Programme Specialist, Environment and Climate, Accra, At UNDP – United Nations Development Programme

Grade : NOC

Vacancy Type : Fixed Term

Practice Area : Nature, Climate and Energy

Bureau : Regional Bureau for Africa

Contract Duration : 1 Year with Possibility for extension

Education & Work Experience : Master’s Degree – 5 year(s) experience OR Bachelor’s Degree – 7 year(s) experience

Required Languages : English and fluency in any national language of the duty station

Desired Languages : Working knowledge of other official UN language

Vacancy Timeline

2 Weeks

Mobility required/no mobility

no mobility required

Job Description


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are core principles at UNDP: we value diversity as an expression of the multiplicity of nations and cultures where we operate, we foster inclusion as a way of ensuring all personnel are empowered to contribute to our mission, and we ensure equity and fairness in all our actions. Taking a ‘leave no one behind’ approach to our diversity efforts means increasing representation of underserved populations. People who identify as belonging to marginalized or excluded populations are strongly encouraged to apply. Learn more about working at UNDP including our values and inspiring stories.

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.

Addressing climate change is one of the key global challenges and priorities for UNDP. Working in over 170 countries and territories, UNDP is uniquely placed to work with all sectors of society to help mobilize the institutions and resources required to support countries implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in the context of the Paris Agreement. For example, through the Climate Promise initiative, UNDP provides technical support to help 114 countries (including Ghana) take bold action to reduce their emissions, increase their resilience to climate impacts and support sustainable development priorities. Another key initiative is the NDC Support Programme, which is supporting 36 countries (including Ghana) to implement their NDCs and design more ambitious climate targets that are aligned with national development priorities.

Climate change is a key component of UNDP’s programme in Ghana, with a growing project portfolio. Under its Country Programme Document, UNDP aims to strengthen public institutional capacities to reduce environmental degradation and implement climate action, as well as facilitate access to information, knowledge and tools that promote green jobs, citizen participation in environmental conservation, and community resilience. In this regard, UNDP is collaborating with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and other institutions to turn Ghana’s commitments under the Paris Agreement into concrete action, ensuring that climate change is addressed in a wholesome and strategic manner, that plans are gender responsive, and that different strategies are employed to mobilize the financial resources that are needed to implement Ghana’s climate agenda. This area of work includes support to have attractive and realistic financing strategies in place, access vertical funds, take advantage of international cooperation mechanisms outlined in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, as well as build local capacities (including of the private sector) to mobilize climate finance. At the local level, UNDP is helping communities to adapt to climate change and reduce their vulnerabilities to disasters.

UNDP Ghana Country Office seeks to engage the services of a Sustainable Development and Climate Change Specialist to 1) strengthen UNDP’s technical advisory support in the area of sustainable development and climate change; 2) contribute to the effective and high-quality delivery of the sustainable development, environment and climate change portfolio; 3) manage and expand current sustainable development, environment and climate change project pipeline; and 4) strengthen key partnerships that advance UNDP’s vision for supporting NDC enhancement and implementation.

Summary of Key Functions:

  •  Policy advice
  •  Programme management
  •  Partnership and resource mobilization

Under the guidance of the Deputy Resident Representative (DRR) and/or the Resident Representative (RR), the Programme Specialist, Environment and Climate serves as the team lead of the project and programme staff to play a pivotal role in advancing UNDP’s program in Ghana, specifically focusing on sustainable development, environmental conservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, in alignment with the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. The role encompasses technical advisory support, portfolio delivery, project management, and partnership building to achieve these goals.

UNDP adopts a portfolio approach to accommodate changing business needs and leverage linkages across interventions to achieve its strategic goals. Therefore, UNDP personnel are expected to work across units, functions, teams, and projects in multidisciplinary teams in order to enhance and enable horizontal collaboration.

Duties and Responsibilities

  •  Provide top-quality advisory and technical services in the area of sustainable development and climate change:
  •  Provide timely and quality information and technical advice to the Government of Ghana on NDC implementation, public and private climate finance opportunities and strategic engagement of the private sector;
  •  Provide technical advice on nationally led climate-related initiatives and processes, upon the request of the Government of Ghana to UNDP;
  •  Coordinate and substantively contribute to UNDP’s policy advice to Government in other thematic areas under the Environment and Climate Cluster (e.g., green economy, circular economy etc.);
  •  Undertake relevant analytics and research, as required, and prepare knowledge materials to support UNDP’s climate related initiatives and more broadly those implemented by the Environment and Climate Portfolio;
  •  Contribute to the preparation of necessary briefings and update for UNDP effective participation in programme important meetings, workshops and relevant events;
  •  Support UNDP’s efforts on advocacy and policy dialogue, including participation and contribution to policy-driven researches and reviews;
  •  Advise UNDP and UN Country Team on relevant national and international developments on climate change (including UNFCCC processes) and assist in identifying coordinated approaches;
  •  Support UNDP’s engagement in UN interagency coordination and provide substantive technical contribution and research insights on environment and climate issues. This includes supporting the development of the new UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework;
  •  Maintain close collaboration within UNDP’s Global Policy Network to receive technical support as needed;
  •  Contribute to global learning and knowledge exchange by documenting and disseminating lessons learned from activities of climate change portfolio and disseminate widely through on-line platforms;
  •  Enhance UNDP’s visibility and profile on climate change and other thematic areas under the Environment and Climate Portfolio.

2. Lead implementation of CO’s project portfolio on sustainable development, environment and climate change and contribute to implementation of the Country Programme:

  •  Provide strategic direction and oversight to UNDP’s programme on environment and climate change, ensuring sound project management in line with UNDP’s Programme and Operations Policies and Procedures;
  •  Lead the team and supervise programme officers and other staff in the Environment and Climate Portfolio, providing mentoring and guidance in the implementation of work plans;
  •  Provide oversight of nationally implemented projects in close collaboration with the relevant implementing partner/responsible party, ensuring timely quality delivery;
  •  Undertake monitoring and commission evaluations of projects, identification of operational and financial challenges and development of solutions;
  •  Effectively apply Result Based Management (RBM) tools, establishing management targets and monitoring achievement of results;
  •  Produce aggregate reports on activities, outputs and outcomes, including reports for donors as needed;
  •  Ensure that inputs to corporate reporting requirements (e.g., IWP, ROAR) related to the Sustainable Development Programme are timely submitted and provide quality assurance;
  •  Support procurement of goods, services and consultants;
  •  Implement other tasks necessary for implementation of the Country Programme and portfolio.

3. Maintain and expand strategic partnerships and support resource mobilization for the Country Programme with focus in the area of sustainable development, environment and climate change:

  •  Explore new areas of cooperation and identify opportunities for initiation of new initiatives on climate change in line with UNDP Strategic Plan, United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, and UNDP Country Programme Document in Ghana; eDIYG5S BIpnb
  •  Lead the formulation of project proposals on environment and climate change;
  •  Coordinate overall resource mobilization efforts of the Environment and Climate Portfolio;
  •  Support the development and coordination of strategic partnerships with UN entities, development agencies, private sector networks, community networks and other relevant bodies to strengthen UNDP policy advice and programme delivery on environment and climate change;
  •  Participate and contribute to development partners’ engagements with government on climate change and environment actions including meetings and events.

4. Partnership and Resource Mobilization:

  •  Undertake research for partnership building and resource mobilization in the area of sustainable development, in particular climate change, green economy, disaster risk reduction, energy, biodiversity and chemicals management;
  •  Support the development and coordination of strategic partnerships with UN entities, development agencies, private sector networks, community networks and other relevant bodies to strengthen UNDP policy advice and programme delivery on sustainable development;
  •  Partner with the UNDP global and regional programmes, offices and networks on sustainable development areas to support the Country Office’s policy development and programming needs in this sector;
  •  Support programme networking, linkages and partnership development in sustainable development areas with other UN Agencies and development partners;
  •  Participate in relevant external meetings, including resource mobilization, partnership and advocacy activities with UN partners and other stakeholders;
  •  In line with the UNDP Strategic Plan, identify innovative ways to engage private sector and civil society to work with UNDP to develop and/or implement sustainable development related programmes;
  •  As part of the involvement in the UNDAF Thematic Area 2 Group on Sustainable Environment, Energy and Human Settlements, identify and pursue opportunities for joint programming with other UN Agencies in the area of sustainable development;
  •  Provide substantive contribution to UNDP’s role as chair of the Development Partners’ Sector Working Group on Environment and Natural Resources, including: organize meetings; facilitate coordination of programmes and activities among development partners; draft common positions on specific topics to present to the Government counterparts;
  •  Coordinate and contribute to the establishment of project pipelines in the area of sustainable development. Follow up on existing pipeline projects to fast-track their approval and start of implementation;
  •  Participate in and contribute to meetings of the Development Partners’ Sector Working Group on Energy. Ensure continuous engagement of UNDP in the Sustainable Energy for All network.

5. Knowledge Management:

  •  Contribute to knowledge networks and communities of practice in the area of Environment and Climate in particular climate change, green economy, disaster risk reduction, energy, biodiversity and chemicals management;
  •  Contribute to the development and review of knowledge products in close coordination with the Communications Unit;
  •  Support organization of trainings for the operations/ projects staff on the sustainable development programme.

The incumbent performs other duties within their functional profile as deemed necessary for the efficient functioning of the Office and the Organization.

Supervisory/Managerial Responsibilities: Supervision and performance management of Country Office Programme Team.


Core Competencies: Achieve Results: LEVEL 3: Set and align challenging, achievable objectives for multiple projects, have lasting impact

Think Innovatively: LEVEL 3: Proactively mitigate potential risks, develop new ideas to solve complex problems

Learn Continuously: LEVEL 3: Create and act on opportunities to expand horizons, diversify experiences

Adapt with Agility: LEVEL 3: Proactively initiate and champion change, manage multiple competing demands

Act with Determination: LEVEL 3: Think beyond immediate task/barriers and take action to achieve greater results

Engage and Partner: LEVEL 3: Political savvy, navigate complex landscape, champion inter-agency collaboration

Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 3: Appreciate benefits of diverse workforce and champion inclusivity

People Management Competencies:

UNDP People Management Competencies can be found in the dedicated site.

Technical and Cross-functional competencies:

Business Direction & Strategy: System Thinking: Ability to use objective problem analysis and judgement to understand how interrelated elements coexist within an overall process or system, and to consider how altering one element can impact on other parts of the system

Partnership Management: Strategic Engagement: Ability to capture and sustain attention, interest and agreement of high-level, influential policy and decision makers and secure their buy-in of high-level vision and objectives

Business Development: Knowledge Facilitation: Ability to animate individuals and communities of contributors to participate and share, particularly externally

Business Management:

Client Satisfaction/Management: Ability to respond timely and appropriately with a sense of urgency, provide consistent solutions, and deliver timely and quality results and/or solutions to fulfil and understand the real customers’ needs. Provide inputs to the development of customer service strategy. Look for ways to add value beyond clients’ immediate requests. Ability to anticipate client’s upcoming needs and concerns.

Results-Based Management: Ability to manage programmes and projects with a focus at improved performance and demonstrable results

Project Management: Ability to plan, organize, prioritize and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals

Portfolio Management : Ability to select, prioritize and control the organization as programmes and projects, in line with its strategic objectives and capacity; ability to balance the implementation of change initiatives and the maintenance of business-as-usual, while optimizing return on investment

Required Skills and Experience


  •  Advanced university degree (master’s degree or equivalent) in sustainable development, environment sciences, social sciences, or related field is required, or ;
  •  A first-level university degree (bachelor’s degree) in a relevant field in combination with an additional two years of qualifying experience will be given due consideration in lieu of the advanced university degree.


  •  Minimum 5 years (with master’s degree) or 7 years (with bachelor’s degree) of relevant professional experience in leading multidisciplinary teams in the formulation and implementation of sustainable development and climate change initiatives/projects;
  •  At least five (5) years of relevant progressively responsible experience supporting national processes on climate change and sustainable development is required;
  •  Solid experience/understanding of climate change related issues at both the global (e.g. Paris Agreement processes, climate finance opportunities) and local (challenges, policy environment, key initiatives) levels is desired;
  •  Experience preparing knowledge products and communications material is required;
  •  Experience working with UN/DP and/or other multilateral, bilateral, national or civil society actors on climate change and NDC issues is an asset;
  •  Experience in the use of computers and office software packages (MS Word, Excel, etc), database packages, and web-based management systems such as ERP.

Languages :

  •  Proficiency in English is required.
  •  Fluency in any national language of the duty station is required.
  •  Knowledge of another UN language is desirable.

Please note that continuance of appointment beyond the initial 12 months is contingent upon the successful completion of a probationary period.


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.


UNDP has a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and misconduct, sexual harassment, and abuse of authority. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.

UNDP is an equal opportunity and inclusive employer that does not discriminate based on race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.

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March 2024