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Regional Specialist, Insurance and Risk Finance

Pretoria (South Africa)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Pretoria (South Africa)
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Banking and Finance
    • Procurement
    • Physics and Mathematics
    • Statistics
  • Closing Date: 2020-09-21

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UNDP and the Global Policy Network
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.
Finance Sector Hub
Within the context of SDG Financing, UNDP has launched an Finance Sector Hub which is conceptualized as a finance and innovation platform that draws on a critical mass of UNDP expertise, initiatives, and partnerships to support the mobilization and leveraging of resources for the SDGs, supports COs with technical advise and tools and products, lead the implementation of the new UNDP private sector strategy and other global flagships initiatives, which fully supports the implementation of the Strategic Plan and supports governments to align public and private sector investments and activities with the 2030 Agenda. The Hub operates as an integral part of the Global Policy Network as well as the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy (BERA), and works with colleagues from GPN, BERA and across all Bureaux, as well as, with external stakeholders and partners. The Hub serves as a connector, broker and global coordinator among internal and external actors; curates and manages UNDP’s catalogue of service offers on SDG financing to governments, investors and companies, via the COs, to significantly enhance the scale and impact of UNDP’s work.
UNDP’s Work on Insurance and Risk Financing
The collaboration between the insurance industry and the development sector has grown significantly over the last five years. Key initiatives, such as the Insurance Development Forum, InsuResilience Global Partnership and the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, have evolved into significant policy and standard setting partnerships, bringing together countries, the development sector, and the private and mutual/cooperative sectors of industry. Increasingly, these partnerships are moving beyond policy to programming, with a strong focus on not only delivering insurance and risk financing solutions to countries and communities, but also on long-term transformational change of insurance markets.
UNDP’s growing work in this space has led to the creation of a flagship initiative on insurance and risk finance, and the creation of a dedicated facility for supporting UNDP Country Offices and country partners worldwide, within the newly created Finance Sector Hub. This work covers a range of critical areas where insurance and risk transfer solutions and collaboration with the industry can add significantly to achieving and delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.) Covering inclusive insurance, sovereign risk financing, insurance investments, natural capital, health, SME development and more, UNDP’s work will look to not only develop and deliver insurance solutions together with countries and communities, it will also look to work with partners to transform insurance markets, working on legislation, regulation and institutional capacity.
UNDP’s dedicated team working on insurance, risk and resilience financing, is now being enhanced with additional capacity to deliver on the promise and commitment at the core of this flagship initiative.
Regional Specialist Delivery: 2 Positions, one covering Regional Bureau of Asia/Pacific and the other covering the Regional Bureau of Africa
The role of the regional specialist is a critical function in UNDP’s growing Insurance and Risk Finance Facility team, with an overall role of being a catalyst for increasingly more risk-aware and resilient regions. Working across a diverse portfolio of work in development and already financed, the regional specialist will lead on the Facility’s work, together with the UNDP regional team, country office, development partners, government partners and regional organizations, as well as with the full range of private and civil society entities. In collaboration with the Central Team and country offices, they will be responsible for the delivery of the Facility strategy areas across the relevant region:
  • Inclusive Insurance
  • Sovereign Risk
  • Natural Capital and Risk
  • Insurance Investments 
  • Integration into Development
Specifically, they will be responsible for a set of four inter-locking deliverables through which they will deliver this work:
  • Policy Support and Representation.
  • Direct Support to Country Office and Regional Programming
  • Programme Identification, Development and Resource Mobilization
  • External Engagement, Knowledge Management, Advocacy, Research and Evidence
In addition to these core areas of delivery, UNDP also welcomes applicants with specialisations in related areas within insurance and risk finance work, such as work within fragile and conflict affected settings, gender and women’s empowerment, natural capital and risk, SME products and services etc.

Duties and Responsibilities

1)Lead on Policy Support and Representation
  • Provide regional leadership on UNDP’s work across insurance and Risk Finance 
  • Represent UNDP and its work on insurance and risk finance across a range of regional and country fora, and actively promote and position UNDP’s work.
  • Work across UNDP teams of the Global Policy Network to ensure coherent representation across issues of financing, risk and development, including, but not limited to those working in disaster risk reduction, climate adaptation, health, social protection and economic growth. 
  • Support UNDP’s Central team on insurance and risk finance by providing strategic advice, advocacy support, and critical analysis and information to enhance UNDP’s overall positioning on insurance and risk finance, including the preparation of briefing notes, presentations, speeches etc
  • Support the integration (both regionally and at a country level) of UNDP’s financing and investment work as part of its Finance Sector Hub.
  • Where appropriate manage resources that may be delegated as part of overall policy and programmatic work.
2)Direct support to Country Office and Regional Programmes:
  • Support country offices in the delivery of all Insurance and Risk Financing Programmes within the region, especially programmatic work that has long-term sustainability. 
  • Develop and deliver work-plans in collaboration with country offices and industry partners.
  • Provide direct technical advice to Country Offices and Programme Countries, especially for the implementation of country-level programmes, and where appropriate jointly manage the delivery of specialized insurance/risk finance staff at the country level.
  • Liaise with both public and private sector delivery partners together with country offices, and actively work with members of key insurance/development partnerships, such as the Insurance Development Forum and InsuResilience Global Partnership. 
  • Develop and implement a robust lessons-learnt programme across countries which will be supported by UNDP’s Insurance and Risk Finance Facility.
  • Where appropriate develop and implement regional initiatives.
3)Programme Identification, Development and Resource Mobilization
  • Identify new and scalable opportunities for UNDP across the region and within countries and develop them to concept stage. Maintain a pipeline of all work in all stages and regularly follow up on all initiatives in development.
  • Proactively seek to resource all projects in development, and actively support country offices in their task of securing financing for Insurance and Risk Finance work. 
  • Actively explore and develop strategic alliances with key partners for joint fundraising and service-delivery. 
  • Contribute significantly to the development of strategic programmatic partnerships with both internal and external partners to advance the implementation of UNDP’s Insurance and Risk Finance Facility. 
  • Develop strong relationships with donor financing and technical teams where they exist, at the regional level but also increasingly at the country level (in support of UNDP Country Offices.) 
4)External Engagement, Knowledge Management, Advocacy, Research and Evidence
  • Lead on regional KM, advocacy and research issues for the Insurance and Risk Finance teams in the region.
  • Where appropriate lead upon and support the development of marketing, policy, learning and advocacy materials related to the team’s work, as well as in support of both the Finance Sector Hub and wider GPN.
  • Ensure that all training materials, tools and advocacy work are disseminated across country offices and programme countries.
  • Where appropriate represent UNDP’s Insurance and Risk Finance Facility across regional media, and actively contribute to its work through a strong social media presence supported by regular expert articles.


  • 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 while exercising good judgement
Global Development Finance
  • Knowledge of global development financial trends, global financial institutions and processes, and ability to apply in strategic and/or practical situations
Social Inclusion
  • Knowledge of inclusive growth, decent employment and social protection concepts, principals and issues, and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
Disaster Risk Management
  • Knowledge of disaster risk management concepts and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical settings.

Required Skills and Experience


  • A Master’s degree, preferably in public financial management, disaster risk management and/or financing, financial inclusion or development financing. 


  • A minimum of 7 years of relevant experience in either the public sector (national or multilateral, including UN), private (academia, non-governmental sector, corporate), with an increasing level of responsibility.
  • Demonstrable experience working in insurance and risk financing, especially in developing countries, with specializations in key areas welcomed, such as in women’s empowerment, natural capital, inclusive insurance etc. is highly desirable;
  • Experience at international level and with developing countries is desirable; 
  • Experience in results-based and results-oriented project implementation and management is desirable;
  • Experience in managing teams, inspiring and mentoring staff, facilitating their capacity development, and resolving conflicts is desirable;
  • Experience managing projects across issues of strategy, financing, administration and human resources is desirable;
  • Experience in overseeing and guiding the development of communications and knowledge management strategies and products is an asset;
  • Experience in overseeing implementation of projects involving government, NGO/CSO, private sector, academia and/or intergovernmental stakeholders is an asset;
  • Working experience in UN or other international organization, and knowledge of UNDP policies, procedures and practices is an advantage.

Language Requirements:

  • Excellent knowledge of the English language, with exceptional writing, presentation and communication skills is required.
  • Competency in other UN languages is an asset.


  • Experience in the usage of computers and office software packages (MS Word, Excel, etc.) and advanced knowledge of web-based management systems is mandatory.


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.

Workforce diversity

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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We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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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