Policy Specialist, Governance & Public Service

Application Deadline :12-Dec-12
Additional CategorySustainable Development and Poverty Reduction
Type of Contract :FTA International
Post Level :P-3
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :1 year
Expected Duration of Assignment :1 year


UNDP Practice Architecture

UNDP’s corporate vision aims to bring timely and effective substantive and technical services to the country offices through a practice architecture at the global, regional and country levels. The value of the practice architecture is in its comprehensive structure, which solidifies UNDP’s staff into a global team and ensures coherence, consistency, alignment and quality assurance in the way UNDP delivers service internally and to development partners and programmes countries.

The Bureau for Development Policy (BDP) is responsible for articulating UNDP’s development policy, using evidence gathered through country applications, regional experiences and global interactions. Driven by demand, and working through the Regional Bureaux and the Regional Service Centres (RSCs), BDP provides the tools, analysis and strategic guidance that country offices need to support the development efforts in their respective programming countries, in the  practice areas covered by UNDP.

Democratic Governance

The Democratic Governance Practice is the largest practice area in UNDP. To provide timely and quality policy advisory services and knowledge products in democratic governance, the Democratic Governance Group (DGG) has organized its interventions in three core areas: fostering inclusive participation, strengthening responsive institutions, and promoting international norms and principles. The Inclusive Participation cluster supports the efforts for expanding opportunities for civic engagement by the poor, women, youth, indigenous people, marginalized groups in the core channels of interaction with the state, at the national, regional, local levels.

The Responsive Institutions cluster promotes the core channels of representation and accountability of the national, regional and local levels institutions to ensure they reflect and serve the needs, priorities, and interests of all people. The International Norms and Principles cluster promotes integration of UN principles policies, practices, and strategies (on human rights, anti-corruption and gender) within and outside of the UN family.

A core group of policy advisers representing capacity along these three clusters are based in Headquarters (New York, Geneva and Brussels) and in the Oslo Governance Centre, with a specific mandate of providing policy advisory services, knowledge management as well as partnership building and advocacy. As part of the practice architecture a number of policy advisers are based in the Regional Service Centres (RSCs) in Africa, in Asia and the Pacific, in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Europe and CIS and in the Arab States. Regional governance practice leaders coordinate the work of the Democratic Governance teams in these RSCs. Just recently, and agreement was signed between UNDP and the Government of Singapore to set up a Global Policy Centre on Public Service Excellence in Singapore. 

UNDP’s current work in the area of Public Administration:

UNDP has developed a new initiative entitled “Galvanising Public Service Capacities for Sustainable Human Development” to support programming countries in enhancing the performance of the public service to deliver better on development, offering a platform for and support to public service innovations, tailored to different country contexts, and drawing, in particular, on resources from successful reform initiatives in the South.

The overall objectives of this renewed strategy will be to improve the design and impact of UNDP projects at the country level with a particular focus on fostering inclusion and participation in public administration, strengthening rule of law and human rights principles in serviced delivery, and enhance UNDP’s capacity to support public administration and local governments in fragile and conflict-affected environments. The initiative also aims to establish a global network of policy makers, practitioners and researchers, to facilitate access to knowledge and advice on public sector management reform strategies and experiences and to provide a vehicle for UNDP to better influence the global discourse on public management and public service capacities. To this end, UNDP and the Government of Singapore signed an agreement in September 2012, to establish a Global Policy Centre on Public Service Excellence, located in Singapore.

As part of the initiative’s design, a cross-practice global initiative on Gender equality in the Public Service was also developed, looking specifically at the presence of women in the public service, with particular focus on decision-making level positions. A second pilot under the global initiative is on Rule of Law in Public Administration which aims to pilot the use of a self-assessment toolkit for measuring respect to rule of law principles in service delivery. The Democratic Governance Practice is also supporting the preparation of a UNDP Youth Strategy ; this will also help inform UNDP’s contribution to the development of UN Inter-Agency System Wide Action Plan on Youth (to be finalized by the first quarter of 2013), UNDP playing a leading role in the Youth Participation sub-working group. UNDP has also actively been contributing to global and regional initiatives on youth and a series of DGTTF funded projects on youth have been developed in selected countries this year. These initiatives on Gender equality in the public service and on Rule of Law in public administration as well as a Youth initiative relating to public service capacities, are being finalized and their roll out will be part of the implementation of the overall Global initiative.      

Duties and Responsibilities

The position of Governance & Public Service Policy Specialist involves providing support to the Responsive Governing Institutions Cluster Leader and Senior Policy Advisor for Public Administration in the areas of programme management, research and knowledge management, policy and technical support, advocacy, partnerships and resource mobilization and management. 

The incumbent will in particular, take responsibility for the management and coordination of the Global Cross-Practice Initiative on Gender Equality in the Public Administration, and support the development and implementation of new initiatives covering relevant areas related to democratic governance and public service capacities, including on Rule of law in public administration and Youth in governance and public administration.

More specifically, under the guidance of the Cluster leader Responsive Institutions, the Governance & Public Administration Specialist will be responsible for the following duties and responsibilities:

Manage the UNDP Gender Equality in the Public Administration Initiative (GEPA):

  • Coordinate, with the gender team, the roll out of the GEPA cross-practice initiative: substantively engage in the finalization of GEPA Phase 1 (publication and dissemination of the first GEPA Global Report),  the development of GEPA phase 2 (prodoc, country piloting, monitoring, communication and partnership/RM);
  • Provide substantive inputs and guidance on research and methodologies, results and resource frameworks, analytical pieces, and quality control;
  • Supervise the development and dissemination of specific policy, knowledge, advocacy products;
  • Provide policy and programming support to country offices; 
  • Represent GEPA in relevant internal and external meetings and events;
  • Build alliances and strategic partnerships in relation to the GEPA initiative.

Substantively support the Public Administration/Public Service Capacities portfolio: 

  • Substantively support the development and implementation of the Public Administration portfolio, in particular the Galvanising Public Service Capacities for Sustainable Human Development initiative, through research, advocacy, partnership, support to programme/project development, technical support;
  • Support the preparation and the provision of guidance material and of relevant support services to UNDP practitioners globally;
  • Provide support to DGG, cross practice and corporate activities to enhance PAR agenda and results visibility;
  • Provide guidance on cross-cutting issues that can be addressed through work with governance institutions and provide inputs, intellectual and coordination support to emerging cross-cutting initiatives (including on youth and governance/Public administration);
  • Draft/Provide strategic inputs to relevant corporate papers, research and policy papers, reports, briefings, advocacy products, speeches;
  • Contribute to the organization of learning activities and community of practice initiatives in the area of public service management.
  • Provide policy and programming support to country offices, on demand and  as directed by the Cluster Leader.

Support Operational and Financial activities:

  • Lead the operational and financial management of PAR projects, and work closely with the Senior Policy Adviser/Cluster Lead for planning and corporate monitoring of results/reporting activities in the service area and responsive institutions cluster;
  • Provide guidance on and support recruitment and procurement processes;
  • Provide relevant inputs to DGG for corporate exercises/monitoring related to service area.

Support Partnership Development, Resource Mobilization, Advocacy:

  • Assist the Cluster Leader in establishing alliances and partnerships for PA and democratic governance strategy, advocacy and resource mobilization;
  • Support networking with partner organizations among academic and research institutions, bilateral donor agencies, UN agencies, and non-governmental organizations and build relations with external professionals and institutions, including donors, UN agencies and CSOs, in relevant substantive areas;
  • Strengthen UNDP’s partnerships with the international community of PAR practitioners;
  • Contribute to the development of the Global Policy Centre on Public Service Excellence, and organisation of related events (virtual and in situ)
  • Join relevant Communities of Practice and meetings, represent UNDP in global regional national events, seminars, conferences and policy workshops to raise UNDP’s policy profile and influence PA and governance related agenda, thinking, discourse.

Support knowledge management and roster management:

  • Actively support knowledge sharing through inputs to PAR related comparative experiences and lessons learned on regional and global levels and participation in relevant fora;
  • Liaise with country offices and Regional Service Centers to prioritize products and tools;
  • Contribute to the development and dissemination of relevant new knowledge products;
  • Contribute to the Development of a PA Communities of Practice;
  • Promote knowledge sharing including through KM 2.0 / social media;
  • Manage a Roster of qualified PA consultants to recommend to UNDP HQ, RSCs, COs.



  • Demonstrates integrity and fairness by modelling the UN/UNDP’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Possesses outstanding organizational skills; Knowledge/experience of UNDP and the UN system highly desirable.


  • Substantive knowledge of global development issues, democratic governance, public administration, gender equality and women’s empowerment, youth, operational policies and results-based instruments;
  • Solid familiarity with UNDP approach to democratic governance;
  • Experience in coordinating and implementing projects;
  • Experience in interacting with other UN agencies and the development community at large;
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate with others in own unit, practice, and across practices and bureaux;
  • Ability to integrate new information and knowledge with broader strategic, policy and operational objectives.


  • Ability to understand and handle complex organizational and political issues;
  • Ability to work effectively in a diverse team;
  • Excellent inter-personal skills;
  • Adaptability and flexibility in responding to work pressure, and competing priorities in a fast-paced environment;
  • Ability to adhere to deadlines and to manage time effectively;
  • Ability to take initiative, to work independently and to demonstrate mature and judgment;
  • Good negotiation skills and ability to network and build partnerships/alliances;
  • Strong verbal and written communication and writing skills;
  • Familiarity with knowledge management platforms and social media.

Required Skills and Experience

  • A Master’s Degree in International Development, Public Administration, Public Affairs, International Relations, or related relevant discipline.
  • Minimum of five years of professional experience in international development, development management, multilateral affairs, as well as a professional record in the areas of democratic governance/public administration;
  • Prior working experience with UNDP and UNDP’s practice areas desirable;
  • Experience on gender equality and women’s empowerment an asset.
  • Good understanding of the workings of the United Nations and other International development organisations desirable.   
Language Requirements:
  • Fluency in English and French required; Ability to work in any other UN language will be an additional asset.

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