Social and Environmental Standards Technical Specialist, Energy - IPSA 11

Location : Home-based
Application Deadline :27-May-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Time left :0d 21h 34m
Type of Contract :IPSA (Regular)
Post Level :IPSA-11
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :11 months
Expected Duration of Assignment :11 months

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.

Managers may ask (ad hoc) for any other materials relevant to pre-assessing the relevance of their experience, such as reports, presentations, publications, campaigns or other materials.


Office/Unit/Project Description

UNDP’s Social and Environmental Standards (SES) ( underpin the sustainable development results that UNDP supports. While UNDP’s SES provide a robust safeguards framework for the organization, sustained investment in Country Office capacities for integrating SES into project and programme design, and during implementation is critical and UNDP has put in place a global SES Implementation Plan supported by regional and country office plans managed by the Regional Bureau.

As part of the Global Policy Network in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP’s Nature, Climate Change, and Energy (NCE) Team has established a NCE Safeguards Team covering the portfolio of NCE programming in UNDP to ensure compliance with the UNDP SES and by extension similar policies of key partners. The NCE team promotes and scales up integrated whole-of-governance approaches and nature-based solutions that reduce poverty and inequalities, strengthen livelihoods and inclusive growth, mitigate conflict, forced migration and displacement, and promote more resilient governance systems that advance linked peace and security agendas. The 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.

In addition to UNDP’s bilateral partnerships on nature climate and energy, UNDP is an accredited multilateral implementing agency of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Multilateral Fund (MLF), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The NCE Team focuses on managing the oversight of climate and environmental financial resources from global trust funds to catalyze and unlock other types of public and private financing for sustainable development. This includes oversight of the design as well as implementation phase of projects (together with Country Offices and Regional Bureaus), as well as portfolio level oversight and management.

In addition, the Government of Sweden, through Sida, has funded a four-year, USD$40m global Strategic Collaboration Programme designed to strengthen UNDP capacities to achieve its overall sustainable development vision for poverty eradication through a more integrated, coherent approach to the environmental and climate dimensions of the UNDP Strategic Plan, including the broad adoption of the UNDP SES. Sida funds are being used to hire new staff and consultants in support of this vision.

The BPPS Energy Social and Environmental Standards Specialist (Energy SES Specialist) will support the application of the SES in UNDP Energy programming globally. The Energy SES Specialist will directly support Country Offices and Regional Technical Advisors in ensuring the SES requirements are fully addressed in Energy programming at design, start-up and through implementation. This support will include dedicated, focused support to the Country Offices to ensure the effective and practical implementation of the required SES plans. Research, capacity building, knowledge management and learning are also key priorities. The Energy SES Specialist will be required to coordinate closely with other UNDP SES and risk experts in the regions and at the global level in an effort to support broader SES capacity building in UNDP.

The SES Specialist will be part of the BPPS NCE SES team and the BPPS Energy team.


Institutional Arrangement

The SES Specialist will report to the Head of Safeguards and Risk Management in the NCE team and the Principal Techncial Adviser, Energy


Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Work

1) SES Technical Advisory Support: 50%

  • Advise on the most appropriate approaches and strategies for the application of the SES during Energy project/programme design and implementation.
  • Respond to ad-hoc issues and on-demand requests for advisory support related to Energy-related safeguards planning and implementation.
  • Provide enhanced quality assurance technical SES support to Country Offices during Energy project design, start up and implementation to support the realization of SES opportunities and avoidance of SES risks.
  • Research and identify common SES risks, capacity needs, and challenges in preparing required SES documentation and applying the SES across Energy programmes globally and advise on the development of strategies to internalize this learning to build the capacity of Country Offices and others on the SES.
  • Provide support in recruitment and onboarding and oversight of safeguards consultants/officers  hired to support SES execution in/for projects.
  • Provide advise to COs and Regional Bureaux in their engagement with partners and stakeholders (including affected people, implementing partners, donors) on issues related to the SES.
  • Undertake safeguards oversight troubleshooting missions when requested by the Country Office and/or NCE.
  • Ensure the required project-level grievance redress mechanisms are established and functioning for Energy projects.
  • Identify issues on which additional technical support and research may be needed through the Global Policy Network or external consultants.
  • Advise and support on any SECU/SRM cases in the portfolio.


2) SES Oversight and Quality Assurance: 30%

  • Provide SES quality assurance support to Country Offices and Project teams on Energy programming (including social and environmental screenings, and SES assessment/management plans prepared by the Country Office or external SES experts); provide comprehensive feedback, recommendations, and pathways forward to improve quality and determine when these materials are ready for submission for compliance clearance. Support responding to feedback received.
  • Track progress of high/substantial risk and other priority Energy projects’ implementation of required SES management plans and advise Country Office colleagues and project teams on new social and environmental risks, changes to project risk categorization, and other SES-related challenges that might arise.
  • Quality assure and/or analyse safeguards sections of Energy projects’ progress reports and evaluations (e.g. donor reports, annual progress reports, GEF Project Implementation Reviews /GCF Annual Progress Reviews, mid-term reviews and final evaluations) and contribute substantively where in line with the oversight function (e.g. in support of relevant Team Lead)
  • Escalate issues to second-line oversight and advise CO/RBX senior management on safeguard risks where needed.

3) SES Knowledge Management and capacity enhancement (20%)

  • Lead/coordinate with other UNDP SES experts (including SES experts in the regions and the GPN SES network) to ensure a consistent interpretation and approach of the SES policy across all UNDP programming.
  • Support SES capacity development, awareness raising, trainings and other learning opportunities for Country Offices and UNDP colleagues in the Energy team.
  • Draft and provide input to guidance to Country Offices in preparation of safeguards related content for Energy project Inception Workshops and other key project cycle milestones.
  • Provide advise to Country Office senior management in their engagement with partners and stakeholders (including affected people, implementing partners, donors) on issues related to UNDP Energy programming and the SES and its accountability mechanisms (i.e. SRM and SECU).
  • Engage in UNDP technical SES network and other partnerships to ensure learning and exchange on safeguards with partners and UNDP’s leadership role in this area.
  • Document and share lessons learned, including from cases where things went wrong as well as good models of SES implementation.
  • Contribute to a library of research and project safeguards documents and examples that can be used as reference points for the Energy team and more widely.




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 & Technical competencies 

Thematic Area



2030 Agenda: Planet

Nature, Climate and Energy

Environment: Environmental and social impact assessments and safeguards

2030 Agenda: Planet

Nature, Climate and Energy

Environment: Environmental and social impact assessments, including data collection and analysis

2030 Agenda: Planet

Nature, Climate and Energy

Environment: Energy Access

Business Development

Knowledge Generation

Ability to research and turn information into useful knowledge, relevant for context, or responsive to a stated need

Business Management

Risk management

Ability to identify and organize action around mitigating and proactively managing risks

Business Management


Ability to make an independent judgement based on set criteria and benchmark. Ability to anticipate client's upcoming needs and concerns.

Required Skills and Experience

Min. Education requirements

  • Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Management, Environmental Policy or a closely-related field.

Min. years of relevant work experience

  • At least 7 years of relevant experience in the area of environmental and social safeguards.

Required  skills

  • Demonstrated expertise in environmental and social impact assessment and management plans, due diligence and oversight.
  • Direct experience in the design and/or implementation of energy development projects

Desired skills in addition to the competencies covered in the Competencies section

  • Relevant work experience with s international organizations
  • Knowledge of the UNDP SES
  • Experience with climate and environment vertical funds (e.g. GCF and GEF)

Required Language(s)

  • English

Professional Certificates

  • N/A

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