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Senior Programme Manager [Senior Policy Adviser - Climate Action Team]

New York City

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: New York City
  • Grade: IICA-4, International Individual Contractors Agreement
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Political Affairs
    • Legal - Broad
    • Environment
    • Meteorology, Geology and Geography
    • Climate Change
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2022-05-25

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Background Information - Job-specific

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners' peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world.  UNOPS supports partners to build a better future by providing services that increase the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of peace building, humanitarian and development projects.  Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organizations.

The Senior Programme Manager [Senior Policy Adviser - Climate Action Team] is part of the Sustainable Development Cluster (SDC) under the New York Service Cluster  (NYSC) SDC through its Development and Special Initiatives Portfolio (DSIP) is supporting project “Climate Action Team” CAT signed with the Executive Office of the Secretary General  (EOGS)

UNOPS has signed an agreement with the United Nations to implement the project activities for the Climate Action Team.

The 2019 Climate Action Summit mobilized significant public momentum and new commitments from Member States, private sector and subnational governments to turn the page on the climate change crisis. Such commitments identified new catalytic solutions and coalitions necessary to bend the emissions curve before 2030 – from the transformation of the world’s energy, transport, urban and natural ecosystems to the revamping of the world’s financial systems.

After the Summit, climate change remains at the top of the Secretary-General's priorities and one of the core priorities of the Decade of Action to Deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. In the context of the Decade, 2020 and 2021 are “make or break” years for climate action and the transformations needed for the world to truly adopt a sustainable, low emission development trajectory and to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

It is vital that we build upon the momentum from the 2019 Climate Action Summit to raise ambition levels on Nationally Determined Contributions, elevate our commitment to biodiversity, secure funding for climate adaptation and resilience and accelerate the just transitions we need from fossil fuel dependent energy and transport systems to ones powered by renewable energy.

In order to build on the momentum and realize the commitments secured at the Summit, the Secretary-General is building a new Climate Action Team. This Team will focus on the following:

  • Raising ambition levels and concrete commitments by the major emitters, particularly the G20;

  • Mainstreaming climate change (portfolio shifts to low emission investments, embedding climate risk factors in investment decision-making and carbon pricing) within financial markets and firms;

  • Developing and implementing a targeted strategy for fossil fuel and coal phase-out;

  • Strengthening and delivering the Climate Action Summit commitments and coalitions and incubating new commitments and coalitions related to energy transition, transportation, urban and local climate action, nature based solutions and climate resilience;

  • Enhancing UN system support to countries to deliver on the climate and environment-related Sustainable Development Goals – from water scarcity to industrial innovation and sustainable urbanization;

  • Provision of up-to-date analytics and policy guidance for the Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, UN leadership and Member States.

  • Designing and executing a cross-UN global communications campaign and movement focused on SG and UN leadership on climate action at all levels, and messaging and storytelling to build political will, elevate local solutions and mobilize individual actions.

In order to deliver the level of ambition needed, the team is led by a Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Climate Action, supported by a director on Climate Action and a director on Climate Ambition.

The incumbent of this position will be personnel of UNOPS under its full responsibility.

Functional Responsibilities

Under the overall supervision and guidance of the Climate Ambition Team Lead (Director) / Climate Action Team Lead (Director), the incumbent will provide substantive senior-level support on member state engagement, fossil fuel phase-out ambition and acceleration of climate action.

The incumbent will carry out the following tasks:

Personnel Management 

  • Lead Front Office team to provide logistical support to the ASG, to include but not limited to plan and manage daily calendar and schedule appointments, liaise with external contacts, make travel arrangements, secure visa requirements, assist with expense report processing, take phone calls, draft correspondences. 

Relationship Management

  • Manage relationship with COP26 Presidency and the Office of the SG’s Special Envoy on Climate Finance, delivering through the Climate Action Team policy leads but managing risks and opportunities to relationship and providing strategic advice to deepen collaboration to deliver the SG’s climate priorities.

Support to the Assistant Secretary-General

  • Attend meetings and represent the ASG. Support the ASG’s political outreach, communications, advocacy, partnerships and strategic engagements. 
  • Coordinate closely with counterparts in SG and DSG’s Offices, Executive Offices and Climate
  • Directorates/Teams across the UN system to ensure smooth running of the Team delivering on its priorities.
  • Execute special projects in support of the ASG’s strategic, management, and coordination needs, as assigned.
  • Lead on ensuring resource is adequately secured and deployed, creating processes to ensure tasking flows to deliver outcomes in line with the SG’s climate action strategy in a timely manner and to high quality.
  • Approval and authorization of notes, other correspondence, speeches and materials for the SG and DSG on behalf of the ASG. Develop strategies to improve quality control of Climate

Action Team produced material.

  • Support ASG and Directors building strong team culture and moral, particularly given challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, including through the organization of team retreats and activities. 

Resource Mobilisation

  • Lead on resource mobilisation to fund the Climate Action Team budget 2020-21 of USD 13m.
  • Lead on ensuring resource is adequately secured and deployed, creating processes to ensure tasking flows to deliver outcomes in line with the SG’s climate action strategy in a timely manner and to high quality.
  • Identify opportunities and execute actions to improve operational efficiency. 
  • Ensure smooth communications among the staff members within the team, facilitating the inclusion of team inputs in written materials and speeches and ensuring close team collaboration with all EOSG units, particularly the Sustainable Development Unit (SDU).
Monitoring and Progress Controls
  • In order to ensure quality and timely delivery of all outputs, the incumbent would be evaluated through periodic performance appraisals, focusing on client orientation, solution-drivenness, and maximizing available resources.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

Female Candidates are strongly encouraged to apply
  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree), preferably in International Relations or Climate Change/Science or other relevant fields is required. 
  • Two (2) additional years of relevant work experience, in combination with a first-level university (bachelor’s degree or equivalent), may substitute for the requirement of a master’s degree.
  • At least ten (10) years of relevant professional experience required; in the field of international politics, climate change, environment or related field is required.
  • Experience working for or with UN Member States, especially with high-level government officials required;
  • United Nations experience is required;
Desirable experience (the following experience is optional candidates who do not have it are welcome to apply)
  • Experience working in executive offices would be an asset, especially managing processes and administrative staff, quality control, speechwriting, and recommendations/advice. Experience of intergovernmental processes and negotiations desirable;
  • Experience working with non-State actors such as private finance is desirable.


  • Working knowledge of oral and written English is required. 
  • Knowledge of other UN working languages is desirable.


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.
Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.
Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.
Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type, level and duration
Contract type:
International ICA Contract level: IICA-4/ICS-12
Contract duration: Ongoing ICA - Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements availability of funds and satisfactory performance
For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: 

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns. Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

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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