Policy Advisor - World Centre for Sustainable Development

Location : Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL
Application Deadline :05-Nov-12 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Management
Type of Contract :FTA International
Post Level :P-5
Languages Required :

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.


The Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are joining forces, in conjunction with other stakeholders, to build a reference Centre that encourages, produces, systematizes and disseminates knowledge and practices on sustainable development, with an integrated perspective of the economic, social and environmental dimensions.

The World Centre for Sustainable Development (hereinafter "Rio+ Centre")
The Rio+ Centre will be based in Rio de Janeiro.

Considering the intensification of discussions at all levels generated by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, and recognizing the importance of creating a reference Centre that encourages, produces, systematizes and disseminates knowledge and practices on sustainable development, with an integrated perspective of the economic, social and environmental dimensions, the Government of Brazil and UNDP affirmed, during the Rio+20 Conference, the intention of establishing an institution of international character in the city of Rio de Janeiro, called Rio+ Centre, World Centre for Sustainable Development, with the mission to be a main reference Centre for promoting sustainable development worldwide.

This initiative is driven by the importance of the innovative experiences that spans from the local to the global, originating in cities and local communities, for the promotion of sustainable development. Moreover, the fundamental role of civil society, private sector and researcher’s participation in the discussion and promotion of sustainable development is increasingly recognized.

The Rio+ Centre will act as an integrator of skills, resources and expertise of an extensive network of both domestic and international governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and businesses.

The Rio+ Centre will encompass the following three strands:

  • Expand the frontiers of knowledge on sustainable development and promote the role of technological, social, organizational, financial and management innovations, through its own research and studies as well as through the compilation and dissemination of existing practical knowledge and experiences;
  • Promote international debate on sustainable development – above all, on how to integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions – through the organization of events, discussions and outreach activities;
  • Enrich the treatment of the issue, by enlarging the participation of local governments, civil society, businesses and scholars; and facilitate the exchange of resources, skills, and expertise for strengthening capabilities, including through South-South cooperation.

Aiming at providing an enduring opportunity for civil society participation, the Rio+ Centre will continue the Rio+20 Dialogues on Sustainable Development, including by means of maintaining its virtual platform.

The Rio+ Centre will put strong emphasis on innovative approaches to sustainable development challenges and will itself aim to exhibit the features of an entrepreneurial, innovative and unconventional culture able to attract and mobilize the best talent, including from young people.

The Brazilian Government and UNDP are setting up a support project for structuring the Centre and its initial activities.

Until its future headquarters are established the Rio+ Centre shall temporarily function from facilities made available by the Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute of Graduate Studies and Research in Engineering at the Campus of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (COPPE/UFRJ), in the “Ilha do Fundão”.

The Rio+ Centre will build on and provide continuity to the successful International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), a partnership between the Brazilian Government and UNDP, presently located in Brasilia. The legal agreements made for the IPC-IG may initially serve as foundation for the Rio+ Centre.

This Centre is looking for a Policy Adviser, based in Rio de Janeiro, to provide intellectual guidance and managerial support, particularly in structuring the Rio+ Centre, as well as developing and implementing its initial activities. He/She will ensure the integration of latest thinking and practice in the inclusive sustainable development field. In particular, the Policy adviser will focus on innovative approaches and experiments on technology and institutions, both in terms of policies as well as institutional innovations. In that context, he/she will work in areas based on the Rio+ Centre’s mission, vision, and related activities and topics.

Being guided by the vision of the promotion of sustainable inclusive economic growth, the Policy Adviser will focus on the integration of its three dimensions (economic, social and environmental). He/she will be responsible for developing structured links with top-class research institutes, think tanks and other partners and stakeholders that provide knowledge and expertise for the Rio+ Centre and its partners globally.

The Policy Adviser will collaborate with the Centre Manager, other Rio+ Centre colleagues, counterparts from the Government of Brazil, other stakeholders and partners of the Centre, and work closely with other colleagues both in Brasília (UNDP country office and other institutions) and UNDP New York and other Regional Service Centres. The Policy Advisor will assist the Centre Manager in liaising with BDP and the UNDP Country Office. 

Duties and Responsibilities

Within the overall vision for the Centre, the Policy Advisor will be responsible for:

  • Advise on the structuring the Rio+ Centre, based on the Letter of Intent signed between the Brazilian Government and UNDP during the Rio+20 Conference and the support project for the establishment of the Centre.
  • Contribute to promote the global dimension of the Rio+ Centre as it is structured;
  • Contribute, through policy experiments formulating policy options, to strategies and policies for inclusive sustainable development, based on the Rio+ Centre’s mission and vision.
  • Provide research, policy guidance and technical assistance in sustainable development related issues, based on the Rio+ Centre’s activities and topics. 
  • Lead in the development of applied research based on the Rio+ Centre’s activities and topics.
  • Carry out analytical and policy research on innovative approaches to technological and institutional innovations.
  • Foster, based upon research and analysis, innovative operational concepts and development, formulation of tools and methodologies that can widen relevant policy choices and play a leading role in training and capacity development in these areas for effective programme support
  • Contribute to Rio+ Centre’s publication series.
  • Contribute in partnership building, communication and outreach, including to specialized thematic communities of practitioners in the subject area.
  • Identify global opportunities and translate them into concrete research and capacity development initiatives for development practitioners working on sustainable development related issues;
  • Contribute in the resource mobilization for the Centre and its programmatic activities from interested partners in the South as well as the North.

Knowledge, Research and related activities:

  • Leading or supervising comparative research or compilations and reviews of relevant research by other institutions, for both internal and external use.
  • Disseminating findings, lessons and case experiences in various formats such as case experiences, think-pieces, comparative research pieces, and social media packages such as blogs and network contributions.
  • Scanning and bringing focus on emerging issues, innovation, cutting edge knowledge and approaches and bringing these to learning for the stakeholders of the Centre. 

Management of the Centre:

  • Contribute to Rio+ Centre’s initial operational plan and ensure timely and efficient delivery of the activities;
  • Ensure the outputs of the initial operational plan are delivered;
  • Contribute to Rio+ Centre’s outreach strategy to ensure its work on inclusive sustainable development;
  • Ensure the utilization of financial resources mobilized and allocated for inclusive sustainable development, as well as for technological and institutional innovations work;
  • Prepare annual reports on the activities and results of the Rio+ Centre in collaboration with other partners and stakeholders;
  • Ensure that projects are implemented according to UNDP’s rules and regulations.
  • Reporting regularly to the Centre Manager.
  • Participate in the Rio+ Centre Boards/Councils meetings and prepare support documentation.

Convening and Coordination activities:

  • Contribute to research work of the Centre with those of other institutions based in Brazil and abroad to maximize capacities on sustainable development related issues and to avoid effort duplication.
  • Contribute to organize events on behalf of the Rio+ Centre.
    quality documentation of above activities, and production and dissemination in various forms and forums.
  • Undertaking any relevant supporting activities.

Partnership Building, Communication Outreach and Networks for Research and Resource  Mobilization

  • Manage cost sharing projects between Rio+ Centre and its partners;
  • Establish formal links with governments, world-class policy think-tanks, research centres and other stakeholders working on inclusive sustainable development innovations;
  • Promote the development of a community of practice (COP) at the international level and catalyze and connect to global experiences;
  • Mobilize resources as well as maintain and strengthen external partnerships behind Rio+ Centre initiatives.
  • Promote the relationship between Rio+ Centre and the partners from the Government of Brazil, as well as Brazilian and other global stakeholders, with regard to the preparation of joint work plans, their financial and human resource contributions, and other issues that may arise;
  • Work with the Rio+ Centre partners globally to identify and forge formal links with governments, world-class policy think-tanks, and research centres for promoting South-South Cooperation;
  • Contribute to the liaison with other centres of excellence around the world, building relationships of joint action and resource mobilization.

Knowledge Management (KM)

  • Support the development and utilization of KM strategies and tools;
  • Link KM to business processes.



  • Strong analytical and advocacy skills in sustainable development policy and research;
  • Proven track record and high level technical competency in his/her area of expertise;
  • Proven management skills;
  • Proven professional and/or academic experience in sustainable development theory, practice and policy;
  • Strong knowledge of UN global policies, treaties, processes and frameworks;
  • Capacity to interact with senior officials and credibly influence senior decision makers;    
  • Strong analytical, negotiation and communication skills.


  • Well-developed people and organizational management skills;
  • Ability to manage teams; creating an enabling environment, mentoring and developing staff;
  • Strong resource mobilization skills and accountability for management of financial resources.

Partnership building and team works:

  • Excellent negotiating and networking skills;
  • Experience in partnership building with research institutions, international organizations, development agencies and government partners;
  • Demonstrated flexibility to excel in a multi-cultural environment.


  • Mature judgment and initiative;
  • Independent judgment and discretion in handling major policy issues and challenges;
  • Diplomacy and tact to achieve results.

Knowledge Management and Learning:

  • Ability to strongly promote and build knowledge products;
  • Promote knowledge management and a learning environment within and outside of Rio+ Centre;
  • Seek and apply knowledge, information and best practices from within and outside of Rio+ Centre.

Communications and Advocacy:

  • Strong ability to write clearly and convincingly, adapting style and content to different audiences and speak clearly and convincingly.
  • Strong presentation skills in meetings with the ability to adapt to different audiences;
  • Strong capacity to communicate clearly and quickly.


  • Demonstrated integrity and fairness, adhering to UN values and ethical standards;
  • Commitment to promote the vision, mission and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Ability to display cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Master’s Degree or equivalent in Public Administration, Economics, International Development, Business, or related field.
  • Minimum of 10 years of relevant experience inclusive of extensive national and international working experience in the sustainable development, including a minimum of 5 years direct expertise in development research and advisory services.
  • Extensive experience in applied research.
  • Knowledge of and experience with UNDP policies and operations is an asset.
  • Fluent and proficient in English, with fluency in at least one other UN language strongly desirable. Fluency in Portuguese is desirable.
Willingness to travel and especially to special development situations.


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