Sustainable Development Expert

UN DESA, New York, United States

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
27th July, 2020

Job Description

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG), National Strategies and Capacity Building Branch (NSCBB). The Sustainable Development Expert reports to the Chief of the National Strategies and Capacity Building Branch. The focus of these jobs is the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of capacity building projects of the Division, in particular, the project ‘Strengthening capacity of developing countries to achieve sustainable agriculture through the transfer of Juncao Technology and analyzing and disseminating best practices and lessons learned for alleviating poverty and promoting productive employment’. The project covers the use of sustainable agriculture technology and studies the economic and social implications of such technologies on societies in developing countries.


  • Within delegated authority, the Sustainable Development Expert will be responsible for the following duties:
  • Supports and monitors the capacity development work of the Division in implementing sustainable development projects at the national, regional and global level.
  • Maintains sustainable development databases and qualitative information required for database management and organization of information.
  • Drafts inputs for policy recommendations, technical papers and analytical studies on sustainable development issues and trends, and preparation of evaluations or other research activities and studies.
  • Formulates, identifies and analyses project proposals on sustainable development issues.
  • Attends international, regional, and national meetings for consultations with colleagues in other institutions dealing with sustainable development issues.
  • Assists in the organization and servicing of workshops and other training events on sustainable development issues in developing action plans countries will use to strengthen the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
  • Prepares speeches and other inputs for presentations by senior staff on sustainable development issues.
  • Prepares draft background papers and inputs for reports to High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and other intergovernmental bodies, inter-agency or expert groups on issues relating to sustainable development.
  • Follows intergovernmental meetings, prepares summary reports and provides substantive support, as needed.
  • Participates in missions on sustainable development issues, usually as a member of a team.
  • Organizes training seminars/ workshops for national experts addressing sustainable development issues.
  • Assists in the organization of outreach activities, including the development of media content for websites and for brochures and reports, makes presentations on assigned topics/activities to project beneficiaries and the project donor.
  • Coordinates project implementation with the implementing partners, through maintaining oral and written communication channels.
  • Monitors, backstops and assesses the implementation of capacity building projects in sustainable development.
  • Performs other duties as required, including administrative tasks.
  • Undertakes on-the-job and other training activities both internally and externally.


Professionalism: Ability to apply sustainable development theories, concepts and approaches, with a focus on sustainable agriculture, the potential for using science and technology in advancing the implementation of the SDGs and its potential societal implications. Ability to conduct independent research and analysis on sustainable development topics, determine suitability, validity and accuracy of data provided by different sources. Shows skill in developing sources for data collection. 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 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.


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


Work Experience

  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in project or programme management, policy-oriented work in a broad range of sustainable development issues is required.
  • Experience in capacity building work at international level for at least 3 years is required.
  • Experience in successfully implementing a project on sustainable agriculture is desirable.


  • English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in oral and written English and Chinese is required. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.


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