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Gender and Safeguards Specialist | UNEP Young Talent Pipeline


  • Organization: UNEP - United Nations Environment Programme
  • Location: Nairobi
  • Grade: Volunteer - International Youth - International recruited Volunteer
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Human Rights
    • Gender-based violence
    • Safeguarding and Accountability
  • Closing Date: Closed

Mission and objectives

Since its inception in 1972, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been the global authority that sets the 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 mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, UNEP works through its divisions as well as regional, liaison and out-posted offices and a growing network of collaborating centres of excellence.


All UNEP projects need to incorporate safeguard perspectives and measures into their project design, management, monitoring, reporting, and evaluation.

Stakeholder’s expectations for development on the principles of “do no harm” and “do good” have been significantly raised. Additionally, UNEP’s work has become increasingly aware of the crucial need to approach environmental development from an interdisciplinary and intersectional direction. Consequently, safeguarding is a fast-growing area of work within national governments, the UN System, and international financial institutions. This creates an exciting and intellectually stimulating opportunity for a professional to contribute to the organization by working on cross-cutting programmatic issues which on the focus promotion of gender equality and human rights in environmental management as well as ensuring social and economic sustainability, in a challenging environmental context.

The Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework is a tool to bring UN programmatic principles into operation. These key principles are human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment; leave no one behind; accountability; resilience and sustainability, among others. The best way to ensure these principles is through an understanding of local stakeholders and project contexts. For meaningful application of these principles, UNEP seeks an International UN Volunteer Specialist who can support UNEP project managers with public participation and building effective engagement and communication strategies. This post is in the Gender and Safeguards Unit of the Policy and Programme Division (PPD) at UNEP HQ in Nairobi, Kenya. The GSU has been mandated to carry out the formulation, operationalization, support, and oversight of Safeguards policy compliance, namely the Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework (ESSF ), and the Policy and Strategy for Gender Equality and the Environment. The Unit’s mission is ensuring that the UNEP works inclusively, sustainably, and comprehensively for the people and planet it serves.

Task description

The UN Volunteer position is in the GSU of the Policy and Programme Division (PPD) at UNEP HQ in Nairobi, Kenya. Under the direct supervision of the head of the GSU. the International UNV will undertake the following tasks:

  • Support in the establishment, testing, implementation, and revision of the ESSF-related operational tools and systems by engaging UNEP project managers, PPD, coordination offices, implementing and executing partners, and funding agencies. These tools and systems should fit to the perspectives of above entities.
  • Support project managers with taking a human rights-based approach (HRBA) in identifying and engaging local community members, indigenous people, and other marginalized and vulnerable people in terms of their needs, concerns, roles, and opportunities associated with the concerned projects through close consultation with the Safeguards Advisor.
  • Advise project managers to design solutions which consider differences in ability, gender-based violence, gender-responsive approaches, and effective engagement of local stakeholders by exploring best practices and methodologies.
  • Monitor projects’ compliance with the Safeguards Advisor’s recommendations, gender-action plans, stakeholder engagement plans, and safeguard risk management plans during the project implementation phase to provide appropriate improvement recommendations under the supervision of the Safeguards Advisor.
  • Participate in the oversight of safeguards implementation at the programme level; prepare reports on the overall and aggregate status of ESSF implementation on guiding principles and recommend the follow-up measures to improve UNEP’s ESSF compliance.
  • Engage in and contribute to the collective efforts in improving the Unit’s work strategy, process, teamwork, capacity, and client support.
  • Undertakes other related or administrative tasks, when assigned.

Results/Expected Outputs

  • New or revised operational tools and guidelines related to ESSF implementation
  • Enhanced integration of human rights-based approach (HRBA) and gender-responsiveness in UNEP project management
  • Communication materials to guide systematic compliance with Safeguards Advisor’s recommendations, gender-action plans, stakeholder engagement plans, and safeguard risk management plans during the project implementation phase
  • Regular reporting on the status of ESSF implementation and related challenges
  • Active and timely contribution to the Unit’s work strategy, process, teamwork, capacity building, and client support.

Eligibility criteria


From 27 years of age


Candidate must be a national of a country other than the country of assignment.


Required experience

3 years of experience in relevant fields; of which at least two years are in public participation and human rights development/advocacy with technical and substantive knowledge in the developing country setting.

  • Proficiency in PowerPoint, Excel, and data analysis
  • Be enthusiastic, curious, and willing to learn more, with a problem-solving approach; Be confident to work well in teams and efficient in delivering work.
  • Communicate effectively and persuade diverse audiences, and work effectively with a wide range of clients.

Area(s) of expertise

Legal affairs

Driving license



English, Level: Fluent, Required

Required education level

Bachelor degree or equivalent in law, economics, political science, anthropology, international development, or other related fields.

Competencies and values

  • Professionalism: Ability to identify issues, formulate opinions, make conclusions and recommendations; 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; takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.
  • Planning and organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.
  • Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly in-terprets messages from others and responds appropriately; proven interpersonal skills; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing in-formation and keeping people informed; good spoken and written communication skills, including ability to prepare clear and concise reports; ability to conduct presentations, ar-ticulate options and positions concisely; ability to make and defend recommendations; ability to communicate and empathize with staff (including national staff), military person-nel, volunteers, counterparts and local interlocutors coming from very diverse back-grounds; ability to maintain composure and remain helpful towards the staff, but objective, without showing personal interest; capacity to transfer information and knowledge to a wide range of different target groups.
  • Genuine commitment towards the principles of voluntary engagement, which includes solidarity, compassion, reciprocity, and self-reliance; and commitment towards the UN core values.
This vacancy is now closed.
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