Adviser to GEF CEO

Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
10+ Years
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Created at the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the GEF'S mandate is support sustainable development though financing for implementation of the "Rio Conventions" on biodiversity and climate change. Today, the GEF is the financial mechanism for five international environmental conventions: the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity, Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Convention on Combat Desertification, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and also a major funder of ocean related activities through its International Waters programs and for Sustainable Forest Management. The GEF unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs) and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.

The GEF 2020 Strategy lays out a vision for the GEF to be a champion of the global environment, building on its role as financial mechanism of several MEAs, and supporting transformational change and achieving impacts at scale. The Global Environment Facility's (GEF) Trust Fund was recently replenished for the period 2018-2022 in the amount of US $4.1 billion on the back of a set of newly agreed, innovative strategies and policies aimed at further enhancing GEF's impact on the global environment. 

Specifically, the GEF-7 programming strategy seeks to address the underlying drivers of global environmental degradation, and support coalitions that bring together partnerships of committed stakeholders around solutions to complex environmental challenges.

The CEO's Front Office provides direct support to the GEF CEO, helping to (i) drive forward the implementation of the strategic priorities laid out in the GEF-7 programming directions and the GEF 2020 strategy, (ii) nurture a healthy and effective GEF partnership of countries, agencies, and other stakeholders, while reaching out to a broad array of external stakeholders to strengthen GEF's strategic position; (iii) ensure timely and rigorous implementation of Council decisions for continued strengthening of the GEFs policy and operational framework; and (iv) achieve high organizational effectiveness of the GEF Secretariat.

Duties and accountabilities

The Adviser will play a key role in supporting the CEO to shape the strategic directions for the GEF, delivering on the priorities laid out in the GEF-7 programming strategies, the GEF 2020 long term strategy, and positioning the GEF in the evolving post-2015 sustainable development and climate finance landscapes. 

The role of the Adviser is multi-faceted and complex, including providing advice, oversight and management over a wide range of tasks from strategy to policy and communication. On behalf of the CEO the Adviser will handle sensitive and substantive matters internally within the Secretariat as well as with external partners, as appropriate. The adviser reports directly to the CEO and works in close collaboration with the GEF Secretariat management team. 

Specifically, the Adviser will:

  • Lead or provide key inputs to the preparations of GEF strategy, policy and operational development, including design and execution of major policy and/or research initiatives.
  • Provide proactive advice and support to the CEO on issues important for the strategic positioning of the GEF.
  • Lead monitoring and oversight functions of the Front Office, including reviewing products prepared by the Secretariat's other units.
  • Provide high-level technical advice to support the GEF's contributions to convention related conferences and other global environmental policy meetings.
  • Support the CEO in her global leadership role across a broad range of domains (e.g. as Commissioner for the Global Adaptation Commission; Co-chair for the Partnership for Accelerating the Circular Economy; Co-chair for the Advisory Network to the high-level Panel on a Sustainable Ocean Economy; Ambassador for FOLU (Food and Land Use coalition)).
  • Ensure that the CEO receives the highest quality support and assistance, including with respect to briefing material, correspondence for the CEO's signature, talking points, speeches and other material prepared for the CEO. Accompany the CEO on travels, as necessary.
  • Represent the GEF, as directed by the CEO, at external meetings to further the agenda to protect the global environmental commons.
  • Interact and build relations with a broad range of relevant external partners in research, policy and advocacy communities, the UN, civil society, country counterparts and the GEF Council.
  • Support the GEF communications function, including executive communication and communication strategy development and implementation. 
  • Supervise the CEO Front Office staff and ensure timely delivery of communications outputs within the available budget envelope.
  • Lead the preparation of the annual Administrative Budget Request for the GEFSEC to Council.
  • Provide final review prior to CEO signature of Adaptation Fund Projects.


Selection Criteria


  • Master’s degree (e.g., in economics, environmental science, or other relevant field) and a minimum of 12 years of relevant experience, or an equivalent combination of experience and education.
  • Strong technical and operational background and experience in strategy development and implementation.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and provide substantive support on policy, operational, and administrative issues.
  • Strong understanding of the GEF's operations, strategy development and implementation.
  • Strong communication skills, including the ability to speak persuasively and present ideas clearly and concisely.
  • Superior level of resourcefulness, ability to work with considerable autonomy as well as willingness to work under pressure and through the whole spectrum of activities from the strategic level to the resolution of specific issues and details.
  • Outstanding interpersonal, diplomatic and partnership skills.
  • Well-organized individual able to operate effectively under pressure.
  • Ability to anticipate, with quick response, capability and selectiveness.
  • Flexibility to address a wide range of issues and situations, often at short notice.
  • High degree of discretion, tact and sensitivity in dealing with internal and external clients, staff and managers, and in handling confidential and sensitive matters.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to work effectively in teams, and with management and staff at all levels, and across organizational boundaries.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a multicultural environment.

In addition to the above specific competencies the adviser would also have to satisfy the following corporate competencies:

Deliver Results for Clients

  • Acts as a trusted, strategic adviser, partnering with clients to deliver results.
  • Creates opportunities that are aligned with the mission to increase impact and leads initiatives to take advantage of these opportunities.
  • Proactively guides clients to see the possibilities in new approaches and solutions.
  • Takes full accountability for managing risk and ensuring outcomes consistent with the GEF strategy.

Collaborate within Teams and Across Boundaries

  • Leads collaboration across the organization and with partners, drawing on robust professional networks.
  • Clearly articulates and models expectations of collaborative behavior, recognizes collaboration and contributions of others.
  • Provides safe environment for exchange of ideas where people feel free to express dissenting opinions, handling conflicts as opportunities and problems to be solved.
  • Prioritizes corporate goals over individual or team goals when in conflict.

Lead and Innovative

  • Inspires and influences others to drive innovation.
  • Fosters open discussions with broad audiences to set vision and establish buy-in for innovation that can enhance organizational effectiveness.
  • Inspires others to develop new solutions that have sustainable impact and advocates for changes and application of new methods to enhance results.
  • Develops partnerships and relationships that enable the GEF to achieve results through innovation.

Create, Apply and Share Knowledge

  • Establishes an environment where knowledge is created, applied and shared.
  • Leverages external knowledge and partnerships to strengthen solutions for internal and/or external clients.
  • Is known across the GEF and externally in his/her subject area and is routinely sought out by colleagues to advise, peer review, or contribute to knowledge products of others.
  • Encourages a learning culture by seeking out and being open to feedback, as well as effectively mentoring others, on how to improve contribution and impact through continuous learning and knowledge acquisition.
  • Builds networks of experts and clients to share knowledge and experience for the purpose of strengthening internal and/or external client solutions as well as GEF’s role as convener and facilitator of knowledge.

Make smart decisions

  • Makes timely decisions that have a broad impact.
  • Makes timely decisions, which anticipate, evaluate and plan for the impact across organizational boundaries and stakeholder groups.
  • Demonstrates the confidence to make bold decisions quickly, balancing speed and thoroughness even in the face of ambiguous circumstances.
  • Takes accountability for decisions that involve higher levels of risk, works effectively with stakeholders to minimize risks involved.