Director, Communications Division

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Nairobi, Kenya

About the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, we work through our divisions as well as our regional, liaison and out-posted offices and a growing network of collaborating centres of excellence. We also host several environmental conventions, secretariats and inter-agency coordinating bodies. UN Environment is led by our Executive Director.

We categorize our work into seven broad thematic areas: climate change, disasters and conflicts, ecosystem management, environmental governance, chemicals and waste, resource efficiency, and environment under review. In all of our work, we maintain our overarching commitment to sustainability.

You can find further details on their website https://www.unenvironment.org/.

Director, Communications Division

UNEP's Communication Division is responsible for UNEP's strategic communications, raising environmental awareness, influencing attitudes, behavior and decisions related to the local and global environment with a view to implement UNEP's programme of work. This post will be located in UNEP/Communication Division at the Nairobi duty station. Under the overall supervision of the Executive Director, the incumbent will carry out the following duties:

1. Lead UNEP's communications strategy:

  • Lead and support UNEP's global strategic communications;

  • Lead the development and implementation of a strategy to raise the profile of UNEP and of environmental issues among Governments, stakeholders, the media and the broader public;

  • Support the Executive Director in articulating UNEP's strategic messaging;

  • Identify emerging strategic communications challenges and opportunities.

2. Provide leadership and oversight to UNEP's communications capacities:

  • Oversee and manage the UNEP's Communication Division, formulate and implement its substantive activities and projects, determining priorities, mobilizing and allocating resources;

  • Coordinate a network of regional and national information officers to ensure unity of messaging and that UNEP's communication resources are strategically managed;

  • Oversee and manage UNEP's relations and cooperation with the rest of the UN system as it relates to communications and public information.

3. Serve as UNEP's spokesperson alongside the Executive Director:

  • Support the Executive Director's role as spokesperson of the Organization, including by speaking on behalf of the Executive Director and for UNEP on all matters relating to the Organization;

  • Identify and respond to global, regional and national issues relating to the environment and UNEP's areas of interest that arise in the media and public domain; - Provide strategic guidance and direction to UNEP's global media relations;

  • Guide the development of key press releases, supervise and direct the production of other communication outputs to ensure veracity, accuracy and news-worthiness.

4. Serve as UNEP's lead editor, publisher and executive producer:

  • Develop and oversee UNEP's global campaigns with a view to advance the implementation of UNEP's Programme of Work;

  • Ensure that special days, such as World Environment Day, enjoy considerable public participation and widespread attention globally and that the Champions of the Earth awards attract global attention and impact the environmental agenda;

  • Ensure that UNEP's digital platforms support the implementation of UNEP's mandates through coherent, evidence-based digital communication approaches that effectively leverage partnerships and UNEP's network of influencers and prominent personalities.

  • Ensure that publications meet UNEP standards and are distributed to target audiences in all six UN languages;

  • Ensure relevant promotional materials meet high and evolving standards of design and messaging;

5. Perform other related duties assigned.

Required Competencies

  • Professionalism: Knowledge and understanding of stakeholders, concepts and approaches relevant to environment; practical experience in programme/project management and administration; problem-solving skills, including ability to identify and participate in the resolution of issues/problems; ability to apply good judgment in the context of assignments given; ability to write speeches and/or guide writers. Shows pride in work and in achievements; Demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; Is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; Is Motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; Shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; Remains calm in stressful situations.

  • Communication: The incumbent must have strong corporate communication skills, ability to convey and create awareness of key environmental issues to the global audience; ability to communicate and understand environmental policy and scientific issues. Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; Listens to other, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; Asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; Tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; Demonstrates openness in sharing information keeping people informed.

  • Leadership: The incumbent establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; Drives for change and improvement and does not accept the status quo; Is pro-active in developing strategies to accomplish objectives.

  • Managing Performance: The incumbent delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority. He/she actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff and appraises performance fairly. Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; appraises performance fairly.

  • Accountability: Take ownership of responsibilities and honour commitments; Delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; Operate in compliance with Organizational regulations and rules; Support subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; Takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.

Qualifications and Experience


Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in journalism/communications is required. A first level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible experience in public information and communication is required.
  • Experience at the international level handling strategic communications is required.
  • At least five years of experience in a senior management position are required.
  • Managerial experience dealing with the media and communications campaigns is required.
  • Professional experience dealing with sustainable development and/or environmental issues is highly desirable.
  • Relevant experience in human resources, management, administration, logistics and financial management is desired.
  • Experience in partnership building is an asset.

English and French are the working languages of the UN Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in oral and written English is required including highly specialized language. Knowledge of other UN languages is desirable.

Terms of Appointment

This position is open for recruitment for an initial period of one year and may be subject to extension. Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

How to Apply

If you wish to be considered for this position, please forward a copy of your CV in English version and Microsoft Word format, along with any relevant documentation to [email protected] or use the Application Form below. All information will be in the strictest confidence as we pride ourselves on our professional service. We will revert to you as soon as feasible when we have reviewed your application.

SRI Executive is exclusively retained by UNEP to undertake this assignment.

Application form