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Head, Chemicals branch, D-1
DATE OF ISSUANCE:   13 Jan 2005
ORGANIZATIONAL UNIT:   United Nations Environment Programme

Depending on professional background, experience and family situation, a competitive compensation and benefits package is offered.
More Info

United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
(THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO APPOINT A CANDIDATE AT A LOWER LEVEL THAN THE ADVERTISED LEVEL OF THE POST) The post is located in the Chemicals Branch of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, DTIE, in Geneva. The incumbent reports directly to the Director of DTIE and works under the general supervision of the Deputy Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP. The incumbent is responsible for: 1. Strategy, policy development and implementation: Provide an overarching strategy of how UNEP's chemicals programme can address the threats posed by toxic substances to human health and the environment; Design and implement a programme to achieve the above strategy; Engage stakeholders from within UNEP, as well as other Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Multi-lateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and governments, as appropriate, in implementing the strategy; Communicate the strategy broadly. 2. Development of a strategic approach to international chemicals management (SAICM): Provide secretariat services for SAICM development, including providing secretariat service to the steering committee, preparatory committee and international conference on chemical management; Develop documents and reports as requested by participants in the SAICM process; Fund-raise to ensure that all necessary meetings are held on schedule. 3. Capacity building: Provide guidance to countries regarding capacity building for the purpose of compliance with international conventions and improved control and accounting of chemicals in production, use and trade; Assess the needs of target groups in developing countries and countries with economies in transition to introduce sound chemicals management practices; Assist countries in executing projects to reduce or eliminate the threats presented by toxic substances; Manage UNEP's capacity building programme on persistent organic pollutants (POPs), heavy metals and other chemicals of concern; Implement UNEP's mercury programme, POPs action programme and other assistance programmes on toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes; Maintain clearinghouse functions to provide data and information on chemicals to countries; Develop guidance materials designed to help countries address priority chemicals and related waste management issues; Conduct awareness raising and training workshops; Work with Global Environment Fund (GEF) in the development of GEF initiatives and projects for enhancing compliance with environmental conventions and seek opportunities for project proposals that address multiple GEF focal areas in chemical management and environmental protection from the effects of chemicals; Mobilize the necessary resources and identify additional sources of funding, both bilateral and multilateral to execute the programme. 4. Information exchange on chemical safety: Take steps to continue and enhance UNEP's leadership role in promoting the exchange of information on chemicals and chemical safety measures by: Improve Internet capacity within the Chemicals branch and the quantity and quality of information available to stakeholders; Produce electronic and hard copy publications relevant to chemical safety; Promote activities that lead to improved networking among countries and other partners in chemical safety; Collaborate with others to promote information exchange and dissemination; Continue the chemicals query-response service. 5. Sound management of chemicals: Assess the needs of target groups in developing countries and countries with economies in transition for sound chemicals management; Develop and publicize clearinghouse functions in relation to the provisions of international environmental conventions dealing with chemicals; Represent the Executive Director of UNEP in intergovernmental meetings on a wide variety of topics relating to chemicals management. These include the Intergovernmental Forum on chemical Safety (IFCS) and the Conferences of Parties to international conventions dealing with chemicals, such as the Stockholm, Rotterdam and Basel Conventions; Execute externally funded projects in support of compliance with the Montreal Protocol for the phasing out of ozone depleting substances; Continue and improve Chemicals Branch's current co-operative activities with other partners, both within UNEP and externally, and identify new areas for establishing co-operative activities where appropriate. 6. Assessments: Provide facilities and expertise for the conduct of hazard and risk assessments of chemicals and their actual or potential effects on the environment in consultation with other UN agencies as appropriate; Organize and deliver assessments of the sources and impacts of chemicals in the environment in response to requests from the UNEP Governing council and other intergovernmental organizations. 7. Management and Administration: Provide status and progress reports and briefings to the Director of DTIE on progress in the sub-programme on chemicals management and international developments in the field of sound management of chemicals; Secure adequate environment fund and donor resources for the branch's operations and maintain financial records and accounting for expenditures on activities funded from both the Environment Fund and external funding sources; Ensure the timely delivery of reports of activities and oversee the preparation and publication of reports and other documents providing information on UNEP activities regarding chemicals management; Promote a sound management culture within the chemicals branch, undertake measures to facilitate the operations of the unit, and promote administrative efficiencies where possible; Advance sound project planning and implementation within the branch; Report upward and communicate internally both required reports and items of information useful to staff and management; Ensure staff are provided with the needed guidance, information, equipment, and other support to do their jobs and promote team building within UNEP Chemicals.

Teamwork: Very good interpersonal skills; Ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and working relations both internally and externally in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment, with sensitivity and respect for diversity, including gender balance. Planning and organization: Strong organizational skills including proven ability to effectively plan and coordinate own work as well as that of others; Ability to effectively develop and design programmes and projects, monitor their implementation, meet agreed schedules liaising effectively with partners. Communication: Effective communication skills (spoke, written and presentational). Vision: Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks; Generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue the same direction. Leadership: Proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives and drives for change and improvement. Empowering others: Empowers others to translate vision into results; Delegates responsibility, clarifies expectations, and gives staff required autonomy in important areas of their work; Involves others in decision-making, showing appreciation and encourages others to set challenging goals and holds them responsible for achieving results related to their area of responsibility.


Advanced university degree, preferably in environmental, engineering, natural sciences or natural resource management or other related environmental, public administration, law, economic or technical subjects, or a first university degree with a relevant combination of academic and professional qualifications.

Work Experience
At least 15 years of progressive professional experience, of which 5 or 6 years of professional and managerial experiences in an international organisation in the environmental field, are required. Experience in facilitation and conducting of inter-governmental negotiating processes as well as experience in handling a multidisciplinary portfolio of tasks and duties are required. Experience in the UN system or other international organisations is desirable.

English and French are the official working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this position excellent command of oral and written English is essential. Working knowledge of French and knowledge of other UN languages an asset.

Other Skills
Ability to lead a team of specialists in interdisciplinary effort as well as management and organizational skills are essential.

The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. (Charter of the United Nations - Chapter 3, article 8).   English and French are the two working languages of the United Nations Secretariat.  The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.



How to apply

All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online as soon as possible after the vacancy has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the vacancy announcement. Because applications submitted by United Nations (UN) staff members are considered first, provided the eligibility requirements set out in ST/AI/2006/3 are met and the application is submitted in a timely fashion, staff members should apply within 15-day or 30-day mark.

Online applications will be acknowledged where an email address has been provided. If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. In such cases, please go to “My UN” page and check the status of your application by clicking on “View Application History”, and resubmit the application, if necessary.
  1. To start the application process, applicants are required to register by opening a "My UN" account. Go to Login, and Register as a User. Fill in the form and choose a User Name and Password.

  2. After opening the account, applicants may apply for vacancies using the Personal History Profile (PHP) provided. Once the PHP has been completed for a particular vacancy, it can be saved and used for future applications. The PHP may be up-dated, when necessary, for future applications.

  3. In completing the PHP, please note that all fields marked with an asterisk must be completed.

  4. UN staff members must submit scanned copies of their two latest Performance Appraisal System (PAS) reports at the time of application to the appropriate Human Resources Office (HRO)/Personnel Office (PO) to the email address below, clearly indicating the vacancy announcement number. In case you have no access to the digitizing equipment, please submit hard copies of the two latest PAS reports to the relevant HRO/PO via fax.


    Fax: 254-20-762-4212

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions, if you encounter problems when applying.