goals. Therefore, UNDP personnel are expected to work across units, functions, teams, and projects in multidisciplinary teams to enhance and enable horizontal collaboration.

Duties and Responsibilities

Provide effective coordination and technical support to the SES Team 

  • Develop and maintain SES specific information sharing platform(s)
  • Undertake SES-related data aggregation, analysis to improve targeting of SES support, capacity building, learning, and knowledge management.
  • Work with PIMS+ teams to upgrade VF SES workflows as needed, ensuring linkages with corporate platforms.
  • Support region-based and global thematic SES Technical Advisors as needed.

Generate learning and knowledge on safeguards and VF programming 

  • Consolidate and disseminate knowledge and learning from the application of the SES across VF and other UNDP programming.
  • Prepare lessons learned and facilitate uptake of lessons learned across UNDP.
  • Develop guidance and provide training in close coordination with relevant UNDP teams and Units as needed.
  • Compile good example SESPs and other SES instruments.
  • Develop and support the development of technical guidance, FAQs, and other materials to support the application of the SES.
  • Lead and coordinate a calendar of learning events to build a UNDP SES community of practice.

 Manage development of SES SOPs for VF programming systems and guidance 

  • Manage and track priority VF projects that need enhanced SES oversight support.
  • Lead on the management of the systems, guidance (SOPs), and tools for SES compliance for VF programming.
  • Develop new approaches and systems to enhance evidence-based decision-making, and to streamline portfolio management.

Knowledge Management and Self Development 

  • Advise on the latest development in social and environmental safeguards.
  • Develop initiatives to enhance safeguards knowledge and skills across the entire team.
  • Develop personal learning plan to continuously improve skills and knowledge to support the team most effectively.

The incumbent performs other duties within their functional profile as deemed necessary for the efficient functioning of the Office and the Organization.


Achieve Results: 

  • Set and align challenging, achievable objectives for multiple projects, have lasting impact.

Think Innovatively:

  • Proactively mitigate potential risks, develop new ideas to solve complex problems.

Learn Continuously:

  • Create and act on opportunities to expand horizons, diversify experiences.

Adapt with Agility: 

  • Proactively initiate and champion change, manage multiple competing demands.

Act with Determination:               

  • Think beyond immediate task/barriers and take action to achieve greater results.

Engage and Partner:

  • Political savvy, navigate complex landscape, champion inter-agency collaboration.

Enable Diversity and Inclusion:

  • Appreciate benefits of diverse workforce and champion inclusivity.

Cross-Functional & Technical

Business Direction and Strategy – System Thinking           

  • Ability to use objective problem analysis and judgement to understand how interrelated elements coexist within an overall process or system, and to consider how altering one element can impact on other parts of the system.

Business Management – Communication              

  • Ability to communicate in a clear, concise, and unambiguous manner both through written and verbal communication; to tailor messages and choose communication methods depending on the audience.
  • Ability to manage communications internally and externally, through media, social media, and other appropriate channels.

Business Development – Knowledge Generation               

  • Ability to research and turn information into useful knowledge, relevant for content, or responsive to a stated need.

Business Development – Human-centered Design             

  • Ability to develop solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process.

Business Management – Risk Management         

  • Ability to identify and organize action around mitigating and proactively managing risks.

Business Management – Monitoring       

  • Ability to provide managers and key stakeholders with regular feedback on the consistency or discrepancy between planned and actual activities and programme performance and results.

2030 Agenda: Planet – Nature, Climate, and Energy         

  • Environmental and social impact assessments and safeguards

Required Skills and Experience


  • Advanced University degree (master’s degree or equivalent) in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Management, Environmental Policy, Environmental Economics or a closely related field; or
  • A first-level university degree (bachelor’s degree) in above-mentioned fields in combination with an additional two years of qualifying experience, will be given due consideration in lieu of the advanced university degree.


  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience (with a master’s degree), or 7 years’ experience (with a bachelor’s degree), in the environment or business management.
  • Direct experience in data analysis, project management, and results-based management is required.
  • Expert Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint skills, familiarity with e-presentation techniques and ability to operate with on-line web-based applications is required.
  • Work experience in an international organization is an advantage, as is knowledge of UNDP policies and procedures.
  • Previous experience with climate and environment vertical funds (e.g., GEF and GCF) will be a distinct asset.


  • Fluency in English language is required, with exceptional writing, presentation, and communication skills.
  • Proficiency in other UN languages is an asset.
Please note that continuance of appointment beyond the initial 12 months is contingent upon the successful completion of a probationary period.
Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment.
UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.
Applicant information about UNDP rosters.
Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.
UNDP has a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and misconduct, sexual harassment, and abuse of authority. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.
UNDP is an equal opportunity and inclusive employer that does not discriminate based on race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.
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New York, United States
This job has expired.