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Programme Specialist

New York City (United States of America)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: New York City (United States of America)
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Project and Programme Management
  • Closing Date: 2019-12-10

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In September 2009, the UN Secretary-General designated H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands as his Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA).  As UNSGSA and Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), Queen Máxima raises awareness and advocates specific policies, investments and actions with governments, regulators, private companies, international institutions and diverse additional stakeholders to expand financial inclusion for development.   She does so through global and country level advocacy. Her advocacy includes country visits, speeches, bilateral meetings, convening of stakeholders and other outreach. 
The UNSGSA works closely with an advisory Reference Group composed of: Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Better Than Cash Alliance, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Monetary Fund, Omidyar Network, UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and The World Bank. The UNSGSA also consults and cooperates with the wider UN system, the UN secretariat, UN country teams, and other multilateral organizations, private sector leaders, donors, civil society organizations and the media. The UNSGSA also engages with the, financial standard setting bodies (SSBs) so that their work incorporates Financial Inclusion.
The current thematic priorities of the UNSGSA are the following (non-exhaustive version):
  • Make policies and public goods work for technology-enabled financial inclusion – Examples:- Foster conducive digital finance regulations globally and in key countries, leveraging GPFI and partners. -Bridge fintech world with (SSBs) and regulators to mitigate new risks for customers and financial system.
  • Ensure diverse financial services are used and have a positive impact on peoples’ lives and financial wellbeing – examples: -Push for measurement of usage and impact as part of national FI strategies. -Motivate industry to publish more evidence and promote financial inclusion solutions that advance the achievement of SDGs especially in the light climate change, future of work, and growing inequalities. 
  • Encourage policies and practices for underserved segments, with technology as a cross-cutting theme to - Ensure that the private and public sectors serve hard-to-reach segments, namely: MSMEs: Develop innovative products with the CEOP; Women: Public sector: promote robust data for policymaking; identify legal barriers and infrastructure needs for women’s economic empowerment; foster policy implementation (W20). Private sector: Raise awareness around unintentional gender bias in serving female customers, Smallholder households and agriculture: Promote innovative solutions 
Throughout her work, the UNSGSA increases dialogue between the private sector and policy makers, and private-private partnerships, for example through the CEOP.
A small team works closely with Queen Máxima and her secretariat in The Hague to coordinate and advance her UN and G20 activities. The Office of the UNSGSA is housed at BERA/UNDP in New York and receives financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  For more information on the activities and priorities of the UNSGSA, please visit:
Under the supervision of the Director of the Office of the UNSGSA, the Programme Specialist will provide support to prepare the UNSGSA on her strategic advice on policy issues, in particular in the area of women’s economic empowerment, including leading the relationship with W20 and the work with the technical reference group on financial, digital and labor inclusion so that W20 can continue to build momentum and action around these critical issues.
During the first year, the specialist is expected to work around 40% of his/her time (depending on the workload) on the issues related to women’s economic empowerment, and the rest of her/his time on other topics and/or initiatives based on the Office’s priorities.

Duties and Responsibilities

Lead the work on the women’s economic empowerment
  • Oversee the establishment and lead the work on the women’s economic empowerment, which could include fundraising, managing consultants (if and when need be) and working with a technical reference group on the strategy.
  • Manage and sustain good working relationship with the W20 focal point, the troika and especially the Presidency.
  • Once the strategy setting is completed, then develop a workplan for global and /or country-level implementation.
  • Provide ongoing support to the UNSGSA on topic of women economic empowerment.
  • Perform any other duties as may be assigned by the Director.
Support the UNSGSA work in selected focus countries.
  • Prepare or assist office in preparing UNSGSA country visits as well as a follow-up to country visit. Each country visit consists of work around developing key messages and key policy documents for the UNSGSA together with reference group partners.
  • Keep communication with selected partners (e.g. World Bank Group, Gates Foundation, UN agencies) working in focus countries.
  • Accompany and support the UNSGSA in country visits if needed.
  • Perform any other duties as may be assigned by the Director.
Provide policy advice on key thematic topics that are part of the UNSGSA priorities.
  • Prepare briefing notes, speeches/statements, talking points, and background papers for the UNSGSA’s meetings with government leaders, multilateral organizations, and participation in high profile events. 
  • Manage key areas of the UNSGSA agenda based on needs (e.g. GPFI work, ongoing work on agriculture, link between SDGs and financial inclusion).
  • Prepare bilateral briefings for the UNSGSA as well as summaries of key documents in areas of responsibilities.  
  • Perform any other duties as may be assigned by the Director.



  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.
  • Ability to persuade others to follow.
People Management
  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.
  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.
  • Ability to get things done
Experience and understanding of financial inclusion
  • Technical knowledge of the breadth of financial inclusion.
  • Ability to proactively share UNSGSA knowledge and activities at UN and other venues.
Partnerships/Relationships management
  • Ability to engage with other agencies, delegations and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships.
Briefs and Speech writing
  • Ability to prepare quality briefs and or speeches.
Risk management
  • Ability to identify and prioritize risks, and organize actions around mitigating them.
Intergovernmental and Multilateral Affairs
  • Knowledge of the Intergovernmental bodies and respective mandates and operations.
Knowledge management and sharing
  • Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Advanced university degree (Master’s) in International Development, Finance, Economics, or Business.
  • Minimum 7 years of experience in financial inclusion/ digital finance. 
  • Demonstrated experience of working on women’s economic empowerment initiatives.
  • Technical knowledge and deep understanding of the breadth of digital financial inclusion.
  • Hands-on field experience in financial inclusion is particularly useful.
  • Strong experience in drafting policy memos.
  • Capacity to prioritize multiple tasks, meet deadlines 
  • Thrive as part of a small and fast-moving team.
  • Outstanding written communication skills, with an ability to sum up key points concisely.
  • Sense of humor and grace under pressure, team player and excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Equal enthusiasm and efficiency for any task. Ability to travel and, as needed, work after hours and over weekends.
Language Requirements:
  • Excellent command of, and drafting skills in, English essential. Spanish desirable. Knowledge of another UN language an advantage.


Important information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders)

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.

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UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
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