UNCDF makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.
UNCDF’s financing models work through two channels: savings-led financial inclusion that expands the opportunities for individuals, households, and small businesses to participate in the local economy, providing them with the tools they need to climb out of poverty and manage their financial lives; and by showing how localized investments — through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance — can drive public and private funding that underpins local economic expansion and sustainable development. UNCDF financing models are applied in thematic areas where addressing barriers to finance at the local level can have a transformational effect for poor and excluded people and communities.
By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 on eradicating poverty with a focus on reaching the last mile and addressing exclusion and inequalities of access. At the same time, UNCDF deploys its capital finance mandate in line with SDG 17 on the means of implementation, to unlock public and private finance for the poor at the local level. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile, UNCDF contributes to a number of different SDGs and currently to 28 of 169 targets.
The Partnerships, Policy and Communications Unit (PPCU) to which this post is assigned, leads and manages the organization’s relationship with its governing body, the Executive Board. To all these ends the Unit will lead the organization in the development and advancement of relevant strategies in engaging with this wide spectrum of partners that is achieved through wide internal and external consultative processes.
Position Context: The Policy Specialist for intergovernmental partnerships is an integral part of the Partnerships, Policy and Communications (PPC) Unit and contributes to ensuring that UNCDF is positioned strategically in the evolving partnership and policy environments in the area of sustainable development, financing for development and innovative finance, with a focus on the least developed countries (LDCs). Under the guidance and direct supervision of the Policy Advisor, the Policy Specialist is expected to work closely with all three pillars of UNCDF and to provide actionable advice and support to the Directorate on matters of strategic planning, policy analysis, communications, and partnership development.
Specifically, the Policy Specialist will support the UNCDF Directorate and the rest of the PPC Unit to strengthen partnerships and develop policy products with a view to improving UNCDF’s contributions to relevant policy debates; support UNCDF’s engagement in inter-governmental and inter-agency processes; strengthen UNCDF’s ability to capture and share knowledge within UNCDF and its wider peer networks; and build effective partnerships with UNDP and the wider UN development system as well as a larger range of investors, DFIs, and foundations.
The Policy Specialist will also help track and craft UNCDF’s contributions to developments and policy debates in the financing for development landscape both within and beyond the UN; closely monitor and advise on developments related to UN reform and their potential implications for UNCDF; track and advise on engagement with inter-governmental processes as they relate to UNCDF; and help shape UNCDF’s responses to a shifting financing for development landscape. The Policy Specialist will work closely with other PPC staff, the three pillars of the organization, PMSU, and other teams. The Policy Specialist maintains a network with colleagues from UNCDF, UNDP, UN Agencies, IFIs, private sector and civil society, and will also be tasked with supporting strategic projects of an ad hoc nature as they may arise.
Duties and Responsibilities
Summary of key functions:
- Provides strategic planning and policy advice on inter-governmental processes and inter-agency related matters, with a view to ensuring a robust contribution from and positioning of UNCDF;
- Strengthens partnerships and advocacy within and outside the UN, including with Member States. , the private sector, foundations, CSOs, academia, and IFIs;
- Facilitates knowledge capture and sharing, including contributing to increasing knowledge and understanding of private finance for sustainable development, including blended finance;
- Supports the timely preparation of relevant background documents and the organization of briefings for meetings; assisting in the follow-up to meetings, including the preparation of relevant notes and briefing to staff, as appropriate; and helping to draft speeches and other strategic communication products.
- Performs other official duties and special assignments which may be required.
Detailed Job roles & responsibilities:
1.Provides strategic planning and policy advice on inter-governmental processes and inter-agency related matters, with a view to ensuring a robust contribution from and positioning of UNCDF:
- Follows relevant interagency mechanisms and developments during a time of intense reform, and advises on UNCDF strategic participation and engagement, including in relation to UNDP and other UN development system entities;
- Supports UNCDF engagement with its Executive Board, including helping to prepare annual reports, arrange informal briefings, and manage partnerships;
- Represents UNCDF in interagency mechanisms as appropriate and prepares relevant documentation for the participation of the Executive Secretary or Deputy Executive Secretary;
- Contributes to inter-governmental debates and developments, including as they relate to the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, and the Istanbul Programme of Action and its successor arrangement, among others. This includes providing policy advice and support on strategic engagement, including preparing UNCDF contributions to background papers, reports, official events, and side events;
- Establishes and maintains strategic relations with multilateral organizations, IFIs, the private sector, foundations, and academia, as well as coordinates of strategic corporate interest.
2. Strengthens partnerships and advocacy within and outside the UN, including with Member States, the private sector, foundations, CSOs, academia, and IFIs:
- Builds, maintains, and looks for opportunities to expand partnerships with UNDP, other UN entities, IFIS and other private and CSO actors with a view to supporting implementation of UNCDF’s mandate;
- Works closely with UNCDF field offices to identify where they need support, including in their collaboration with UNDP, Resident Coordinators, and other partners on the ground;
- Pro-actively supports UNCDF advocacy on issues within its purview, including through the development of innovative knowledge products and through identifying potential partnerships;
- Supports partnership and resource mobilization efforts, working closely with the head of PPC;
- Works with practices on project proposals as it relates to their policy components.
3. Facilitates knowledge capture and knowledge sharing, focusing on the following results:
- Identifies and acts on opportunities for thought leadership across the areas of UNCDF’s expertise, inducing through drafting lessons learned documents, holding webinars, and drafting policy papers and opinion pieces;
- Helps build on UNCDF’s thought leadership on blended finance in the least developed countries, as part of broader efforts to engage with the private sector and DFIs;
- Actively contributes to and identifies opportunities for others to contribute to knowledge networks and communities of practice within UNCDF, UNDP and peer networks;
- Helps manage the review and clearance process for corporate publications, and works with the practices to ensure high visibility for said products;
- Helps develop campaigns on hot button issues where UNCDF has a thought and programmatic leadership role;
- Helps to organize regular side events, brown bag lunches, and internal meetings to discuss matters of strategic importance (the- so-called CCC meetings);
- Helps track development and programme innovations in the financing for development space, both within and beyond the UN, with a view to identifying potential synergies with UNCDF’s programmatic work.
- Supports the timely preparation of relevant background documents and the organizational briefings for meetings; assisting in the follow-up to meetings, including the preparation of relevant notes and briefing to staff, as appropriate; and helping to draft speeches and other strategic communication products.
- Performs other official duties and special assignments which may be required;
As required, support the timely preparation of relevant background documents and the organization of briefings and meetings for the Executive Secretary and Deputy Executive Secretary; and helping to draft speeches and other strategic communication products.
- Innovation: Ability to make new and useful ideas work
- Leadership: Ability to persuade others to follow
- People Management: Ability to improve performance and satisfaction
- Communication: Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform
- Delivery: Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement
- Knowledge Management & Sharing
- Advocacy /Advancing a Policy oriented Agenda
- Intergovernmental Institutions & Multilateral Affairs
- Building Strategic Partners
- Results Based Programme Development and Management
Required Skills and Experience
- Master’s Degree or equivalent in Economics, Finance, Social Sciences, International Relations, Political Sciences or related field.
- Minimum 5 years of relevant experience at the national or inter-governmental level.
- Experience in research and policy-level analysis and advocacy, as well as in development and innovative finance.
- Experience working with a UN entity or development finance institution/multilateral development bank is an asset.
- Field/Country Level experience is a plus.
- Fluency in English, with excellent writing skills required.
- Fluency in French will be considered a distinct advantage.
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