Climate Programme Officer, Low-Carbon Urban Development

Job Title:        Climate Programme Officer, Low-Carbon Urban Development

Location:        Geneva (Switzerland)

Reports to:     Director of the Environment Programme

Salary:            Internationally competitive, based on experience and adjusted to performance.


Oak Foundation ( is a group of philanthropic organizations, with its administrative office in Geneva, Switzerland.  It commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged.  Since its establishment in 1983, the organization has given over 3,300 grants to not-for-profit organizations around the world.

Purpose of Role

The Climate Change Officer provides strategic direction and leads the grant-making processes for Oak’s climate and energy portfolio in: 1) one main geographical region: China; and 2) a main thematic area: low-carbon urban development.

This is an office-based, full-time role, which requires readiness to travel, up to a maximum of 50 days/year, sometimes for extended periods.

Reporting lines

The position reports to the Environment Programme Director.  Frequent interactions with Oak’s President and Environment Trustee are also required.

Primary responsibilities

  • Leads the grant-making processes and provides strategic direction for Oak’s climate and energy portfolio in China and in the area of low-carbon urban development;
  • Establishes and manages contacts, and develops new grant making opportunities and programme activities in line with strategic directions.
  • Advises Oak’s Climate Team on the theme of low-carbon urban development across Oak’s other Environment Programme priority geographies (Brazil, Europe, India, North America).
  • Leads the process of call for proposals, reviews solicited and unsolicited letters of inquiry received by the foundation, and ensures that applicants in these sub-programme thematic areas, regardless of the foundation’s interest, are sent an appropriate and timely response.
  • Coordinates the process of due diligence for all project proposals under the position’s responsibility. This process involves a high degree of understanding not only of the substantive thematic area, but also of organisational development and financial aspects of the work. In the case of larger or more complex grants, the contracting of expert opinion may be required.
  • Adheres to Oak’s project management technology (GMS) and procedures, including reparation of project summaries, grant recommendations, project annual progress reports, and end-of-grant reports. As such, this Programme Officer position is responsible for managing the day-to-day responsibilities of a grant portfolio from initial inquiry or proposal to assessment, recommendation, announcement of approval or rejection, monitoring grant implementation, reporting and closing grants, evaluating current or past projects according to needs, and drawing and sharing lessons from project, grant cluster, or sub-programme levels.
  • Works with Oak’s administrative and programme management staff to ensure efficient progress in grant making, monitoring, and reporting, as well as other administrative activities related to the programme.  Upon request, represents Oak’s environment team on organisation-wide task forces, study groups, etc.
  • Manages, monitors, evaluates programme progress and impact;
  • Prepares and submits mandatory travel reports, monthly progress reports, and other expert papers, at request. Provides contributions to the preparation of Oak’s six-monthly and annual reports (including texts and images), as well as to Board Meeting presentations.
  • Conducts project-level monitoring, including site visits, and plans and supervises evaluations; prepares internal foundation reports on current grantees and enlists support of technical consultants and outside reviewers when appropriate.
  • Under the supervision of the president and programme director, coordinates five-year sub-programme evaluations.
  • Conducts research in connection with current and new initiatives. Convenes partner NGOs, scientists or peers from other foundations when the programme implementation so requires. Attends donor convenings, as well as relevant thematic conferences workshops and seminars, and works collaboratively with Oak staff and other foundation staff on strategic development.
  • Performs all other relevant duties that may be assigned from time to time.


  • Working knowledge of Mandarin and excellent English written and oral communication skills are essential to this role;
  • Master’s Degree in architecture, urban planning, sociology or equivalent and/or at least 7-10 years experience working on urban energy issues, preferably in China, in relevant organisations.
  • Knowledge and experience are required in the following themes: urban mass transportation systems design and policy; climate change and energy policies; China’s major national, state level, and city level programmes for greenhouse gases abatement.
  • Experience in working alongside social development and environmental NGOs (particularly domestic and international NGOs operating in China), field programme implementation and grant-making. 
  • Proven research and analysis skills and outstanding organisational abilities.
  • Team player, with skills to bring together diverse groups of stakeholders to develop collaborative work, but also with demonstrated ability to work independently.
  • Understanding of non-profit and/or governmental financial reporting and budgeting.
  • Ability to work effectively and respectfully with grantees and other foundation staff.
  • Poise, maturity, and ability to represent Oak Foundation.

How to apply

To apply for the post, please send a letter of application stating the skills and approach that you would bring to this specific post along with your resume /CV in strict confidence by email to Isabel Leal at

Documents must be submitted in English and in Word or pdf format. No other format will be considered.

No documents others than those requested will be accepted at this stage.

CVs with photos will not be accepted in any case.

Please ensure that documents are sent with the titles “your name cover letterand “your name CV” and state "Oak - Climate Programme Officer” in the email subject line. Please do let us know, in your covering email, where you found out about the post.

Deadline for applications: February 12th 2017, 18.00 CET