Climate Ambition Team Lead (Director)

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UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services

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Application deadline 2 months ago: Tuesday 19 Dec 2023 at 23:59 UTC

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This is a D-2 contract. This kind of contract is known as Professional and Director staff. It is normally internationally recruited only. It's a staff contract. It usually requires 16 years of experience, depending on education.


The salary for this job should be between 270,944 USD and 326,557 USD.

Salary for a D-2 contract in New York

The international rate of 143,813 USD, with an additional 88.4% (post adjustment) at this the location, applies. Please note that depending on the location, a higher post adjustment might still result in a lower purchasing power.

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Background Information - Job-specific

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners' peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. UNOPS supports partners to build a better future by providing services that increase the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of peace building, humanitarian and development projects. Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to various governments, donors and United Nations organizations.

The Climate Ambition Team Lead (Director) is part of the Sustainable Development Cluster (SDC) under the New York Service Cluster (NYSC) SDC through its Development and Special Initiatives Portfolio (DSIP) is supporting project “Climate Action Team” CAT signed with the Executive Office of the Secretary-General (EOGS).

The 2019 Climate Action Summit mobilized significant public momentum and new commitments from Member States, private sector and subnational governments to turn the page on the climate change crisis. Such commitments identified new catalytic solutions and coalitions necessary to bend the emissions curve before 2030 – from the transformation of the world’s energy, transport, urban and natural ecosystems to the revamping of the world’s financial systems.

After the Summit, climate change remains at the top of the Secretary-General's priorities and one of the core priorities of the Decade of Action to Deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. In the context of the Decade, 2020 and 2021 are “make or break” years for climate action and the transformations needed for the world to truly adopt a sustainable, low-emission development trajectory and to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

It is vital that we build upon the momentum from the 2019 Climate Action Summit to raise ambition levels on Nationally Determined Contributions (on mitigation, adaptation and finance), elevate our commitment to biodiversity, secure predictable funding for climate adaptation and resilience and accelerate the just transitions we need to decarbonize fossil fuel dependent economic sectors such as energy or transport.

In order to build on the momentum and realize the commitments secured at the Summit, the Secretary-General is building a new Climate Action Team. This Team will focus on the following:

  • Raising ambition levels and concrete commitments by the major emitters, particularly the G20;
  • Mainstreaming climate change (portfolio shifts to low emission investments, embedding climate risk factors in investment decision-making and carbon pricing) within financial markets and firms;
  • Developing and implementing a targeted strategy for fossil fuel and coal phase-out;
  • Strengthening and delivering the Climate Action Summit commitments and coalitions and incubating new commitments and coalitions related to energy transition, transportation, urban and local climate action, nature-based solutions and climate resilience;
  • Enhancing UN system support to countries to deliver on the climate and environment related Sustainable Development Goals – from water scarcity to industrial innovation and sustainable urbanization;
  • Provision of up-to-date analytics and policy guidance for the Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, UN leadership and Member States.
  • Designing and executing a cross-UN global communications campaign and movement focused on SG and UN leadership on climate action at all levels and messaging and storytelling to build political will, elevate local solutions and mobilize individual actions.

In order to deliver the level of ambition needed, the new team will be led by an Assistant Secretary-General, supported by a director on Climate Action and a director on Climate Ambition.

Under the overall supervision NYPO Director and close collaboration of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Just Transition, the incumbent will lead the office strategies on raising ambition levels and concrete commitments by the major emitters, particularly the G20, fossil fuel phase out (including coal) and climate finance.

This is a position in UNOPS for supporting projects carried out for or in the United Nations Secretariat. The incumbent of this position will be a staff member of UNOPS under its full responsibility.

Functional Responsibilities

The Climate Ambition Team Lead (Director) will carry out the following activities: - Develop and implement a major emitters political engagement strategy for the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General. - Develop and implement global fossil fuel and coal phase-out strategy. - Manage Member State engagement component of the strategy and working in collaboration with the Director Action, build the robust partnerships necessary for successful implementation of the Strategy; - Provide technical and political analysis of climate finance processes and related outcomes of high-level events for Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General, engaging closely with the Special Envoy for Climate Action and Climate Finance. - Engage with finance and business leaders in follow-up to and enhancement of the 2019 Climate Action Summit commitments on climate finance, including the net zero asset owner alliance and new financial commitments to the Green Climate Fund and the Climate Investment Platform. - Engage with the World Bank, regional development banks, IMF and International Development Finance Club (IDFC) for delivery on low-emission portfolio commitments and shifts. - Ensure delivery of the USD 100 billion report by COP26, develop a strategy for dissemination of the report and reaching the USD 100 billion target, and advocate with countries to meet the target. - Collaborate with the Sustainable Development Unit to ensure coherence of climate finance efforts in the implementation of the overall strategy of the Secretary-General on financing the 2030 Agenda. - Provide managerial leadership and oversight to the Senior Programme Officer, Political Strategy and Programme Officer Climate Finance, - Publicly represent the team and serve as spokesperson at climate action-related events, conferences and youth mobilization moments. - Ensure the substantive rigor and accuracy of briefing notes, talking points and key messages, and inputs to the speeches of the Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary General, working in collaboration with the relevant substantive Departments, agencies, Funds and Programmes, the Sustainable Development Unit and the Speech Writing Team.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


Education - Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent), preferably in international relations, climate change, environment, economics or other related discipline is required. - First-level university degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent) in combination with two (2) additional years of relevant experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced university degree.

Experience - A minimum of fifteen (15) years of relevant professional experience in climate change, environmental studies, or related field is required, including at least three (3) years in roles involving policy analysis, strategic and/or advisory work at the country level. - Experience working for or with UN Member States, especially with high-level government officials, is essential. - Strong familiarity with the Paris Agreement and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiation processes. - United Nations experience is required. - Experience in intergovernmental processes and negotiations is essential.

Language requirements - Fluency in English is essential. - Knowledge of another official UN language is an advantage.


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization. Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.

Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles. Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role). Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries. Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements. Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving. Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: Fixed Term Contract level: D2 Contract duration: One year initially, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and funding availability

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Additional Information

  • Please note that UNOPS does not accept unsolicited resumes.
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process, which involves various assessments.
  • UNOPS embraces diversity and is committed to equal employment opportunity. Our workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages, races, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities. UNOPS seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce.
  • Qualified women and candidates from groups which are underrepresented in the UNOPS workforce are encouraged to apply. These include in particular candidates from racialized and/or indigenous groups, members of minority gender identities and sexual orientations, and people with disabilities.
  • We would like to ensure all candidates perform at their best during the assessment process. If you are shortlisted and require additional assistance to complete any assessment, including reasonable accommodation, please inform our human resources team when you receive an invitation.

Terms and Conditions

  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post.
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (they take around 4 hours to complete) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS. For more information on a retainer contract here.
  • All UNOPS personnel are responsible for performing their duties in accordance with the UN Charter and UNOPS Policies and Instructions, as well as other relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, all personnel must demonstrate an understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a manner consistent with UN core values and the UN Common Agenda.
  • It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential personnel. Recruitment in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.
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