Programme Risk Analyst (Social and Environmental Standards) at UNDP

  • Full Time
  • Lusaka
  • 00 USD / Year
  • Applications have closed
  • Salary: 00


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.
UNDP’s Social and Environmental Standards (SES) underpin our support for sustainable development. The objectives of the standards are to:
  • Strengthen the social and environmental outcomes of Programmes and Projects
  • Avoid adverse impacts to people and the environment
  • Minimize, mitigate, and manage adverse impacts where avoidance is not possible
  • Strengthen UNDP and partner capacities for managing social and environmental risks
  • Ensure full and effective stakeholder engagement, including through a mechanism to respond to complaints from project-affected people

The starting point to ensure these standards are applied is through UNDP’s project-level Social and Environmental Screening Procedure (SESP), which is a requirement for projects. The objectives of the SESP are to: (a) integrate the SES Overarching Principles (human rights, gender equality and environmental sustainability); (b) identify potential social and environmental risks and their significance; (c) determine the Project’s SES risk category; and (d) determine the level of assessment and management required to address potential social and environmental risks and impacts. All guidance on UNDPs Social and Environmental Standards can be found in the SES Toolkit.

Under the guidance of Deputy Resident Representative and supervision of the Head of Programme Risk Analyst compliance, Oversight and Monitoring(PCOM) unit, the Programme Risk Analyst – Social and Environmental Standards will be responsible for first layer oversight (of the aforementioned portfolio), capacity building and knowledge management to strengthen SES implementation across the Country Office portfolio, from programme and project design through implementation and lead the CO SES working group. The Programme Risk Analyst – Social and Environmental Standards will not be responsible for the preparation and execution of SES instruments during NIM project implementation (as this is a project execution function under the Implementing Partner) but will rather quality assure project-level safeguards instruments prepared by the project teams, and monitor, advise and oversee the project  teams in executing the relevant safeguard management measures.

Position Summary:

The results to be delivered by the Programme Risk Analyst – Social and Environmental Standards will provide key risk management and SES compliance capacity for the Country Office, helping ensure UNDP delivers on its commitment to protect people and the environment across all programming and avoid inadvertent harm.

Results will facilitate a new phase in SES implementation across the country programme, transitioning from a siloed and projectized approach to SES implementation to a programmatic approach that ensures oversight, alignment, and shared learning.

UNDP’s stakeholders and partners are increasingly requiring that we demonstrate implementation of safeguards, including as a condition for funding. Additionally, this capacity provides an opportunity to strengthen UNDP’s offer to partners on the application of environmental and social safeguards for risk-informed development. Therefore, the results delivered by the Programme Specialist also aim to ensure continued funding and strengthened reputation of UNDP as a leader in sustainable development programming.

Duties and Responsibilities

1. SES Oversight and Quality Assurance

  • Conduct a quality review of early drafts of SESPs (or “pre-SESPs”) to ensure proper identification and categorization of risk;
  • Advise project design team and/or PMU on needed social and environmental assessments/management plans and safeguards expertise, including review of related ToRs. (e.g. ESIA, ESMP, ESMF, IPP, RAP, SEP, relevant ToRs, etc);
  • Confirm validity of any SESP exemptions;
  • Quality assure final SESPs prior to submission to PAC or Project Board (for Nature, Climate and Energy Vertical Fund projects, clearance will be prior to submission for Headquarters “Safeguards Clearance”);
  • Support recruitment, on-boarding and oversight of safeguards consultants to the project management units hired to support SES execution in projects;
  • Quality assure draft and final SES documentation for projects (e.g., ESIA, ESMP, ESMF, IPP, RAP, SEP, relevant ToRs, etc) to ensure they meet technical standards and requirements (for Nature, Climate and Energy Vertical Fund projects, clearance will be prior to submission for Headquarters “Safeguards Clearance”);
  • Support project teams in responding to HQ/RBx SES oversight reviews and relevant audit/investigation/evaluation findings;
  • Identify risks for which additional technical support may be needed through the Global Policy Network, Regional Bureau, or external consultants (e.g., through ExpRess roster) and opportunities for projects to cost share needed expertise;
  • Undertake safeguards oversight missions, as needed and per projects’ M&E plans etc;
  • Quality assure safeguards sections of progress reports and evaluations (e.g., donor reports, annual progress reports, GEF PIR/GCF APR, mid-term and final evaluations) and contribute substantively where in line with the oversight function (e.g. in support of relevant Team Lead);
  • Track progress of high/substantial risk and other priority projects’ implementation of required SES elements (ESIA, GRM, stakeholder engagement, disclosure, FPIC, etc.);
  • Regularly scan available data on SES implementation across the portfolio to identify emerging risks or High/Substantial Risk projects that may require additional oversight and support;
  • Escalate issues to second layer oversight (RBx and BPPS Nature, Climate,Energy team, where relevant) and advise; CO senior management on safeguard risks where needed.

2. SES Capacity Building:

  • Conduct a CO capacity assessment to identify baseline quality of SES documentation, capacity needs, priority risks, and opportunities;
  • Develop and coordinate implementation of an action plan to strengthen SES implementation across the aforementioned portfolio, clarifying the oversight and quality assurance process, roles and responsibilities, and a learning plan;
  • Ensure CO SES action plan is aligned with and contributes to global/regional SES implementation plans;
  • Support regular SES capacity development, awareness raising, trainings and other learning opportunities for the CO team and implementing partners;
  • Ensure the Stakeholder Response Mechanism is established and operational at the CO level;
  • Ensure project-level grievance mechanisms are established within the project governance structure and that relevant safeguard risks are monitored by Project Boards;
  • Establish roster of national social and environmental safeguards consultants;
  • Support and advise senior management in their engagement with partners and stakeholders (including affected people, implementing partners, donors) on issues related to the SES;
  • Advise and support senior management on any SECU/SRM cases;
  • Prepare communication materials and products that can be used to communicate the SES and UNDP’s Accountability Mechanism with partners and project affected people;
  • Present on the SES and Accountability Mechanism at inception workshops and support on- boarding of project-level safeguards experts;
  • Conduct an assessment of national capacities/safeguards to identify key gaps between the SES with guidance on how these gaps should be approached across the portfolio, as well as entry points for capacity building and use of national systems;
  • Review national grievance redress mechanism (GRM) capacities/entry points related to the CO portfolio.
3. SES Knowledge Management:
  • Engage and coordinate with SES experts in Headquarters (including second layer oversight provided by RBx and BPPS Nature, Climate, Energy team and SES policy owner, BPPS Effectiveness Group) and other regions to ensure consistency in policy interpretation and oversight;
  • Document lessons learned, including from cases where things went wrong as well as good models of SES implementation;
  • Track and share precedents that have implications for the entire portfolio to ensure an aligned and consistent approach (e.g. identification of indigenous peoples);
  • Share lessons learned across the portfolio and also with regional, global teams to facilitate learning;
  • Maintain a library of project safeguards documents and examples that can be used as reference points;
  • Engage with CO Gender Specialist and/or Gender Focal Team to document and share lessons learned and good practice related to gender-related risks, including analysis of national gender and social inclusion issues and how these can be addressed across the portfolio;
  • Coordinate exchange between project-level safeguards experts to facilitate shared learning, consistency across the portfolio, and identification of opportunities to cost-share or combine efforts on risks faced by multiple projects;
  • Engage in safeguards networks and partnerships, including with UNCT, to ensure learning and exchange on safeguards with partners and UNDP’s leadership role in this area;
  • Prepare an annual report on SES implementation in the office, capturing key lessons learned and recommendations for how to strengthen SES implementation moving forward.
Core Competencies:
  • Achieve Results: LEVEL 2: Scale up solutions and simplifies processes, balances speed and accuracy in doing work.
  • Think Innovatively: LEVEL 2: Offer new ideas/open to new approaches, demonstrate systemic/integrated thinking.
  • Learn Continuously: LEVEL 2: Go outside comfort zone, learn from others and support their learning
  • Adapt with Agility: LEVEL2: Adapt processes/approaches to new situations, involve others in change process.
  • Act with Determination: LEVEL 2: Able to persevere and deal with multiple sources of pressure simultaneously.
  • Engage and Partner: LEVEL 2: Is facilitator/integrator, bring people together, build/maintain coalitions/partnerships.
  • Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 2: Facilitate conversations to bridge differences, considers in decision making.
Technical and Cross-functional Competencies:

Business Direction and Strategy: Portfolio Management: Ability to select, prioritize and control the organization’s programmes and projects, in line with its strategic objectives and capacity; ability to balance the implementation of change initiatives and the maintenance of business-as-usual, while optimizing return on investment.

Business Development: Knowledge Generation: Ability to research and turn information into useful Knowledge, relevant for context or responsive to a stated need.

Business Management:

  • 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
  • Project Management: Ability to plan, organize, prioritize, and control resources, procedures, and protocols to achieve specific goals.
  • Risk Management: Ability to identify and organize action around mitigating and proactively managing risks.

Partnership Management: Resource Mobilization: Ability to identify funding sources, match funding needs (programmes/projects/initiatives) with funding opportunities, and establish a plan to meet funding requirements.

2030 Agenda: Planet: Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery:

  • Disaster and Climate Risk Governance
  • Disaster Recovery Policy, Planning and Programming
  • Gender Responsive Disaster Risk Management and Reduction
  • Disaster Risk Reduction

2030 Agenda: People: Gender:

  • Gender analysis and issues
  • Gender mainstreaming
  • Gender and institutional development
Required Skills and Experience
  • Master’s degree in International Development, Environmental or Social Studies or other relevant areas.
  • Minimum 2 years experience in social and environmental safeguards;
  • Demonstrated expertise in the development and quality assurance of safeguards instruments (e.g. ESIAs, ESMPs, ESMFs, IPPs, GRMs, RAPs);
  • Capable of working in a high- pressure environment with sharp and frequent deadlines, managing many tasks simultaneously;
  • Excellent skills related to stakeholder engagement; training and capacity building skills related to environmental and social safeguards;
  • Preferably with at least two years with a UN organization or an NGO is desirable;
  • Experience within the United Nations common system is desirable.


Fluency in English with good verbal and writing skills is required. Knowledge of the local languages is desirable but not mandatory.

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.
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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