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Lead Economist

Bangkok

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Bangkok
  • Grade: Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Economics
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date:
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.

Under the guidance of RBAP Senior Management and the Head of the BPPS IG team in HQ, the Lead Economist will lead the implementation of RBAP substantive engagements on economic policy and inclusive growth to broaden influence, build partnerships and unlock resources to deliver on UNDP strategic offer in Asia-Pacific.

The Inclusive Growth Team is part of BPPS and the wider Global Policy Network and focuses on integrated solutions that tackle inequality of opportunities and advance sustainable human development to achieve prosperity for all, through a continuum of services that aims to protect, empower, and transform – enabling the multidimensionally poor and vulnerable, to live better lives and be empowered agents in an inclusive, resilient development process and green recovery. Our mutually supportive service lines include: (i) Developing new poverty and inequality metrics and tools; (ii) Expanding and improving social protection, including promoting the care economy, focusing on the most vulnerable first; (iii) Protecting and enhancing the productivity and resilience of informal workers and informal enterprises; (iv) Supporting national counterparts to harness and shape the future of work opportunities.

Position Purpose

The Lead Economist will lead the production of flagship knowledge products, steer a high-level policy dialogue series, advise the senior management on the implications of significant policy developments in the region, provide high-level technical advice to country offices, nurture relationships with prominent thinkers and think tanks, and mentor the Economists’ Network. In doing so, s/he provides intellectual leadership and expertise to support UNDP’s positioning in particular on signature solution one of the strategic plan and communicate its value proposition to countries and other stakeholders in the region. S/he will lead the substantive dialogue with traditional and emerging partners, with a special focus on frontier issues. The Lead Economist will use foresight to provide the strategic thinking in RBAP team and lead the preparation of a compelling development narrative in alignment with the UNDP Strategic Plan. S/he will leverage external relations, use strategic communications, and lead advocacy efforts for RBAP and BPPS programs, engaging with regional donors, IFIs, the private sector, academic institutions, think tanks, and civil society. The Lead Economist will participate in substantive dialogues with the UN and other partners, to promote strategic alliances. Through a collaborative arrangement, the Lead Economist will head the Inclusive Growth Team and work closely with the SDG Finance, Regional Innovation Centre, and other regional policy and program teams, Country Office Support and Quality Assurance teams at Bangkok Regional Hub, and UNDP Policy Centers worldwide.

Key Duties and Accountabilities

In this section list up to five primary functions/accountabilities of the position (Typically one sentence each) and examples of duties that must be performed to accomplish key responsibilities.

Lead all substantive engagements on economic policy and head the Inclusive Growth Team in the region 

Example of Duties:

  • Lead the production and quality assurance process of flagship knowledge products (books, reports, monographs, papers, and briefs) on all aspects of economic policy reflecting the heterogenous development stages of countries in Asia-Pacific.
  • Provide high-level strategic advice to RBAP and BPPS senior management based on empirical analysis and rigorous assessments of the implications of emerging development trends, challenges, and opportunities.
  • Oversee the Economist Network and help support the positioning of key development publications in specific country/sub-regional contexts by theme (LDCs, MICs, SIDS) and geography (South Asia, East Asia, Pacific).
  • Create and steer a high-level policy dialogue series catering to diverse constituencies (policymakers, diplomats, academics, young researchers, journalists, and students) and strengthen UNDP’s research networks with influential think tanks.
  • Lead the Inclusive Growth Team in the region and advance inclusive growth priorities in line with the renewed signature solution 1 offer.

Implement a substantive outreach and engagement strategy on regional economic policy and inclusive growth issues

Example of Duties:

  • Ensure the representation of UNDP in different fora for policy dialogue, partnership negotiations, and advocacy to position the UNDP Strategic Plan in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Maintain an active roster of world-class academics, researchers, and policymakers for periodic engagement and consultations.
  • Represent RBAP on the Editorial Board and support the elevation of key regional and CO policy papers for UNDP.
  • Advise the RBAP and BPPS senior management on strategic opportunities for engagement with key partners and stakeholders, including strategic positioning of UNDP priorities in Asia-Pacific.
  • Prepare strategic documents, concept papers, and messages on development solutions and the SDGs, in consultation with UNDP leadership across the region.
  • Scan business development opportunities to enhance partnership with International Financial Institutions (IFIs), identifying potential areas of joint programming and financing.
  • Strategic analysis and monitoring of targeted partners’ thematic priorities, funding drivers, modalities, and collaboration opportunities in Asia and the Pacific.
  • Liaise with other Bureaus on strategic interest in the definition/revision of corporate partnership engagement policy or initiatives.

Provide strategic policy analysis and advice to support UNDP’s positioning and the Economist Network on emerging issues, data, tools, and methodologies for innovative economic policy

Example of Duties:

  • Support and mentor the Economist Network through regular pipeline portfolio reviews, and explore the feasibility of private sector, individual support, and earned income strategies for the Inclusive Growth team
  • Strengthen the Team’s network and partnerships with foundations, academic institutions, think tanks, and civil society organizations.
  • Develop synergies between strategic policy/positioning in inter-governmental and inter-agency fora, partnership development, and knowledge generation
  • Through external partnerships and in-house capacity building on data, tools, and methodologies, help foster a culture of evidence-based policymaking on inter-disciplinary topics, including through online and in-person capacity building orientations.

Knowledge management and community of practice networking

Example of Duties:

  • Oversees, influences, and promotes policy dialogue in the thematic areas through cross-regional exchange of knowledge and collaboration, and synthesis of knowledge emerging from the development and implementation of programs across thematic areas;
  • Provides substantive expert advice in the Community of Practice for Poverty and inequality;
  • Guides and coordinates the cross-regional exchange of knowledge by collaborating with policy teams in Regional Hubs and Global Policy Centers to research, develop and share knowledge-based tools and guidance to help influence/advance policy dialogue on priorities for inclusive growth, including the reduction of inequalities, poverty eradication, and sustainable human development and present such material at various fora;
  • Oversees the knowledge extraction, analysis, documentation, and codification of results/lessons learned on inclusive growth, ensuring that knowledge sharing, and content management is in line with the knowledge management strategy.

Partnerships, Representation, and Advocacy for effective policy positioning in the region

Example of Duties:

  • Represent UNDP to advocate core organizational messages and positions in high-profile arenas to position UNDP to influence the economic development policy direction in the region;
  • Advocate the application of ground-breaking approaches for achieving national and regional prosperity, especially as an integrated approach to achieving the SDGs, in various regional and country fora to deepen related political commitment and related reforms;
  • Represent UNDP within engagements in interagency coordination on policy areas related to the issues listed in the background section of this ToR;
  • Address resource mobilization for inclusive growth portfolio, through well-reasoned, innovative suggestions and approaches. Create and consolidate partnerships with new funding sources and new financing instruments, including with non-traditional donors/partners.
  • Act as a pivotal resource in shaping the relationship management of regional partners and resource mobilization;
  • Articulate and enable pathways for mobilizing and fostering external partnerships behind regional initiatives;
  • Manage the building of strategic alliances and partnerships, especially with key think tanks and non-governmental organizations.
  • Ensure close coordination of policy engagements and resource mobilization/external relations activities between RBAP HQ, Bangkok Regional Hub, and Country Offices.
  • Supervisory/Managerial Responsibilities: Lead the Inclusive Growth Team as well as the Economist Network in the region and advance inclusive growth priorities.
Requirements

Education

Advanced graduate degree in economics, development studies, public policy, or closely related academic fields (Ph.D. is an asset)

 Experience, Knowledge, and Skills

  • Minimum of 15 years of relevant experience - providing policy advice and advancing the development and implementation of inclusive growth/poverty eradication/equality approaches in different development contexts, including experience working in developing country settings.
  • Master’s degree or Ph.D., five years of which must be of progressively responsible experience in partnerships, resource mobilization, and communications/advocacy; experience in international institutions and donors.
  • Proven track record and leadership experience in the UN System/multilateral organizations related to economic policy, inclusive growth, poverty eradication and reducing inequality. 
  • Strong analytical skills in economic and social dimension of sustainable development.
  • Knowledge of the Asia Pacific region is a must.
  • Experience working in the UN system is required.
  • Excellent communication and analytical skills (written, verbal, interpersonal, and intercultural)
  • Fluency in English, both written and oral.

Expected Demonstration of Competencies

Core Competencies UNDP Core Competencies can be found here.

  • Achieve Results: LEVEL 4: Prioritize team workflow, mobilize resources, drive scalable results/strategic impact
  • Think Innovatively: LEVEL 4: Easily navigate complexity, encourage/enable radical innovation, have the foresight
  • Learn Continuously: LEVEL 4: Create systems and processes that enable learning and development for all
  • Adapt with Agility: LEVEL 4: Proactively initiate/lead organizational change, champion new systems/processes
  • Act with Determination: LEVEL 4: Able to make difficult decisions in challenging situations, inspire confidence
  • Engage and Partner: LEVEL 4: Construct strategic multi-partner alliances in high stake situations, foster co-creation
  • Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 4: Create an ethical culture, identify/address barriers to inclusion

People Management

  • UNDP People Management Competencies can be found on the dedicated site.

Cross-Functional & Technical competencies 

Strategic Thinking
  • Ability to develop effective strategies and prioritized plans in line with UNDP’s objectives, based on the systemic analysis of challenges, potential risks, and opportunities, linking the vision to reality on the ground, and creating tangible solutions
  • Ability to layering learning from a variety of sources to anticipate and respond to future trends; to demonstrate foresight to model what future developments and possible ways forward look like for UNDP

Digital & Innovation

  • Systems thinking & transformation - Understand that complex problems need a non-reductionistic, holistic approach.
  • Systems thinking & transformation - Ability to explore challenges from multiple perspectives by zooming in and out, with a focus on relationships and flows rather than individual elements; understand how certain dynamics and conditions are driving and influencing an issue.
  • Systems thinking & transformation - Ability to develop a collective understanding of a mapping system and its dynamics (e.g. flows or resources, information; power relations); can handle ambiguity and can help others navigate it. Being able to identify intervention points to leverage change and system transformation by setting out a coherent collection of multiple interventions to probe the system for desirable effects. Understand that change is non-linear and unpredictable; be comfortable and able to work with emergence.

Communication

  • Ability to communicate in a clear, concise, and unambiguous manner both through written and verbal communication; to tailor messages and choose communication methods depending on the audience
  • Ability to manage communications internally and externally, through media, social media, and other appropriate channels

Partnerships Management

  • Ability to build and maintain partnerships with wide networks of stakeholders, Governments, civil society and private sector partners, experts, and others in line with UNDP strategy and policies
  • Knowledge Generation - Ability to research and turn information into useful knowledge, relevant for context, or responsive to a stated need
  • Collective Intelligence Design - Ability to bring together diverse groups of people, data, information or ideas, and technology to design services or solutions

2030 Agenda: prosperity

  • Inclusive Growth- Multidimensional Poverty and Human Development
Please note that continuance of appointment beyond the initial 12 months is contingent upon the successful completion of a probationary period.
 
Disclaimer
 
 
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.
 
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