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Senior Director, Sustainable Development

Position Overview

The Senior Director, Sustainable Development is responsible for the Foundation’s primary work to support implementation, monitoring, and accountability of the Sustainable Development Goals and our efforts to help countries and other stakeholders “bend the curve” in SDG achievement. This includes working on issues ranging from sustainable development financing to best practice in tracking progress (especially through the High-level Political Forum) as well as managing a portfolio of work with partners in civil society and research institutions globally (especially through a partnership with Southern Voice).  S(he) is expected to help the Foundation generate and execute opportunities for high-impact sustainable development initiatives, provide thought leadership and strategic advice to the UN and other partners, and serve as a source of policy expertise and entrepreneurship around key sustainable development issues. The Senior Director will be based in UNF’s New York Office and report to the Executive Director, Global Policy, while developing close and collaborative relationships with relevant teams across UNF.

Essential Functions

  • Oversee and shape the strategy for UNF support to UN leaders and key partners around the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Financing for Development, including supporting the Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General’s team and their priorities around the SDGs and on issues and partnerships deemed most critical to bending SDG curves.
  • Build and strengthen relationship with UN officials and Member State representatives, both in New York and in key capitals, who are leading or could be leading on SDG/FfD implementation and help foster coalitions for effective and prioritized action on SDG achievement.
  • Provide internal expertise and guidance to the organization and maintain a strong link with UNF teams that intersect with the SDGs, especially around implementation of the Paris climate agreement and in the health and gender space and the policy planning team.
  • Work with teams to make strategic use of UN processes such as the High Level Political Forum and support the advancement of UN reforms needed to successfully implement the SDGs.
  • Manage day-to-day activities of executing donor required deliverables and workplans, including overseeing a team, managing the budget, and preparing donor and internal reports.
  • Provide thought leadership, serve as a spokesperson on sustainable development, and work with UNF's communications and executive leadership to identify communications opportunities and develop best in class content.
  • Build and maintain relationships with think tanks, civil society, private sector, and other leaders on advocacy and implementation strategy and tactics in support of building a broad and deep base of global support for the SDGs.
  • Oversee or produce regular reporting and tracking of key SDG developments, reports, and events at the UN.

Selection Criteria

  • Track record of analytic skill and policy savvy in sustainability, global development, development finance, or a related area. Direct experience with the SDGs/FfD highly desirable.
  • Minimum 12-15 years related experience in international development and foreign policy, including in the public sector, in the multi-lateral system, civil society or the private sector.
  • Highly motivated self-starter, entrepreneurial team player with strong teamwork skills.
  • Proven ability to build strategic relationships and partnerships with and across diverse actors, including international actors, civil society, and business.
  • Superb communication skills, including excellent writing, editing, and presentation abilities.
  • Demonstrated political and diplomatic skills.
  • Practical experience with the United Nations and other multilateral cooperation efforts and/or deep knowledge of international policy development and delivery.
  • Detail-oriented with strong project and time management skills, including ability to manage multiple and fast-paced projects and tasks simultaneously.
  • Master’s Degree required; Ph.D. plus practical experience strongly preferred.
  • Experience working with a diverse and global workforce preferred.
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle stress.
  • Ability to meet regular attendance/tardiness policy.

Benefits & Compensation

For full-time, benefit eligible employees, UNF offers an excellent range of benefits, including:

  • A choice of two health plans through CareFirst (PPO or HDHP with HSA),
  • dental insurance,
  • vision discounts,
  • flexible spending accounts,
  • 403b retirement savings plan with a generous matching contribution,
  • group term and supplemental life insurance,
  • short-term disability,
  • long-term disability,
  • health club discounts,
  • commuter benefits, and
  • employee assistance program. 

Additionally, all benefit eligible employees have 12 paid holidays, 20 vacation days, 10 sick days, 3 personal days, and 8 weeks of parental leave.


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