Job Opening

Posting Title: LEGAL OFFICER, P3
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: MONTREAL
Posting Period: 17 October 2017 - 30 November 2017
Job Opening Number: 17-Legal Affairs-UNEP-85681-R-Montreal (X)
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Special Notice

Appointment against this post is for an initial period of one year and may be subject to extension. 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. 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. All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply on-line as soon as possible after the job opening has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the job opening. On-line applications will be acknowledged where an email address has been provided. If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. If the problem persists, please seek technical assistance through the Inspira "Need Help?" link.

Org. Setting and Reporting

The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) 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. At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for 'sustainable development'. The Convention on Biological Diversity was opened for signature in Rio in 1992. The Convention has three main objectives: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) is located in Montreal and is administered by UN Environment. This post is located in the Convention on Biological Diversity, Office of the Executive Secretary (OES). Under the overall guidance of the Executive Secretary and the direct supervision of the Senior Legal Officer who is also the coordinator of the Legal and Intergovernmental Affairs Unit, the incumbent will perform the following duties:


A. Provide legal and technical support in the planning and management of intergovernmental processes under the Convention and the Protocols, in particular open-ended and concurrent meetings of the governing and subsidiary bodies, with a view to enhancing integrated approaches, efficiencies, and improved decision-taking while ensuring the legal integrity of each process. B. Review and coordinate the preparation of draft recommendations and elements of draft decisions with a view to ensuring consistency, quality and complementarity of proposed recommendations and decisions. C. Assist in the preparation of legal and technical documents and advisory notes focused on international norms, procedural and institutional issues that facilitate the work of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention and the meetings of the Parties to the Protocols in guiding the processes and meetings under the Convention and the Protocols. D. Undertake research and monitor trends in international law and international environmental processes, in particular those under multilateral environmental agreements, and identify good practices that would benefit the processes under the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Protocols – Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety- with respect to the development of new decisions, and/or the implementation of existing decisions, arrangements, and decision-making procedures or practices. E. Review the decisions of the Parties to the Convention and the Protocols and develop proposals and legal opinion on the implementation status of the decisions and any follow up measures that may be required to be undertaken by the Parties or the Secretariat, as appropriate. F. Establish working relationships with the representatives and officials of national competent authorities, appropriate staff of the secretariats of relevant multilateral environmental agreements, United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, and other international organizations that participate in and contribute to the intergovernmental processes under the Convention and the Protocols. G. Assist in the negotiations and preparation of memoranda of understanding with partners, and the drafting of agreements with governments hosting meetings or events organized by the Secretariat; H. Perform other duties as may be assigned.


•Professionalism: Provide legal and technical support in the planning and management of intergovernmental processes under the Convention and the Protocols. Contribute to the review and coordination of the preparation of draft recommendations and elements of draft decisions. Review the decisions of the Parties to the Convention and the Protocols, develop proposals and follow up measures; Undertake research and identify new developments in international law and international processes. 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.
•Planning and Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies. Identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required. Allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work. Foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning. Monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary.
•Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals. Solicits inputs by genuinely valuing others' ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others. Places team agenda before personal agenda; Supports and acts in accordance with final group decisions, even when such decisions many not entirely reflect own position. Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.


Advanced university degree (Masters degree or equivalent) in law, preferably with specialization in international environmental law and governance is required. A first level university degree combined with an additional two years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in environmental law and governance of which at least three years are at the international level is required. Experience within the United Nations Systems processes and familiarity with the processes of environmental treaty bodies, the Multi-lateral Environmental Agreements, as well as solid capacity to analyze environmental legal regimes is an advantage.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in oral and written English is required. Working knowledge of another UN languages is an asset.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include a substantive assessment which will be followed by a competency-based interview.

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity, including but not limited to, respect for international human rights and humanitarian law. Candidates may be subject to screening against these standards, including but not limited to, whether they have committed or are alleged to have committed criminal offences or violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the At-a-Glance on "The Application Process" and the Instructional Manual for the Applicants, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The screening and evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications, including but not limited to, their education, work experience, and language skills, according to the instructions provided on inspira. Applicants will be disqualified from consideration if they do not demonstrate in their application that they meet the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations. Applicants are solely responsible for providing complete and accurate information at the time of application: no amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to a reference-checking process to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at midnight (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee


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