Head, Governance

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    May 02

Position description

The Head of Governance is responsible for issuing guidance, providing leadership and substantive direction to the Governance Team located in HQ, as well as to the governance advisors and specialists assigned to the Regional Hubs. By delegated authority from the BPPS deputy director, the Governance Director may also oversee the work of Global Policy Centres working on UNDP’s governance agenda. He/she provides world-class authoritative advice and technical expertise, leads advocacy and speaks authoritatively to support the delivery of the signature solution on effective, accountable and inclusive governance. S/he promotes, co-facilitates and monitors the way in which the Governance community of Practice shapes and evolves in UNDP and champions integrated multi-disciplinary approaches to today’s complex development challenges. In this regard, the Head of Governance also collaborates closely with the UNDP Innovations Team to provide direction and guidance to the Next Generation Governance Initiative and ensures connectivity with relevant Acceleration Labs and other UNDP units and initiatives, in particular also with the Human Development Report Office The Governance Director also works closely with the other teams in the BPPS and the Crisis Bureau to ensure the Governance Team contributes to UNDP’s leading role in the UN system on SDG implementation in developing countries (through the MAPS engagement approach - Mainstreaming, Acceleration, Policy Support).

The Head of Governance is responsible and accountable for the following functions:

  • Policy formulation and development;
  • Policy advice and programme support delivery;
  • Overall management and resource mobilization;
  • Partnerships, representation and advocacy;
  • Community of practice and knowledge management.

The Head of Governance is a member of the management team in BPPS and a member of the Extended Management Team of the Global Policy Network. S/he provides authoritative technical knowledge on governance in a variety of development situations and ensures close collaboration with the Crisis Bureau to ensure timely and accurate support to crisis and transition settings.

Duties and Responsibilities

Policy formulation and development

  • Direct and substantively guide UNDP’s policy and programming support on SDG16 implementation and monitoring, inclusive participation, transparent and accountable institutions, youth engagement and innovations in governance, ensuring integration into the overall implementation of the UNDP Strategic Plan.
  • Define UNDP’s policies on the governance contributions to sustainable development in general and to building peaceful just and inclusive societies more specifically, drawing on the best available evidence, and exploring emerging issues where appropriate.

Policy advice and programme support delivery

  • Provide substantive leadership, quality control and guidance to the team in their provision of evidence-based policy advisory services to country offices, ensuring relevance of the services provided to country and regional contexts;
  • Ensure the timely provision of world-renowned expertise contributing to the global recognition of the organization as an authority, source of innovation and convening hub of the global community on the critical governance issues of the day; and
  • Liaise with the Crisis Bureau to ensure a rapid and well-coordinated response to crisis and conflict situations and provide related contributions to UNDP SURGE for country offices.

Overall management and resource mobilization

  • Lead and manage the governance team, including supervising staff and overseeing strategy development, work planning, budgeting, monitoring and reporting;
  • Promote a collaborative work environment both within the team and with external units and apply corporate incentives to build a motivated and high-performing team of policy advisors and specialists and support staff.
  • Design, coordinate and approve strategies for mobilizing financial resources and ensuring effective delivery of resources by policy advisors and global programmes managed by BPPS.

Partnerships, representation and advocacy

  • Mobilize, foster and strengthen strategic partnerships with UN and other relevant bodies and provide substantive guidance and direction to those partnerships, supporting outward looking engagement;
  • Represent the team and the Governance Community of Practice in UNDP’s corporate discussions, in interagency coordination and in other fora to engage partners in advancing the strategic agenda of UNDP’s governance portfolio
  • Contribute substantively to international discussions on peaceful, just and inclusive societies, positioning UNDP and advocating for the importance of the UNDP’s governance work
  • Encourage team members to contribute to substantive discussions on UNDP’s work and approaches to building peaceful, just and inclusive societies through blogs, articles and the use of social media

Community of practice and knowledge management

  • Oversee, influence and promote the advance of policy dialogue in the team’s thematic areas through cross-regional exchange of knowledge and collaboration, South-South and triangular cooperation, synthesis of knowledge emerging from the development and implementation of programmes, and the linking of research and practice;
  • Promote, facilitate, encourage and co-manage the governance for peaceful, just and inclusive societies community practice, in close collaboration with relevant teams in the Crisis Bureau.
  • Stimulate the use of social media to ensure wide dissemination of positions, events, debates on the topics covered under the signature solution.



  • 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;
  • Advocacy: Ability to advocate a point of view and influence others;
  • Knowledge Management: Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge.


  • Sustainable Development Goals: Knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations at the national and local levels;
  • Substantive Networking: Ability to substantively engage and foster networks with academia, research institutions, and think tanks;
  • Collaboration & Partnerships: Ability to develop, maintain, and strengthen partnerships with others inside (Programmes/projects) or outside the organization who can provide information, assistance, and support. Sets overall direction for the formation and management of strategic relationships contributing to the overall positioning of UNDP;
  • Trends and emerging areas analytics: Ability to scan the horizon and identify approaches and initiatives to bring into policy and programme design;
  • Management & Coordination: Ability to manage and coordinate campaigns and people with inspiration. Believe in and promote diversity in the workplace and reshaping the workforce to meet need.

Required Skills and Experience


  • A Master's degree, preferably in public administration, international development, political sciences, law, business administration, development economics, or other relevant field, or extensive compensating experience in governance.


  • 15 years of professional work experience in either public sectors (national or multilateral, including UN), private (academia, non-governmental sector, corporate), with increasing responsibility in the design and development of policies and programmes (in areas such as inclusive participation, elections, parliamentary support, civic engagement, responsive and accountable institutions; human rights, state-citizen dialogue at the international level and the broader governance agenda in general);
  • Proven experience in leading teams, providing policy advice and pioneering approaches in the area of governance;
  • Demonstrated track-record of excellence in delivering the work programme of complex, global organizational entities in the area of governance and its links to sustainable human development and Agenda 2030;
  • Proven experience working in different geographical areas, and development settings, including conflict and post-conflict environments;
  • Excellent negotiating, writing and communication skills and ability to mobilize support from a wide range of partners (public, private, academic, civil society, business community leaders);
  • Proven track record of management and resource mobilization skills;
  • Proven track record and leadership experience in the UN System is an advantage.

Language Requirements:

  • English proficiency, Arabic, French or Spanish is considered an asset.

Application instructions

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