ESDA/NGR Coordinator

Applications procedure
Related Files
    Personnel Service Agreement
    Tokyo, Japan
    UTC 0
    Open until position is filled

    Organizational Unit: UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)

    United Nations University objectives

    The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in research, postgraduate teaching and capacity development, and dissemination of knowledge in furtherance of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The mission of UNU is to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations and its Member States.

    UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)

    UNU-IAS is a UNU institute based at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo. The mission of UNU-IAS is to serve the international community through policy-relevant research and capacity development focused on sustainability, including its social, economic, and environmental dimensions. UNU-IAS builds on a strong tradition of UNU research and capacity development in Japan, undertaken in collaboration with a global network of professionals and scholars, particularly in Africa and Asia. For more information please visit

    Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA)

    ESDA started as a project of the UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace, in October 2008, to develop and test — with the participation of eight leading African universities — a graduate-level education programme for professionals to be engaged in sustainable development in Africa. The project benefited from the support of Japanese and European universities as well as international organisations active in this area, including UNESCO, UNEP, UN-HABITAT, and the African Development Bank.

    After four-and-a-half years of developmental work, ESDA generated problem-solving fieldwork-oriented master’s programmes in three areas: sustainable integrated rural development, sustainable urban development, and mineral and mining resources. In the fall of 2013, the African partner universities started implementing these programmes on the basis of MOUs concluded with UNU and with guidance from the ESDA consortium, consisting of the senior faculty representatives from the partner universities and chaired by one of the Vice Chancellors of the partner universities. Combined, these universities have so far produced 14 master’s graduates. ESDA has also established a Next Generation Researchers (NGR) team, consisting of young researchers nominated by the partner universities, to conduct joint research in support of the master’s programmes. The team’s research focuses on such topics as gender, corruption and governance, rural-urban linkage, ageing of society, and youth entrepreneurship.


    Under the overall supervision of the Director of UNU-IAS, and under the direct supervision of the Project Manager of ESDA, the ESDA/NGR Coordinator shall perform the following tasks:

    • Assist the Project Manager and team members with the substantive aspect of the ESDA project, including:
      • support of planning and implementation of the project on Knowledge Exchange, Creation and Sharing between Africa and Asia in support of Africa’s Sustainable Development, a joint project of UNU-IAS and the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is funded by AfDB through its Japan Trust Fund
      • support the work of the ESDA Secretariat entrusted to UNU-IAS, Tokyo, including provision of support for the ESDA Consortium; liaison with ESDA partner universities; organisation of international symposiums, seminars, and workshops; publication and dissemination of research output; preparation of ESDA monthly newsletter and maintaining of  ESDA website; support for interns; preparation of reports and other activities for enhancing Africa–Asia knowledge exchange and sharing in support of Africa’s sustainable development
    • Coordinate the work of the ESDA’s Next Generation Researchers (NGR) team, with the support of an NGR Co-Coordinator, including:
      • planning and implementation of field-based research to be conducted at the partner universities in support of their respective ESDA master’s programmes, especially the young faculty and students involved, ensuring NGR accountability to ESDA Consortium as well as to the faculty of respective universities
      • implementation of the secretariat function for NGR activities, including promotion of interaction and collaboration among NGR members of the partner universities, enhancement of joint research for Africa–Asia knowledge exchange, creation and sharing, and effective dissemination and utilisation of research output
      • assist the Project Manager in building the infrastructure for expanding academic and intellectual flow between Japan and Africa, placing ESDA as core part of such infrastructure as well as operational activities
      • promoting the African Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative, especially the African MBA scheme

    Required qualifications and experience

    Required qualifications and experience include:

    • a PhD based on research relating to sustainable development and an excellent publications record
    • at least five (5) years of relevant, progressively responsible experience in research, program development and coordination, and fundraising relating to sustainable development in Africa
    • knowledge and experience of planning and organising seminars, workshops and conferences; knowledge of the UN governance structure and project management practice is an asset
    • willingness to travel overseas (especially to Africa) for official missions
    • excellent written and spoken English
    • notion of spoken Japanese will be an advantage
    • proficiency in MS Office applications (MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook)
    • ability to establish priorities, work within tight deadlines, and handle multiple concurrent activities
    • good team player with strong interpersonal skills demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity


    Remuneration will be commensurate with qualifications and experience of the successful candidate.

    Duration of contract

    This is full-time employment on a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) with UNU-IAS. Initial appointment will be until 31 July 2018, with the possibility of renewal subject to satisfactory work performance and availability of the project fund. The combined duration of appointments shall not exceed six (6) years.

    This is a locally recruited post; no relocation expenses or allowances apply. The successful candidate will be employed under a local contract and will not hold international civil servant status nor be a “staff member” as defined in the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations. UNU does not sponsor a working visa for this position.

    Starting date

    November 2017 (negotiable)

  • Interested applicants should submit their applications by email (to, and must include the following:

    • a cover letter setting out how your qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • a curriculum vitae and a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations
    • an indication of the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2016/UNU/IAS/PSA/CO/86)

    Please note that applications received after the closing date will not be considered.

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    The United Nations shall place 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. (Charter of the United Nations – Chapter 3, article 8)

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