UNDP AFG - Social and Environmental Safeguards (SES) Specialist (P3)

Location : Kabul, AFGHANISTAN
Application Deadline :22-May-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Crisis Response
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 :One Year with possibility for extension

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 leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet. UNDP has been working in Afghanistan for more than 50 years on climate change and resilience, gender, governance, health, livelihoods, and rule of law. Under the broader framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in close coordination with other UN agencies, UNDP is supporting the Afghan people’s aspiration for peace, prosperity, and sustainability. UNDP is currently implementing its flagship crisis response programme, ABADEI (Area Based Approach to Development Emergency Initiatives), as part of the ongoing UN-led response to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and the breakdown of Afghanistan’s economy following the August 2021 shift in power.

The ABADEI Strategy is a tailored area-based integrated programming approach to support basic human needs, complementing short-term humanitarian life-saving assistance with the safeguarding of livelihoods and the strengthening of community resilience. It is centered around addressing worsening poverty and vulnerability, supporting community resilience and social cohesion, addressing climatic vulnerability, and enabling the rehabilitation of small-scale infrastructure vital for basic human needs. It supports the creation of immediate sources of income through vocational skills training, cash-for-work, cash for the market, small businesses, and livelihood opportunities with a particular focus on agri-business and regenerative agriculture infrastructure and services (critical for food security) that are under threat. It is sensitive to the chronic and newly emerging vulnerabilities of Afghan women and girls and aims at providing them assistance in a manner that does not exacerbate their susceptibility to violence and deprivation of opportunities and rights.

UNDP’s corporate Social and Environmental Standards (SES) (www.undp.org/ses) require that all UNDP projects consider the potential environmental and social opportunities a project may generate and ensure adverse social and environmental risks and impacts are avoided, minimized, mitigated, and managed.  The UNDP SES include safeguards on social, environmental, community health and safety and working conditions. In the context of the ABADEI and all related interventions implemented by UNDP Afghanistan, UNDP’s SES are applied to ensure consistency with the environmental and social safeguards of partners, including the World Bank and ADB, where applicable. Environmental and Social Management Frameworks (ESMF) and related plans will be developed for relevant interventions, outlining key procedures and institutional arrangements to ensure the implementation of safeguards in the design and implementation of sub-projects.

Under the guidance of the ABADEI Programme Manager and the direct supervision of the Programme Management Specialist of ABADEI, The Social and Environmental Safeguards Specialist (SES) will be assigned the tasks of implementation, control, oversight, support, and monitoring and reporting of safeguard requirements as detailed in the UNDP SES.

Duties and Responsibilities

The incumbent will be responsible for undertaking the following:

  • Strengthen the application of SES under ABADEI and related interventions, including the development of required tools including ESMF, and related management system.
  • Strengthen ABADEI staff and partner capacities and awareness related to SES and tools, and implementation and monitoring.
  • Ensure appropriate monitoring, reporting and evaluation related to the implementation of relevant SES and ESMF measures.
  • Oversees and supports compliance with SES and any ESMF requirements within the context of the ABADEI.
  • Knowledge management and sharing.

1) Strengthen the application of SES under ABADEI and related interventions, including the development of required tools including ESMF, and related management system:

  • Review and update ESMF as needed to respond to lessons learned, new information, and/or evolving policies and guidance used by UNDP, World Bank, and Responsible Parties.
  • Work closely with UNDP Country Office, World Bank and Responsible Parties to ensure effective management systems are in place for implementation, including integration in Management Information System.
  • Support relevant Responsible Parties to consider options to ensure ESMF is embedded in operating procedures, institutional arrangements and roles and responsibilities.
  • Ensure sub-project screenings, assessments and management plans are tracked and available.
  • Develop tailored ESMF operational tools and checklists as needed.

2) Strengthen ABADEI staff and partner capacities and awareness related to SES and tools, and implementation and monitoring:

  • Develop and ensure implementation of a capacity development and training plan for the SES and ESMF.
  • Build capacities of UNDP Country Office staff, relevant Responsible Parties (including site supervisors, Responsible Parties’ managers at headquarters and branch offices, and sub-project site level), and Third-Party Monitors on an ongoing basis.
  • Develop training and communications materials.

3) Ensure appropriate monitoring, reporting and evaluation related to the implementation of relevant SES and ESMF measures:

  • Develop and implement detailed monitoring plan for ESMF, including indicators and preparation of ESMF monitoring reports.
  • Support improved sub-project monitoring, recording and reporting, including tracking of incidents and response measures.
  • Ensure effectiveness of grievance mechanisms and that all grievances and responses are tracked.
  • Work with Third-Party Monitoring (TPM) agent to ensure ESMF implementation is considered in monitoring activities.
  • Review TPM reports to ensure findings and lessons related to ESMF implementation are responded to.

4) Oversees and supports compliance with SES and any ESMF requirements within the context of the ABADEI:

  • Ensures corrective actions are identified and issues escalated as needed if there are potential compliance issues.
  • Provides support and quality assurance function, including spot-checking screenings and ESMPs.
  • Provides technical and advisory support to Responsible Parties.

5) Knowledge management and sharing:

  • Collects lessons learned and case examples to facilitate learning.
  • Present on UNDP AFG’s experiences for ESMF implementation and takes stock of lessons learned from the ABADEI experience.
  • Participates in international, regional or national meetings related to social and environmental standards in humanitarian contexts.
  • Supervises the organization of meetings, seminars, and other events on social and environmental standards issues.
  • Provide specialized environmental and social safeguards related inputs to feed into UNDP knowledge and learning systems.

Perform other duties within the functional profile as assigned and deemed necessary for the efficient functioning of the office.


Core 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 3: Appreciate benefits of diverse workforce and champion inclusivity.

Cross Functional and Technical Competencies

Business Management

RESULTS-BASED MANAGEMENT: Ability to manage programmes and projects with a focus at improved performance and demonstrable results.

Business Direction & Strategy

BUSINESS ACUMEN: Ability to understand and deal with a business situation in a manner that is likely to lead to a good outcome.  Knowledge and understanding of the operational frameworks in the organization and ability to make good judgments and quick decisions within such framework.

2030 Agenda: Prosperity

INCLUSIVE GROWTH: Social inclusion.

2030 Agenda: Partnerships

SDG FINANCE: Social impact investments.

2030 Agenda: Engagement & Effectiveness

EFFECTIVENESS: Social and Environmental Standards.

Partnership Management

RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT: Ability to engage with a wide range of public and private partners, build, sustain and/or strengthen working relations, trust and mutual understanding.

2030 Agenda: Planet

NATURE, CLIMATE AND ENERGY: Environment: Environmental and social impact assessments and safeguards.

Required Skills and Experience


Application Requirement

All Applicants MUST complete and attach the UNDP Personal History-P-11 Form (found here) to their applications in the vacancy site.

Submission of personal resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) will not be acceptable and candidates who fail to attach the above required P-11 form will not be considered.

Min. Education requirement:

Advanced university degree (Master's degree)in environmental management, social sciences, international development, or relevant areas.

Relevant Experience: 

  • Minimum five years of relevant experience implementing environmental and social safeguards, including occupational health and safety is required.

Required Skills:

  • Experience working in crisis contexts is a distinct advantage.
  • Demonstrated experience supporting, advising and /or collaborating with public institutions on environmental and social safeguards.
  • Practical experience in the field of monitoring and evaluation.
  • Relevant experience in producing various related reports, including environmental and social screenings, assessments and management plans.
  • Good capacity to communicate with people from different backgrounds and positions, as well as with local and national stakeholders and authorities.

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