Urbanization Specialist

Location : Home Based
Application Deadline :29-Nov-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :IPSA (Short-Term)
Post Level :IPSA-11
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Expected Duration of Assignment :12 months (Max 100 days)

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.


Instructions to Applicants: Click on the "Apply now" button. Input your information in the appropriate Sections: personal information, language proficiency, education, resume and motivation. Upon completion of the first page, please hit "submit application" tab at the end of the page. Please ensure that CV or P11 and the Cover letter are combined in one file.

The following documents shall be required from the applicants:

Personal CV or P11, indicating all past positions held and their main underlying functions, their durations (month/year), the qualifications, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate, and at least three (3) the most recent professional references of previous supervisors. References may also include peers.

A cover letter (maximum length: 1 page) indicating why the candidate considers him-/herself to be suitable for the position.

Sample of work of the policy brief, paper, or reports written by the candidate, or Accessible Track record of policy paper, reports written by the candidate (or as a lead author)


Official travel is not required. In the event of unforeseeable official travel required by hiring unit, UNDP will cover the cost of travel of the individual to the duty station, as well as their return to their home upon completion of their services. Travel costs are covered only in the event that the function will be undertaken physically in the duty station and excludes working from home arrangements.

Office/Unit/Project Description  

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. New UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2022-2025 and the Asia Pacific Regional Programme 2022-2025 articulate the corporate requirement to bring timely and effective substantive and technical services to the country offices through strengthened practice architecture at the global, regional and country level. The Bangkok Regional Hub (BRH) provides the UNDP Country Offices in the region with reliable and easy access to quality advisory services and technical support based on UNDP’s mandate to address poverty and inequality challenges, promotion of inclusive growth and prosperity, achievement of the SDGs and promotion of sustainable development.

The Regional Inclusive Growth and Prosperity Team – in close collaboration with the Global Policy Network for Asia-Pacific (GPN-AP) teams and Regional Bureau for Asia Pacific (RBAP) Headquarters in New York, focuses on development policy and planning to address poverty and inequality; livelihoods, jobs and macroeconomic policies, social protection, human development, urban development, public finance, data analysis, green and blue economy, and recently the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the urban development context, the Asia and Pacific region is one of the fastest urbanizing regions in the world with more than 50 percent of the population expected to reside in urban areas by 2030.  The region also hosts the majority of the world’s megacities and is the engine of the global economic growth. In this context, urbanization could foster opportunities to improve the lives of people and enhance economic development in towns and cities, but poorly managed urban growth and development, however, can exacerbate inequalities, exclusion and vulnerability, especially among the marginalized populations.

Institutional Arrangement

The Urbanisation Specialist will report to the Team Leader – Inclusive Growth and Prosperity Advisor and the BRH Manager depending on the designated responsibilities. Depending on the nature of work, the Urbanization Specialist will also collaborate and work closely with the Nature, Climate and Environment, Local Governance, and Disaster Risk Reduction Teams and Advisors.


Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Work 

Under the supervision of the Regional Inclusive Growth and Prosperity Team Leader, the Urbanization Specialist will be responsible for supporting COs to ensure that demands/requests from COs on urbanization are responded, conducting scoping and visioning exercises to assess the current urban development landcape, analyse to inform the possible trends, and provide strategic recommendations for formulation of service offers that respond to the relevant regional priorities, also stated in the Regional Programme Document 2022-2025, and aligned to UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2022-2025 and its Sustainable Urbanization Strategy, as well as the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda (adopted in 2016).  In addition, s/he will support on positioning urbanization work of UNDP in the Asia-Pacific region amongst partners and governments at national and sub-national levels.

The Urbanization Specialist is required to work closely with other regional technical teams and advisors at BRH and HQ units to ensure the works are adequately integrated with all relevant thematic and functional areas such as local governance, climate and energy, gender equality, disaster risk reduction, resilience, digital transformation, innovation, SDG integration (in particular localization), SDG finance, health and development, etc.

Expected outputs and deliverables:

1. Coordination and partnerships

  • Proactively work with relevant technical teams within the GPN, such as climate change and energy, disaster risk reduction, SDG localization, governance, innovation, gender, youth,  digital transformation, private sector and inclusive growth, and consolidate GPN’s integrated service offers on urbanization to advance the goals of the Regional Programme Document 2022-2025 through a co-creation process with Country Offices and partner governments.
  • Ensure alignment with major international development goals and agendas as expressed in the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals,  the New Urban Agenda, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Addis Ababa Agenda on financing, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Common Agenda.
  • Support the BRH to connect regionally with relevant UN agencies, in particular UNHABITAT, operating in the sustainable urbanization sphere.
  • Support the BRH to connect with UNDP’s global work on sustainable urbanization, to exchange lessons learned and experiences across regions, and to engage in major processes that support the implementation of the New Urban Agenca (e.g. preparatory process for the 11th World Urban Forum, Katowice-Poland)     

2. Policy advisory services and strategic positioning

  • Respond and provide policy advisory services to COs, national, local and regional governments, cities and other actors on sustainable urbanization policy related issues, engaging relevant GPN focal points as experts.
  • Formulate and recommend types of service offers that repond to demand of support from COs and related priority areas, also stated in the Regional Programme Document, 2022-2025 and aligned to UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2022-2025 and its Sustainable Urbanization Strategy, as well as the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, and the New Urban Agenda.
  • Conduct scoping and visioning exercises to assess and analyse current and future urban development landscape in Asia-Pacific.
  • Identify strategic opportunities and support the positioning of UNDP’s sustainable urbanization work in the Asia-Pacific region.

3. Knowledge management

  • As part of the scoping phase, map out the on-going initiatives at regional and country-level and contribute to the development, review and sharing of knowledge and products in close coordination with HQ and Regional Hub teams.
  • Contribute to regional events and capacity building events for COs, governments and partners.
  • Contribute to UNDP’s global platform on cities and sustainable urbanization, City2City.Network, ensuring that experiences and lessons learned across Asia and Pacific are adequately codified.
  • Support the preparation of knowledge products on sustainable urbanization that can contribute towards the programmatic work of UNDP at the country level.


Professionalism:  Shows pride in work and 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.

Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; Asks questions to clarify and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; Tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience; Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

Client Orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be "clients " and seeks to see things from clients' point of view; Establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; Identifies clients' needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; Monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients' environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; Keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; Meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client

Required Skills and Experience

Minimum Qualifications of the Successful IPSA

Min. Academic Education

  • Master’s degree in urban development, urban planning, development economics, or related disciplines.

Min. years of relevant Work experience

  • A minimum of 7 years of professional work experience in programme/project development and management in the area of urbanization, Smart Cities, or related issues in different development contexts.

Required  skills and competencies

         Core Competencies

  • Innovation: Ability to make new and useful ideas work
  • Leadership: Ability to persuade others to follow
  • People Management: Ability to improve performance and satisfaction
  • Communication: Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform
  • Delivery: Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement
  • Ability to effectively plan, organize, monitor tasks and deliver outputs;
  • Good inter-personal and skills;
  • Proactiveness, patience and attention to details;
  • Openness to change and ability to integrate feedback;
  • Cultural and gender sensitivity; ability to work with people from different backgrounds;
  • Ability to work independently and in a team; and to deliver high-quality work on time;
  • Ability to network, build partnerships, and leverage collaboration from stakeholders and partners.

Desired additional skills and competencies

  • Experience with climate change adaptation and disaster risk management;
  • Experience with urban economic development and local economic development;
  • Experience of working in private sector in the Asia Pacific region is an asset;
  • Experience of working with national and/or local governments, as cities and towns;
  • Experience with national and or sub-national/local development planning processes;
  • Experience with SDG localization;
  • Experience using design thinking and other innovative methodologies for development, including in areas of research, and employing innovative methods toward urban issues including governance, climate change and energy, nature-based solutions, disaster risk reduction, resilience, poverty and inequality, employment, innovation, gender and youth, as they related to sustainable urbanization;
  • Experience working in multi-lateral and bi-lateral development oriented agencies;
  • Familiriaty with major networks and alliances working with local and regional government authorities;
  • Track-record of forging partnerships, coordinating joint multi-partner initiatives and mobilizing resources, and familiarity with the corporate offers of UNDP as well as other partners.

Required Language(s) (at working level)

  • Fluency in spoken and written English.

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