Policy Specialist

  • Added Date: Monday, 12 March 2018
  • Deadline Date: Monday, 26 March 2018

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The UN Development Operations Coordination Office (UNDOCO) brings together the UN development system to promote change and innovation to deliver together on sustainable development with the aim for the greatest impact while drawing on the best from each part of the United Nations.  The adoption of Agenda 2030 has accelerated the need for the strategic advisory and uniting role that UNDOCO undertakes within the UN Development System (UNDS), and particularly the UNDG.  The need to strengthen and enhance engagement within the UNDS, and support the advancement of the integrated agenda across the three pillars of the UN charter (peace and security, development, and human rights) is more crucial than ever before.
UNDOCO works under the leadership of the UNDG Chair and Vice-Chair guidance of the UNDG.  The UNDOCO team provides field evidence to inform policy, facilitates the achievement of shared results, and promotes excellence in UN leadership and coordination.
UNDOCO works in close collaboration with the development, peacebuilding, humanitarian, human rights and administrative arms of the UN and its partners, to ensure joint efforts and results through the following:

  • Provide solutions, analyses, and advocacy on the UN’s common normative and operational agenda, including on integrated development policy;
  • Enhance through a technical advisory role the UNDG programme and operations instruments and methodologies to enable the UN to strengthen its work together for development;
  • Undertake a quality assurance role for all UNDG products and services;
  • Support substantively and administratively, the UN development system coordination mechanisms at the country and regional levels, including for Delivering as One;
  • Foster best practices, especially at the country and regional levels, that result in improved efficiencies and impact;
  • Manage and oversee the UNDG cost sharing mechanism for the RC System at the country, regional and global levels, ensuring that the RC System is provided the core capacity it needs to deliver;
  • Design and deliver capacity building in strategic areas which enhance collaboration and knowledge transfer, while also supporting knowledge networks and peer to peer engagement;
  • Manage, facilitate, and provide technical advisory expertise to inter-agency networks of expertise and knowledge sharing;
  • And support the UNDG Chair, UNDG Vice-Chair, Regional UNDG Chairs, UNDG Core Group, UNDG Strategic Results Groups, and UN Resident Coordinators, in the discharge of their leadership and coordination responsibilities.

The Policy Specialist recruited for this position is an integral member of the UNDOCO Directorate team, focusing on four key areas in support of the Directorate’s work:

  • (i)    Support to the UNDG and UNDG working mechanisms;
  • (ii)    Policy research and analytics for evidence-based policy-making in the UNDG;
  • (iii)    Strategic relations and communications with partners;
  • (iv)    Management support in Directorate.

In addition to her/his work in the above four areas, the Policy Specialist takes an active role in cross-office initiatives, including those relating to UNDOCO’s field support to UN Resident Coordinators, UN Country Teams and RC Offices, data and analytics, knowledge management, and support to field innovation for collective results, to ensure adequate integration of sustainable development considerations in UNDOCO’s work. In performing her/his duties, the Policy Specialist maintains partnerships with common system counterparts ensuring vital institutional analytics are reliably gathered, analyzed and available to all UNDOCO strategic policy and analysis users.

The Policy Specialist reports to the Policy Advisor in the Directorate. S/he also works in close cooperation with the Special Assistant to the UNDOCO Director on matters relating to work in support of the UNDG Chair, UNDG Vice-Chair, the UNDG Core Group, and the coordination of UNDOCO’s support to the UNDG’s other working mechanisms. There will be a matrixed supervisory arragenments between the two posts.

Support the UNDG and UNDG Working Mechanisms

  • Works with the Special Assistant to support the preparation and coordination of briefing notes and talking points for the UNDG Chair and Vice-Chair on matters pertaining to UNDG strategic priorities, work plans and working methods, ensuring smooth partnership and communication flows between UNDOCO, and the Offices of the UNDG Chair and UNDG Vice-Chair;
  • Support the global UNDG mechanism by planning and organizing meetings of the UNDG and the UNDG Core Group at the level of UN Executive Heads. Develop and coordinate substantive background documentation, with any required engagement of the Office of the UNDG Chair and UNDG Vice-Chair, UNDG Member organizations and relevant units of UNDOCO;
  • Provide guidance where required on UNDG policies and working methods, and ensure consolidated tracking, monitoring, and dashboard for the UNDG workplan including the results of the UNDG Strategic Results Groups and formulation of a results oriented consolidation of their periodic reporting;
  • Contribute to UNDOCO’s quality assurance and results reporting role for all products that require the endorsement or clearance of UNDOCO Senior Management, UNDG Chair, and/or UNDG Vice-Chair.

Policy research and analytics for evidence-based policy-making in the UNDG

  • Conduct policy research and analyses and prepare analytical briefs in support of UNDG strategic priorities and work plans, and the system-wide contribution to the SDGs;
  • Conduct and maintain analytics on UNDG entity engagement at the field level to support UNDG strategic analyses.

Strategic relations and communications with partners

  • Collaborate with UNDOCO’s communications team and other relevant units; to provide substantive research to enrich the input to UNDOCO strategic communications products with external partners tailored to UNDOCO’s key stakeholders and partners.
  • Monitor and provide quality assurance of inputs provided to the Directorate, ensuring consistency of message, current topics and rapid response to stakeholder inquiries and information requests.
  • Support the Director and Deputy Director in UNDOCO interactions with member states, particularly with donors contributing to UNDOCO managed funds, including through support to the preparation of briefing materials, communications, and reports as needed, including for the UNDOCO Delivering Together Fund, in close collaboration with relevant units in UNDOCO;
  • Support the Director and Deputy Director as required.

Management support in Directorate

  • Works with the Deputy Director and BSC on inputs to the overall DOCO workplan, and specifically on the to manage the Directorate workplan, budget management, and reporting;
  • Collaboration with Executive Assistant on management of email groups, UNDOCO Director account, archiving, and determining other means of efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of the Directorate;
  • Provide backstopping support for the functions of the Special Assistant to the Director;
  • Support provided to Director and Deputy Director as required.


  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.


  • Ability to persuade others to follow.


  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.


  • Ability to get things done.

People Management:

  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.


Data management and analysis

  • Demonstrates ability to process, manage and analyze large datasets and to apply advance data analysis techniques.

Technical support:

  • Ability to advise stakeholders at country, regional and global level with regards to the development and implementation of common business operations.

Policy Development:

  • Ability to support formulation and development of policies, procedures and guidance.

Knowledge management

  • Has good knowledge of data sets available in the field of aid and international development, as well as of developments in area of data analysis.

Partnership development:

  • Ability to develop partnerships at the working level in support of scaling common business operations at country, regional and global level.


  • Advanced university degree (Masters) in economics, public policy, political science, international relations or other related social sciences is required.


  • At least 5 years of professional experience in the fields of international development, development policy research and/or international relations or related discipline;
  • Of which a minimum of 2 years development and/or humanitarian related in-country experience (ie field experience) is desirable;
  • Experience working with the UN, and in UN inter-agency collaboration and Resident Coordinator system experience being a strong asset;
  • Demonstrated skills in developing and drafting policy papers and briefing materials for senior management;
  • Strong analytical skills, with a proven track record of working with data and other sources in support of evidence-based policy analysis and decision-making;
  • Knowledge of UN system policies, practices and procedures, with practical experience at HQ level desirable.

Language Requirements: 

  • High level of proficiency in oral and written English is required;
  • High level of proficiency in French and/or Spanish is highly desirable.

Important applicant information

Internally advertised General Service (GS) fixed-term appointment (FTA) positions located in Headquarters are open to GS staff members currently serving in New York/Washington D.C. who hold a UNDP permanent or FTA who are either US Permanent Residents, US citizens or holders of a valid G4 visa at the time of their application and whose G4 visa has been acquired on account of their employment in the UN Systems based in New York or Washington, DC.

Current UNDP GS staff serving outside of HQ must meet the eligibility criteria stated above prior to their application.

Selected candidates who meet the above mentioned eligibility criteria are responsible for their own travel and/or relocation costs

Local recruitment

All posts in the GS categories are subject to local recruitment.

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.

Workforce diversity

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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Contract Duration: 1 Year with possibility for extension

This vacancy is archived.

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