Senior Sustainable Development Officer, P5

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Sep 29

Position description

The Senior Sustainable Development Officer reports to the Chief of the Intergovernmental Support and Interagency Branch.


Within delegated authority, the Senior Sustainable Development Officer will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Leads the development, implementation and evaluation of assigned programmes/projects on sustainable development issues including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals; directs junior staff members of the team in programme/project development, implementation, monitoring and assessment; Leads review of relevant documents and reports; identifies priorities, problems and issues to be addressed and proposes corrective actions; liaises with relevant parties; identifies and initiates follow-up actions;
  • Leads or participates in analysis and the formulation of possible strategies, policies and actions in the area of sustainable development, for adoption by the international community;
  • Leads or participates in the identification of new and emerging sustainable development issues of potential concern to the international community, particularly those of a regional or global nature;
  • Supervises preparation of various written outputs, including background papers, analysis, substantial sections of reports and studies, and inputs to publications on sustainable development issues;
  • Provides direct substantive support on sustainable development issues to UN intergovernmental bodies on sustainable development by offering strategic advice, giving technical guidance and assisting in developing a consensus;
  • Prepares speeches for senior staff and represents the Branch and Division to make presentations on sustainable development issues at various fora of intergovernmental, inter-agency, multi-stakeholder or other nature;
  • Contributes to the preparation, organization and management of meetings of intergovernmental bodies;
  • Contributes to the formulation of the medium-term plan, the programme of work and the budget of the Branch and participate in the formulation of the organization’s overall programme of work and other similar endeavours;
  • Establishes collaboration and partnerships with key officials at all levels inside and outside the organization;
  • Guides, evaluates and mentors junior staff;
  • Participates in task forces, working groups, inter-agency groups, as needed on sustainable development issues;
  • Ensures gender mainstreaming, including in legislation, policies or programmes;
  • Represents the Branch/Division at international, regional or national meetings on sustainable development issues;
  • Performs other related duties as required.


  • Professionalism: Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to sustainable development including the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. Ability to identify key strategic issues, opportunities and risks. Ability to generate and communicate broad and compelling organizational direction. Ability to communicate clearly links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals. Ability to provide innovative technical leadership by performing and/or overseeing the planning, development, and management of operation. Ability to negotiate and apply good judgment. Ability to analyze complex data and produce reports leading to sound policy recommendations for achieving sustainable development; Understanding of the political environment and the programmes and activities of the UN system in implementing Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI); Ability to think strategically, to identify key emerging sustainable development issues and related policy implications. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; 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;
  • Planning and 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;
  • Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings;
  • Leadership: Serves as a role model that other people want to follow: empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; drives for change and improvements; does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing;
  • Judgment/Decision-making: Identifies key issues in complex situations, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information; checks assumptions against facts; determines actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in sustainable development, economics, public policy, public administration, finance, natural resources management, engineering, law, social sciences or related field is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in policy development and formulation related to sustainable development issues is required, of which at least five years must be at the international level. Experience in servicing intergovernmental bodies is required. Experience drafting reports for intergovernmental bodies is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the UN Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in oral and written English is required; knowledge of the other is desirable. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.

Application instructions

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