Environment and Social Safeguards Specialist, P-4, DAPM, NYHQ, Temporary Appointment, 364 days
New York City (United States of America)
The Environment and Social Safeguards Specialist will support the refinement of the draft UNICEF Environmental and Social Safeguards Standards and Procedures as well to provide technical and capacity building support for implementation of the policies and procedures.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.
Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.
And we never give up.
For every child, a sustainable, clean and safe environment
Climate change and environmental degradation are some of the biggest threats affecting the world’s children which has the potential to undermine many of the gains we have made in child survival and development. Children are the least responsible for climate change and environmental degradation, yet they stand to bear the greatest burden of its impact.
UNICEF is committed to achieving societal transformation necessary so that children can live in a sustainable, clean and safe environment to children. UNICEF’s climate and environmental sustainability strategy is structured around four main pillars to ensure the rights of children in a changing climate. The strategy stresses the need for ambitious programming to protect children from the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation by increasing the resilience of the basic services, and by reducing emissions and pollution. It recognizes that children are not merely passive victims, but right holders and active agents of change and that our only hope is empowering future generations to choose an environmentally sustainable path.
How can you make a difference?
As part of the organisational priority to mainstream Climate, Energy and Environment into UNICEF’s core programming, UNICEF is committed to ensuring appropriate environmental and social quality standards are in place to strengthen the quality and sustainability of its programming. UNICEF is in the process of finalizing and launching the Environmental and Social Safeguards Standards and Procedures (ESSP) which is envisaged to be an integral component of UNICEF’s quality assurance and risk management approach to programming. The Programme Division (PD) and Division of Data, Analytics, Planning and Monitoring (DAPM) is jointly leading this process. It is now seeking a full-time Environment and Social Safeguards Specialist to support the refinement of the draft UNICEF Environmental and Social Safeguards Standards and Procedures as well to provide technical and capacity building support for implementation of the policies and procedures. The purpose of this position includes:
- Coordinating with UNICEF Regional and Country offices and HQ divisions (including WASH, Education, Health, Legal, Supply, Finance, Ethics, OIAI, etc) to solicit inputs, consolidating feedback and revising the draft ESSP documents.
- Coordinating a designated ESS Task Team.
- Ensuring the ESSP is closely aligned to and builds on UNICEF’s regulatory and policy frameworks and aligns to our commitments to children.
- Developing a plan of action with timelines for the implementation of the standards and the implications on existing long-term projects as well as new proposals and country programmes
- Finalising the ESSP documents and disseminating these across the organisation
- Providing technical support to offices, programme and operations teams on the application and implementation of the standards and procedures
- Formulating and executing capacity development plan for offices and developing supporting guidance, pools of ESS experts, quality assurance mechanisms and toolkits to assist the roll out.
- Establishing and managing an internal Sharepoint site or PPPx sub-site on ESS to offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all information on the implementation of ESS.
- Capturing lessons learned, experiences and case studies from country offices to inform capacity development trainings as well as address gaps and refine the procedures.
- Assisting the OIAI in the design and establishment of grievance and redressal mechanism throughout the levels of the organisation
- Coordinating with external partners (e.g. UN Environment Management Group, multilateral agencies, donors, etc.).
Key functions, accountabilities and related duties/tasks:
Coordinate, Refine and Finalise the ESSP:
- Refine UNICEF’s ESSP draft documents: Coordinate, review, consolidate and address internal feedback (from UNICEF Divisions and Offices) on the draft documents including but not limited to the following:
- ESS Standards and Procedures
- ESS Screening Note
- Accountability & Grievance Mechanism sample
- UNICEF Implementation Guide for high/medium projects
- Plan and formulate any other additional necessary documents, guidance notes, templates, as well as convene internal focused group discussions instrumental towards finalising the ESSP.
- Ensure the ESSP related documents are aligned with UNICEF’s internal procedures and policies, regulatory frameworks as well as the model UN approach.
- Coordinate with external partners including UN Environment Management Group to ensure alignment.
- Finalise the ESSP.
Support the implementation of ESS across UNICEF projects/programmes
- In coordination with HQ Divisions, Regional and Country Offices provide technical support to roll out and implement the ESS across UNICEF projects, /programmes, including those implemented with government, civil society and UN agencies; and contracted to external vendors/service providers. This includes formulating a roll-out plan, developing supporting guidance and tools (e.g. Environmental and Social Screening Tool) to support ESS implementation.
- Work closely with the Regional Offices to provide demand-driven support to Country Offices to ensure smooth and efficient ESS roll-out.
- Take stock of past, existing and upcoming projects/programmes with ESSP application. Review and document UNICEF case examples, experiences and lessons learned from application of the ESS Standards and screening procedure in pilot countries (first pilots convened between 2016-2020). Lessons can be used to address document best practice, identify existing gaps and for any necessary revision of the ESSP as well as in training materials and toolkits.
- Performs other relevant duties as required.
Support capacity development and training on the ESS
- Develop a long-term training and capacity development plan including support to country teams to build their capacities to review the quality of ESS project documentation.
- Develop and implement a series of webinars.
- Develop content for face-to-face trainings and presentations, including for UNICEF staff, partners and vendors.
- Performs other relevant duties as required.
Support the establishment of accountability grievance mechanism and a compliance unit
- Together with OIAI, review and map out ESS accountability and redressal mechanisms of other external partners such as UN agencies and key development partners (e.g. World Bank, KfW, etc.)
- Review and distill key elements and lessons learned from other accountability frameworks within UNICEF (e.g. PSEA, AAP, etc.)
- Work with OIAI to formulate a plan and identify recommendations for establishing a grievance and redressal mechanism as well as a compliance unit
- Performs other relevant duties as required.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
- An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in the field related to international development, with specific academic background required in environmental and social sustainability.
- A minimum of 8 years’ technical experience in social and environmental sustainability and in the design, implementation and preferably monitoring of social and environmental impact assessments and management plans across projects and programmes in an international development context for medium to high risk projects. This is a requisite.
- Demonstrated excellence in clear, concise and convincing writing and communication skills, including public speaking and presentations is preferred.
- Highly organized with strong analytical and research skills is preferred.
- Demonstrated ability to work effectively as part of a collaborative team and process is preferred.
- Familiarity with the UN System is considered an asset.
- Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language is an asset.
For every Child, you demonstrate...
UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.
The functional competencies required for this post are:
- Relating and Networking
- Persuading and Influencing
- Applying Technical Expertise
- Planning and Organising
- Self-awareness and ethical awareness
View our competency framework at
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.
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 also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. 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.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.