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Policy Specialist, Health and NCDs

New York City (United States of America)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: New York City (United States of America)
  • Grade: P-3, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: 2021-01-20

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Background

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

 

Job Purpose and Organizational Context

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.

BPPS supports UNDP’s 2018-21 Strategic Plan, focusing on 3 outcomes including advancing poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions (outcome 1). The HIV, Health and Development Group (HHD), within BPPS, helps to contribute towards this outcome.

UNDP is a founding cosponsor of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), a partner of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and a co-sponsor of several other international health partnerships. UNDP’s work on HIV, health and development, as described in the HIV, Health and Development Strategy 2016-2021: Connecting the Dots, leverages UNDP’s core strengths and mandates in human development, governance and capacity development to complement the efforts of specialist health-focused UN agencies. UNDP delivers three types of support to countries in HIV, health and development.  

First, UNDP helps countries to mainstream attention to HIV and health into action on gender, poverty and the broader effort to achieve and sustain the Sustainable Development Goals. For example, UNDP works with countries to understand the social and economic factors that play a crucial role in driving health and disease, and to respond to such dynamics with appropriate policies and programmes outside the health sector. UNDP also promotes specific action on the needs and rights of women and girls as they relate to HIV.

Second, UNDP works with partners to address the interactions between governance, human rights and health responses. Sometimes this is done through focused or specialized programmes, such as promoting attention to the role of the law and legal environments in facilitating stronger HIV responses, including the use of flexibilities in intellectual property law to lower the cost of drugs and diagnostics. UNDP also works to empower and include marginalized populations who are disproportionately affected by HIV, such as sex workers, men who have sex with men and people living with HIV. Beyond these focused efforts, UNDP plays a key role in ensuring attention to HIV and health within broader governance and rights initiatives, including support to municipal action on SDGs, sustainable responses for Health and HIV such as improving sustainability of AIDS financing, sustainable health procurement, strengthening of national human rights institutions and increasing access to justice for key populations.

Third, as a trusted, long-term partner with extensive operational experience, UNDP supports countries in effective implementation of complex, multilateral and multisectoral health projects, while simultaneously investing in capacity development so that national and local partners can assume these responsibilities over time. The UNDP/Global Fund partnership is an important part of this work, facilitating access to resources for action on SDG 3 by countries that face constraints in directly receiving and managing such funding.  UNDP partners with countries in crisis/post-crisis situations, those with weak institutional capacity or governance challenges, and countries under sanctions. When requested, UNDP acts as temporary Principal Recipient in these settings, working with national partners and the Global Fund to improve management, implementation and oversight of Global Fund grants, while simultaneously developing national capacity to be able to assume the Principal Recipient role over time.

Acting on the social determinants of non-communicable diseases

Building on its experience in HIV and leveraging its core competencies in governance, poverty reduction and other areas, UNDP is contributing to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs are one of the most significant global health and development challenges of the 21st century; targets to prevent and control NCDs are included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2011 UN Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases requests the agencies, funds and programmes of the UN system to support multisectoral responses to NCDs. UNDP and WHO co-convene the work of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on NCDs (formed pursuant to ECOSOC resolution E/RES/2013/12) on Objective 2 of the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020. Objective 2 aims to strengthen national capacity, leadership, governance, multisectoral action and partnerships to accelerate country responses to NCDs. UNDP also works closely with the Convention Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, particularly to implement Article 5 of the treaty, which pertains to national planning, governance structures and reducing tobacco industry interference in policymaking.

Under the overall guidance of the Manager, Health and Innovative Financing Health, the Policy Analyst, Health and NCDs, based in HQ is responsible for conducting research and analysis as well as advancing policies and partnerships to support the team’s efforts on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with a particular focus on tobacco control and efforts to change the legal and policy environment. S/he will prepare for, and represent UNDP on, missions to project countries to assess policy contexts, support governments, engage civil society, and strengthen partnerships related to NCDs and tobacco control. S/he will also explore innovative financing approaches to ensure health and its determinants are promoted in UNDP’s work on SDG implementation and the SDG3 Global Action Plan. S/he collaborates with teams across UNDP’s Global Policy Network and the UN system to support the provision of quality policy services and advance UNDP’s credibility in the thematic area. S/he is responsible for contributing to the following:

  • Policy Research and Development;
  • Programme and Project Planning and Delivery Support;
  • Communication and Representation;
  • Partnership support and Facilitation of South-South Cooperation;
  • Knowledge Management.

Duties and Responsibilities

1. Policy Research and Development

  • Through in-depth research and analysis, contribute to the development and drafting of policy briefs, guidance notes and other knowledge products on the social determinants of health, with an emphasis on NCD prevention and control;
  • Help develop related tools for the implementation of the SDGs, with a particular focus and on the social, political and environmental determinants of health, focusing on legal, policy, and institutional environments;  
  • Take part in the process of analyzing, improving and adapting policies for different contexts on key emerging policy agendas as appropriate, including NCD prevention and tobacco control;
  • Support the coordination, testing and rolling out of tools to advance legislation and innovative health financing approaches across development goals;

2. Programme and Project Planning and Delivery Support

  • Support the planning and delivery of ongoing NCD and tobacco control initiatives, including representing UNDP on joint-missions with WHO and WHO-FCTC to project countries;
  • Support the development and formulation of new project proposals and workplans, as well as the timely completion of evaluation reports of existing initiatives;
  • Manage contracting and administrative processes relating to projects, including monitoring progress on deliverables and providing quality assurance.
  • Provide technical support to policy teams in the Regional Hubs and respond to country office needs as appropriate, including through the provision of capacity building and backstopping;
  • Prepare material as requested by supervisor to support the application of integrated multi-disciplinary approaches, including training materials and guidance notes for country offices;

3. Communication and Representation

  • Prepare communication and advocacy materials to support mobilizing, fostering and strengthening strategic partnerships with UN entities and other relevant bodies;
  • Draft and aid the development of briefings and speeches, and represent UNDP, as requested, in external meetings;
  • Prepare advocacy materials on the importance of NCD prevention and control to deepen related political commitment and related reforms.

4. Partnership support and Facilitation of Inter-agency collaboration

  • Support health team’s engagement in UN interagency coordination, in particular the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on NCDs, by serving as focal point on thematic working groups as needed as well as by providing research insight and ensuring follow-up to tasks assigned to UNDP;
  • Support ongoing partnership efforts with the WHO and WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat on the implementation of the SDG3 Global Action Plan
  • Foster partnerships including for resource mobilization and advocacy activities with UN partners, permanent missions, civil society and other external stakeholders.

5. Knowledge Management

  • Keep an up-to-date library of relevant knowledge products, whether at the global, cross-regional or region-specific level to and proactively share documents with team members and respond to their specific requests for information;
  • Contribute to the development and review of knowledge products in close coordination with HQ and Regional Hub teams by analyzing and sharing lessons learnt and programme evaluation results.
  • Support quality assurance of knowledge products as requested.

Competencies

Core

Innovation

  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.

Leadership

  • Ability to persuade others to follow.

People Management

  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.

Communication

  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.

Delivery

  • Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement.

Technical/Functional

  • Research (General) Knowledge of analytical tools and methods for undertaking substantive research on various policy related issues.

Partnerships

  • Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships.

Project Management

  • Ability to plan, organize and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific results.  

Coordination

  • Ability to manage complex relationships through pathways of knowledge exchange, capacity development, funding relationships and strategic engagement. 

Data Analysis

  • Ability to evaluate, transform and model data to derive relevant findings- undertake & provide analysis of data to assess organization’s performance and or global trends.

Negotiation

  • Ability to reach an understanding, resolve point of difference, or gain advantage in the outcome of dialogue.

Required Skills and Experience

Education:

  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in the areas of public policy, public health, international development, business administration, law, economics, or related disciplines

Experience:

  • At least 5 years of relevant work experience in project support and/or partnerships development, within international development organizations, including the UN, Governments or the private sector;
  • Knowledge and experience of UNDP and/or UN agency and/or other development organizations is an asset; especially work experience on a multi-agency project/programme;
  • Hands-on experience in design and implementation of partnership initiatives and events;
  • Demonstrated ability to translate research and evidence into well-written, policy relevant communications, for example: policy briefs, discussion notes, academic papers, and guidance documents;
  • Experience with legal and policy research/analysis and methods for health or development financing, including investment case methodology;
  • Experience engaging with government officials on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases an asset;   
  • Experience in executive level communications support is an asset;
  • Strong publication record: peer reviewed publications, institutional policy and programme guidance documents, training materials etc. is an asset.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency and strong writing and communication skills in English required.

Other:

  • Non-Smoking environment.

Disclaimer

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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