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Special Assistant, Administration at United Nations Environment Programme

The incumbent will report to the Director, Law Division, and will be responsible for the following duties:


  • Perform analytical tasks for the Director and provide strategic and policy support to the Division Director:
  • Review and analyse policy papers, reports and other documents on environmental issues and prepare recommendations for consideration by the Director;
  • Support the Director in drafting policy papers on issues related to the work of the Division, in particular, Environmental Conventions and emerging environmental issues;
  • Prepare substantive reports and briefing notes for the Director for use at conferences and meetings;
  • Organize independently and participate in the organization of major workshops and meetings supported by the Division, including drafting of Memoranda of Understanding, liaison with Governments and other officials;
  • Draft, review and finalize policy statements and speeches on environmental issues for use by the Director, and UNEP Senior Management;
  • Participate in meetings during the absence of the Director and prepare briefing notes for him/her as well as decide which issues need his/her immediate attention;
  • Coordinate the follow-up functions for the Director and ensure that the required actions are taken, deadlines are met and quick responses are provided;
  • Provide recommendations to the Director on the handling of emerging policy issues;
  • Oversee necessary analytical administrative procedures, e.g. on travel, to ensure that the Director’s decisions and circulars are adhered to.
  • Participate, as appropriate, in missions undertaken by the Director and/or undertake missions on behalf of the Director.
  • Provide support to the Director in the Management of the Law Division:
  • With regard to the decisions and responsibilities of the Director, provide support to the preparation of documents for submission to the UN Environment Assembly, the Committee of Permanent Representatives as well as other meetings and conferences, and take the lead in following up on decisions of these meetings;
  • Act as Secretary in divisional management meetings, as well as other meetings convened by the Director, including the organization of the meetings, circulation of agenda, drafting and finalization of minutes of these meetings as well as follow-up on decisions taken;
  • Coordinate the development and implementation of the Law Division Programme of Work and keep the Director abreast of the status of implementation;
  • Coordinate and ensure timely submission of reporting requests and bring issues related to lack of implementation to the attention of the Director.
  • Undertake administrative and institutional activities related to the work of the Law Division:
  • Review, draft and finalize letters, memoranda, and other written communications and reports for signature of the Director, the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director;
  • Liaise closely with Executive Office and other UNEP Special Assistants on issues relevant to the work of the Law Division;
  • Review incoming correspondence to the Division, process the same in line with procedures and ensure that appropriate follow-up is taken;
  • Review all outgoing correspondence for signature by the Director and ensure that the highest quality is maintained.
  • Perform other related duties as requested by the Director.


  • Professionalism: Knowledge of different aspects of public information and communication. Ability to address a range of issues in the context of political developments, public attitudes and local conditions. Ability to conceptualize, design and implement major information campaigns. Ability to rapidly analyse and integrate diverse information from varied sources. Ability to diplomatically handle sensitive situations with target audiences and cultivate productive relationships. Ability to produce a variety of written communications products in a clear, concise style. Ability to deliver oral presentations to various audiences. 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.
  • Planning and organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.


Advanced university degree (Master’s Degree or equivalent) in environmental law, social or political sciences, business administration, environmental management or a related field. A first level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced degree.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in the field of sustainable development or environment-related programmes, or public administration, including at the international level.
  • Work experience with UNEP is an advantage. Knowledge of UNEP policy, activities and programmes as well as sound knowledge of the UN and UNEP Rules and Regulations is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this position, fluency in oral and written English is required. Knowledge of another UN working language is an asset.


Evaluation of qualified candidates for this position may include a substantive assessment which will be followed by a competency-based interview.

Special Notice

This position is open for recruitment for an initial period of one year and may be subject to extension. 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. 1. All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply on-line as soon as possible
after the job opening has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the job opening. On-line applications will be acknowledged where an email address has been provided.
2. If you do not receive an email acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. In such cases, please resubmit the application, if necessary. If the problem persists please seek technical assistance through the Inspira “Need Help?” link.

Pursuant to section 7.11 of ST/AI/2012/2/ Rev.1, candidates recruited through the young professionals programme who have not served for a minimum of two years in the position of their initial assignment are not eligible to apply to this position.

Internal Applicants – when completing the PHP, ensure ALL fields, ALL professional experience and contact information are completed and up to date. This information is the basis for the hiring manager to assess your eligibility and suitability for the position and to contact you.

Individual contractors and consultants who have worked within the UN Secretariat in the last six months, irrespective of the administering entity, are ineligible to apply for professional and higher temporary or fixed-term positions. and their applications will not be considered.

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, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, 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. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.

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.

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