Social and Environmental Standards Specialist, Europe and Central Asia - IPSA 11

Location : Home-based
Application Deadline :27-May-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Time left :3d 6h 14m
Type of Contract :IPSA (Regular)
Post Level :IPSA-11
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :6 months
Expected Duration of Assignment :31 December 2022 with possibility of 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.


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 capacities for 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. 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.

The Regional Social and Environmental Standards Specialist (Regional SES Specialist) will support UNDP Country Offices in the Europe and Central Asia region in their provision of first level oversight of the SES requirements for NCE programmes/projects and other UNDP programming in this region. This support will include tracking, quality assurance, spot-checking and trouble shooting, and advising on management measures to be taken to avoid, mitigate and manage SES risks and ensure the effective implementation of and compliance with the SES. The Regional SES Specialist will also coordinate closely with other UNDP SES and risk experts in UNDP to support broader SES capacity building in UNDP. The Regional SES Specialist will be part of the BPPS NCE team (global NCE SES team and the regional NCE team based in Istanbul) and the Regional Bureau County Office Support Team (COST) based in Istanbul.


Institutional Arrangement

The Regional SES Specialist will report to the Head of Safeguards and Risk Management in the NCE team and the Chief, Country Office Solution and Regional Programme Coordination in Istanbul.

Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Work     

1. SES Oversight and Quality Assurance (70%)

  • Provide quality assurance support to Country Offices in the region on social and environmental screening, assessment/management plans for UNDP programming.
  • Regularly scan available data on SES implementation across the regional portfolio to identify emerging risks or High/Substantial Risk projects that may require additional oversight and support.
  • Advise regional and 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.
  • Ensure the required project-level grievance mechanisms are established and functioning for select/priority UNDP projects.
  • Track progress of high/substantial risk and other priority projects’ implementation of required SES elements.
  • For NCE programming, provide enhanced quality assurance support to project design, and implementation support for complex and/or high risk NCE programmes/projects to ensure they meet SES technical standards and requirements, and identify potential actions that may be needed to ensure the project remains in compliance with the SES.
  • For NCE programming, quality assure safeguards sections of NCE project 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).


2.  Country Office Capacity Enhancement on SES (15%)

  • Identify common risks, capacity needs, challenges across the programmes in the region and advise on the development of strategies to address these.
  • Track and consolidate learning of key gaps between the SES and national safeguards legislation and prepare guidance for Country Offices on how these gaps should be addressed.
  • Lead/coordinate with other UNDP SES experts in the region to ensure a consistent approach to the application of the SES.
  • Support SES capacity development, awareness raising, trainings and other learning opportunities for Country Offices and UNDP colleagues in the region.
  • Provide guidance to Country Offices in preparation of safeguards related content for NCE project Inception Workshops.
  • Support recruitment, onboarding and oversight of safeguards consultants for NCE programming as relevant.
  • Undertake safeguards oversight troubleshooting missions when requested by the Country Office and/or NCE.


3. SES Knowledge Management (15%)

  • Support Country Office senior management in their engagement with partners and stakeholders (including affected people, implementing partners, donors) on issues related to programming, and the SES and it’s accountability mechanisms.
  • Engage in regional safeguards networks and 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 project safeguards documents and examples that can be used as reference points for the region and globally.
  • Engage and coordinate with NCE and other SES experts in Headquarters and other regions to ensure consistency in SES policy interpretation/advice,share lessons learned, and avoid duplication of efforts.
  • Coordinate exchange between project-level and Country Office safeguards experts to facilitate shared learning, consistency across the portfolio, and identification of opportunities to cost-share or combine efforts on risks faced by multiple NCE projects.



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

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, Anthropology, Sociology, or a closely-related field.

Min. years of relevant work experience

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

Required  skills

  • Direct experience in risk management; due diligence; and/or quality assurance
  • Direct experience in design and/or implementation of sustainable development projects in the Europe and Central Asia region
  • Exceptional analytical, writing, and communication skills
  • Expert Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint skills; familiarity with e-presentation techniques and ability to operate with web-based applications

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

  • Relevant work experience in an international organization
  • Knowledge of the UNDP SES
  • Experience with climate and environment vertical funds (e.g. GCF and GEF)
  • Willingness to work in the Central Asia Time Zone

Required Language(s)

  • English

Professional Certificates

  • N/A

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