United Nations (UN) Careers: Special Assistant, Administration, P4

Job Code Title: Special Assistant, Administration

Department/ Office: United Nations Environment Programme

Duty Station: NAIROBI

Application Deadline: 17 March 2021

Job Opening number: 21-ADM-UNEP-147710-R-NAIROBI (X)

Org. Setting and Reporting

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. UNEP’s Ecosystems Division works with international and national partners, providing technical assistance and advisory services for the implementation of environmental policy, and strengthening the environmental management capacity of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. This post is located in the office of the Director of the Ecosystems Division at the Nairobi headquarters duty station.

Under the direct supervision of the Director Ecosystems Division, supported by the Deputy-Director, the incumbent will perform the following duties:


  1. Systematize the planning process to facilitate strategic decision-making within the Division.
    • Research, analyze and present information gathered from diverse sources, of relevance to the Director and Deputy Director such as policy issues and administrative matters.
    • Support and advise the Director and Deputy Director and bring to their attention urgent and sensitive matters.
    • Oversee and organize policy development, including the review and analysis of issues and trends, preparation of evaluations or other research activities and studies.
    • Generate survey initiatives; design data collection tools; review, analyze and interpret responses, identify problems/issues and prepare conclusions.
    • Organize and prepare written outputs, e.g. prepare background and briefing papers, analyse, report and study, inputs to publications, etc.
    • Establish and maintain procedures, standards and tools, which are consistent with UN policy and practice to ensure proper adherence to Human resources matters and financial management and control.
    • Supervise and manage staff in the office of the Director and Deputy Director.
  2. Maintain liaison with Divisions, the Executive Office, Senior Management and UNEP’s Regional and out-posted offices including the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans Secretariats.
    • Ensure prompt and efficient liaison and coordination between the Director and UNEP Divisions and Offices.
    • Working with relevant staff from the Divisions and Offices, draft reports for the Director and Deputy Director, including on issues of sensitive and confidential nature.
    • Assess implications and make recommendations to the Director and Deputy Director on possible strategies and other measures to address issues of concern and to advance mandated objectives.
    • Maintain calendar and monitor delivery of key reports and deliverables that are requiring Divisional input or leadership, particularly to member states and UN Committees and partners.
  3. Support the Director and Deputy Director’s meetings and missions.
    • Assist in planning for and participating in meetings of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) and the Committee of Permanent Representatives.
    • Ensure that the Director and Deputy Director are effectively able to participate in and lead, when appropriate or requiring Ecosystems Division related interventions, meetings with the UNEP Senior Management Team and other internal bodies as necessary.
    • Coordinate the preparation of extensive briefing materials, speeches and meetings/mission files, including the finalization of mission reports and dissemination of relevant information to colleagues in the Division and other parts of the organisation as appropriate.
  4. Support the Director and Deputy Director to maintain close contract with governments, delegations and Senior officials of the UN including on operational and administrative matters.
    • Bring to the attention of the Director and Deputy Director, issues relevant to UNEP’s bilateral relations with governments, partners and inter-agency cooperation relating to the work of the Division.
    • Identify, analyse and monitor political developments, trends and emerging issues that could affect the work of the Division and organisation in general.
    • Support the coordination of the Division’s engagement in relevant UN System-wide processes and initiatives including UN reforms and the UNEP transformation process, among others.
    • Analyse and follow up on recommendations of the UNEP Evaluation Unit, the UN Board of Auditors or other audit recommendations of a programmatic and operational nature at the Divisional level.
  5. Perform other related duties as required.


Professionalism: Ability to identify issues, formulate opinions, make conclusions and recommendations. Shows pride in work and in achievements; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

Planning & Organizing:  Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.

Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in environmental or social sciences, business or public administration, management, economics or a related field.  A first-level university degree in combination with two (2) additional years of qualifying professional work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree

Work Experience

  • At least seven (7) years of professional working experience of which two (2) are at an international level preferably relating to sustainable development and/or environmental related issues is required.
  • Experience working in a front or coordinating office, supporting senior level managers or cross-functional teams is highly desirable.
  • Work experience within the United Nations context or similar organization is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in oral and written English is required. Working knowledge of another United Nations official language is an added advantage.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.

How to Apply

If you meet the requirements for the position and you would like to apply, click the button below to start the application process


Kindly Note That:


Leave a Reply