Gender Equality and Safeguards Specialist

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UNDP - United Nations Development Programme

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 is the knowledge frontier organization for sustainable development in the UN Development System and serves as the integrator for collective action to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNDP’s policy work carried out at HQ, Regional and Country Office levels offers a spectrum of deep local knowledge to cutting-edge global perspectives and advocacy. In this context, UNDP invests in its Global Policy Network (GPN), a network of field-based and global technical expertise across a wide range of knowledge domains and in support of the signature solutions and organizational capabilities envisioned in UNDP’s Strategic Plan. 

Within the GPN, the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) has the responsibility for developing all relevant policies and guidance to support the results of UNDP’s Strategic Plan. BPPS staff provide technical advice to Country Offices, advocates for UNDP corporate messages, represent UNDP at multi-stakeholder fora including public-private, government and civil society dialogues, and engage in UN inter-agency coordination in specific thematic areas. 

UNDP’s 2022-2025 Strategic Plan highlights our continued commitment to eradicating poverty, accompanying countries in their pathways towards the SDGs and working towards the Paris Agreement. As part of the Global Policy Network in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP’s Nature, Climate Change, Energy, and Waste (NCE&W) Hubs promote and scale up integrated whole-of-governance approaches and nature-based solutions that reduce poverty and inequalities, strengthen livelihoods and inclusive growth, mitigate conflict, forced migration and displacement, and promote more resilient governance systems that advance linked peace and security agendas.

BPPS’ Hubs on Nature, Climate, Energy and Waste work with governments, civil society, and private sector partners to integrate nature, climate, energy and waste related concerns into national and sector planning and inclusive growth policies, support country obligations under Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and oversee the implementation of the UN’s largest portfolio of in-country programming nature, climate change, energy, and waste. This multi-billion-dollar portfolio encompasses: 

  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services including forests; 
  • Sustainable Land Management and Desertification including food and commodity systems; 
  • Water and Ocean Governance including SIDS; 
  • Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation; 
  • Sustainable Energy; 
  • Extractive Industries; 
  • Chemicals and Waste Management; 
  • Environmental Governance and Green/Circular Economy; and SCP approaches. 

This work advances crosscutting themes on innovative finance, digital transformation, capacity development, human rights, gender equality, health, technology, and South-South learning.

In recent decades, biodiversity finance tools and solutions have demonstrated their importance for achieving biodiversity goals and broader sustainable development objectives. Improved choice, design and implementation of effective, well-tailored finance solutions will strengthen countries’ chances of achieving national and global biodiversity targets. 

The Biodiversity Finance Initiative – BIOFIN – was developed to provide a comprehensive methodology for governments to 1) review the existing policy context, 2) measure expenditure levels for biodiversity, 3) calculate future financial needs and 4) design strategic plans to deploy the right mix of finance solutions, tailored to the country context. The methodology has been conducted in 30 countries to date, with many now having reached the implementation stage.

BIOFIN is supported by the Governments of Germany, Canada, Flanders, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and the European Union. The initiative is part of UNDP’s Nature Hub, under UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS).

BIOFIN’s first phase (2012-2019) enabled full assessments and initial implementation of finance plan elements in target countries. Based on lessons learned, a new and comprehensive version of the BIOFIN Methodology was developed. Significant scaling up of finance solutions is required in all 41 countries to address the biodiversity finance challenge. BIOFIN’s second phase (2018 – 2026) focuses mainly on the implementation of prioritized finance solutions while also allowing additional countries to undertake the initial assessments and create the finance plan. See  for further information. 

UNDP’s Social and Environmental Standards (SES) underpin UNDP’s commitment to mainstream social and environmental sustainability in our Programmes and Projects to support 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.


A key mechanism to ensure these standards are applied is through UNDP’s project-level Social and Environmental Screening Procedure (SESP) which is a requirement for all proposed 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 risk category (Low, Moderate, High); and (d) Determine the level of social and environmental assessment and management required to address potential risks and impacts.

UNDP’s SES and SESP came into effect January 1, 2015. All guidance on UNDPs Social and Environmental Safeguards can be found in the SES Toolkit.

Furthermore, the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) approved in December (COP 15 Decision 15/4) provides an integral policy framework for biodiversity that presents a paradigm shift with respect to biodiversity finance as well as human rights based, gender responsive and socially equitable biodiversity conservation. The adoption of this framework as well as the opportunity to update NBSAPs accordingly is a relevant opportunity to address efforts that both contribute to positive impacts for people and nature. The GBF, its gender action plan and other instruments provide relevant guidance to inform Biodiversity Finance Plans, and gender action plans for BIOFIN Country Strategies.  

Duties and Responsibilities

The Gender and Safeguards Specialist will help identify risks, apply safeguards, and define actions with a positive impact on gender equality. 

Key Duties and Accountabilities

Lead gender equality programming, risks management, and safeguards 

  • Review UNDP’s policies on gender equality, risks management and safeguards, and provide advice to the global manager and other team members to ensure full compliance; 
  • Review and update periodically (at least yearly) Social and Environmental Screening (SESP) for BIOFIN;
  • Develop a Gender Analysis and Gender Mainstreaming Plan for BIOFIN including key Financial Solutions; 
  • Support updating the BIOFIN social related risk analysis and risk log;
  • Propose gender equality and Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLC) indicators for M&E framework.
  • Provide technical assistance to partners on how to best achieve results, particular on issues related to gender equality, inclusion of vulnerable groups, governance, international good practices, and the SDGs;
  • Work closely with BIOFIN technical advisors to identify opportunities for project development and mobilizing resources;
  • Contribute to project theory of changes as well as results framework to incorporate gender issues as well as needs of vulnerable groups.

Communication, Knowledge Management, and Capacity Building on Gender and Safeguards 

  • Ensure gender equality integration into BIOFIN website, social media, and any developed knowledge products;
  • Produce key strategic guidance and progress update documents on gender and development;
  • Ensure comprehensive documentation of the implementation of the gender-related activities;
  • Contribute to global, regional, and national meetings as a resource person for sessions related to social risks, safeguards and gender equality; 
  • Support the review of main tools like the BIOFIN workbook, Catalogue of finance solutions, and others to integrate a gender perspective and apply safeguards; 
  • Provide thematic inputs for knowledge management, communication, presentations, and other advocacy and reporting efforts;
  • Strengthen partnerships and coordinate with key national stakeholders, UN agencies, civil society organizations, academia, research institutions and other stakeholders to advance the BIOFIN agenda;
  • Identify best practices, lessons learned to guide project improvements and future strategic interventions;
  • Facilitate dialogue and experience sharing among BIOFIN teams;
  • Organize and conduct training for CO staff on gender advancement, gender equality, women’s empowerment, women’s issues, and social development; 

Gender Equality Mainstreaming, Risk Management, and Safeguards for BIOFIN at Global and Country Level 

  • Conduct gender analysis to inform the design of new financial solutions, country strategies and overall gender inclusion assurance and ensure gender equality integration in newly developed concept notes and proposals; 
  • Integrate gender equality, risk management, and safeguards for Global and Country implementation of BIOFIN including planning for expenditures, activities, partnerships, resources, capacities, communication, and learning;
  • Develop the capacity, conduct training, for national teams, global team members and national counterparts in the fields of gender equality, risk analysis and applying safeguards; 
  • Accompany and guide the development of gender action plans for Country Strategies;
  • Review finance solution proposals and other relevant documents to identify risks and opportunities to enhance the positive impacts on gender equality;
  • Appropriate and integrate gender, safeguard, and risk management inputs to the BIOFIN semestral reports, when required;
  • Contribution to sub-regional, regional, and inter-agency initiatives related to gender equality and social inclusion agenda.

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


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

Cross-Functional & Technical Competencies

  • Risk Management 

    • Ability to identify and organize action around mitigating and proactively managing risks
  • Knowledge Generation 

    • Ability to research and turn information into useful knowledge, relevant for content, or responsive to a stated need
  • 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
  • Gender

    • Gender Mainstreaming
  • Gender

    • Women’s Economic Empowerment, including labor issues
  • Inclusive Growth

    • Social Impact Assessment 
  • Inclusive Growth

    • Poverty and Human Development 
Required Skills and Experience
  • Master’s degree or equivalent in gender studies, social sciences, or environmental studies is required.
  • Bachelor’s degree in the said fields in combination with additional two years of qualifying experience will be given due consideration in lieu of Master’sdegree.
  • Minimum 5 years (with master’s degree) or 7 years (with bachelor’s degree) of work experience in gender equality and/or safeguards.

Required Skills:

  • Progressively responsible professional experience, with a special focus on addressing the promotion of gender equality, women’s empowerment, and human rights protection in developing countries is required.

Desired Skills:

  • Prior experience with Risk Analysis;
  • Experience and training in human rights-based approach; 
  • Experience with gender and environmental finance;
  • Experience working with UNDP or any other UN agency;
  • Experience in fostering networks and partnerships and ability to provide coordination with the UN Agencies, international and local organizations;
  • Experience in accessing social and environmental impacts;
  • Proven experience in negotiating, and communication with a wide range of partners (public, private, academic, civil society, business community leaders).


  • Fluency in English language (written and spoken) is required;
  • A good command of French, Spanish or Russian will be an asset.

Institutional Arrangement

  • The Gender and Safeguards Specialist will be home based;
  • The Gender and Safeguards Specialist will work under the supervision of the BIOFIN Global Manager;
  • The Gender and Safeguards Specialist will work with the BIOFIN global Team, BIOFIN national Teams, UNDP Gender Equality Team, UNDP Country Offices, core and donor country governments, other international/multi-lateral organizations, and contractors;
  • Given the global consultations to be undertaken during this assignment, the Gender and Safeguards Specialist is expected to be reasonably flexible with his/her availability for such consultations taking into consideration different time zones where applicable.
  • The Gender and Safeguards Specialist will be responsible for providing her/his own working station (i.e. laptop, internet, phone, scanner/printer, relevant software, etc.) and shall have access to a stable, secure and reliable internet connection.
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.
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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