Regional and Metropolitan Officer

Issue Date 16 May 2016 Closing Date 29 May 2016
Grade CONSULTANT Post Duration 1 July 2016- 30 June 2017
Duty Station Nairobi Organizational Unit Urban Planning and Design
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The Urban Planning and Design Branch (UPDB) was created in December 2011 following the translation of the new UN-HABITAT priorities in seven new thematic branches. Urban planning and design is increasingly projected as one of the top priorities of the agency.

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                                                                                                                     Issued on: 16May 2016


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




Regional and Metropolitan Officer


1 July 2016- 30 June 2017


29 May  2016

Brief Project Description: 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.

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 in seven new thematic branches. Urban planning and design is increasingly projected as one of the top priorities of the agency.

Urban Planning & Design Branch (UPDB) of UN-Habitat supports countries in developing urban planning methods and systems that address current urbanization challenges. It promotes urban planning and environmental management approaches to address climate change mitigation and adaptation in urban areas, as well as urban biodiversity, urban mobility and energy in the context of sustainable urban development.
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 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 through the following six entry points:

  • Promoting, within the context of decentralization and multi-level governance and through multi-stakeholders processes, a number of critical principles, such as optimizing the population and economic density of urban settlements, where appropriate, mixed land-use, diversity, better social capital, innovation and better connectivity in order to take advantage of agglomeration of economies and to minimize mobility demand. In particular, the Branch will support approaches that emphasize the need to plan in advance of urban population growth, at the scale of the challenges, in phases and for job creation and social capital development. The approach will recognise local cultural values and promote endogenous development, within the context of regional, national and global development.
  • Improving urban planning and design at the national, regional and local levels will be operationalized within the framework of decentralization as broadly provided for by the Guidelines on Decentralization and the Strengthening of Local Authorities and other key UN-Habitat documents;
  • Providing city, subnational and national governments with a set of tested approaches, guidelines, and tools to support the management of growth and improve sustainability, efficiency and equity of metropolitan areas through planning at different scales, i.e. metropolitan, regional, national and supra-national scales.
  • Developing capacity at global, regional, national and local levels, supported by dedicated strategies and programmes, including human/financial resources, tool development, resource development, organizational development and institutional strengthening components 
  • Assuming a catalytic role by reinforcing existing partnerships and networks, and establishing new strategic ones within the United Nations system agencies, non-governmental organizations, research and training  establishments, scientific institutions and financial bodies; that have the collective financial resources, infrastructure and expertise to work with the Branch (e.g. alliance on national urban policy, metropolitan planning coordination platform and global urban-rural platforms);
  • Working within the United Nations agencies and the Country Team framework and other national processes to mainstream urban planning and design within the overall approach to urban sector support.

Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit
The Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit will play a key role in supporting the delivery of the six above strategic entry points through the following 4 (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

The case for 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 development 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.

The Urban and Territorial Planning
The International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning 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:

  • Develop a universally applicable reference framework for national urban policy reforms;
  • Capture universal principles from national experiences that could support the development of a diversity of planning approaches adapted to different contexts and scales;
  • Complement and link other international guidelines aiming at fostering urban development;
  • Raise the urban and territorial dimensions in the development agendas of national, provincial and local governments.

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

This post is located in the Regional & Metropolitan Planning Unit of the Urban Planning and Design Branch;

Under the supervision of the Leader of the Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit, the incumbent will carry out the following duties:

  • Support planning and management of research and documentation in the Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit  to achieve the overall Unit’s program goals are met;
  • Support the work on urban-rural linkages, metropolitan and regional development tools and instruments;
  • Support activities on urban-rural linkages, metropolitan and regional planning for SDG and the post  Habitat III;
  • Support the operationalisation of the thematic area of  urban-rural linkages, metropolitan and regional planning;
  • Establish the link between Urban-Rural Linkages Approaches  and National Urban Planning;
  • Support knowledge development on the issue of rural urbanisation and relevance of Small and Intermediate Towns;
  • Support the documentation and dissemination of experiences and achievements, and draw best practices for learning within the Unit, Branch, Agency and its partners;
  • Develop the research and documentation aspect of the Unit and support the implementation of different knowledge management projects within the Unit to achieve the intended objectives and outcomes in a cost effective and sustainable manner as stipulated in the different components of the unit’s strategy;
  • Provide inputs to the broader Unit programme and administration initiatives like fundraising, proposal writing, concept note writing, project design, documents review, meetings, e.t.c
  • Support the development networks, platforms and community of practices to advance the work of the Unit related to the thematic area of urban-rural linkages, metropolitan and regional planning;
  • Review policies and documents and make recommendations;
  • Undertake other duties to advance the work of the Unit, Branch and the Agency.

Task-related Opportunities
Familiarizing one-self with:

  • The United Nations and UN-HABITAT
  • Monitoring and reporting on projects according to the principles of Results-Based Management 


Professionalism: Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to land and indicators and monitoring and evaluation; Ability to identify issues, analyse and participate in the resolution of issues/problems; Ability to apply judgement, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities.

Planning and Organizing: Develop clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; Identify priority activities and assignments; adjust priorities as required; Allocate appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; Foresee and allow for contingencies when planning; Monitor and adjust plans and actions as necessary; use time efficiently. Ability to work under pressure, establish priorities and plan, coordinate own work plan, use time efficiently and apply judgment in the context of competing deadlines. Ability to work with minimal supervision and with good sense of initiative.

Communication:  Excellent written and verbal communication skills and ability to articulate complex ideas in a clear and accurate manner including the ability to present the content of the thematic area in a clear and concise manner. Keep the supervisor regularly informed of progress.

Creativity: Is not bound by current thinking or traditional approaches, takes calculated risks on new and unusual ideas; is flexible and able to think "outside the box", and offers new and different options to solve problems or meet client needs.


  • Advanced university degree in urban issues, regional and metropolitan planning geography or another related 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 three years of professional experience in social/economic sustainable development, regional and territorial planning, metropolitan planning or policy analysis and assessment.
  • Experience in architecture and urban design
  • Extensive demonstrable experience in research and documentation urban and metropolitan issues is desirable 


Fluency in English 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
  • Very strong analytical and interpersonal skills

Payments will be based 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 memo (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), indicating the following information:
1.  Educational Background (incl. dates)
2.  Professional Experience (assignments, tasks, achievements, duration by years/ months)
3.  Other Experience and Expertise (e.g. Internships/ voluntary work, etc.)
4.  Expertise and preferences regarding location of potential assignments
5.  Expectations regarding remuneration
•    Cover memo (maximum 1 page)

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. Caroline Murihia
P.O. Box 30030, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya

Deadline for applications: 29 May 2016
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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