Executive Director, Sustainable Development Initiatives

United Nations Foundation New York City , NY 10008

Posted 2 months ago

Position Overview

On the eve of the "Decade for Delivery" and at a critical time for the SDGs, the Executive Director, Sustainable Development Initiatives will lead the UN Foundation's SDG strategy and manage directly key workstreams conducted out of New York that work particularly closely with the United Nations. The Executive Director will be knowledgeable, savvy, and creative, with a track record of innovation in policy and practice, high quality of execution, and capacity to build coalitions and earn trust and credibility with diverse partners. S/he will have a high level of intellectual versatility across SDG issues, actors, and dynamics.

S/he will work closely with UNF's Senior Advisor on Sustainable Development; policy, advocacy, and communications lead across the Foundation; and UNF leadership. S/he will build and oversee a small, high-powered team responsible for executing policy and advocacy work related to the SDGs.

Essential Functions

  • Lead UNF's strategy and thinking on the SDGs, shape UNF's contribution to the "Decade of Action for Delivery," and generate ideas for policy, advocacy, and other initiatives to accelerate progress and tackle challenges to SDG implementation, including in areas such as financing, monitoring and accountability, and the intersection of SDGs and climate.

  • Lead UNF's day-to-day engagement with the UN on the SDGs and our support for UN processes related to SDG implementation and delivery.

  • Lead UNF engagement with key partners active on the SDGs in governments, civil society, private sector, and academia, including the Southern Voice think tank network, the NY-based think tank community, and 'war room' of leading civil society advocates for the SDGs convened by UNF; shape and oversee production of regular updates for partners about latest developments at the UN.

  • Work with UNF's communications and policy planning teams to shape the strategy and execution of SDG-related communications products, including blogs, op-eds or articles related to the SDGs.

  • Represents UNF in key moments related to the SDGs.

  • Serve as a source of internal expertise and guidance to UNF and maintain a strong link with UNF teams that intersect with the SDGs, especially around climate change, global health and gender equality, and including multi-stakeholder alliances that are housed at UNF.

  • Represent UNF in working with the UN's SDG Strategy Hub and relevant advocacy efforts, and support and track initiatives critical to successfully implement the SDGs,

  • Build and oversee small team of professionals based in NY who conduct policy, research, and tracking around UN and other leading SDG efforts.

  • Oversee select major convenings related to SDGs

  • Cultivate strong donor relationships and lead fundraising for SDG-related work.

  • Maintain line-of-sight on all SDG-related partnerships and external relationships

  • Oversee SDG-related budget, financial tracking, and grants

Selection Criteria

  • Graduate degree required; preferably in the fields of political science, economics, international development, or a related field.

  • Minimum 15 years of experience and expertise in international policy or practice related to sustainable development required.

  • High degree of intellectual versatility across the 2030 agenda but with a depth knowledge in at least one key area, such as financing, climate change, rural development, or global health

  • In-depth and expert understanding of the SDGs as well as global political dynamics, the United Nations and international development.

  • Exceptional oral and written communications skills.

  • Exceptional analytical skills, ability to synthesize complex ideas at a strategic level, and track record of thought leadership on a variety of policy and development issues at a high level

  • Reputation for exceptional representational skills with external audiences and proven ability to cultivate and maintain relationships with a variety of partners, including diplomats, government officials, and civil society.

  • Strong leadership and management skills, including ability to mentor staff and motivate teams, ability to drive projects from inception to implementation with attention to detail, and proven ability to work across teams and with partners to accomplish mission.

  • Self-starter, flexibility, and a team player.

  • Ability to develop, maintain, and enjoy effective working relationships with people from a wide variety of organizations and with a wide variety of functional expertise.

  • Stress tolerance and resilience; ability to work well under pressure and with competing demands.

  • Continuous learning skills and the ability to synthesize information.

  • Multi-sector experience and ability to thrive in a multi-cultural environment.

  • A sense of humor!

Benefits & Compensation

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

  • a choice between two health plans through UnitedHealthcare (PPO or HDHP with HSA)
  • dental insurance
  • vision insurance
  • 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 subsidy
  • back-up care
  • 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 family leave care.


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Executive Director, Sustainable Development Initiatives

United Nations Foundation