Natural Resources and Environment Specialist

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

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JOB DESCRIPTION

Background
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.

Viet Nam is among the countries which are most vulnerable to climate change. The Government of Viet Nam has made significant efforts in responding to climate change, including the adoption of the National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, the Green Growth Strategy and Implementation Plan, legal frameworks and policies on disaster risk reduction. In the latest National Determined Contributions (NDC, 2022), the country made a further unconditional commitment to reducing greenhouse missions, setting a target of 15.8% with its own effort and 43.5% through international support, compared to business-as-usual.

Viet Nam is ranked 16th among the countries with the highest biodiversity globally. Viet Nam contains about 10% of the world’s species while covering less than 1% of the land area. Viet Nam comprises various ecosystems, including terrestrial forests, inland freshwater ecosystems, and coastal and marine ecosystems. However, all are under extreme stress due to the unsustainable use of natural resources; unsustainable business practices; the depletion of water and biological resources; urbanization; and the impacts of climate change. The Government has promulgated the National Strategy on Biodiversity to 2030 and Vision to 2050 to increase the area of protected areas, ensure the integrity of the natural ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, and at the same time, contribute to the socio-economic development towards green growth and climate change responsiveness.

In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for Viet Nam for the period 2022-2026 and the One Strategic Plans of the UN in Viet Nam for the period 2022 – 2025, the UNDP Country Programme Document (CPD) for the period 2022-2026 underlines UNDP’s work to promote Climate Change Response, Disaster Resilience and Environmental Sustainability in Viet Nam. UNDP’s support targets advocacy, policy research and formation, capacity and partnership building and coordination, technology testing and transfer, piloting models and promoting participation of businesses and local communities. This includes public/private domestic and international finance for biodiversity conservation, environmental protection, climate resilience and low-emission development.

In order to realize those above targets, UNDP is implementing various projects on climate change, natural resources and biodiversity.

In particular, UNDP is implementing the Climate Promise that will complement ongoing and future assessments to support the realization of the market and non-market mechanisms under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement under the Climate Finance Network and enhanced national Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) system to improve the greenhouse gas inventory to meet requirements under the Paris Agreement as well as the enhanced NDC. The Climate Promise activities will help to fill in some capacity gaps, especially in the LULUCF sector. The support will also be used for developing a market access foundation for the inclusion of LULUCF projects into the domestic carbon market and a study on the national tracking system following international standard to avoid double counting.

In addition, UNDP is collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the provincial people’s committee of Dak Nong and Lam Dong to implement the “Integrated sustainable landscape management through deforestation-free jurisdiction project in Lam Dong and Dak Nong Viet Nam” project (iLandscape project) funded by the EU with the support of international organisations including CIAT, EFI, IDH and UNEP. The project aims to improve environmental sustainability, social inclusion and resilience of food production models and supply chains in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

Under the supervision of the Assistant Country Director (ACD)/ Head of the Climate Change and Environment Unit, the Natural Resource and Environment Specialist is responsible for the management and implementation of assigned project(s) that are relevant to the above areas. The Specialist will work closely with the International Technical Advisor, the National Technical Officers, Regional Technical Advisors in Bangkok Regional Hub and other project staff based in UNDP, in central Project Management Unit (PMU), Component Management Unit (CMUs) and/ or provincial PMUs (PPMUs).

Under the supervision of the Assistant Resident Representative (ARR) / Head of Climate Change and Environment, the Natural Resources and Environment Specialist is responsible for the management, development and innovation of relevant projects as assigned by the Head of CCEU. The Specialist will work closely with Technical Advisors, Technical officers, supporting staff, PMU and CPMUs (if any) in Viet Nam, and relevant Regional Technical Advisor in Bangkok Regional Hub (BRH).

Duties and Responsibilities:
Under the supervision of the Assistant to Resident Representative/ Head of the Climate Change and Environment Unit, the Natural Resources and Environment Specialist shall implement three following functions in an effective and efficient manner:
  • Result-based planning, management, implementation, monitoring and evaluation in accordance with UN/UNDP’s established rules, regulations and practices.
  • Quality assurance of technical components.
  • Knowledge management and advocacy.

These functions are specifically described as follows:

Effective and efficient result-based planning, management, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Project, aiming to achieve results in accordance with UN/UNDP’s established rules, regulations and practices:

Be responsible for effective planning, management, implementation, and M&E of the project, satisfying relevant regulations of UNDP, the donor and the government. This includes the establishment of performance indicators/ success criteria, and regular updates of baselines, targets and milestones in the project result frameworks.

  • Develop the project’s annual workplan, procurement plan, budget plan; ensure appropriate consultation and timely approval of these workplans.
  • Develop Terms of Reference (ToRs) for consultants, service providers, workshops, etc; lead the evaluation and hiring of consultants and consulting firms for related projects.
  • Provide proper guidance to the project counterparts for effective planning, management and implementation of projects to ensure timely implementation of activities and achievement of quality results, including timely preparation and approval of quarterly work-plans.
  • Lead the development of quarterly and annual reports, and regular briefings as required by the government of Viet Nam, UNDP, and donors.
  • Coordinate the mandatory and budget re-phasing exercise, mid-term review and closure of the projects.
  • Conduct regular monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the project progress and proper guidance to project stakeholders on M&E activities in order to ensure timely correction actions (if needed) and delivery of expected outputs with high quality.
  • Ensure effective risk management, including timely implementation of mitigation measures, and update risk log and integrated work plan (IWP) in the Quantum system.
  • Analyze and identify any operational and financial problems and suggest solutions; ensure the full compliance with Harmonized Approach to Cash Transfer (HACT) guidelines, including the facilitation and participation in project audits, spot-checks, and follow-up of the recommendations.
  • Provide technical inputs for communication materials for advocacy at high-level dialogues, and public events.
  • Conduct regular briefings and timely report to the supervisor, Regional Technical Advisors or UNDP leaders on any managerial exceptions for timely actions and support/advice on the management, planning, and control of the project.

Effective and efficient quality assurance of technical project components:

  • Establish procedures for monitoring, evaluating, and reporting on quality throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Review and endorsement of all technical TORs, outputs and deliverables produced under the project, ensuring technical soundness and cost effectiveness of project activities and ensuring technical quality assurance.
  • Perform regular assessments on indicators, quality standards that the project deliverables must meet, and roles of stakeholders; propose findings, recommend corrective or amended actions, and track the implementation’s progress.
  • Collaborate with the project team and project’s partners to identify quality risks and develop risk management responses.
  • Identify and collaborate with key partners/stakeholders to ensure synergies with other projects/initiatives by development partners or by the government of Viet Nam, and to avoid the duplication of activities among actors. This includes appropriate engagement of relevant organizations and/or individuals in project activities.

Knowledge management, advocacy and promotion of the partnership with relevant stakeholders including Government partners, development partners, NGOs, and civil society organizations, aiming at creation of synergies, leveraging support, and ensuring the sustainability of project interventions and results:

  • Enhance and develop strong partnerships and effective cooperation with government counterparts, co-implementing partners, participating agencies and relevant stakeholders. This includes the identification of opportunities for policy dialogues and advocacy on climate change, natural resources, environment and related agenda, and facilitation of UNDP’s participation and interventions in such events.
  • Contribute to the development of Government’s policies/regulations that will address the country’s problems/ development needs.
  • Promote the engagement of the private sector and women/ women-led organizations in project activities.
  • Build partnerships and networking, identify opportunities for resource mobilization and contribute to formulating new projects and new programmes and necessary documents to mobilize resources from bilateral and multilateral partners, the government financing and the private sector.
  • Participate and contribute to the UN/ UNDP’s regular reports on outputs and outcomes as well as outcome evaluations, under the framework of the UN One Strategic Plan and to UNDP’s other tentative interventions (for example, studies, research or new project ideas, etc.). This includes the provision of inputs to the preparation of UNDP’s presentations, briefings and related speeches if required.
  • Document project’s lessons learnt and best practices with high quality.
  • In consultation with UNDP Communication Analysts, publish technical reports, policy briefs, and results on suitable knowledge-sharing platforms, tools and mechanisms.

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

Competencies:

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.

Cross-Functional & Technical competencies:

Business management

  • Project management : Ability to plan, organize, prioritize and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals.
  • Partnerships Management   Ability to build and maintain partnerships with wide networks of stakeholders, Governments, civil society and private sector partners, experts and others in line with UNDP strategy and policies.
  • Communication: Ability to communicate in a clear, concise and unambiguous manner both through written and verbal communication; to tailor messages and choose communication methods depending on the audience; Ability to manage communications internally and externally, through media, social media and other appropriate channels.

2030 Agenda: Planet

  • Nature, Climate and Energy:  Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Conservation and Sustainable use of biodiversity, land, forests and oceans; Climate Change Adaptation: Public and private finance for adaptation solutions; Climate and Forests: Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

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.
Required Skills and Experience:
Education:
  • Advanced university degree (master’s degree or equivalent) in Natural Science, Environmental Science, Forestry, Agriculture or related field is required. OR
  • A first-level university degree (bachelor’s degree) in the areas mentioned above, in combination with an additional two years of qualifying experience will be given due consideration in lieu of the advanced university degree.
Experience:
  • Minimum 5 years (with master’s degree) or 7 years (with bachelor’s degree) in natural resources management, forestry management, REDD+ and sustainable production
  • Experience in Official Development Assistance (ODA) development projects is an asset.
  • Demonstrated experience in (i) developing TORs in natural resources and sustainable production, (ii) conducting research/studies related to sustainable forestry management is an asset.
  • Strong experience in formulation, management, monitoring, and evaluation of projects related to natural resources and environment is desirable.
  • Experience in engagement with the private sector, development partners, international organizations are desired.

Required Languages:

  • English and Vietnamese (Written reports/examples is required)
Disclaimer
Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment.
UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.
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.
Non-discrimination
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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