Regional Energy Specialist – Africa
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. Within this context, UNDP invests in 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.
As per UNDP’s new Strategic Plan 2022-2025, UNDP aims to catalyze unprecedented action and partnerships to provide access to sustainable, affordable, and reliable energy to 500 more million people by 2025 and accelerate the transition to renewable energy through systemic changes that lead to inclusive green economies. UNDP’s Sustainable Energy Hub (SEH) is designed to respond to these challenges and harness networks, experience, and innovation. It focuses on three pillars of sustainable energy for development:
- Close the gap in energy access so that marginalized people and communities gain access to sustainable, clean energy and the dignity and opportunities it bring;
- Accelerate the energy transition through system wide changes that support a green economy by bringing together the best ideas from the worlds of government, business, finance, digital, and most importantly, from people, communities and civil societies;
Scale up energy finance with the public and private sector, across global, regional and local ecosystems for finance, innovation and investment.
The SEH brings together and catalyses UNDP’s work on energy for development. It is a network of partners who work alongside countries to transform energy systems through integrated policy, technology, and financing shifts. It supports this transformation as inherent to the broader goal of sustainable development, and helps countries build net-zero emissions societies that put people first and leave no one behind.
The Regional Energy Specialist for Africa will be based in UNDP’s sub-Regional Hub in Dakar and report primarily to the Director of the Sustainable Energy Hub and secondarily to the Environment Regional Team Lead for Africa. S/he will work collaboratively with all the leads of the various teams in the Regional Hub and with the Sustainable Finance Hub.
The Regional Energy Specialist for Africa is responsible for leading the substantive policy advisory services to the Country Offices, supporting the provision of technical expertise in line with the regional energy transition strategies. S/he responds to requests from Country Offices under the guidance of the Director of the SEH and the Environment Regional Team Lead and in collaboration with the Climate Hub, Finance Sector Hubs, and corporate support providers, such as the SDG Integration teams. Working to ensure quality and coherent policy advisory services within their region and across other regions, as well as alignment with the Strategic Plan, the Regional Energy Specialist advances the credibility and recognition of UNDP’s capabilities in this knowledge domain and associated communities of practice.
Substantive delivery of policy development:
- Develop and define strategic approaches for UNDP’s work on sustainable energy, drawing on UNDP’s existing work under the Sustainable Energy Hub as well as an analysis of the global/regional policy context.
- Execute policy and strategy to support key results, outcomes, and outputs of the Strategic Plan.
- Provide sector specific and technical level policy advisory services primarily to COs within the region, that respond to needs.
- Work with the Regional Bureau’s Country Advisors to ensure relevant, timely and multi-disciplinary response to country needs for policy services.
- Coordinate closely with the Sustainable Finance Hub on any relevant initiatives at the interface of energy and finance.
- Collaborate substantively with COs and Regional Programmes to achieve regional/CO strategic goals and plans by supporting relevant regional initiatives and promoting synergies with the regional programmes with an integrated portfolio approach.
- Ensure risks are monitored and managed across the portfolio of advisory engagements.
- Contribute to UNDP’s global and regional strategies on energy within the BPPS and beyond, engaging in policy and advocacy work with external partners where relevant.
- Lead policy analysis and development of policy position papers, technical notes, internal briefing notes, and knowledge products.
- Contribute to developing the capacity of national counterparts in support of achieving the Strategic Plan and other internationally agreed development goals as it relates to the Energy knowledge domains.
Substantive development of tools and resources, from across UNDP’s network of expertise:
- Provide technical expertise in identifying tools, developing methodologies, and producing knowledge management products linked to sustainable energy policies.
- Provide technical expertise on the content development for regional/CO knowledge products through the analysis of data, case evidence, and research findings in accordance with corporate standards.
- Contribute to the identification and scoping of technical issues warranting collaboration with HQ and regional teams to research, develop and share knowledge-based tools, such as policy positions/practice notes/concept papers and other research-based products to influence/advance policy dialogue in the knowledge domain and present UNDP’s knowledge assets and capabilities at global and regional forums.
- Work closely with policy teams in HQ to advance research, testing and roll-out of newly commissioned policy/business development initiatives, by providing the regional perspective/specificities as well as experience-based insights on what is of most practical value for national counterparts and regional leaders.
- Design and deliver training on programming tools including by developing training packs for COs to facilitate innovation learning, foster and encourage policy innovation and continuous improvement to enhance programme delivery.
Advocacy and partner engagement for effective policy positioning in the region:
- Advocate the application of ground-breaking sustainable energy approaches, especially as an integrated approach to achieving the SDGs, in various regional and country fora with a view to deepen related political commitment and related reforms.
- Represent UNDP in the region on partner engagements and inter-agency coordination in sustainable energy policy areas;areas.
- Provide technical advice on relationship management of regional partners and resource mobilization in line with UNDP priorities in Africa and corporate guidelines;guidelines.
- Provide technical advice on 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 UNDP/ Representation at technical inter-agency meetings, academic conferences, donor consultations and other events on climate change and energy. Advise on resource mobilization and coordinate approvals, as required;
- Lead the formulation of funding proposals, donor briefings and presentations in support of UNDP resource mobilization efforts for Africa.
Knowledge management and community of practice networking:
- Contribute to the continuous analysis, documentation, codification of regional results/lessons learned.
- Review regional data, case evidence and research findings to distill pivotal lessons for UNDP globally.
- Advocate and enable South-South facilitation of exchanges and experiences sharing where valuable.
- Support the capacity development of UNDP staff in application of tools and practices.
- Development and strengthening of linkages with climate change and energy communities of practice, both inside and outside of the UN system.
The incumbent performs other duties within their functional profile as deemed necessary for the efficient functioning of the Office and the Organization.
Supervisory/Managerial Responsibilities: Supervision, management, performance management, and development of personnel and consultants will be required.
- Set and align challenging, achievable objectives for multiple projects, have lasting impact
- Proactively mitigate potential risks, develop new ideas to solve complex problems
- Create and act on opportunities to expand horizons, diversify experiences
Adapt with Agility:
- Proactively initiate and champion change, manage multiple competing demands
Act with Determination:
- Think beyond immediate task/barriers and take action to achieve greater results
Engage and Partner:
- Political savvy, navigate complex landscape, champion inter-agency collaboration
Enable Diversity and Inclusion:
- Appreciate benefits of diverse workforce and champion inclusivity
People Management: UNDP People Management Competencies can be found in the dedicated site.
Cross-Functional & Technical:
2030 Agenda: Planet - Nature, Climate, Energy:
- Energy Transition & Energy Access: Knowledge of just energy transition and energy access concepts and/or issues and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations
2030 Agenda: Planet - Nature, Climate, Energy:
- Energy Financing: Knowledge of energy finance concepts and instruments, as well as market-based energy financing, and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations
2030 Agenda: Planet - Nature, Climate, Energy:
- Energy for Development: Knowledge of impact of Energy issues within a humanitarian-development nexus and SDGs linkages
Business Development - Integration within the UN:
- Ability to identity, and integrate capacity and assets of the UN system, and engage in joint work; knowledge of the UN System and ability to apply this knowledge to strategic and/or practical situations.
Business Direction and Strategy - 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.
Business Management - Results-based Management:
- Ability to manage programmes and projects with a focus at improved performance and demonstrable results.
Business Management - 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.
- Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in energy, climate change, international development, law, international affairs, business administration, development economics, or other relevant field. Or
- A first-level university degree (bachelor’s degree) in combination with an additional two years of qualifying experience will be given due consideration in lieu of the advanced university degree
- A minimum of 7 years of relevant experience (with master’s degree) or 9 years of experience (with bachelors) in either public (national or multilateral, including UN) or private (academia, non-governmental sector, corporate) sectors, with increasing level of responsibility.
- Technical/advisory experience in the UN System related to climate change and energy desirable.
- Excellent negotiating skills and prior experience in mobilizing support from a wide range of partners (public, private, academic, civil society, business community leaders);
- Proven experience in management and resource mobilization.
- A minimum of 3 years of working experience in Africa required.
- Excellent knowledge of the English and French language, with exceptional writing, presentation, and communication skills.
- Knowledge or fluency in other official UN languages, particularly Portuguese and/or Spanish, is an asset.
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