Chief Digital Officer
Org. Setting and Reporting
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 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 United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.
UNEP’s Medium-Term Strategy 2022-2025 sets an ambitious course to harness data and digital technologies and innovations to better serve Member States and partners in their efforts to tackle the triple planetary crises of climate change, nature loss and pollution. Through a process of scanning, testing, and scaling relevant digital technologies, UNEP aims to become an increasingly data-driven, agile, transparent, and effective organization. Digital technologies are a key enabler for UNEP that provide unprecedented opportunities to: (i) to support organisational change processes towards enhanced agility, results-orientation and collaborations; (ii) to identify new and innovative solutions to the most pressing climate, nature and pollution challenges; (iii) to strengthen our capacities to effectively engage and collaborate with a broad range of stakeholders from government, the private sector and civil society: (iv) enhance accountability, results-orientation, and inclusiveness of development programs, empowering citizens by establishing by direct feedback loops.
UNEP’s digital transformation vision focuses on developing the organization’s capability to leverage existing, emerging and future data and digital technologies and the opportunities they offer to profoundly improve the way UNEP creates and delivers value and benefits for those we serve. The vision is based on an open innovation approach enabling the effective co-design of innovative solutions with strategic partners, civil society and citizens.
A key role in delivering UNEP’s digital transformation change management process is the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). The CDO provides leadership for and support to UNEP’s digital transformation in line with the Medium-Term Strategy 2022-2025 and the Programme of Work 2022-2023. The CDO leads the Digital Accelerator Lab, which, drawing from several experts, will act as an internal centre of excellence to deliver rapid “on-demand” digital expertise, training and advisory services to the UNEP divisions and regions. The CDO will also lead the Digital Accelerator Network, which connects all UNEP staff under the Digital Transformation Sub-programme. As a digital champion in the organization, the CDO energizes and supports staff and their respective offices in transforming and enabling UNEP digitally.
The CDO reports to the Executive Director and is a member of the UNEP Senior Management Team to ensure strategic alignment and direct engagement with corporate priorities. The CDO will also work closely with the Chief of Enterprise Solutions and the Subprogramme Coordinator for Digital Transformations to ensure that information technology structures and systems for UNEP are responsive to business needs and strategic priorities. The CDO also works closely with senior managers and staff across the organization, driving the implementation of the UNEP Digital Transformation objectives in a collaborative and participatory approach. The CDO will act as a vice chair of the UNEP data governance group together with the Director of the Science Division allowing for prioritization of the investments based on the needs of strategic priorities the organization.
This post is located in UNEP's Executive Office, at the Nairobi duty station.
Under the overall guidance of the Executive Director, the incumbent will be responsible for the following functions:
1. Strategic vision and coordination of UNEP’s digital transformation:
• Provide strategic guidance to the implementation of UNEP’s digital transformation.
• Further develop UNEPs digital transformation strategy outlining concrete priority areas for the use of digital innovations to enhance the accountability, efficiency, results-orientation, and responsiveness of programs.
• Develop a strategic framework for a human-centered and sustainable digital transformation, which outlines both the opportunities and potential risks (i.e., data protection, privacy) of leveraging digital technologies for sustainable development.
• Maintain an agile and iterative digital transformation workplan across all divisions and regions as well as coordinate its implementation including supporting the design of initiatives related to internal digital transformation, including progress monitoring and consolidated reporting of results.
• Keep abreast of innovations and emerging applications of digital technologies to support their testing, validation, and scaling in UNEP while ensuring synergies are built between different work processes.
• Serve as a member of UNEP’s Senior Management Team and other related forums to ensure programmatic, policy, external relations, operational, and other activities are fully supported by appropriate digital technologies.
• Provision of strategic advice and support to the Executive Office and Senior Management Team of UNEP in relation to transforming UNEP’s business model through digital technologies.
• Streamline digital strategies across the organization linked to science and communications in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Scientist and the Director of Communications respectively.
2. Lead the implementation process for UNEP internal Digital Transformation pathway:
• Serve as the digital champion and lead for implementation of a series of high-level lighthouse programs that leverage digital transformations as a key enabler for sustainability and climate action.
• Develop an open innovation program, that leverage innovation processes, (i.e., hackathons, challenges, prizes) to identify, co-design and accelerate innovative digital solutions for environmental protection and climate action.
• Support the work of the Chief of Enterprise Services to ensure that UNEP’s digital enterprise architecture has the requisite capacities and resources to enable achievement of the Digital Transformation outcomes.
• Co-lead the internal governance mechanism supporting data, ICT and Digital Transformation efforts of UNEP. Work with internal stakeholders to continually optimize digital governance and decision-making processes as the business context and technology landscape changes.
• Act as a trusted technical advisor to Divisional and Regional Directors, and other senior staff of UNEP as they set about digitally transforming their respective areas of work.
• Use change management expertise and an end-to-end understanding of the digital value chain to coach project teams on driving enterprise change and internal collaboration.
• Oversee the Digital Acceleration Lab that will take the lead in the development, testing and rapid prototyping of technological solutions and platforms based on business needs identifies within UNEP and its partners.
• Manage the financial resources assigned to the internal Digital Transformation pathway workplan.
3. Advocacy, engagement and partnerships:
• Represent UNEP in relevant forums and events related to digital transformation and digital technologies to raise the profile of the organization and support for its work.
• In close cooperation with divisions and regional offices, forge public-private partnerships with external actors supportive of UNEP’s mission and capable of advancing UNEP’s digital transformation objectives.
• Ensure donor engagement, partnership, and resource mobilization for the implementation of the internal Digital Transformation pathway, including from the private sector and relevant foundations.
• Liaise with digital and ICT experts in the broader UN family to build coordinated efforts towards digital transformation, in line with the Secretary General’s Strategy on New Technologies, the Secretary General’s Digital Cooperation Roadmap, the Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES) and the planned Digital Compact.
• Develop strategic partnerships with private sector (leading ICT companies, digital start-ups and tech4good programs) for the co-design of highly innovative, citizen-centered tech solutions for environmental protection and climate action.
4. Knowledge management and technical advice:
• Supports the development of innovative learning programs for UNEP personnel on digital innovations, sustainability, and the intersection between digital and green transformation.
• Build from the distributed knowledge of UNEP staff and their experience of developing, adapting, and applying digital solutions so as to develop an organization wide source of information for digital transformation.
• Provide thought leadership on how digital technologies can transform UNEP’s work including policy, programming, operations, and advocacy and external relations.
• Engage with the broader UN Development System to bolster knowledge, debate and discussion on how digital transformation can support achievement of respective organizational mandates. Document and share UNEP experience in this area and through appropriate inter-agency forums.
• In close collaboration with Corporate Services Division, empower UNEP colleagues to build skills and knowledge in the area of digital transformation.
• Supports the mainstreaming of a “digital way of working” culture via best practice/peer examples and innovative approaches to addressing complex issues around people, process, and implementation methods to operationalize shared capabilities between business and technology.
• Convene an informal digital champions group of UNEP personnel committed to driving forward the digital transformation vision as a new community of practice.
5. Perform any other related duties as assigned by the Supervisor.
PROFESSIONALISM: Expert knowledge of and digital transformation issues. Demonstrated capabilities as evident from published papers and experience programming, assessments, and provision of advice, as well as work experience in the policy domain. Familiarity with issues of relevance to both developing and developed countries and at different scales from global to local. 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.
COMMUNICATION: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively. Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately. Asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication. Tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience. Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
TEAMWORK: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals. Solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others. Places team agenda before personal agenda. Supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position. Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.
VISION: Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks. Clearly communicates links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals. Generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction. Conveys enthusiasm about future possibilities.
LEADERSHIP: Serves as a role model that other people want to follow. Empowers others to translate vision into results. Is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives. Establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support. Anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions. Drives for change and improvement; does not accept the status quo. Shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.
An advanced university degree (Masters or equivalent) in Information and Communication Technology, Informatics, Management Information System, Computer Science, Business, Management, environmental science, or related disciplines is required. A first level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced degree.
A minimum of fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible work experience in the field of innovation, green technology, digital strategies, organizational management, digital change management, corporate ICT services is required.
A minimum of five (5) years of strategic and managerial experience at a senior level and in managing complex processes and portfolios is required.
Experience in identifying/developing and applying digital solutions to an organization’s (either public or private sector), business challenges, with demonstrated application of new technologies to one or more business areas is required.
Experience in forming partnerships in the field of digital technologies to advance organizational objectives is required.
Experience in undertaking change management and culture change activities to support an organization’s transformation is desirable.
Experience working with the United Nations Common System or other international organizations is desirable.
Direct experience in implementing digital transformation programs across different sectors in developing countries is desirable.
English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in oral and written English is required. Knowledge of another official United Nations language is an advantage.
NOTE: "Fluency equals a rating of "fluent" in all four areas (read, write, speak, understand) and "Knowledge of" equals a rating of "confident" in two of the four areas.
Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.Special Notice
Appointment against this position is for an initial period of one year and may be subject to extension.
Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.
The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance and geographical diversity in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.
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At the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the recruitment and employment of staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, with due regard to geographic diversity. All employment decisions are made on the basis of qualifications and organizational needs. The United Nations is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. The United Nations recruits and employs staff regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds or disabilities. Reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities may be provided to support participation in the recruitment process when requested and indicated in the application.
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United Nations Considerations
According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.
Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.
The paramount consideration in the appointment, transfer, or promotion of staff shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. By accepting an offer of appointment, United Nations staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and assignment by him or her to any activities or offices of the United Nations in accordance with staff regulation 1.2 (c). In this context, all internationally recruited staff members shall be required to move periodically to discharge new functions within or across duty stations under conditions established by the Secretary-General.
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