Principal Programme Management Officer, D1

UNEP - United Nations Environment Programme

Montreal, Canada

This post is located in the Convention on Biological Diversity, Scientific and Policy Support (SPS) Division. Under the direct supervision of the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the incumbent will perform the following duties:


  • Lead the Science and Policy division to provide neutral scientific, technical and information documents and expert advice to the Conference of Parties (COP), Conference of Parties Meeting of the Parties to the Protocols (COP-MOPs) and the Subsidiary bodies as well as other scientific and technical preparatory processes;
  • Coordinate, manage, and provide leadership and expert advice in the execution of the various components of the Convention’s work on Conservation and Sustainable Use of biological diversity;
  • Coordinate, manage, and provide leadership and expert advice in the execution of the various components of the Convention’s work on Biosafety and Biosecurity. 
  • Coordinate, manage, and provide leadership and expert advice in the execution of the various components of the Convention’s work on Access & Benefit Sharing and Traditional Knowledge;
  • Manage the staff of the Science and Policy Division and contribute to the overall management of the Secretariat;
  • Performs any other duties as assigned by the Executive Secretary.



  • Ability to be a strong advocate for science-based policy and knowledge of the implications of legal, economic and policy decisions on the scientific and technical aspects of the Convention;
  • Demonstrated ability to work at the intersection of multiple science disciplines and connect across seemingly disparate fields, as well as good capacity for synthesis;
  • Strong programme management skills with the capability to advise the Executive Secretary and other senior officials on approaches and techniques to address highly complex issues;
  • Excellent policy analysis skills and the ability to produce reports and papers on technical issues and to review and edit the work of others;
  • Knowledge and ability to apply UN rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations;
  • Demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter;
  • Is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results;
  • Is solutions and results-oriented and thinks outside the box, while showing persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges.


  • Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies, vision and programs;
  • Identifies priority activities and assignments and 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.


  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationship in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity, including gender balance. Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals;
  • Solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise, is willing to learn from others. Places team agenda before personal agenda;
  • Supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position;
  • Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings;
  • Leads team and fosters a motivating and collaborative work environment that caters to performance.


  • 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;
  • Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.


  • Monitors progress against milestones and deadlines and ensures that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member, while nurturing a team spirit with subordinates;
  • Regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff;
  • Encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; Actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff;
  • Appraises performance fairly.


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s Degree or equivalent) in environmental science or in the natural and social sciences or equivalent is required. A first level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience:

  • A minimum of fifteen years of professional working experience in the management of international environmental and sustainable development programmes related to biological diversity and solid scientific knowledge of the scientific subjects covered by the functions of this position is required;
  • Knowledge and direct experience in the management of international natural resource-related issues/projects and in interacting with members of the scientific community is required;
  • Excellent drafting and writing skills coupled with excellent policy analysis and policy design skills is highly desirable;
  • Experience in managing international Conventions/Protocols performing international negotiations and in working with a Conference of Parties is highly desirable;
  • Basic knowledge and experience of complex systems and systems transition, economics and social/behavioural science and the interlinkages between natural and social science as they apply to sustainable development is an advantage, and the management of complex results-based natural resources projects is an asset.


  • English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in oral and written English is required;
  • Working knowledge of other UN language(s) is an advantage.

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