Social Policy Specialist

  • Full Time
  • Kathmandu
  • Applications have closed

Website UNICEF


Social Policy Specialist – Public Finance for Children (PF4C), P3 -Temporary Appointment, Regional Office for South Asia, Kathmandu, Nepal (6 months) # 00126803

Job no: 567156
Position type: Temporary Appointment
Location: Nepal
Division/Equivalent: Kathmandu(ROSA)
School/Unit: Regional Services Div (SAR), Kathmandu
Department/Office: Reg Serv – Prog Section, Kathmandu
Categories: Social Policy

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, hope.

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programmes, in advocacy and in operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children’s rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential without discrimination.

South Asia is home to about 627 million children under 18 years of age – approximately 36 percent of the total population of 1.82 billion. Investing in children will therefore be key for the future socio-economic development in the region, as well as for its political stability.

There is growing evidence that investing in the health, education, and protection of a society’s children will not only give them the opportunity to fulfil their potential: these investments serve as an essential pillar upon which wider sustainable economic growth and social stability is built. These investments accelerate progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, while also supporting the equitable development of nations.

However, with five countries in South Asia considered to be in or at risk of debt distress, there are serious risks to the fiscal space available for social sector investments. UNICEF’s work on Public Finance for Children (PF4C) is an increasingly essential part of the organisation’s strategy to support and protect children’s wellbeing.

UNICEF’s Public Finance for Children (PF4C) strategies are primarily cross-sectoral in nature, designed to support and where possible enhance the advocacy and evidence generation work done by sector specialists. This includes work to support advocacy efforts with national Governments to increase the size, efficiency and equity of domestic investments in sectors that matter for children and young people. The generation of impactful advocacy and meaningful policy solutions to support children’s outcomes is best produced by specialists whose collective expertise spans from “on-the-ground” country and sector expertise and knowledge with a wider understanding of the political economy and fiscal constraints at the country and regional levels.

Across the South Asia region, PF4C strategies have gradually expanded, resulting in a growing pool of evidence generated, tailored budget advocacy efforts, with an increasing level of influence on spending decisions. Throughout the region, budget and public finance partnerships are being strengthened, including with International Financial Institutions and civil society organisations. This is designed with the overall goal to leverage domestic public financial resources for greater, more equitable, transparent, and sustainable investments in and results for children.

How can you make a difference?

The purpose of this position is to support the acceleration of UNICEF regional and country level efforts in the area of public finance for children (PF4C), including in terms of enhancing the PFM capacity of staff across the Regional Office and in Country Offices in the South Asia region.

The Social Policy Specialist (PF4C) will provide quality assurance and technical support to the PF4C work carried out by UNICEF Country Offices and support their efforts to leverage greater, more effective, transparent, and equitable domestic public investments in children and ensure results in the areas of health, education, nutrition, child protection, social protection, and WASH.

In order to do so, the position will work closely with sectoral colleagues at the regional level to dive deeper into efficiencies that can be gained bringing together financial, economic and technical sector expertise and knowledge. The position entails working closely with the Country Office and sector specialists to support the definition and execution of strategic engagements that relate to public financial management issues.

To support the office, the Specialist will work together with sector Specialists to strengthen staff capacity, enhance the office’s knowledge management, and support the development and maintenance of strategic partnerships, primarily where they relate to public financial management.

Furthermore, the role holder will support with (and where relevant, lead on) the strategic direction, development and quality assurance of analytical undertakings. This will include budget analysis, costing exercises, cost-benefit analysis, public expenditure reviews, and the identification of public financial management barriers which hinder results for children, etc.

Key functions, accountabilities, and related duties/tasks:

1. Technical support, and quality assurance

  • Provide technical leadership for the scaling up of UNICEF’s PF4C work in the SAR region in line with the strategic direction of the regional Social Policy programme and Social sectors at the regional level, including health, education, nutrition, among others.
  • Provide guidance, technical support, and quality assurance to ensure high quality in all aspects of PF4C programme activities conducted by Country Offices and the Regional Office. This includes the provision of guidance to COs with sectoral team leads on the development of advocacy and analytical products including budget briefs, assessing and improving the impact of spending, strengthening budget processes, addressing national financing challenges, both at national and subnational level that impact delivery of essential services to children, and increasing investments in child-focused services, as required. This should be supported by the development or adaptation of product-specific frameworks and commissioning templates as needed.
  • Support and set standards for Country Office and Regional Office sector teams to regularly keep track of budget information with regards to sector budget allocations, sector spending levels, and financing needs.
  • Support the creation and development of section-specific analytical tools, including benefit incidence analysis, costing exercises, and fiscal space analysis.
  • Support the management and delivery of facilities and programmes on PF4C funded by donors.

2. Cross-sectoral PF4C capacity building and strategy development

  • Provide technical inputs for, and where necessary personally deliver, capacity development efforts of UNICEF staff in the regional and country offices, across all programme sections. Provide technical guidance and quality assurance on the design, content and delivery of staff training courses or workshops on PF4C.
  • Work with sectors, to design and deliver specific guidance and trainings on tools and approaches to foster greater efficiency and equity of social sector financing.
  • Support Country Offices along with social sector teams with PF4C action plan development related to engagement and advocacy on PF4C issues. This could involve, where relevant, political economy analysis to identify advocacy opportunities, and the development of policy proposals particularly where they relate to budgetary, economic and PFM issues for key national and international stakeholders.
  • Develop initiatives to promote the engagement of Country Office and Regional Office senior management in national and regional PF4C initiatives, including on budget advocacy and on collaboration with International Financial Institutions.

3. Knowledge and evidence generation management

  • Serve as regional focal point of technical expertise for PF4C. Monitor developments in technical areas, as well as political and social developments, at the national and regional levels. Contribute to the regional Social Policy knowledge management function by analysing and disseminating available national budget data, information systems, and trends to evaluate cost and impact on SDGs, capturing determinants of the trends and their implications for country programming. Monitor the access of countries in the region to international financing facilities, and trends in financing for development.
  • Synthesize best practices in PF4C across the sectors from ongoing programmes/projects and disseminate among Country Offices and partners in the region and, where relevant, through facilitation of exchange visits, study tours, workshops, and training. Document investment cases for leveraging resources for PF4C. Compile evidence on the investments of countries in the region in key sectors for children and develop relevant knowledge products for advocacy use by the Regional Office.
  • Seek to create alliances, where useful and relevant, with research institutions, development partners, and civil society organisations on evidence generation and knowledge management regarding Public Finance for Children.
  • Monitor the macroeconomic outlook, as well as demographic and poverty trends for the region.

4. Communication, Networking, Advocacy, and Partnership

  • Develop and guide strategic engagement, advocacy, and partnerships with UN Agencies and International Financial Institutions at national and regional levels.
  • Enhance UNICEF’s regional technical leadership role by forging internal and external partnerships in the development of programme interventions, through representation in relevant regional, national and international partners and stakeholders.
  • Support resource mobilization and donor engagement relationships.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • Advanced university degree in Economics, Public Policy, Public Finance, or other relevant disciplines. *A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree.
  • Minimum of five years of progressive, professional work experience related to economics, budgeting, public financial management, and sector financing within the national/international public sector and social development settings.
  • Experience in budget analysis, costing and developing investment cases in key sectors for children such as health, education, water and sanitation, social protection, nutrition is required.
  • Hands-on professional experience with PFM and economics issues required. Experience of working in the region is considered an asset.
  • Relevant experience in a UN system agency or organization is considered an asset.
    Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of a local language is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships (2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (3) Drive to achieve results for impact (4) Innovates and embraces change (5) Manages ambiguity and complexity (6) Thinks and acts strategically (7) Works collaboratively with others.

During the recruitment process, we test candidates following the competency framework. Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels: competency framework here.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.
We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.
UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF is committed to promote the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.


UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station, which will be facilitated by UNICEF, is required for IP positions. Appointments are also subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Should you be selected for a position with UNICEF, you either must be inoculated as required or receive a medical exemption from the relevant department of the UN. Otherwise, the selection will be cancelled.

All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

Government employees that are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Application close: Nov 19 2023 Nepal Standard Time

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