Urban Policy & Planning Officer

Issue Date 02 Nov 2015 Closing Date 11 Nov 2015
Grade CONSULTANT Post Duration
Duty Station Organizational Unit Urban Planning and Design
Job Opening

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the Agency for Human Settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. This post is located in in the Regional & Metropolitan Planning Unit of the Urban Planning and Design Branch at the UN-Habitat headquarters in Nairobi.

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Issued on: 02 November 2015


UN-HABITAT, Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit, Urban Planning and Design Branch, UN-HABITAT




Urban Policy & Planning Officer


01 December 2015-30 November 2016


11 November 2015



The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. This post is located in in the Regional & Metropolitan Planning Unit of the Urban Planning and Design Branch at the UN-Habitat headquarters in Nairobi.


Urban Planning and Design Branch

The Urban Planning and Design Branch (UPDB) was created in December 2011 following the translation of the new UN-HABITAT priorities into seven new thematic branches. UPDB builds on the heritage of the Urban Environment and Planning Branch, which was created in September 2008 when the Urban Environment Section was upgraded to the level of a Branch, with the mandate to serve as the agency’s focal point branch for urban environment and urban planning.


The Urban Planning and Design Branch (UPDB) supports governments and cities with tested approaches, guidelines and tools to support urban growth and improved sustainability, efficiency and equity through planning and design at all levels and scales. It focuses on ensuring that planning and designing contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. It does this by promoting key principles, including optimizing the population and economic density of urban settlements, where appropriate, promoting mixed land use, diversity and better connectivity. Throughout this approach, issues of social inclusion, including ensuring gender balance and the inclusion of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, are addressed and, where possible, locally and regionally defined urban planning and design traditions are respected.


The Branch has three Units which are closely related:

(1) Regional and Metropolitan Planning, (2) City Planning, Extension and Design, and (3) Climate Change Planning. To implement the UN-Habitat’s 2014-2019 work programme, all the three Units will continue to work in synergy, across other UN-Habitat branches and Units as well as a range of partners.


Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit

The Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit will play a key role in supporting the delivery of the Branch’s mandates through the following four intervention areas:


  • National Urban Policies from pre-feasibility, diagnostic, development, implementation to monitoring and tracking progress;
  • Regional, Metropolitan and City-region planning including in development of corridors, clusters and systems of cities and promotion of a green economy and urban-rural linkages;
  • The International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning as well as it rolling out, implementation and monitoring;
  • Spatial Planning Frameworks at metropolitan, regional, national and supra-national levels


To deliver on its areas of intervention, the Unit works through the following approaches:

  • Develop, manage and disseminate knowledge;
  • Promote frameworks, policies and normative products;
  • Support capacity development efforts;
  • Develop tools and instruments;
  • Strengthen partnerships and networking; and
  • Provide advisory services to member states and Habitat Agenda partners.


The Unit works closely with other Units within the Urban Planning and Design Branch as well as other branches, regional offices and field projects of UN-Habitat and collaborates with other stakeholders who are contributing to advancing the Unit’s areas of intervention.




This position requires that the Consultant contribute to two of the above four intervention areas of the Unit, namely National Urban Policies (NUP) and International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IGUTP). These are two key pillars and strategic action areas for the RMPU in the lead up to Habitat III.


National Urban Policies

The development of a National Urban Policy is the key step for reasserting urban space and territoriality and for providing the needed direction and course of action to support urban development. The National Urban Policy provides an overarching coordinating framework to address the most pressing issues related to rapid urban development, including slum prevention and regularization, access to land, basic services and infrastructure, urban legislation, delegation of authority to subnational and local governments, financial flows, urban planning regulations, urban mobility and urban energy requirements, as well as job creation.


Approved at the highest level, a National Urban Policy could be seen as the general framework to guide public and private interventions in urban areas and be a reference for sectoral ministries and service providers. When developed through a consultative process, the NUP can serve as one of the key references for legislative institutional reform. Countries that have developed and are implementing National Urban Policy often use it as a good instrument for public and political awareness because such policy highlights the gains to be obtained from sustainable urban development, as well as an opportunity to promote consultation with urban stakeholders.


Through the development of a National Urban Policy the following results are expected: (a) the identification of urban development priorities towards socially and economically equitable and environmentally friendly urban and national development; (b) guidance on the future development of the national urban system and its spatial configuration concretized through National and Regional Spatial Plans for Territorial Development; (c) better coordination and guidance of actions by national actors, as well as lower levels of government in all sectors; (d) increased and more coordinated private and public and private investments in urban development and consequent improvement of cities productivity, inclusiveness and environmental conditions.


UN-Habitat has received a range of requests to support national governments to develop, implement and/or track progress of their national urban policies.


International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning

The International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning intend to constitute a global framework for improving policies, plans and designs for more compact, socially inclusive, better integrated and connected cities and territories that foster sustainable urban development and are resilient to climate change.


Four goals sustained the intention behind the development of these Guidelines:


  1. Develop a universally applicable reference framework for national urban policy reforms;
  2. Capture universal principles from national experiences that could support the development of a diversity of planning approaches adapted to different contexts and scales;
  3. Complement and link other international guidelines aiming at fostering urban development;
  4. Raise the urban and territorial dimensions in the development agendas of national, provincial and local governments.
  5. For this assignment, one of the key tasks would be to develop an implementation plan for the Guidelines.


Given the relative new focus provided by the programme to urban planning work of UN-Habitat, the Branch is reinforcing its human resource base to provide technical support to this programme and its various stakeholders and beneficiaries.



The Consultant will be involved in supporting the Unit’s work programme and activities, in particular the following:


  1. National Urban Policies and Spatial Frameworks:
  • Develop tools to support the feasibility, diagnostic, formulation, implementation and monitoring of National Spatial Frameworks and National Urban Policies. These tools include the Political Economy and Governance Assessment Framework for NUP, the Monitoring framework for NUP, the NUP implementation framework, Web-based checklist for NUP, NUP process scorecard, Tool for linking NUP and the systems of cities as support for inclusive economic growth, Equity tool for NUP, spatial frameworks ‘barometer’ for NUP, etc.
  • Support the Unit in expanding its normative outputs and knowledge resource base including documentation of experiences and good practices such as assessing economic and equity relevance of NUP, develop action plan for the implementation of the RMPU strategic plan.
  • Support the provision of technical assistance in selected field projects and advisory services in various countries and agencies.
  • Contribute to and undertake research and publications on NUP and Spatial Frameworks.


  1. Support to the implementation of the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP):
  • Contribute to the development of pilot indicators and preparation of a handbook for the implementation of the guidelines at the global level.
  • Develop the monitoring framework for the implementation of the IG-UTP.
  • Support the Unit in its capacity development efforts, workshops and learning programmes of policy makers and planners on IG-UTP in selected countries and regions.
  • Support regional level activities including policy dialogues, advocacy and communication.
  • Develop policy briefs and advocacy materials on IG-UTP targeting a range of audiences.
  • Support the development of Policy Guide on county, regional and metropolitan planning to promote socially inclusive, integrated and connected system of cities.


  1. Project Development and Support:
  • Draft concept notes, proposals and project documents on NUP, IG-UTP and other programme areas of the Unit.
  • Support the preparation and review of project reports and assist with tracking, monitoring and evaluation of programme activities.
  • Support the Unit in the development of new activities and funding opportunities.
  • Provide support and input to other areas of work of the Unit, particularly on Urban-rural linkages, regional planning, urban corridors, green economy/smart green cities


  1. Other duties

The consultant will also undertake other relevant duties as assigned by the Leader of the Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit to advance the work of the Unit, Branch and the Agency.






-Speaks and writes clearly and effectively

-Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately

-Asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication

-Tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience

-Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed



-Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals

-Solicits input 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 decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position

-Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings


Client Orientation:

-Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view

-Establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect

-Identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions

-Monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems

-Keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects

-Meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client




  • Advanced university degree in urban issues, regional and metropolitan planning geography or another related urban development field
  • A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.



  • At least two years of professional experience in social/economic sustainable development, regional and territorial planning, metropolitan planning or policy analysis and assessment.
  • Professional experience in urban or development policy consulting is an asset
  • Prior knowledge and experience at UN Habitat is useful
  • Extensive experience in research on urban issues, demonstrated through publications is desirable


Fluency in English is required

Knowledge of French is required

Knowledge of and ability to work in other official UN languages is an advantage




  • Demonstrable ability to innovate and initiate activities from scratch
  • Ability to work under pressure in diverse environments with minimum supervision
  • Ability to represent and articulate the organization’s philosophy at various fora
  • Demonstrable effective written communications skills including the ability to prepare reports, proposals, policies and procedures
  • Strong networking, team work and management skills
  • Very strong analytical and interpersonal skills


Payments will be based on a monthly rate subject to satisfactory delivery of agreed monthly targets and work plans over the assignment period. There are set remuneration rates for consultancies. The rate is determined by functions performed and experience of the consultant. The fees will be paid as per agreement.


Applications should include:

• Cover page (maximum 1 page)

• CV in the PHP format, accessible through the INSPIRA website ( Please note, if using INSPIRA for the first time, you need to register in order to activate your account, which will allow you to log in and create a personal History Profile.

• The PHP should be attached to the application as a PDF file.

• Summary CV (maximum 2 pages)


Please also be advised that since April 15th 2010, applicants for consultancies must be part of the

UN-HABITAT e-Roster in order for their application to be considered. You can reach the e-Roster

through the following link:


All applications should be submitted to:

Ms. Jayne Kimani


P.O. Box 30030, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya


Deadline for applications: 11 November 2015

UN-HABITAT does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process. If you have any questions concerning persons or companies claiming to be recruiting on behalf of these offices and requesting the payment of a fee, please contact:


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