Manager, 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-6
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 the 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 researchers’ 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 a 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 will 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 Centre Manager, based in Rio de Janeiro, to lead the development and start-up of the Centre. The individual is expected to have intimate knowledge of the subject at hand, senior management experience, excellent ability to foster and nurture relationships among key stakeholders and build networks among diverse groups; ability to carry out liaison functions; lead resource mobilization efforts; and conduct outreach, convene seminars and other events.    
The individual recruited for this position will hold a UNDP contract, and will be a United Nations staff member. The Centre Manager works under the substantive guidance of the Director of the Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity Group of UNDP. There are lines of accountability to the Governing Board of the Centre which will be set up, and to the Board of the support project for the development of the Centre being set up by the Brazilian Government and UNDP.

The Centre Manager’s substantive responsibilities will revolve around developing and structuring the Centre, its substantive agenda and its initial activities, based on consultations with relevant stakeholders, bringing together the best available knowledge resources and resource persons on the subject. Once the Centre’s legal foundation and governance arrangements are shaped and approved, it is envisaged that the Centre will be led by a internationally renowned Chief Executive Officer, with the Centre Manager assuming key daily management functions in the Centre.

The Centre Manager will in particular focus on partnership building, resource mobilization, stakeholder outreach, convening activities and connecting with existing networks, institutions, universities, civil society organisations and think tanks.

The Centre Manager will, in close liaison with the Poverty Group in BDP in New York (which substantively manage the IPC-IG) and the UNDP Country Office, ensure the integration of the IPC-IG into the Rio+ Centre in Rio de Janeiro. 
In addition the Centre Manager will liaise with the board and manage the Centre as it develops, overseeing staff, workplans, indicative budgets, and reporting and ensuring all key stakeholders are abreast of developments and heedful of the evolving nature of the partnership between the stakeholders of the Centre, the UNDP, other partner international organisations, and the Government of Brazil.


Duties and Responsibilities

Within the overall vision for the Centre, the Centre Manager will be responsible for:

  • 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.
  • Provide substantive and intellectual leadership and vision to the Rio+ Centre as it emerges in carrying out and fostering cutting-edge analytical and policy research, environmental, economic and social policy alternatives, innovations and learning, knowledge sharing and advocacy;
  • Provide intellectual, strategic and operational leadership and vision to promote the global dimension of the Rio+ Centre;
  • Management of initial Centre activities, including as ex officio Secretary of the initial Governing Board of the Centre.
  • Convening of ideas, resource persons, thought leaders, practitioners from across public, private, civil society and academic actors.  
  • Partnership building, communication and outreach, including to specialized thematic communities of practitioners in the subject area.
  • Identify global opportunities for positioning the Centre and its work and translate them into concrete dissemination, research and outreach initiatives for development practitioners and others working on sustainable development related issues;
  • Ensure the quality of outputs and services delivered by the Rio+ Centre is maintained at the highest standards;
  • Liaison function between UNDP, the Government of Brazil and other stakeholders.
  • Resource mobilization for the Centre and its programmatic activities from interested partners in the South as well as the North.
  • Ensuring close collaboration and coordination with other relevant UN agencies participating in the Centre, and with UNDP units, notably Bureau for Development Policy, the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean,
  • UNDP programmes and initiatives that may wish to draw upon or contribute to the expertise of the Centre, the Resident Representative of UNDP in Brazil, and UNDP Regional Service Centres in all substantive activities.

Knowledge, research and related activities:

  • Develop a series of flagship knowledge products that will position the Centre as a global Centre of excellence in the area of sustainable development.
  • 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 making these available to the stakeholders of the Centre. 

Management of Centre activities:

  • Managing strategic planning and resource allocation.
  • In liaison with key Brazilian stakeholders and UNDP’s Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy (BERA) building and nurturing partnerships with a variety of Brazilian and international stakeholders to mobilize resources for the Centre, including going beyond UNDP and the Government of Brazil.
  • Reporting regularly to the interim Board of the Centre, and fulfilling the function of ex officio Secretary to the Board.
  • Develop, in consultation with partners and other stakeholders, comprehensive annual work plans for the Rio+ Centre and monitor their implementation;
  • Ensure timely and efficient delivery of the activities contained in Rio+ Centre’s initial operational plan;
  • Allocate responsibilities to the Rio+ Centre staff, supervise their work, and evaluate their annual performance;
  • Ensure the outputs of Rio+ Centre’s projects and programmes are delivered;
  • Participate in the Rio+ Centre Boards/Councils meetings;
  • Prepare annual reports on the activities and results of the Rio+ Centre  for the senior management of UNDP and the Boards/Councils;
  • Ensure that Rio+ Centre’s operations and management are line with UNDP’s rules and regulations.
  • Office management: Ensuring the effective application of programme tools, establishment of management scorecard targets and monitoring achievement of results.
  • Financial management: Ensuring the integrity of financial transactions, systems and reports by consistent application of rules and regulations.
  • Resource management: Ensuring integrated, results-based planning, budgeting and utilization of resources in line with established policies and procedures.
  • Human Resources Management: Ensuring that systems are implemented to perform effective people management for organizational excellence.

Convening and Coordination  activities:

  • Convening high-level policy dialogue amongst leading researchers, policy-makers and practitioners, civil society representatives, in the field of inclusive sustainable development.
  • Coordinating research work of the Centre with those of other institutions based in Brazil to maximize capacities on sustainable development related issues and to avoid effort duplication
  • Identifying speakers, resource persons, documenters and scribes for above events and arranging for their involvement.
  • Ensuring 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

  • In close liaison with Brazilian partners, BDP, RBLAC and BERA, conduct partnership-building, communications,and outreach to relevant organizations.
  • Outreach and links to community of practitioners on sustainable development; joining or coalescing existing or new networks. 
  • Manage 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;
  • Explore the possibilities of strategic partnerships with other willing Governments that would like to collaborate in funding and supporting the Centre;
  • 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;
  • Further develop Rio+ Centre’s outreach strategy to ensure its products and service reach the partners and clients;
  • Mobilize resources, particularly from non-traditional donors, as well as maintain and strengthen external partnerships behind UNDP/Rio+ Centre initiatives and ensure the utilization of financial resources mobilized and allocated for Rio+ Centre activities;
  • Interact closely with other UNDP and UN Global Thematic Centres or Centres of Excellence;
  • Contribute to strategic partnerships, where appropriate, with UN organizations and other non-UN organizations, including NGOs and civil society institutions working in areas of sustainable inclusive growth, social inclusion, and technological and institutional innovation.
  • Building innovative partnerships on both content and resource mobilization.


  • Lead the advocacy and public relations work for Rio+ Centre at the highest level and contribute to the inclusive sustainable development advocacy;
  • Represent the Rio+ Centre at appropriate fora;

Knowledge Management (KM):

  • Generate knowledge, synthesize global best practices and lessons learnt to shape Rio+  Centre’s  global strategies;
  • Lead global knowledge sharing events;
  • Support the development and utilization of advanced knowledge management strategies and tools in the Centre to underpin business processes;

Liaison function between UNDP and the Government of Brazil

  • Regularly engaging all parties and furthering the cooperation between UNDP and the Government of Brazil regarding the Rio+ Centre.
  • Regularly liaising with relevant ministries, other relevant institutions, think tanks and academic institutions, other international partners with a presence in Brazil.
  • Regular liaison within UNDP with BDP, RBLAC, with the Resident Representative in Brazil, with UNDP Regional Service Centres, UNDP Global Policy Centres and with other UN and International agencies.


Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards.
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of the UN in relation to sustainable development.
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.


  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and provide leadership.
  • Strong decision-making skills with proven track record of mature judgments.
  • Ability to conceptualize and convey strategic visions.


  • Strong analytical and communication skills, including ability to produce high quality academic papers, reports and other knowledge products.
  • Proven professional and/or academic experience in Sustainable Development, Public Management and Governance Innovations or other related field.
  • Capacity to interact with senior officials and credibly influence senior decision makers.   


  • Ability to produce high quality outputs in a timely manner while understanding and anticipating evolving needs.
  • Ability to focus on impact and results for the Centre stakeholders, promoting and demonstrating a service ethos.
  • Strong 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 work:

  • Excellent negotiating and networking skills.
  • Demonstrated flexibility to excel in a multi-cultural environment.
  • Constructive approach to feedback and conflict resolution.

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 for different audiences.
  • Strong capacity to communicate clearly and quickly.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Master’s Degree or equivalent in Public Administration, Economics, International Development, Business, Environmental Sciences or related field.
  • Minimum of 15 years of relevant experience inclusive of extensive national and international working experience in the sustainable development arena.
  • Relevant experience in leadership positions in recognized development or other relevant organizations.
  • Proven management experience and demonstrated leadership ability.
  • Knowledge of and experience with UNDP policies and operations is an asset.
  • Experience in leading/managing knowledge product development and dissemination.
  • 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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