Vacancy Announcement: Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

Published 6 March 2023


Buckie Got It, St Kitts Nevis News Source

Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

The Secretariat of the United Nations presents its compliments to all Permanent Missions to the United Nations Office in New York, Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna, the United Nations departments and bodies, specialised agencies, intergovernmental and other organizations, and has the honour to request the nomination of candidates for the position of Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the level of Assistant Secretary-General. This position is based in Montreal (Canada). 

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as the leading global environmental authority within the United Nations system, promotes the environmental dimension of sustainable development and serves as the authoritative advocate for the global environment. UNEP hosts the CBD Secretariat, in line with its relevant articles, Decisions of its Conference of the Parties as well as Decisions of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA). 

In accordance with Decision X/45, Article II.2 of the Revised Administrative Arrangements between UNEP and the CBD, adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention at its tenth meeting in Nagoya (COP10), the Executive Secretary will be appointed by the Secretary-General as recommended by the Executive Director of UNEP, in consultation with the Conference of the Parties through its Bureau. 

In order to ensure a wide pool of candidates for this position, the Secretariat would welcome any nominations to supplement the Secretary-General’s own search and consultations. The nomination of women candidates is strongly encouraged. 

Duties and Responsibilities 
The Executive Secretary has dual reporting lines and is accountable to the Conference of the Parties through its Bureau for programme delivery and policy-related issues and to the Executive Director of UNEP for administrative and financial issues. 

 Further information on CBD is available at the following website:

All nominations will be treated with the strictest confidence and short-listed candidates will be contacted directly to undergo an assessment process, reference and background checks, including human rights and conflicts of interest screening.

Applicants are requested to send their Curriculum Vitae with contact information (telephone, email) to [email protected] no later than 24 March 2023

The responsibilities and requirements for this position are attached herewith.

Skills and expertise 
The Secretary-General is seeking an individual with:
 • Extensive experience and knowledge of the environmental and sustainable development agenda. She/he must be a strong leader and manager with highly developed diplomatic and public policy skills, including experience at the international level. Candidates must demonstrate a strong track record in organizational strategy and development, including results-based management; 
 • Established results achieved in the field of biodiversity conservation and/or nature-based solutions; 
 • Experience with stakeholder engagement and coalition building;                        
  • Demonstrated leadership experience with strategic vision and proven skills in managing complex organizations; 
  • Exceptional public speaking skills; 
  • Excellent people and team management skills, with demonstrated success managing highly diverse teams of international experts; 
  • Impeccable personal and professional integrity.

English and French are the working languages of the United Nations. For this position, fluency in English is required. A working knowledge of French or other United Nations official language will be an advantage. 

Human rights screening 
In accordance with the policy for the nomination of candidates, the Secretariat wishes to outline that it is the responsibility of the nominating Government to ensure that each candidate it nominates has not been convicted of or is not currently under investigation or being prosecuted for any criminal offence or any violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian law. In the case of nominees who have been investigated for, charged with or prosecuted for any criminal offence but were not convicted, the nominating Government is requested to provide information regarding the investigation(s) or prosecutions concerned.

Individuals who are either nominated by Member States or who seek to serve with the United Nations in any individual capacity will be required, if short-listed, to complete a self-attestation stating that they have not committed, been convicted of, nor prosecuted for, any criminal offence and have not been involved, by act or omission, in the commission of any violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.

Conflicts of interest screening
All United Nations staff members are expected to uphold the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity. Senior leaders, in particular, have the responsibility to serve as role models in upholding the organization’s ethical standards. 

A conflict of interest occurs when, by act or omission, a staff member’s personal interests interfere with the performance of his/her official duties and responsibilities, or call into question his/her integrity, independence and impartiality. Risk for conflicts of interest may arise from a staff member’s engagement in outside (non-UN) employment or occupation; outside activities, including political activities; receipt of gifts, honours, awards, favours or remuneration from external (non-UN) sources; or personal investment. In particular, no staff member shall accept any honour, decoration, favour, gift or remuneration from any Government (staff regulation 1.2 (j)).

Where a real or perceived conflict of interest does arise, senior leaders are obligated to disclose this to the organization without delay. In order to avoid real or perceived family influence or preferential treatment and conflicts of interest that could stem from such situations, the UN Staff Rules provide that appointments “shall not be granted to anyone who is the father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister of a staff member” (staff rule 4.7(a)). 

Short-listed individuals will also be required to complete the pre-appointment declaration of interests for senior positions to identify possible conflicts of interest that may arise and to proactively prevent and manage, as much as possible and in a timely manner, situations in which personal interests may conflict or appear to conflict with interests of the United Nations, should the individual be appointed to this position.

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