This position is being re-advertised. existing applicants need not re-apply, as your application will still be considered . Thank you.
Under the overarching framework of the EU Green Deal, the EU is taking significant steps to enhance corporate sustainability, and the social elements, including respect for human rights, are an increasingly important part of this. Each of the various social elements are intended to be synergistic and consistent. Given the global reach and profile of businesses operating in the EU, any developments in this area is expected to have global implications.
A proposal is being drafted by the Commission for mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence, following the adoption of a draft Directive by the European Parliament in April 2021. Beneath the heading of the Sustainable Corporate Governance Initiative, measures proposed include a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Reporting (previously known as the Non-Financial Reporting Directive), which would involve amending Directives and Regulations on Accounting, Audit and Transparency. The EU will develop common and clear EU standards both on quality of reporting and what needs to be reported on. These will specify disclosure requirements on social factors, including employee factors, human rights and human health. Meanwhile, consultations are underway to amend the Taxonomy Regulation, to enhance social investment.
Children’s rights are not fully captured and addressed by human rights and sustainability mechanisms unless they are designed with children’s considerations made visible and explicit. Childhood is a uniquely formative life stage where conditions and experiences have a profound impact on child development. Business policies and practices (and governmental policies and regulations concerning business) impact on the full spectrum of rights defined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other relevant international standards. Currently, however, there remains a broad tendency as regards children for ESG reporting and other mechanisms to focus mainly on child labour, which although important is insufficient in terms of saliency and risk (both to business and to children).
In reality, conditions in workplaces and supply chains, product formulation, sales and marketing, environmental impact, land acquisition and use, security, employment practices, employee behavior, design of online systems and applications, and business investment can all impinge directly on children’s rights. Furthermore, as children, especially younger children, are dependent upon parents, family and caregivers, practices that directly affect adults (e.g. labour terms and conditions or workplace policies that limit the ability of parents to provide and care for their children) can have indirect but immediate adverse impact on children. Furthermore, business practices which do not necessarily violate the rights of adults can violate the rights of children. Children are often voiceless, and this creates risk in the design of processes and mechanisms. Children can face restrictions in terms of access to remedy. Article 3 of the CRC requires that the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children—and this too has implications for the design of human rights and sustainability mechanisms.
UNICEF’s Child Rights and Business (CRB) team has developed an innovative approach to mainstreaming child rights across business policy and practice. The approach mobilizes UNICEF’s unique position as a UN organization with a child rights mission and mandate and a field presence in over 190 countries. It involves three key approaches:
- Integrating children’s rights into business world “infrastructure”—in other words, putting children’s rights into the mainstream of due diligence systems, Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) monitoring and reporting, fiduciary duty, business impact assessment, sustainable and responsible business conduct, regulatory measures and controls governing social impact.
- Building on these foundations, developing with the world of business, practical solutions to addressing and preventing business risks to children. This involves identifying and working out practical measures that businesses can take, and also promoting policies and legislation as well as reporting requirements to inform investor decision making. What Works ? Where ? How ?
- Bringing practical action by business back to UNICEF to inform programmatic approaches. This involves technical collaboration with UNICEF’s Programme Group and programme staff in the field.
UNICEF has an important role to play in advocating for children’s rights considerations to permeate the design of the overall business and human rights agenda, and this includes mechanisms to support the implementation of the various EU (and EU member State) initiatives related to corporate responsibility and sustainability. For this to be successful, UNICEF needs to be clear, robust and practical in providing technical recommendations and engaging constructively in relevant processes.
To give some examples, how should mandatory human rights due diligence be designed to ensure that adverse impact on children is included? How might the best interests of the child principle be practically integrated into the design of reporting and associated requirements, guidance, processes and mechanisms? As the EU develops reporting standards, what should be the content of the “S” in ESG such that impact on children is captured beyond child labour—and how can this be measured?
For every child, a Champion
Under the leadership of the Chief of Child Rights and Business, the post will develop practical technical reports, recommendations and input on effective ways of strengthening standards, reporting and due diligence in business-related sustainability and human rights mechanisms, to ensure that children’s rights are integrated, paying close attention to synergies between processes. The primary focus will be on EU-related processes, but technical input will also be provided to similar national processes (EU member States and beyond) and relevant industry initiatives. The post will organize, coordinate and support advocacy by UNICEF and UNICEF National Committees on these issues with the EU, national governments and the business community. It will engage with EU institutions, ESG providers, academics, concerned business institutions and human rights and business experts, within the UN system and beyond. The post will collaborate closely with the UNICEF EU Brussels Office and other members of the CRB team and will contribute to the overall mission of the team.
How can you make a difference?
- Support UNICEF to prioritize which corporate EU sustainability processes to engage with for maximum impact for children’s rights, ensuring synergies and consistency between processes and approaches.
- Develop and write up practical, technical recommendations/options on how children’s rights considerations can be integrated into EU and national corporate sustainability Directives and Regulations, including in the design and implementation of mechanisms and supporting measures (e.g. guidance, good practice, examples of impacts etc.).
- Develop and write up practical recommendations/options on what children’s rights issues should be integrated into EU standards for ESG reporting and how to measure these, collaborating with GRI and other ESG specialists.
- Organize and support advocacy by UNICEF and UNICEF National Committees, at EU level, nationally and with strategic industry standards.
- Seek UNICEF integration into technical advocacy initiatives organized by sister agencies and other strategically relevant partners.
- Organize webinars to keep interested parties within UNICEF, the EU, governments and business institutions engaged, informed of key child rights issues and progress.
- Develop funding proposals for donor governments to support this work.
- A set of clear priorities for UNICEF on which processes to engage, supported by technical rationale and clarity on synergies.
- Option papers on practical, technical approaches to integrating children’s rights into specific EU processes to be used with the EU and partners, in support of advocacy.
- A network of UNICEF and UNICEF National Committees mobilized to advocate with the EU/national governments—regular planning and coordination meetings, an advocacy calendar, webinars.
- A network of interested external organizations kept regularly informed and engaged.
- Funding proposals to support this work.
- Contributions made to annual result reporting and annual reports.
Estimated duration of the contract:
- 364 days
- Chief Child Right and Business, Partnerships Team, Geneva
- Geneva, Switzerland is the official duty station. Flexible work arrangements may be applied if needed.
To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…
- An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: social sciences, development, business, international law, human rights, child rights or another relevant technical field.
- A first level university degree in a relevant field combined with 7 years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
- Minimum 5 years of progressively responsible professional work experience in ESG, or corporate social responsibility or sustainability, or social impact of business, including at the international level.
- A technical background in child rights or human rights approaches to business impact required; at least two years of experience with a focus on child rights or associated programming an asset.
- Experience of EU policy and regulatory development an asset.
- Experience of working with an independent human rights institution for children an asset.
- Experience of developing or implementing practical human rights reporting and due diligence mechanisms for children, especially for business, an asset.
- Experience and demonstrable skills in producing, editing and uploading online content.
- Experience with technical knowledge sharing tools (Office 365).
- Ability to work independently and to meet tight deadlines.
- Experience of advocating with industry platforms, investment institutions, governments and NGOs or within the corporate sector, including coordinating advocacy with others, would be additional assets.
- Experience of UNICEF & UN is an asset.
- Excellent writing and editing skills in English, fluency in other UN languages an asset.
For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA)
The UNICEF competencies required for this post are…
- Demonstrates Self Awareness and Ethical Awareness (L I)
- Works Collaboratively with others (L I)
- Builds and Maintains Partnerships (L I)
- Innovates and Embraces Change (L I)
- Thinks and Acts Strategically (L I)
- Drives to achieve impactful results (L I)
- Manages ambiguity and complexity (L I) are required.
To view our competency framework, please visit here.
Click here to learn more about UNICEF’s values and competencies.
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.
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 also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. 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 PFP-Geneva is currently reviewing organizational changes; therefore, the exact future location of the post is still under consideration/to be determined. Candidates may be asked commence duties remotely. Should the selected candidate be assigned and relocate to Geneva, they may later be asked to relocate and be assigned to another location during the initial contract or assignment period.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
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