Senior Sustainable Development Officer, P5

Senior Sustainable Development Officer, P5

UN DESA - United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

New York, United States

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the National Strategies and Capacity Building Branch of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). The Division for Sustainable Development Goals provides leadership in promoting and coordinating implementation of the sustainable development agenda of the United Nations and serves as secretariat for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provides substantive inputs to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which was established following the Rio+20 Conference and GA resolutions 66/288 and 67/290.

The Senior Sustainable Development Officer reports to the Chief of the National Strategies and Capacity Building Branch.


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

  • Responds to requests for technical assistance on reviews of implementation of national sustainable development strategies, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other internationally agreed development goals from Member States;
  • Responds to requests for capacity building and advisory services from Member States on sustainable development issues with an emphasis on African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States, countries in special situations, as well as the specific challenges facing middle-income countries while allowing for regional cross learning from other countries;
  • Leads the development, implementation and evaluation of assigned capacity building programmes/projects on sustainable development issues; 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 research on the identification of new and emerging sustainable development issues and presents analysis of information gathered and reviewed from diverse sources with plausible recommendations;
  • Coordinates policy development; reviews the assessments of sustainable development issues and trends, prepares evaluations or research activities and studies;
  • Provides direct substantive support to consultative and intergovernmental meetings, in particular the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, and in this regard assists in coordinating support for countries conducting Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), including conferences, by offering strategic advice, giving technical guidance and assisting in developing a consensus, including proposing agenda topics, identifying participants, preparing documents and presentations on sustainable development issues;
  • Prepares speeches for senior staff and makes presentations on sustainable development issues at various forums of intergovernmental, governmental, inter-agency, expert or multi-stakeholder nature;
  • Manages outreach activities; designs and conducts training workshops, seminars, etc., gives lectures or presentations on assigned topics/activities on sustainable development issues;
  • Oversees web contents and structure for the areas of his/her responsibilities;
  • Leads field missions, including provision of guidance to external consultants, government officials and other parties, including drafting mission summaries on sustainable development issues;
  • Develops and maintains relations with senior officials of member governments, Resident Coordinators and member of UN Country Teams and ensures a response to request for advice and/or capacity development on sustainable development issues and policies, including leading capacity development missions;
  • Takes the lead 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: Proven knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to sustainable development issues. Ability to develop economic, social and environmental policies and make recommendations on their implementation. Knowledge and understanding of intergovernmental processes in the area of sustainable development and outputs of the High-level Political Forum. 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. Demonstrated ability to provide innovative technical leadership by performing and/or overseeing the planning, development, and management of capacity building activities. Demonstrated ability to negotiate and apply good judgment. Proven ability to analyze complex data and produce reports leading to sound policy recommendations for achieving sustainable development; Solid understanding of the political environment and the programmes and activities of the UN system in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other internationally agreed development goals; 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;
  • 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;
  • 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) in sustainable development, economics, public policy, 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 the fields of policy development and formulation related to sustainable development issues is required, of which at least five years must be at the international level;
  • Experience with capacity development in the areas of national development strategies, public policy and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and other internationally agreed development goals is required;
  • Experience in providing substantive support to intergovernmental processes and meetings in development-related areas is desirable;
  • Experience with the United Nations sustainable development agenda 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 another UN official language is an advantage.

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© EuroJobsites 2022

EuroJobsites is a registered company number: 4694396 VAT number: GB 880 9055 04

Registered address: EuroJobsites Ltd, Unit 8, Kingsmill Business Park, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 3GZ, United Kingdom

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