Senior Informal Settlements Upgrading Expert

Issue Date 02 Apr 2019 Closing Date 18 Apr 2019
Grade Post Duration
Duty Station Organizational Unit
Job Opening

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), is the UN 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.



Issued on: 01 April 2019


Housing and Slum Upgrading Branch, UN-HABITAT


Home Based with possible travel to selected Caribbean States


Senior Informal Settlements Upgrading Expert




3 months over a period of 6 months


18 April 2019




The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), is the UN 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.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations Economics and Social Council (ECOSOC). ECLAC's areas of action in the Caribbean comprise the efforts to deepen the understanding of the development challenges facing the Caribbean, and to contribute to solutions by conducting research and analysis and providing sound policy advice and technical assistance to Caribbean governments, focused on growth with equity and recognition of the subregion’s vulnerability. Operational activities extend to economic and development planning, demography, economic surveys, assessment of the socioeconomic impacts of natural disasters, data collection and analysis, training, and assistance with the management of national economies.

UN-Habitat is implementing the third cycle of a tripartite partnership programme, the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) in 190 cities of 40 countries in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) since 2008. The PSUP is initiated by the Secretariat of ACP Group of States and funded by European Commission (EC). The overall objective of PSUP is directly linked to "ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums" (SDG Target 11.1). Global partnerships, investment, knowledge and capacity development as well as interventions transforming slum dwellers' lives are essential to contribute to the implementation of SDG 11.1 and the implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA).

The programme provides a unique opportunity for a participant country to access global best practices by participating in regional and global training, global conferences, expert groups, accessing to the programme global learning and experience sharing through the MyPSUP platform. The programme is leveraging seed funds for unlocking sustainable financial resources, country specific financial models for slum upgrading, global advocacy with the aid of the Global Urban Campaign "Up for Slum Dwellers" to change mind sets and policy priority at all level of governance, and finally, technical support for community managed funds and execution of transformative pilot projects implemented by local actors, community, women and youth groups. The programme will leverage its sources to create enabling environment for partnership by engaging diverse strategic partners at regional, national, local and community levels to aim for grater impacts and transformation of slum areas for better urban future.

The development of a Caribbean Strategy for Informal Settlements Upgrading (CSISU) responds to a combination of factors, including historic requests for specific attention to the Caribbean subregion, relevant policy and technical advances (including the drafting of a Caribbean Urban Agenda), recognition by the General Assembly of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Housing and Urban Development of Latin America and the Caribbean (MINURVI), ECLAC and UN-Habitat, throughout the preparatory process and negotiations during Habitat III, of the need for Caribbean-specific support for urban development planning from UN agencies. Specifically, the need for a Subregional Strategy for Informal Settlements Upgrading for the Caribbean emerged from the Caribbean Urban Forum 2018. UN-Habitata and ECLAC have established a working group of multisectoral Caribbean urban experts (the Caribbean Working Group, or CWG) and coordinated a series of discussions and activities to collect input and develop the contents of the Strategy.

The action builds on the Subregional Action Plan for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in the Caribbean: Prioritizing regional challenges and opportunities (2016-2036) and paves the way toward the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG11) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the subregional level as well as the New Urban Agenda adopted at Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016.


Caribbean Context

With over 70% of its populations living in urban areas, the Caribbean population is today increasingly urban. [1] As its urban population continues to grow, the majority come under a diversity of economic, social, cultural and environmental constraints heightened by climate change impacts. In many Caribbean countries, urban growth has frequently been characterised by the informal nature of human settlements, a demonstration of the inability of urban policies to face urbanization demands. This recent urbanization process has been associated with greater poverty, expansion of informal settlements and inadequate housing, collaborating to widen the urban divide. [2]

As populations continue to grow and move to cities, a further five million urban dwellers are anticipated to require adequate housing in Caribbean cities by 2030.[3] The situation in the subregion is very heterogeneous; partly due to recognised challenges in the statistical definition of urban areas [4] and partly due to geographical and socioeconomic constraints, the Caribbean urban population varies widely from 100 percent in the Cayman Islands and Sint Maarten to less than 10 percent in Montserrat. Growth patterns are also diverse: new, more polycentric urban forms are expected in the Caribbean, different from the traditional mono-centric design of Caribbean cities and towns and it is anticipated that urban sprawl in the Caribbean will entail a doubling to a quintupling of total urban land area. [5]

As Caribbean urban population and urban areas continue to grow, unprepared and unplanned territories pose a threat to Caribbean development patterns. If managed well, the Caribbean urban transition can bring important benefits; however, it will also increase public responsibilities in dealing with the pressures on already stressed urban infrastructure and public services. A new focus on land governance will be critical, including measures to address tenure security, public land management, housing policy, transportation, waste management, water safety and security, and an integrated coherent approach to urban services.

Climate change impacts pose increased threats to countries’ resilience in respect of biodiversity, coastal protection, water, energy and food security, among other areas. Hurricanes, like Irma, Jose and Maria in 2017, and tropical storms threaten the Caribbean with growing intensity. With high percentages of Caribbean populations living near the coast, many of them in low-lying areas, coastal floods, storm surges and inland flooding can also drive migration and displacement. Some countries have begun to consider the issue of internal migration and population location in the context of natural disaster prevention and mitigating the effects of climate change.[6] Poor people are particularly at risk, have limited safety nets, and receive less institutional support. The impact is often most felt by the poorest of the poor and especially by women, girls, and the elderly.

Rapid urbanization can significantly increase the number of persons at risk when its pace is not accompanied by formal planning capacity, leading to uncontrolled and densely populated informal settlements in hazard-prone areas. Unplanned cities are more vulnerable to shocks and as a result, if rapidly growing Caribbean cities are to respond to the Sustainable Development Goals and Sendai Framework for Risk Reduction, new tools must be put in place to help local authorities prioritise investment in an inclusive manner, making use of limited information and adjusting to rapidly changing contexts. In an effort to address these concerns the 2030 Agenda proposes to guide the development of the appropriate policies and programmes for ensuring access for all to adequate housing and the upgrading of slums.

Caribbean Strategy for Informal Settlements Upgrading (CSISU) .

Against this background and in the context of Caribbean, UN-Habitat and ECLAC are collaborating to facilitate a participatory process to support the development of a Caribbean Strategy for Informal Settlements Upgrading (CSISU)[7].

The overall objective of the CSISU is to contribute in the achievement of SDG11, Target 1, “By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums” and the concept of “Leaving no one behind”.

Specific objectives are:

- to create a guiding framework to promote a coherent approach in the region for informal settlements upgrading,

- to build capacity and knowledge, data collection and experience sharing platform to be able to support the implementation and reporting on SDG 11.1 and NUA,

- to guide national informal settlements upgrading strategy of small island states in the region to achieve the inclusive urbanization and social equity.

The process will further provide member states with an opportunity for dialogue and knowledge exchange surrounding the priorities, functioning, challenges and opportunities of sustainable urban development in the Caribbean by addressing the needs of local communities and establishing linkages to the SDGs in local development processes, having particular regard for the inclusion of population living in informal settlements, as well at-risk, hard to reach groups, including representatives of indigenous and rural communities, women, children, youth, and other vulnerable groups, with the understanding that specific strategies need to be adjusted to national and subnational level realities, recognizing the rights of specific groups and the cultural diversity that characterizes the Caribbean, and making use of existing community-level knowledge.

Currently UN-Habitat and ECLAC have designed and initiated an online survey with member states and key development actors in the region to collect data and inputs for the CSISU. A day policy workshop is planned during the Caribbean Urban Forum in June 2019.

In order to develop the CSISU a consultant is required to provide technical support in particular in the elaboration of the background report and drafting of the strategy. This consultancy is being conducted as a joint initiative between UN-Habitat ECLAC, Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean.


The consultancy will be home based with travel to selected Caribbean States when needed. Any official mission travel expenses will be paid for directly by UN-Habitat and are not included in the consultancy remuneration. The consultant will be contracted jointly by Slum Upgrading Unit of the Housing and Slum Upgrading Branch of UN-Habitat and ECLAC Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean. S/he will be supervised by Regional Programme Advisor and Unit Leader of Slum Upgrading Unit of UN-Habitat and the Social Affairs Officer at ECLAC Sub-regional Office in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

Specific responsibilities of the consultant are to:

· Undertake desk review of existing data, literature review and analysis of online survey with member states and development partners,

· Facilitate online dialogue sessions to engage the stakeholders participation and support the coordination of the process,

· Contribute and design policy dialogue sessions to discuss relevant key issues,

· Contribute in the communication and advocacy strategy development to promote and ensure strong buy-ins from the member states,

· Undertake initial drafting and fine tuning of CSISU based on guidance from UN-Habitat and ECLAC

· Support in engagement of member states and other key stakeholders to contribute in the development process of the CSISU.

· Provide any other inputs when requested.



  • Professionalism : Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to particular sector, functional area or other specialized fields. Ability to identify issues, analyze and participate in the resolution of issues or problems. Ability to conduct data collection using various methods. Conceptual analytical and evaluative skills to conduct independent research and analysis, including familiarity with and experience in the use of various research sources, including electronic sources on the internet, intranet and other databases. Ability to apply judgment in the context of assignments given, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.
  • Teamwork : 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.
  • Planning &Organizing : Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.




A Master’s Degree in Urban Development and Planning or related fields or advanced degree in related field. Relevant experience in lieu of an advanced degree is acceptable.


The expert should have minimum of ten years experience in the following areas:

  1. A combination of research and practical experience related to issues of informal settlements upgrading including policy development, land tenure, service and infrastructure development, affordable housing development, and community development and strategic planning is required.
  2. Experience with UN-Habitat’s principles, particularly on the participatory slum upgrading and experience in informal settlements upgrading in the Caribbean region is required,
  3. Programme development and design, research skills to analyze data and information critically and identify and document key issues related to the informal settlements upgrading is a must.
  4. Background on urban planning and participatory urban development is an asset.
  5. Ability to prioritize activities and assignments






English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this consultancy, fluency in oral and written English is required. Although not a requirement, proficiency of another UN language is an advantage.




The consultancy will be 3 months over a period of 6 months from the day of the contract starts with key milestones provided in the calendar of activities and be based on a lump sum as per outputs




All applicants should register in UN Inspira roster.


Applications should include:

  • Cover memo (maximum 1 page)

· P11, 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


All applications should be submitted to: and

Deadline for applications: 18 April 2019


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:


[1] UN-DESA (2018), World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision.

[2] ECLAC (2018), Implementation of the Montevideo consensus on population and development in the Caribbean: a review of the period 2013 – 2018 .

[3] According to UN Population Division estimates. UN-DESA (2018), World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision.

[4] See ECLAC (2017), Subregional Action Plan for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in the Caribbean: Prioritizing regional challenges and opportunities (2016-2036) , ECLAC, MINURVI, UN-Habitat, p. 17.

[5] McHardy, Pauline and Michael G. Donovan (2016), The state of housing in six Caribbean countries, Inter-American Development Bank.

[6] ECLAC (2018), Implementation of the Montevideo consensus on population and development in the Caribbean: a review of the period 2013 – 2018 .

[7] The process has been launched by UN-Habitat (as part of the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme – PSUP). PSUP is currently active in five Caribbean countries including Haiti, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and d Guyana.