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Programme Assistant, Environmental Governance




The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programmeis the UN organization that promotes volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace and nature of development and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers.

In most cultures volunteerism is deeply embedded in long-established, ancient traditions of sharing and support within the communities. In this context, UN Volunteers take part in various forms of volunteerism and play a role in development and peace together with co-workers, host agencies and local communities.

In all assignments, UN Volunteers promote volunteerism through their action and conduct. Engaging in volunteer activity can effectively and positively enrich their understanding of local and social realities, as well as create a bridge between themselves and the people in their host community. This will make the time they spend as UN Volunteers even more rewarding and productive

Organizational Context/Project

The UN Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the UN system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. Through its Law Division, UN Environment promotes coherent environmental governance and progress development of environmental law in support of sustainable development. A successful candidate is expected to work in the International Governance Unit of the Law Division, which is responsible, among others, for assisting UN Environment fulfill its environmental coordination role within the UN system, including through the UN Environment Management Group.

Living Conditions

The incumbent will find his/her own housing arrangements in Nairobi. Nairobi is a modern metropolitan city where most basic goods and services are available locally at reasonable cost. The city is at a high altitude, with sunny days and cooler nights. There is a short rainy season before Christmas, and longer rains fall from March to May. November to February is generally warm. No need for central heating, however warm clothes are necessary during the rainy season. There are several transportation options in Nairobi, including taxis, buses, mini-buses, and mobile applications for transport. Public healthcare in Nairobi is generally subpar, but there are private healthcare options that are of better quality. The city is widely connected through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the smaller Wilson Airport. Air transport is also available to many up country destinations. The city is home to some 3,000 UN personnel mainly attributed to the fact that it serves as the headquarters for both UN HABITAT and UNEP, and as the UN Regional Hub for the East and Horn of Africa region. Security is an issue in Nairobi, with incidents of car-jacking and theft not uncommon. Safety and security in Nairobi varies depending on different neighborhoods, and it is important to become familiarized with safety recommendations for the city. Telecommunication system in Nairobi is generally sufficient. Internet access is generally reliable. There are fairly frequent power cuts, however most of the shared compounds have generators. Water supply can also be an issue as Kenya often experiences drought. In these situations expats may need to supplement their water supply by buying in water tankers.  Kenyans are wonderfully friendly and tolerant to visitors. English is the first language spoken here, though most Kenyans are trilingual, using tribal languages and Kiswahili.

Conditions of Service for National UN Volunteers

Travel to duty station (if applicable) and a Settling-In-Grant will be provided in the event duty station is not within commuting distance from the place of recruitment. A Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA) of Ksh 76,779 is provided monthly to cover housing, utilities and normal cost of living expenses. Life, health and permanent disability insurance are included (health insurance for up to 3 dependents), as well as final repatriation (if applicable) and resettlement allowance for satisfactory service. 

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Analyze official documents related to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, including voluntary national reviews, as they relate to the environmental dimension of sustainable development.
  • Conduct research on natural resource governance and support the Programme Officer in organizing, summarizing and following up on the meetings of the UN Environment internal task team on natural resource governance.
  • Collaborate with the Programme Officer in the development of a project proposal on international environmental governance.
  • Identify opportunities for strengthening the linkages between the regional and global environmental governance processes, especially in the context of the Secretary-General’s proposals for UN system-wide reform.
  • Assist in developing UN Environment’s contributions to the UN Environment Management Group.
  • Provide substantive and logistical support for workshops that are organized by the International Governance Unit.
  • Attend meetings of the Committee of Permanent Representatives, a subsidiary governing body of UN Environment, and prepare meeting summaries.
  • Strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the concept of volunteerism by reading relevant UNV and external publications and take active part in UNV activities (for instance in events that mark IVD);
  • Be acquainted with and build on traditional and/or local forms of volunteerism in the host country;
  • Reflect on the type and quality of voluntary action that they are undertaking, including participation in ongoing reflection activities;
  • Contribute articles/write-ups on field experiences and submit them for UNV publications/websites, newsletters, press releases, etc.;
  • Assist with the UNV Buddy Programme for newly-arrived UN Volunteers;
  • Promote or advise local groups in the use of online volunteering, or encourage relevant local individuals and organizations to use the UNV Online Volunteering service whenever technically possible.
  •  Perform any other duties as requested.
  • An analytical paper on how the environmental dimension is addressed in the voluntary national reviews conducted at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
  • A project proposal on enhancing environmental governance.
  • A concept paper on natural resource governance that can be translated into a concrete project proposal.
  • A final statement of achievements towards volunteerism for development during the assignment, such as reporting on the number of volunteers mobilized, activities participated in and capacities developed.


PROFESSIONALISM: Knowledge of internal policies, processes and procedures generally and in particular those related to programme/project administration, implementation and evaluation, technical cooperation, programming and budgeting; Understanding of the functions and organization of the work unit and of the organizational structure and respective roles of related units; Ability to work well with figures, undertake basic research and gather information from standard sources; Demonstrated ability to apply good judgment in the context of assignments given; 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.

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.

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.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Bachelors degree  in environmental law, natural resource management or other related field.(an advanced degree (master or doctorate)
  • At least 2 years relevant experience(Project proposal development, Conducting research/analysis/reporting is desired.
  • ​Experience with UNEP will be an added advantage.
  • Any publications on environmental issues.
  • Experience in organizing intergovernmental meetings.
  • For this position, excellent analytical and writing skills are essential.  


United Nations Volunteers is an equal opportunity programme which welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture.

United Nations Volunteers reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this opening for other openings with United Nations Volunteers with similar assignment description, experience and educational requirements.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Nairobi
  • Grade: National UN Volunteer - Locally recruited Volunteer
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Administrative support
    • International Relations
    • Public Policy and Administration
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
    • Environment
    • Democratic Governance
  • Closing Date: 2017-10-27

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