International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Senior Technical Advisor- Oceans (UNDP) Deadline: 29NOV22

Job Identification: 5972 Locations: New York, United States Posting Date: 09/27/2022, 04:32 PM Apply Before: 11/29/2022, 05:59 AM Job Schedule: Full time Agency: UNDP Grade: P5 Vacancy Type: Fixed Term Practice Area: Nature, Climate and Energy Bureau: Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Contract Duration: 1 Year with Possibility for extension Education & Work Experience: Master's Degree - 10 year(s) experience Required Languages: English Desired Languages: French Vacancy Timeline: 1 Week Mobility required/no mobility: mobility required

Job Description


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.

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 offers a spectrum of deep local knowledge to cutting-edge global perspectives and advocacy. In this context, UNDP invests in its Global Policy Network (GPN), 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 UNDP’s 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 staff provides technical advice to Country Offices; advocates for UNDP corporate messages; represents UNDP at multi-stakeholder fora, including public-private, government and civil society dialogues; and engages in UN inter-agency coordination in specific thematic areas.

BPPS’ Nature Climate and Energy (NCE) Team works with governments, civil society, and private sector partners to integrate natural capital, environment and climate concerns into national and sector planning and inclusive growth policies; support country obligations under Multilateral Environmental Agreements; and implement the UN’s largest portfolio of in-country programming on environment, climate change, and energy. This multi-billion-dollar portfolio encompasses: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services including forests; Sustainable Land Management and Desertification including food and commodity systems; Water and Ocean Governance including SIDS; Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation; Sustainable Energy; Extractive Industries; Chemicals and Waste Management; Environmental Governance and Green/Circular Economy and SCP approaches. This work advances crosscutting themes on innovative finance, digital transformation, capacity development, human rights, gender equality, health, technology, and South-South learning.

In addition to UNDP’s bilateral partnerships in NCE, UNDP is an accredited multilateral implementing agency of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Multilateral Fund (MLF), the Adaptation Fund (AF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). As part of UNDP’s partnership with these vertical funds (VFs), UNDP provides countries specialized integrated technical services for eligibility assessment, programme formulation, capacity development, policy advice, technical assistance, training and technology transfer, mobilization of co-financing, implementation oversight, results management and evaluation, performance-based payments and knowledge management services.

Ocean Governance

The ocean contributes substantially to human development, including via the provision of food security, transport, energy, tourism, and critical ecosystem services; ocean sectors contribute around $3 trillion per year to the global market economy. Due to governance and market failures leading to unsustainable ocean practices, the health and socioeconomic contributions of the ocean face significant threats including overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, invasive species and climate change. UNDP works with national and local governments, intergovernmental organizations, UN agencies, NGOs, academia, and the private sector to advance integrated, cross-sectoral, ecosystem-based approaches to ocean management that help to create and maintain sustainable blue economies.  

UNDP is committed to supporting ocean governance reforms mainstreaming marine, coastal and fisheries resources management targets into SDG-based national development and poverty reduction strategies and facilitating strategic partnerships and coordinated approaches to action and advocacy on marine resources management.

Position Purpose

The incumbent will provide technical leadership on policy and programming support to Regional Bureaus, and by extension UNDP Country Offices, to engage effectively with client governments on key issues related to the sustainable use and management of ocean resources including associated functions of oceans. The incumbent will provide technical oversight as well as lead on quality assurance standards for all programmes and projects that touch on oceans, directly or indirectly, as part of delivering on UNDP’s Strategic Plan and UNDP’s contribution towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The incumbent will play a lead role in enabling delivery of UNDP’s recently launched “Ocean Promise”, including providing strategic guidance and advice to Regional Bureau, Country Offices, and UNDP partners and establishing and maintaining a system to monitor progress in achieving the ten Ocean Promise targets.

The incumbent will have a key role in liaising and collaborating with internal and external partners, including staff and Senior Managers of BPPS and GPN, Regional Bureaus, Regional Centers/Hubs, Policy Centres, UNDP Country Offices, the Executive Office, donors (MFAs, development assistance agencies), UN partner agencies, UN-Oceans, IFIs, international organizations, and NGOs on all workstreams relating to oceans and ocean resources. 

Other salient features of the Senior Technical Advisor’s role in developing and managing marine-related components of the UNDP portfolio on Oceans include:

  • Serve as Project Oversight for the UNDP Ocean Innovation Challenge
  • Provide senior UNDP representation on the UN’s Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP)
  • Provide senior UNDP representation on UN-Oceans, the UN system coordination mechanism on oceans
  • Provide senior UNDP representation on the Global Compact’s Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform
  • Support and advise on country, regional, and global-level activities of UNDP Water and Ocean Governance Support Programme (WOGP)
  • Support and advise on new Oceans related programmes that are developed by UNDP

  Key Duties and Accountabilities

Support to Policy Dialogue, Project Development, Mainstreaming and Partnerships (20%):

Example of Duties:

  • Manage the development and implementation of UNDP’s Ocean Governance Portfolio Programme e.g. to help (1) prioritize target countries/areas; (2) advise on modalities and approaches and capacity development support to countries; (3) operationalize source-to-sea interconnections in freshwater and marine resources management, and (4) mobilize additional financial resources;
  • Within the BPPS/Nature, Climate and Energy, as well as the Global Policy Network, more broadly, liaise and coordinate with biodiversity, climate and other environmental experts to identify synergies and effective collaboration within and between projects;
  • In support of BPPS/Nature, Climate and Energy, as well as the Global Policy Network, more broadly, liaise and coordinate with other Practices, Groups, and corporate initiatives to identify synergies and effective cross-practice collaboration;
  • Support Senior Management by providing strategic policy advice, advocacy support for corporate policy frameworks, preparation of UNDP’s engagement in key ocean meetings and events, and preparation of briefing notes, speeches and talking points;
  • Develop policy and learning documents related to ocean, fisheries, marine and coastal resources management or relevant sub-topics.
  • Pro-actively contribute to strengthening donor relationships and raise funds for all aspects of Oceans related work, in coordination with Regional Bureaus, BPPS/NCE as well as others;
  • Explore and develop strategic alliances with key partners for joint fund-raising and service delivery.

Design of Programmes and Projects that deliver on Results and Impacts (50%)

Example of Duties:

  • Pro-actively contribute to strengthening donor relationships and raise funds for all aspects of the Oceans Portfolio including grant funding as well as, via partnerships, private equity, and debt financing for bankable investment opportunities in the Oceans’ portfolio;
  • Explore and develop strategic alliances with key partners for joint fund-raising and service delivery;
  • Ensure the long-term financial and impact sustainability of Oceans programs;
  • Develop partnerships with other Nordic, European and North American donors on Oceans related programmes;
  • Explore and develop new partnerships with foundations, philanthropists, and the private sector for crowding in public and private investments on oceans related prgorammes.

Support to Regional Teams, Country Offices, Executing Agencies, other partners (10%)

Example of Duties:

  • Manage the effective functioning of the fully integrated NCE offer (including on water and oceans) with a particular focus on mainstreaming effective and equitable ocean/marine governance frameworks, fisheries and coastal resources management, and climate change adaptation in development strategies and WOGP programming;
  • Pro-actively lead the development of strategic partnerships with both internal and external partners to advance the implementation of UNDP Strategic Plan taking oceans related issues into account;
  • Lead collaboration within the BPPS and Regional Bureaus on mainstreaming marine and coastal resources management, ocean-related aspects of adaptation to climate change into national development and poverty reduction strategies. 

Learning, Knowledge Management, Advocacy and Self Development (10%)

Example of Duties:

  • Ensure that training materials, tools, and advocacy publications for the WOGP are produced and effectively disseminated;
  • Support and promote implementation of UNDP WOGP practices and experience through contributions to relevant GPN networks and communities of practice;
  • In collaboration with internal and external partners, pro-actively identify and contribute to WOGP advocacy and outreach; 
  • Effective communication, advocacy, and dissemination of WOGP and other relevant UNDP knowledge products at international and national conferences and meetings, such as UN Ocean Conference, Our Ocean Conference, GEF International Waters Conferences, Annual Global LME Consultation and other relevant fora and international processes.

Oversee and provide quality assurance of personnel and the UNDP Ocean Innovation Challenge (OIC) (10%)

Example of Duties:

  • Oversee the WOGP personnel and OIC Programme at a global scale, working to maximise and showcase impacts, to grow and develop the initiative, and to strengthen relationships with stakeholders at all levels, including strategic partners inside and outside UNDP, partner governments, the vertical funds, and donors;
  • Provide strategic guidance and management oversight to the team, reviewing on a regular basis progress reports, deliverables, disbursements and budgets to ensure implementation is on track, and troubleshooting and adapting management as required;
  • Manage and monitor ongoing and emerging risks and issues, submitting newly identified ones to relevant UNDP authorities for consideration and decision if required;
  • Identify and source necessary technical expertise and support, and oversee the recruitment of global staff members, international consultants, and service providers, ensuring necessary training and ongoing capacity building are carried out;
  • Ensure that relevant technical areas covered by UNDP’s Nature, Climate and Energy portfolio (on Water, Oceans, Ecosystems & Biodiversity, Chemicals and Waste, Energy, Adaptation and other relevant BPPS programmes and projects and the OIC) draw from and feed into each other, avoiding duplication and maximizing synergy;
  • Liaise with other relevant UNDP staff including in-country colleagues regarding the WOGP and OIC, including to share information about trends and issues in the thematic area.

Supervisory/Managerial Responsibilities: Directly supervise the WOGP and OIC personnel as well as provide overall management and development of the personnel.



  • Master's degree in marine science, marine policy, environmental science, marine conservation, or a related field;  PhD in marine science, marine policy, environmental science, marine conservation, or a related field preferred.

 Experience, Knowledge, and Skills

  • Minimum of 10 years of professional experience in marine or related (e.g. fisheries) environmental management;
  • Experience at international level and with developing countries;
  • Demonstrated global thought leader on sustainable ocean use and ocean management and governance;
  • Experience engaging with high level governmental and intergovernmental decision makers and leaders;
  • Experience in results-based and results-oriented project design, implementation and oversight of projects involving government, UN, NGO/CSO, private sector, academia and/or intergovernmental stakeholders;
  • Experience in managing teams, inspiring and mentoring staff, facilitating their capacity development, and resolving conflicts;
  • Experience with projects financed by multi-lateral (especially foundations, private sector) and bilateral donors is desirable;
  • Experience in overseeing and guiding the development of thematic knowledge management and communications strategies and products;
  • Demonstrated excellence in written and spoken communications as well as effective use of social media;
  • Working experience in UN or other international organizations, and knowledge of UNDP policies, procedures and practices are advantageous;
  • Excellent knowledge of the English language, with exceptional writing, presentation and communication skills;
  • Fluency in other UN Official languages, particularly French, is highly desirable.

Expected Demonstration of Competencies


  • Achieve Results: LEVEL 3: Set and align challenging, achievable objectives for multiple projects, have lasting impact
  • Think Innovatively: LEVEL 3: Proactively mitigate potential risks, develop new ideas to solve complex problems
  • Learn Continuously: LEVEL 3: Create and act on opportunities to expand horizons, diversify experiences
  • Adapt with Agility: LEVEL 3: Proactively initiate and champion change, manage multiple competing demands
  • Act with Determination: LEVEL 3: Think beyond immediate task/barriers and take action to achieve greater results
  • Engage and Partner: LEVEL 3: Political savvy, navigate complex landscape, champion inter-agency collaboration
  • Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 4: Create ethical culture, identify/address barriers to inclusion

People Management

UNDP People Management Competencies can be found in the dedicated site.

  • Cross-Functional & Technical competencies

Business Direction & 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.
  • Strategic Thinking - Ability to leverage learning from a variety of sources to anticipate and respond to future trends; to demonstrate foresight in order to model what future developments and possible ways forward look like for UNDP.

Business Direction & Strategy

  • Entrepreneurial Thinking- Ability to create clarity around UNDP value proposition to beneficiaries and partners and to develop service offers responding to client needs based on UNDP’s organizational priorities and mandate.

Business Development

  • Collective Intelligence Design - Ability to bringing together diverse groups of people, data, information or ideas, and technology to design services or solutions.
  • UNDP Representation - Ability to represent UNDP and productively share UNDP knowledge and activities; advocate for UNDP, its values, mission, and work with various constituencies.

Business Management

  • Portfolio Management - Ability to select, prioritize and control the organization’s programmes and projects, in line with its strategic objectives and capacity; ability to balance the implementation of change initiatives and the maintenance of business-as-usual, while optimizing return on investment.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Communication - Ability to manage communications internally and externally, through media, social media, and other appropriate channels.

2030 Agenda: Planet

  • Nature, Climate and Energy - Ocean governance, Ocean governance legal and policy frameworks, and Ocean restoration and protection.
  • Nature, Climate and Energy - Access and benefit sharing of biodiversity, land, forests, and oceans.
  • Nature, Climate and Energy - Conservation and Sustainable use of biodiversity, land, forests and oceans

For external applicants, please note that continuance of appointment beyond the initial 12 months is contingent upon the successful completion of a probationary period.


Important information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders) 

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.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

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