Programme Specialist Consultant

Application Deadline :24-Sep-14 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :3 months (with possibility of extension)


In September 2009, the UN Secretary-General designated H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands as his Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA).  As UNSGSA and Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), Queen Máxima raises awareness and advocates specific policies, investments and actions with governments, regulators, private companies, international institutions and diverse additional stakeholders, all with view of how inclusive financial systems can help to reduce poverty, equalize opportunity and accelerate progress toward numerous development goals.   She does so through country visits, speeches, meetings, convening of stakeholders and other outreach.  This requires careful, comprehensive and rigorous analysis of local conditions, policies, available services and public priorities, as well as the needs of households, enterprises and communities.

The UNSGSA’s work is done in partnership and with wide consultation among the many stakeholders working to advance financial inclusion—and those affected by it. She collaborates closely with an advisory Reference Group of leading international organizations in financial inclusion to share expertise and suggest strategic opportunities that she can advance through advocacy and partnerships. Reference Group members include: Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Better Than Cash Alliance, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), International Finance Corporation (IFC), UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and The World Bank.

Members of the Reference Group and many other in-country and global partners play an important role in converting advocacy into action. The UNSGSA also consults widely with UN country teams, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), financial standard setting bodies (SSBs), private financial institutions, companies, donors, and civil society organizations.

A small staff works closely with Queen Máxima and her secretariat in The Hague to coordinate and advance her UN and G20 activities. The office of the UNSGSA is housed at UNDP in New York and receives generous financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  The Program Specialist will report to the Director of the office.

For more information on the activities and priorities of the UNSGSA, please visit:

The consultancy assignment will take place in New York for an initial period of three (3) months with anticipated start date of 15 September.

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of Key Functions

  • Provide specialized technical and policy-oriented research, analysis and advice to the UNSGSA and her Office for engagement with policy makers and decision makers on key topics and trends in financial inclusion such as emerging financial products, channels and business models that meet the needs of low-income clients and small enterprises, approaches to strengthen financial capability of clients and entrepreneurs, financial inclusion data and measurement, national strategies for financial inclusion, global standards and their application at the country level, and work streams of financial SSBs, G20 GPFI, OECD and other global entities;
  • Recommend advocacy and policy positions to inform the UNSGSA’s overall advocacy agenda;
  • Prepare briefing notes, speeches/statements, talking points, and background papers for the UNSGSA’s meetings with government leaders, multilateral organizations, private sector companies, and participation in high profile events, ensuring that the relevant financial inclusion issues and developments are appropriately reflected and serve to support the UNSGSA’s high-level advocacy activities and outreach;
  • Engage with partners including the G20 GPFI, the UNSGSA’s Reference Group (especially UNCDF, the World Bank/IFC and UNDP) UN agencies on UNSGSA priorities and ensure follow up on strategic initiatives;
  • Contribute to the planning and rollout of as well as follow up to UNSGSA country visits and other activities through coordination and preparatory outreach with technical and expert-partners, preparation of comprehensive data driven background analysis and briefs, preparation of UNSGSA materials, as well as engagement with country level counterparts to build and sustain advocacy momentum and implementation of recommendations;
  • Represent the Office in meetings and events that require technical-level expertise and political astuteness;
  • Contribute to an efficient functioning of the Office, including through preparation of top quality materials with accurate technical and policy content for communications and other tasks;
  • Compile inputs from and review the accuracy and clarity of technical work submitted by counterparts/partners.

Key Expected Results:

  • The UNSGSA is aware of emerging trends, political and social developments and strategic opportunities in specific areas of financial inclusion and countries, and is presented with technically accurate, politically astute recommendations for high-level advocacy opportunities in a timely manner;
  • The UNSGSA’s trips and other outreach activities and events are well prepared and followed up, supported by insightful, technically rigorous and up-to-date briefs, back ground notes, and followed-up in a timely manner that supports agreed upon decisions and actions;
  • The Office of the UNSGSA’s relationships with high level, global and national partners and stakeholders continue to deepen and expand, and the UNSGSA is well-informed of stakeholder views, priorities and activities in specific countries as well as globally.

 Impact of Results

If effective, the consultant will contribute to the successful implementation of an ambitious global advocacy agenda for financial inclusion by the UNSGSA and to an Office that provides timely, insightful and technically accurate support to the UNSGSA.


Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of the UNSGSA and UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.

 Functional Competencies:

  • Experience and understanding of the diverse aspects of financial inclusion, with technical expertise in one or several specific sectors;
  • Familiarity with national financial policy, regulatory or supervisory agencies, global financial standard setting organizations, financial service companies and institutions, research community, multilateral organizations and the relevant donor community is an asset;
  • Field based and other relevant experience working with international organizations, including the UN system, developing country governments, donor agencies, MFIs, and/or NGOs and other civil society groups;
  • Demonstrates strong oral and written communication skills;
  • Fully proficient computer skills and use of relevant software, including Excel, Powerpoint, Word, multi-media and other applications;
  • Demonstrated excellent technical knowledge of the breadth of financial inclusion and the field of stakeholders;
  • Capacity to prioritize multiple tasks, meet deadlines even in imperfect conditions and thrive as part of a small and fast moving team;

Required Skills and Experience


  • Master’s degree in Finance, Economics, Business, Public Policy, or related fields.


  • Minimum 7 years of progressive experience in financial inclusion and /or financial systems or other related development sectors. Experience in applied research, policy development, and/or delivery of financial services in developing country contexts or multilateral context is preferred;
  • Experience in leadership/high-level representational offices and with policy and advocacy issues at the national or global level, preferably related to financial issues although other relevant fields may be considered. Experience in government and policy setting organizations is an asset;
  • Experience in working independently and as a member of a team, and with partners in other time zones and from diverse and multi-cultural contexts, including working collaboratively;
  • Sense of humor and grace under pressure;
  • Equal enthusiasm and efficiency for any task and ability to travel and, as needed, work over weekends.
  •  Expertise in one or several areas through first-hand experience of working on financial inclusion at the country level, including financial service delivery.


  • Excellent command and drafting skills in, English is required;
  • Knowledge of a second UN language an advantage;
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills, with an ability to sum up key points concisely.

Application Submission Process:

  • Please submit the following to demonstrate your interest and qualifications. Please note that all the documents below must be submitted as one PDF file;
  • Personal CV and/or P11, indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the candidate and at least three (3) professional references;
  • Duly accomplished Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the template provided;
  • Brief description of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the consultancy and he/she will approach the key functions and produce the deliverables (max 800 words).
  • Financial proposal (All inclusive daily fee): Interested individuals are kindly requested to submit an all-inclusive daily consultancy fee;
  • Travel: All envisaged travel costs must be included in the financial proposal in a separate line.

 Application Evaluation Process  

Individual consultants will be evaluated based on the Cumulative Analysis methodology [weighted scoring method], where the award of the contract will be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:

  • Responsive/compliant/acceptable; and
  • Having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation.

Technical Criteria weight [70%]:

  • Technical knowledge and relevant professional experience (40%);
  • Communication, analytical and strategic thinking skills (writing sample will be requested from long-listed candidates; shortlisted candidates will also be interviewed). (20%);
  • Education (10%).

Financial Criteria weight [30%].


Link to: General Conditions for Individual Contracts

Click here for important information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders).
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.

If you are experiencing difficulties with online job applications, please contact

© 2016 United Nations Development Programme