Job Opening

Posting Title: Technical Writer
Department/Office: United Nations Human Settlements Programme
Duty Station: NAIROBI
Posting Period: 30 December 2021 - 24 January 2022
Job Opening Number: 21-United Nations Human Settlements Programme-171587-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

The goal of the proposed publication is to provide a comprehensive global assessment of slums in 2020 and an analysis of key developments in terms of policy, partnerships, novel and innovative solutions that have been successfully applied in response to the challenge of slums. The specific objectives are to contribute to advocacy, demonstrate the impacts of sustainable transformation in slums and informal settlements, and accelerate the implementation of the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda (NUA) based on new knowledge, know-how and data trends.


The Technical Writer will support the production of a major official documentation of UN-Habitat by delivering the following outputs that meet high editorial standards and are completed on schedule and in accordance with established procedures:
1 Inception Report Week 1
2 Report with technical content elaborated in analysis of existing data from different sources and indication of missing data Week 3
3 Report with technical content elaborated in analysis of newly compiled data from different sources Week 6
4 Report with technical content elaborated in analysis of newly compiled data from different sources Weeks 9

Work Location

Home Based

Duties and Responsibilities


The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

The Land Housing and Shelter Section is the tools and methodology production and skills center of UN-Habitat, that develops normative guidance and cutting-edge tools through communities of urban practice. It provides technical and policy advice approaches and methodologies government and partners and mainstreams them throughout the programmed portfolio. It also ensures that the cross-cutting area of safety and the social inclusion issues of human rights; gender; children, youth, and older persons; and disability are developed and mainstreamed across the Agency.

The Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) was initiated by the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, the European Commission and UN-Habitat in 2008 in recognition of the widespread and chronic urban poverty in slums and informal settlements. The Programme’s strategic objectives are to strengthen global partnerships and policy dialogue and improve knowledge and capacities for participatory slum upgrading and prevention in ACP countries, with a view to improving living conditions in slums and informal settlements. Its primary focus is to integrate slums communities into the urban fabric by addressing tenure security, increasing access to land and basic services, improving infrastructure and mobility and strengthening economic links.

In 2003, UN-Habitat published The Challenge of Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements, the results of the first global assessment of slums by the United Nations since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration. The report proposed a newly accepted operational definition of slums, and with the first global estimates of the numbers of slumdwellers, painted a dire picture of the situation in slums, which are predominantly a physical and spatial manifestation of urban poverty.
The report, which remains one of UN-Habitat’s most read publications and a relevant resource for many global stakeholders, discusses the challenge of slums and the factors underlying their formation. In view of the developments and innovative solutions that have been successfully applied in addressing the challenge of slums, and the importance of slums and informal settlements on the global development agenda, the time is ripe to publish the Solutions to Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements 2020.


2.1 Brief Overview
The proposed publication, whose provisional title is Solutions to Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements 2020, will provide the direction needed by key development stakeholders to step up in their commitment to reducing urban poverty and inequalities, leaving no one behind. UN-Habitat is committed to assisting member states to meet the challenge of slums and enable countries to transform the lives of the urban poor strategically and at scale, incrementally putting the people at the centre of the interventions.

The Report will assess the impacts of the slum upgrading and prevention solutions and developments (including policies) adopted by governments, civil society groups and international organizations over the past 20 years. In addition, it will demonstrate how large-scale transformations have and can be actioned in a way that allows for physical improvements, socioeconomic development, cultural identity, wellbeing and belonging without resorting to forced evictions.

The topic of slums and informal settlements has been high in global debates for 20 years. As a result, many countries have abandoned slum demolitions and forced evictions – a gross violation of human rights – in favour of inclusive policies, legislation and people-centred investments. In contribution, UN-Habitat alone reviewed more than 50 policy frameworks over the past 10 years and leveraged more than one billion USD in several countries including Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Fiji, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger and Papua New Guinea.

Essentially, this publication will examine the developments and innovative solutions that have been successfully applied by the United Nations and development partners to address the challenge of slums. Furthermore, it will assess the impact of the slum upgrading and prevention solutions and policies adopted by governments, civil society groups and international organizations since the inception of the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP).

With the recognition of the challenge of slums in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG #11.1 and elevation of sustainable urbanization and development to an “Urban Goal”, this is the opportune moment to strengthen the call to the global community to redouble their efforts if related goals and targets are to be realized by 2030. Therefore, the purpose of the publication will be to refocus global discussions around upscaling slum upgrading interventions to meet the challenge of slums in less than a decade.

2.1 Tasks and Responsibilities
Under the guidance of the Publication Coordinator of the Participatory Slum and Upgrading Programme (PSUP), the Technical Writer (Consultant) will be responsible for the following duties:
1) Summarise pertinent material and prepare background materials.
2) Systematically follow through and retrieve, highlight and compile information from a wide variety of information sources; prepare technical input for the publication
3) Provide reliable results and sound analysis of issues and developments affecting assigned sectoral areas. Deliver high quality empirical research results in thorough, well reasoned written reports, records and/or data contributions.
4) Edit complex or politically sensitive material, normally without revision, to ensure accuracy, clarity, cohesion and conformity with United Nations standards, policy and practice.
5) Co-ordinate the input of other departments in the Secretariat, as well as the UN agencies and programmes and other organizations, in the collection of data.

2.2 Timeline and work location
The Technical Writer (Consultant) is expected to work from 01. February 2021 to 04. April 2022 (9 weeks). The work location will be home based.

Qualifications/special skills

Skills: a. Excellent research skills, including ability to evaluate and integrate information from a variety of sources using standard methodologies and analytical techniques, conduct conceptual and strategic analyses, draw conclusions and assess impact on urban development and policy issues.
b. Sound analytical skills and ability to quickly read documents to familiarise with content.
c. Excellent drafting and conceptual writing skills
d. Facility in communication with a wide range of stakeholders
e. Knowledge of the institutions of the UN system.
f. Ability to work under pressure, with availability for overtime and on-call assignments, depending on the needs of the service.
Academic Qualifications: A master’s degree in urban planning or development, social science or related field is a requirement.. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
Experience: Five years of demonstrated ability to complete in-depth studies and proven track record as author and technical content developer of international publications and reports is required.
Knowledge of urban development and informal settlements is required. Ability to relate to socio-economic issues, trends and perspectives, including gender issues, to urban development initiatives and programmes is desirable
Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this consultancy, fluency of English is required, which must be the candidate’s primary language. French proficiency will be an added advantage

No Fee


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