Back Safeguards Sepcialist, Climate & Forests Programme

  • Added Date: Thursday, 17 June 2021
  • Deadline Date: Wednesday, 23 June 2021

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.


Job Purpose and Organizational Context

UNDP’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan emphasizes the critical links between environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and broader efforts to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement. As part of the Global Policy Network in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP’s Nature, Climate Change, and Energy (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. This multi-billion dollar portfolio encompasses: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services including forests; Sustainable Land Management and Desertification including food and commodity systems; Water and Ocean Governance including SIDS; Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation; Renewable and Modern Energy; Extractive Industries; Chemicals and Waste Management; Environmental Governance and Green/Circular Economy and SCP approaches. This work advances crosscutting themes on innovative finance, digital transformation, capacity development, human rights, gender equality, health, technology, and South-South learning. UNDP's Nature, Climate and Energy practice spans 137 countries, with a portfolio directly benefiting 86 million people. Our support to Governments focusses on enabling an inclusive, resilient, green recovery by: building competency to accelerate access to sustainable energy and climate and nature-positive policies and finance; scaling capacity to ensure No One is Left Behind; catalyzing SDG and Paris-aligned investments (public and private); delivering client-focused solutions that respond to countries' immediate, mid- and long-term recovery and socio-economic development priorities; and leveraging our on-the-ground presence and networks to unlock bottom-up solutions that deliver lasting impacts at country level.
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) which includes the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund (GEF Trust Fund); the Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund (NPIF); the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF); and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). As part of UNDP’s partnership with these vertical funds, UNDP provides countries specialized integrated technical services for eligibility assessment, programme formulation, capacity development, policy advice, technical assistance, training and technology transfer, mobilization of co-financing, implementation oversight, results management and evaluation, performance-based payments and knowledge management services.  The Nature, Climate and Energy 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.

UNDP Climate Change Mitigation Programme: In order to avoid an irreversible climate crisis, we need to halve global emissions by 2030, and have carbon-neutral economies by 2050. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions – or climate change mitigation - is essential to fulfilling commitments to the Paris Agreement and limiting global mean temperature increase to 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels. All sectors, including energy, transportation, industry, forests, and land-use/agriculture must make a meaningful contribution towards achieving carbon neutrality. UNDP, as the largest implementer of climate change support within the UN system, plays a critical role by supporting countries in their emission reduction plans. With a commitment to providing long-term development support, our mitigation portfolio currently comprises of over 280 projects and programmes in over 110 countries. Together with our partners, UNDP supports countries to take ambitious climate action, advance Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and use a wide range of strategies and approaches across energy, forestry and land-use/agriculture sectors.

Climate & Forests Programme: Forests support the livelihoods of over 1 billion people and host the largest share of the world’s biodiversity. UNDP provides expertise in stakeholder engagement, social and environmental safeguards, governance, institutional coordination, strategic planning, implementation of policies and measures to address drivers of deforestation, access to innovative finance and accessing results-based payments. UNDP also facilitates the necessary partnerships to address the complex elements of the REDD+ process.

The Safeguards Specialist will be responsible for providing high quality technical support, expert knowledge and capacity development services on social & environmental safeguards to UNDP staff at global, regional and country office levels, as well as to partner countries and partner organizations, upon request. The specialist will focus on the work and portfolio of UNDP's Climate & Forests Team, but also work with the NCE safeguards team to support and enhance UNDP corporate processes as they relate to safeguards.

The Safeguards Specialist will help deliver the objectives and outcomes of UNDP’s Climate & Forests Programme and the strategic priorities of NCE in full compliance with UNDP’s social & environmental safeguards, as well as overall UNDP's Programme and Operations Policies and Procedures. For that purpose, the Specialist will work with UN agencies, governments, inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, donors, and the private sector, as relevant. The professional will be overseen by the Principal Policy & Technical Advisor of the Climate & Forests Programme and also work under the guidance of the UNDP/NCE lead safeguards advisor.

1)    Technical Advisory Support – Climate & Forests

  • Support the design of safeguards indicators; as well as monitoring & reporting methodology for UNDP’s performance-based payments modality.
  • Participate in the selection/recruitment of key safeguards consultants and project staff (PMU, ESIA, topic specialists).
  • Provide technical and analytical input to country assessments of market standards for REDD+.
  • Advise countries on how to meet the safeguards requirements of UNFCCC (Cancun, SOI, SIS) and market standards for REDD+.
  • Coordinate with UN-REDD Programme Agencies on the GCF UN-REDD Programme FP – design and implementation.
  • Provide other support as requested by the PTA.

2) Quality Assurance and Oversight – Climate & Forests

  • Conduct quality review of Climate & Forest programme/project  SESPs to ensure they meet UNDP and Vertical Fund technical standards and requirements, verify proper risk categorization,
  • Review SES documentation (e.g. SESP, ESIA, ESMP, ESMF, management plans, relevant ToRs) for Climate & Forests projects and programmes (e.g.: GCF, FCPF, UNREDD, GCFTF, bilateral agreements) to ensure they meet technical standards and requirements.
  • Track progress of implementation of required SES elements (e.g.: ESIA, GRM, PBPA). During project implementation.

3) Coordination, Partnership, Knowledge and Learning – Nature, Climate & Energy cluster

  • Identify issues on which additional technical support may be needed through the Global Policy Network or external consultants.
  • Build NCE internal capacity on SES.
  • Support NCE colleagues and projects on challenges and emerging issues related to project- and national- level grievance mechanisms.
  • Provide safeguards input to project origination discussions with Country Offices.
  • Provide ad-hoc support to address SES/SRM capacities and emerging issues.
  • Engage and coordinate with SES experts in Headquarters (NCE and Effectiveness Group) and the regions to share lessons learned, roll out additional practical tools and guidance, identify SES support for NCE projects.



  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.


  • Ability to persuade others to follow.

People Management

  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.


  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.


  • Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement.


Forests & Development

  • Knowledge of forestry and development and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.

Risk Management

  • Ability to identify and prioritize risks, and organize action around mitigating them.

Quality Assurance

  • Ability to perform administrative and procedural activities to ensure that quality requirements and goals are fulfilled.

Indigenous Peoples

  • Ability to adapt and support unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment.

Environmental Justice

  • Knowledge of environmental justice issues and concepts and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.


  • Master’s degree in climate policy and/or science, development studies, international environmental law, or closely-related field.


  • Minimum of 7 years of international working experience with social and environmental issues related to climate action, sustainable land & forest finance, and/or REDD+.
  • Field and practical working experience within developing countries is an advantage.
  • Experience in the policy development processes associated with climate change, land use, forests and REDD+;
  • Demonstrated working experience on social and environmental standards, their setting and monitoring, and the related grievance mechanisms, at both institutional and country levels;
  • Demonstrated leadership, facilitation and coordination skills;
  • Previous working experience in an international organization is required.
  • Familiarity with UNDP policies, procedures and practices is desirable.

Language Requirements:

  • Proficiency in English.
  • Working knowledge of other UN language is an advantage.

Important information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders)

Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. 

UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

Scam warning

The United Nations does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you receive a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web.


Contract Duration: 1 Year with possibility for extension

This vacancy is archived.

Recommended for you