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Senior Evaluation Specialist (Strategic Planning and Operations), P5, Evaluation Office, NYHQ # 8731

New York City

  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: New York City
  • Grade: Senior level - P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Human Resources
    • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Closing Date: Closed

Under the direction of the Principal Adviser- Evaluation, the Senior Evaluation Specialist (Strategic Planning and Operations) will provide high level evaluation strategic planning support to the UNICEF Evaluation Office, as well as in support of joined-up evaluation planning with regional and country offices. The incumbent will lead planning, monitoring, and reporting efforts on behalf of an integrated evaluation function, thereby helping to move the evaluation function toward greater positive impact for children. The Senior Evaluation Specialist (Strategic Planning and Operations) will be responsible for oversight of Evaluation Office Operations including contracting, budgeting and HR. The incumbent will also be responsible for oversight of evaluation quality assurance and monitoring systems and independent quality assessment and will work closely with the Director of Evaluation and Principal Adviser-Evaluation in other evaluation function strengthening activities across the organization.

UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

At UNICEF, we are committed, passionate, and proud of what we do. Promoting the rights of every child is not just a job – it is a calling.

UNICEF is a place where careers are built: we offer our staff diverse opportunities for personal and professional development that will help them develop a fulfilling career while delivering on a rewarding mission. We pride ourselves on a culture that helps staff thrive, coupled with an attractive compensation and benefits package.

Visit our website to learn more about what we do at UNICEF.

For every child, Evaluate

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programs, in advocacy and operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children’s rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential without discrimination, bias, or favouritism. To the degree that any child has an unequal chance in life — in its social, political, economic, civic, and cultural dimensions — her or his rights are The mission of the UNICEF evaluation function is to help drive results for children by fostering evidence-informed decision-making. Evaluation in UNICEF supports both learning and decision-making, which in turn support better results for children. Evaluation also helps to hold UNICEF accountable for contributing to results for children, or for failing to do so. The evaluation function conducts a diverse set of independent, credible, and impartial corporate thematic, institutional effectiveness, humanitarian, country-led, impact and joint evaluations to ensure UNICEF uses evaluation evidence to improve outcomes for children. 

Evaluation at UNICEF is a largely decentralized function with senior-level regional evaluation advisers and multi-country evaluation specialists based in the seven UNICEF regional offices, as well as dedicated country evaluation specialists currently based in 15 UNICEF country offices around the world, with many additional staff providing part-time support to the evaluation function as part of their broader set of responsibilities. The UNICEF Evaluation Office serves as the steward of the UNICEF evaluation function and is located at the New York headquarters. The Director of Evaluation provides strategic leadership to the global evaluation function at all three levels of the organization (global, regional, and country).

The position is located within the NYHQ Evaluation Office, which serves as the steward of UNICEF’s evaluation function. The Director of Evaluation reports to the Executive Director, and to the UNICEF’s Executive Board through an annual report on the evaluation function and on selected evaluations. The Evaluation Office commissions and manages independent corporate evaluations and other evaluative exercises (e.g., evaluability assessments, evaluation syntheses, reviews), usually conducted in collaboration with external consultants but sometimes embedding Evaluation Office staff in the evaluation teams. It also leads in the development and implementation of evaluation policy, strategy, and systems; oversees evaluation quality assurance processes; undertakes evaluation capacity development activities within and outside the Organization; actively promotes an enabling environment for evaluation and a strong evaluation culture; and ensures transparent access to evaluation information. The Office works in a unified manner with the Regional Evaluation Advisers in each of UNICEF’s seven regions to ensure a well-coordinated, collaborative, whole-of-organization evaluation effort and to continue to build the Organization’s community of practice. This position will play a key role in strengthening an integrated and harmonized global evaluation practice, working across the three levels of the evaluation function (Global, Regional, Country) on issues of strategic planning, monitoring, and reporting. It will also work to support strengthening of evaluation independence at the decentralised level, as outlined in the revised Evaluation Policy of 2023. Working in a complementary manner with UNICEF’s other data, evidence and research functions, the Evaluation Office aims to deliver consistently timely, credible, and useful independent analyses that harness knowledge to help the Organization deliver results for children.

How can you make a difference? 

Under the direction of the Principal Adviser- Evaluation, the Senior Evaluation Specialist (Strategic Planning and Operations) will provide high level evaluation strategic planning support to the UNICEF Evaluation Office, as well as in support of joined-up evaluation planning with regional and country offices. The incumbent will lead planning, monitoring, and reporting efforts on behalf of an integrated evaluation function, thereby helping to move the evaluation function toward greater positive impact for children. The Senior Evaluation Specialist (Strategic Planning and Operations) will be responsible for oversight of Evaluation Office Operations including contracting, budgeting and HR. The incumbent will also be responsible for oversight of evaluation quality assurance and monitoring systems and independent quality assessment and will work closely with the Director of Evaluation and Principal Adviser-Evaluation in other evaluation function strengthening activities across the organization.

1. Data and evidence-informed evaluation planning leadership

  • Lead on strategic planning and reporting for the Evaluation Office and in joined-up strategic evaluation planning across the three levels of the function (Headquarters, Regional Offices, Country Offices), ensuring that every evaluation conducted is of the highest strategic priority, efficiencies are maximized, complementarities are identified, and duplication of effort minimized.
  • Guide the Director’s Office on the strategic conduct of evaluation at UNICEF, including issues such as horizon-scanning for emerging issues and long-term evaluation planning, optimal number of evaluations commissioned, evaluation financing and spending in order to ensure the maximum positive benefit of the evaluation function on the work of the organization.
  • Guide the Director’s Office in strategic coordination with the Office of Independent Audit and Investigations to identify synergies and coherence in planning activities where there may be added value in working together or in exchanging lessons.
  • Lead on creation and ongoing population of an improved risk and opportunity-based planning tool for the Evaluation Office in 2025, as well as refinement of other strategic planning tools such as for evaluation country case study selection; ongoing monitoring of the status of Evaluation Office evaluations etc.
  • Proactively identify and share emerging business needs for the Evaluation function, to anticipate challenges, propose viable solutions, provide creative and innovative ideas aimed at a solutions-focused approach to include value for money strategies, all underpinned by quality assurance measures.
  • Initiate and supervise development of the Evaluation Office Annual Workplan (including e-workplan), Office Management Plan, Mid Term Review processes, Plan for Global Evaluations and other consultative strategic planning processes including support to Results Based Management and implementation using Value for Money criteria.
  • Identify innovative evaluation contracting modalities and instruments and strengthen the use of PCA’s, LTA’s and other long-term co-creation-based strategic partnership mechanisms with evaluation institutions and entities, particularly based in the global south.

2. Technical and strategic supervision of Evaluation Office budget and operations

  • Lead on provision of strategic advice to the Director’s Office to ensure that evaluation financial and human resources are managed in the most financially-prudent, and policy-compliant manner possible.
  • Oversee a team managing timely, efficient and effective services in the functional areas of operations support: budget, financial management and reporting, contracts management, KPI management and reporting, risk management, administration, strategic planning and human resources.
  • Initiate and lead the financial oversight management, monitoring and reporting of all the office budget; make analysis and recommendations for the Evaluation Director and Deputy to take risk informed decisions balancing policy compliance and flexibility, whilst maximizing delivery of results for children.
  • Steer evaluation Business Units on their role in generating and reporting on VfM with the goal of strategically expanding its use to major UNICEF functions and provide advice on best and innovative management practices to enhance office performance.
  • Ensure the office is equipped with the right skills and tools and up-to-date information to make operational and programmatic risk informed decisions, manage, and adapt to emerging risks and improve performance, with the support of the enterprise Governance, Risk and Compliance (eGRC) platform.
  • Lead on continued review of key Operations processes to minimize cost, simplify and reduce duplication of work and maximize efficiencies while creating an environment of smarter controls to render the organization agile, resilient, and ready to respond to programme needs.
  • Oversee development of operational guidance for the Evaluation Office including oversight of ongoing content population of the Evaluation Office Operations Sharepoint site to provide up to date, summarized policy information, SoP’s and other strategic guidance to evaluation colleagues.

3. On-going monitoring and reporting on the evaluation function and its enabling environment

  • Guide and support the Director’s Office to maximize accountability of the evaluation function, ensuring that every evaluation produced is consistently of the highest credibility and utility and that the organization is equipped with the information it needs to fulfill its responsibilities for the evaluation function and its success.
  • Provide timely and strategic contributions to the preparation of reports to the Executive Director, senior management, the Executive Board, the Audit Advisory Committee and other governance bodies on key performance indicators including the results of evaluations and related evaluative products, as well as enabling environment indicators including evaluation expenditure. 
  • Lead on strategic evolution, design and governance of evaluation management information systems (through the EISI platform) to ensure the collection and analysis of timely, relevant and accurate monitoring and reporting of evaluation data, including development and oversight of ‘real-time' performance dashboards for the Evaluation Office and for regional contextualization.
  • Lead on piloting innovations in evaluation KPI’s such as development of qualitative indicators on the health and maturity of the evaluation function and its enabling environment, and on measures of meaningful use of evaluations beyond compliance with the management response requirement in order to help to identify the strategic contributions of the evaluation function at outcome level across UNICEF.
  • Provide strategic oversight of the management of funds mobilized by the Evaluation Office for the decentralized level and monitor the utilization of such funds, including the Evaluation Pooled Fund.
  • Steer processes of independent quality assurance at regional level, and manage evaluation quality assessment and related KPI’s (through the GEROS independent system).

4. Support to, and where applicable leadership on, other evaluation function-strengthening activities

  • Facilitate human resource management for evaluation staff at the decentralized level in accordance with the revised Evaluation Policy, including the review of job profiles, reporting lines and other measures to create a conducive work environment for evaluation staff.  Work with HRBP and the Director’s Office to populate and maintain the Evaluation Skills Mapping and subsequent talent management.
  • Support the linkages between the Headquarters' Evaluation Office and other organizational units and advisers, both in UNICEF, as well as other UN agencies for the purposes described above.
  • Contribute to the development of policies, procedures, guidelines, and methodologies in evaluation, including the forthcoming Evaluation Handbook.
  • Undertake other activities related to the strengthening of the evaluation function as required by the Supervisor.
  • Undertake other special assignments as may be assigned by the supervisor and by the Director of Evaluation.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

Minimum requirements:

1. Education: An Advanced University Degree (Master’s and above) in a social science, business management or financial management, with specialization in strategic planning and/or operations. Background in research methodology and/or evaluation including advanced statistical analysis skills essential. Programme analysis and programme management experience highly desirable.

2. Work Experience: 

  • Significant experience specifically working in evaluation, audit, research, data and related oversight and evidence functions.
  • At least 10 years in progressively responsible professional experience, at the national and international level, is required, specifically in country offices, advocating and implementing strategic organizational initiatives in one or more of the following: strategic planning, implementation, coordination, and management of monitoring/evaluation/research, audit and investigations; budget/financial management and reporting.
  • Prior experience in supervision of strategic planning, operations, and human resources staff, ideally across headquarters, regional and especially country contexts and in a range of operating environments (humanitarian/development contexts and across small, medium, and large country offices).
  • Demonstrated experience monitoring and reporting on key performance indicators and a strong track record in data analysis and interpretation.
  • Experience in Results Based Management and its application within country programme planning and implementation is a requirement.
  • Experience visualizing and communicating about data for maximum comprehensibility.
  • Previous hands-on experience in strategic and managerial leadership is required, including in human resource management, particularly at country office level.
  • Extensive knowledge of SAP/VISION and other UNICEF management information systems required.
  • Strong oral and written communications skills, including strategic communications with a wide range of stakeholders, including regional and country offices.
  • Experience of UN joint work and strategic coordination is strongly desirable, as is in-depth knowledge of UNICEF Headquarters Divisions and their working, especially Audit, DFAM and DAPM.
  • Proven ability to skillfully negotiate with partners on sensitive issues.
  • Strong understanding, and appreciation for, the central role and value of evaluation in a UN agency and the new strategic direction being undertaken within the revised Evaluation Policy is strongly desirable.

3. Language Requirements: Fluency in English required, with French and/or Spanish as a particular asset. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese or Russian) is an asset.


  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency

For every Child, you demonstrate...

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships

(2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness

(3) Drive to achieve results for impact

(4) Innovates and embraces change

(5) Manages ambiguity and complexity

(6) Thinks and acts strategically

(7) Works collaboratively with others 

[add the 8th competency (Nurtures, leads and manages people) for a supervisory role]. 

Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

We offer a wide range of measures to include a more diverse workforce, such as paid parental leave, time off for breastfeeding purposes, and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority, and discrimination. UNICEF is committed to promoting the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station is required for IP positions and will be facilitated by UNICEF. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Should you be selected for a position with UNICEF, you either must be inoculated as required or receive a medical exemption from the relevant department of the UN. Otherwise, the selection will be canceled.


All UNICEF positions are advertised, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process. An internal candidate performing at the level of the post in the relevant functional area, or an internal/external candidate in the corresponding Talent Group, may be selected, if suitable for the post, without assessment of other candidates.

Additional information about working for UNICEF can be found here.

This vacancy is now closed.