Urban Environmental Specialist

Issue Date 01 Oct 2019 Closing Date 06 Oct 2019
Grade SB 5 Post Duration 12 Months,renewable to performance and funds availability
Duty Station Hargeisa- with frequent travels to other urban centers in Somaliland Organizational Unit Regional Office for Africa
Job Opening
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DUTY STATION: Hargeisa - with frequent travels to other urban centers in Somaliland

FUNCTIONAL TITLE: Urban Environmental Specialist


POST DURATION 12 months, renewable to performance and funds availability

CLOSING DATE: 6 October 2019







DUTY STATION: Hargeisa - with frequent travels to other urban centers in Somaliland

FUNCTIONAL TITLE: Urban Environmental Specialist


POST DURATION 12 months, renewable to performance and funds availability

CLOSING DATE: 6 October 2019






The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations 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. In October 2016, at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – Habitat III – member states signed the New Urban Agenda. This is an action-oriented document which sets global standards of achievement in sustainable urban development, rethinking the way we build, manage, and live in cities. Through drawing together cooperation with committed partners, relevant stakeholders, and urban actors, including at all levels of government as well as the private sector, UN-Habitat is applying its technical expertise, normative work and capacity development to implement the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goal 11.

The UN-Habitat Somalia Programme is seeking the support of a qualified Urban Environmental Specialist to support and coordinate the implementation of urban planning activities under the Joint Programme of Local Governance and Decentralized Service Delivery (JPLG) and in other related programs and projects. This is linked to a broader initiative aimed at developing durable solutions across Somalia to tackle the protracted displacement crises, strengthen resilience of urban communities and to contribute to peacebuilding, recovery and stabilization efforts of local, national and international stakeholders.


Urbanization across Somaliland continues at a high rate, driven by population growth, migration, and the impact of climate change. Urban centres are central places where basic social services such as water, health, education, public transport and roads are available. Additionally, they function as centres of local government, commerce, and sometimes light industry. The average annual urban population growth in Somaliland is around 4.1%. and Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland with roughly one million inhabitants, is among the urban centers with the highest growth rate. The port city of Berbera increasingly gets international attraction as it connects Somaliland with the prospering economic hubs of Ethiopia. Also, other urban centers like Boroma and Buroa, have seen an unprecedented expansion in recent years.

Against this backdrop of the specific political, social and economic environment in Somaliland, urbanization continues to produce both many new opportunities to unlock livelihood opportunities for an overwhelmingly young population when well managed; or leading to new conflicts over access to basic urban services if poorly managed. The tremendous structural changes caused by rapid urbanization have given local and state authorities new challenges regarding integrated urban planning to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (SDG 11).

JPLG has been working closely with the Ministry of Public Works, Lands and Housing and other entities of the Government of Somaliland and has built local government capacity in integrated urban planning processes in close coordination and collaboration with district councils. An Urban Regulatory Framework (URF) was adopted by the National Urban Planning Committee in Somaliland, and its application was tested with the Gabiley Urban Master Plan successfully. The planning processes were aligned with the revised District Development Planning Frameworks and the National Development Plan.

Given the high rate of urbanization and the associated challenges, UN-Habitat will develop specific interventions to address urbanization and its spatial challenges building upon the achievements made in Somaliland, Puntland and other parts of Somalia:

· Urban Profiles consists of an accelerated, action-oriented assessment of urban conditions and spatial development patterns, focusing on priority urban basic needs, capacity gaps, and existing institutional responses at local and national levels. The consultation and vailidation process typically results in a collective agreement on priorities and linking them to District Development Frameworks.

· Visioning and Strategic Urban Development Planning brings together high level decision makers from the public and private sector and representatives from civic society, IDP, women and youth groups for the discussion on possible alternatives to manage rapid urban growth and unlock development potentials. Strategies, programs and projects will be reflected in Spatial Strategic Plans.

· Land Management and Administration Systems, such as by-laws, planning standards and guidelines, building permits processes etc., to facilitate, guide and regulate urban development with a focus upon proper systems that facilitate inclusive planning and strengthening urban resilience.

· Urban Environmental Management tackles key issues of poorly managed urbanization processes, for example traffic congestion, insufficient waste management, pollution of water sources and degradation of natural conditions, to reduce and mitigate negative effects and enter into a balanced urban development parth by using data technologies and systems that lead to reduced energy and resource consumption.




The Urban Environmental Management Specialist will work under the direct supervision of the Human Settlement Officer (Urban Planner) and guidance from JPLG Program Manager in close collaboration with the assigned International Consultant Urban Planning, the National Programme Officer and the local UN-Habitat/JPLG team.

She/he will contribute to the implementation of and urban planning activities in the thematic areas outlned above, by performing the following tasks:


Urban Profiling

· Research on and collection of geo-data that can be used for urban and regional planning in the project locations;

· Technical support for mapping social and technical infrastructure and environmental constraints by technical staff from project municipalities;

· Contribute to editorial work for urban profiles;

· Technical support for local consultations and validation exercises;

· Provide backstopping support, technical guidance and input for the development of a geospatial urban database containing GIS, remote-sensing and other spatial and non-spatial data for the Ministry of Public Works, Lands and Housing (MPWLH) aligned with the Somaliland Urban Regulatory Framework (URF);


Strategic Urban Development Planning

· Review of proposals and designs prepared by local planners in the project locations and advice upon planning procedures as per legislation and policy frameworks;


· Provide planning and design inputs to ongoing planning initiatives, including visioning and citywide development strategies, extension plans, and urban transformation plans with focus on Hargeisa, Berbera and Boroma;

· Assist partner municipalities and the MoPWLH in preparation of visioning exercises and other participatory and inclusive strategic urban planning workshops;

· Provide inputs for drafting implementation strategies with a focus upon affordable housing and inclusive and participatory urban environmental management;

· Support to develop innovative tools for public participation and support organization of planning workshops, townhall and community meetings, focus group discussions; etc. participatory, multi-stakeholder processes tailor made for the projects in a specific context.



Land Management and Administration

· Support training activities and the development of toolkits and training maaterials for capacity development in urban planning through state training institutions, for example applying the Urban Regulatory Framework and improving building permit processes;

· Technical support to MoPWLH to guide and facilitate the implementation of a streamlined building permit system at district level while strengthening Environmental and Social Impact assessments;

· Assist in preparation of sessions for the National Urban Planning Committee and other inter-ministerial coordination and consultation meetings related to urban land management;

· Support for drafting information and awareness campain material related to urban land management;


Urban Environmental management with focus on waste management

· Develop Environmental Impact Assessments in relation to planning proposals and designs prepared by local planners in the project locations;


· Provide technical support for the design and implementation of environmental mitigation and adaptation projects related to the ongoing planning initiatives


· Provide substantial inputs on solid waste management plans for improvement of collection, transfer , recycling and disposal of solid waste and bio-medical waste with a spatial focus on Berbera;


· Support to draft local regulatory frameworks on solid and bio-medical waste management together with legal experts from UN-Habitat and collaboration partners;


· Support capacity building activities for local government staff responsible for oversight, technical assistance, and regulatory guidance of urban environmental and solid waste management processes;


· Facilitate development of information and awareness materials on urban environmental management fit for purpose;


Knowledge management

· Documen best practices from urban environmental management practice and Lessons learned from local projects linked to climate change impact mitigation and strengthening urban resilience;


· Actively interact with other projects within UN-Habitat, JPLG partners and other relevant agencies to share case studies, lessons learned and best practice;


Other activities

· Take part in field missions and in coordination meetings with other JPLG agencies;

· Contribute to JPLG local meetings when and as needed;

· Contribut in drafting progress reports and support activities for monitoring and evaluation;

· Support for visibility and communication activities of the Somalia Program;

· Attend technical meetings and conferences linked to Urbanization, Durable Solutions, Urban Resilience and Durable Solutions;

· Provide technical assistance to Infrastructure projects under the Somalia Programme with focus upon Urban Environmental Management;

· Any other assignment when requested by senior management.






Shows pride in work and achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery in delivering on UN-Habitat mandate; 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.


Communication 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.


Planning and 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 first university degree in Urban and Regional Planning, International Development Studies, Architecture with specialization in urban design, Civil engineering ,Environmental Management or any other field relevant to urban development planning and environmental management. Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) is an advantage.




Five years of relevant working experience in urban development, local governance and/or Durable Solutions;

Knowledge and experience of community development, environmental management and participatory planning approaches;

Previous work experience related to the job position and/ or with international agencies is a major asset.




Strong written and oral skills in both English and Somali are a requirement. Although not a requirement, knowledge of Arabic will be an advantage.




1. Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to urban planning and design;

2. Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to environmental management;

3. Analytical skills in urban analyses;

4. Knowledge in managing and processing GIS data;

5. Ability to communicate complex technical issues in a clear language and convincing narrative;

6. Proven knowledge in project management and coordination in multi-disciplinary and inter-cultural teams;

7. Proactive, results oriented and positive can-do attitude with an ability to manage a diverse workload and competing demands independent;

8. Capable of working both on own initiative and as part of a team;



Work implies frequent interaction with the following: Counterparts, representatives and officials in national and local governments, officers and technical staff in the Somalia Programme, within UN-Habitat, and with JPLG and other UN agencies. PLEASE NOTE THAT APPLICATIONS RECEIVED AFTER THE DEADLINE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED How to Apply Applications should include:

1) Motivation letter (maximum 1 page)

2) Completed United Nation Personal History Form ( P.11) marked “Urban Environmental Specialist’/Hargeisa”

Qualified women are highly encouraged to submit their application. Assessment Method Evaluation of qualified candidates includes an assessment exercise which will be followed by a competency-based interview and written test for short-listed candidates.



All applications should be submitted to Officer-in-Charge UN-Habitat Somalia P.O. Box 30030, Nairobi, Kenya Email: 

Deadline for applications: 06 Oct 2019