Policy Specialist

ActiveUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - New York, NY4.3

HDR.undp.org presents the mission, output and organization of the Human Development Report Office (HDRO).

Barriers to human development posed by vulnerability, poverty, lack of equity, empowerment and sustainability are among the current concerns and areas of research at HDRO.

The report team of the HDRO works with the director who is the “lead author” to develop the annual Human Development Report (HDR), an independent analytical report based on the human development paradigm, which is presented to and globally launched with the UNDP Administrator.

The work of the report team includes developing proposals for the annual theme, in-house and commissioning/review of externally conducted research, innovative approaches to measurements of human development, networking and consultations with leading scholars and other stakeholders around the world, and writing the report.

The report team also works with colleagues on databases, indicators and HDR statistical tables, as well as production, communication and advocacy of report findings. The team also contributes to quality assurance for regional and national human development reports through occasional reviews.

Under the guidance and supervision of the Director, the Policy Specialist contributes substantively to Human Development Report, through research management, analytical contributions, writing and managing statistical databases. The Policy Specialist also participates in outreach for the HDRs and HDRO.

Duties and Responsibilities
Contributes to and supervises background research for the Human Development Reports:

Advises on an agenda of research topics related to the HDR;
Undertakes literature review and research on conceptual and empirical aspects of human development, with strong demonstrated focus on policy. Oversees the work of consultants and commissioned papers, including qualitative and quantitative research in the areas noted above;
Guides the work of junior staff members involved in the quantitative and qualitative analysis;
Takes part in panel discussions and consultations; make presentations at conferences on the results of analyses conducted.
Edits, co-authors or contributes at least one piece suited for peer reviewed publication

Contributes to the writing of the Human Development Report:
Contributes to brainstorming meetings and discussions on various aspects of the Report;
Reviews contributions by consultants and suggest ways adapting them into the report;
Prioritizes issues that require the attention of the Director, and in those cases provide suggested solutions for the Director to consider;
Drafts high quality contributions for the Human Development Report on time;
Contributes to the finalization of the theme and the structure of the Report.

Collaboration with other units of HDRO:
Works with the statistics team to achieve consistency between the report’s key objectives and the statistics used in the analysis and presented in report table section;
Designs new ways of reporting derived indicators from existing statistics;
Oversees efforts to obtain data from external sources necessary for the analysis of the HDR;
Works with the communication team on knowledge management, including the HDRO blog, to expand and support outreach efforts, and increase access to and dissemination of HDRO materials;
Works with communication team in preparing launch support materials;
Participates in academic meetings and other professional gatherings of relevance to human development concerns as agreed with the head of the unit.
In close cooperation with the Director, works on the elaboration of the work and learning plans for the Research Team:

Works on the elaboration of the work plan for the Research Team;
Works closely with members of the research team, guiding work plans to be consistent with the team work plan and ensuring work is completed on time and that undue burdens are not placed on Team Members;
Works on the learning plan for the Research Team – liaising closely with the learning committee to identify the training needs of team members. See through the execution of learning plans of writing team members;
Works on other assignments as and when requested by HDRO management.
Some official tme can be used for self-learning, including UNDP mandatory courses.


Corporate Competencies:
Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
Treats all people fairly without favoritism.

Functional Competencies:
In-depth knowledge of development issues;
Track record of success in development research, including through publications;
Demonstrated ability to conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Knowledge Management and Learning:
Commitment to knowledge sharing and learning culture in the office;
Excellent inter-personal skills;
Excellent written and oral communication skills in English;
Ability to advocate and provide policy advice;
Ability to communicate and deal with the media;
Ability to lead and build strong teams;
Capacity to work under pressure both as part of a team and individually;
Commitment to team work and to follow through on collective/ team decisions.
Ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently and remain composed and focused under pressure;
Detail oriented; and ability to work as part of a team with staff at all levels;

Management and Leadership:
Responds positively to feedback;
Contributes effectively to teamwork and contributes to conflict resolution;
Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
Builds strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders;
Remains calm, in control and good humored even under pressure;
Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities;
Strong organizational skills;
Experience with resource planning, management and reporting skills.

Essential knowledge and experience:
Knowledge of the human development and capabilities approach;
In-depth familiarity with social sciences literature on social and economic development;
Versatility to conduct both quantitative and qualitative research;
Demonstrated integrity and probity with an ability to work with the utmost discretion in handling sensitive and confidential matters;
Flexibility and adaptability to changing needs and demands as work evolves;
Diplomatic, negotiating and organizational skills and political astuteness;
Strong communications skills, ability to interact with government, donor, UN officials, media at the highest levels.
Required Skills and Experience

Master’s degree or equivalent degree in economics (especially development economics) with multi-disciplinary skills. A PhD. is an asset.

At least seven years of experience in policy analysis or relevant research at national or international level;
Excellent analytical and research skills as indicated by publications in peer-reviewed journals;
A sound knowledge of the current state of human development;
Extensive research experience in either (i) econometric analysis or (ii) applied qualitative research;
Excellent computer skills with OFFICE applications, and internet;
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills;

Familiarity with the process producing a leading global report;
Some management experience in the relevant field in an international or multicultural environment
Solid experience with statistical and econometric software

Language Requirements:
Excellent oral and written English. Knowledge of other UN languages is a strong asset.