Sustainable Development Officer, P4

Sustainable Development Officer, P4

UN DESA - United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

New York, United States

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Division for Sustainable Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), in the Intergovernmental Support and Interagency Branch. The Sustainable Development Officer reports to the Chief of the Intergovernmental Support and Interagency Branch.


Within delegated authority, the Sustainable Development Officer is responsible for the following duties:

  • Supports the intergovernmental processes on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by addressing the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced manner, including through: (i) researching and preparing inputs to reports of the Secretary General, background papers, and other analytical reports; and (ii) provision of substantive backstopping to intergovernmental and interagency meetings and expert groups;
  • Provides substantive support and guidance to the High-level political forum and related negotiations as well as ECOSOC and GA on sustainable development issues;
  • Undertakes policy research and develops draft policy recommendations on sustainable development issues through: (i) identifying cross-cutting issues in sustainable development, including institutional arrangements; (ii) performing literature reviews and analyses of those issues to be used in Expert Group meetings and in other Branch outputs; (iii) managing work of consultants performing research for the Branch/Division; and (iv) preparing analytical reports on institutional framework for sustainable development, including on the High-level Political Forum;
  • Supports the active participation of developing countries in the High-level Political Forum through capacity building activities with respect to: (i) developing methodologies and toolkits for policy makers relating to, inter alia, the design and use of legal, financial and economic instruments to promote sustainable development; and (ii) organizing training and capacity building seminars to share best practices and results with policy makers and practitioners, notably in the build-up to and follow-up of the voluntary national reviews by member states at the Forum;
  • Prepares speeches, briefing notes, presentations, statements and other inputs for presentations by senior staff on sustainable development issues.
  • Participates in or represents the Division in international, regional and national conferences on relevant sustainable development issues and provides briefings to public interest groups on the work of the Division;
  • Supports junior staff; reviewing their work and providing feedback;
  • Performs other related duties as required.


Professionalism: Knowledge of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Exposure to the creation, adoption and implementation of sustainable development plans at international and national level; Ability to apply sustainable development theories, concepts and approaches. Ability to identify issues, analyze and participate in the resolution of issues/problems. Ability to conduct data collection using various methods. Ability to conduct independent research and analysis, including familiarity with various research sources, including electronic resources on the internet, intranet and other databases. 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. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

Planning and Organizing: Develops 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 degree) in sustainable development, international relations, economics, public policy, law, public administration, 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 seven years of progressively responsible experience on sustainable development issues including three years at the international or regional levels is required. Experience in the substantive servicing of intergovernmental processes is required. Experience in policy analysis is required. Experience in providing substantive services to intergovernmental bodies in the economic, social or environmental fields is desirable. Experience in drafting reports to intergovernmental bodies in the economic, social or environmental fields is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of other official UN languages is desirable.

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