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 Issued on 09 November 2017                                             


UN-Habitat, Iran


Tehran, Iran


Senior Urban Policy Consultant


Three and a half months
November 2017


22 November 2017



The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the agency for the United Nations dedicated to promoting socially and environmentally sustainable development of human settlements in an urbanizing world, with the goal of providing safer and inclusive human settlements. A UN-Habitat country office was established in Tehran in April 2007, following an agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran, to implement programmes designed to help policy makers and communities address the challenges of urbanization.

Iran is home to one of the oldest continuous civilizations in the world, with urban settlements dating back to 7000 BC, and a long history of urbanization and urban planning practices. In the past three decades however, the country experienced major social, demographic and economic changes that impacted national development, socio-economic and demographic structures. Urbanization also accelerated significantly, leading to exacerbated challenges in urban environments, such as congestion and air pollution, shortages of housing and employment especially for the large youth population, urban poverty, inadequate infrastructure and services, and environmental degradation and risks. Iran’s approach to urban planning has shifted from being led by infrastructure design, to land use regulation, and is now focusing more on comprehensive policies to address these new challenges. This shift is accompanied in the country by improved financial, technical and academic capacities and skills in addressing urban issues, as well as a governmental commitment to deepening decentralization by increasing the responsibilities and strengthening the resources of sub-national governments.

This policy direction is supported by the UN-Habitat mission in Tehran, whose mandate requires:

  • To contribute towards capacity building in the themes of sustainable urban development through policy development, institutional implementation and improvement of required skills
  • To facilitate the mobilization of financial resources for the development and implementation of sustainable urban development programmes
  • To backstop the development and implementation of activities related to promoting urban sustainable development
  • To promote interaction between public, private and civil institutions aiming at widening the cooperation for the sustainable development of human settlements
  • To promote development of preparedness to various vulnerabilities related to various aspects of urban sustainable development.

Today, to face the challenges of rapid urbanization and capitalize on the increased capacity and interest in urban policy, UN-Habitat and the Islamic Republic of Iran have agreed to collaborate on the development of a National Urban Policy for the country, which should mobilize the expanding range of urban stakeholders and integrate and coordinate various sectoral policies for the development of a shared and comprehensive vision for national urban development in Iran.

National Urban Policies (NUPs) have been recognized internationally as an instrument for the implementation and monitoring of global urban agendas such as the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda. These agendas have recently acknowledged that the challenge and opportunities of urbanization for sustainable development reach beyond the city scale, making it a global priority and a governmental responsibility, that calls for more coordinated and integrated policies.  This is illustrated for instance in the introduction in the Agenda 2030 of a landmark goal of exclusive urban focus: SDG - 11: “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, with the target 11.a to “support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning”, for which NUPs were recommended as an indicator in their Habitat III Policy Paper 3. Moreover, the NUA recommends NUPs within local-national partnerships as one of its fundamental drivers of change: “we will take measures to establish legal and policy frameworks, based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination, to better enable prevailing governments to effectively implement national urban policies, as appropriate, and to empower them as policy makers and decision makers, ensuring appropriate fiscal, political and administrative decentralization based on the principle of subsidiarity” (New Urban Agenda, 2016: 89).

The National Urban Policy Programme therefore answers this recommendation, as it supports governments in implementing the NUA through the development of NUPs. It aims to overcome the capacity gap that states can be faced with in the NUP process by providing tools and technical assistance to governments and stakeholders. The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the pilot countries selected for a first phase of this mission. The development of a NUP in Iran will ensure the implementation of global urban agendas and fulfil the mandate of the UN-Habitat Tehran office by will helping to address the country’s urbanization challenges sustainably and equitably.

As first steps in the NUP development process, UN Habitat is looking for a Senior Urban Policy Consultant to prepare a discussion paper and an urban diagnostic report, which will ensure that the NUP process is adapted to the national context, supported by a broad range of stakeholders, and evidence-based.

The consultant’s primary responsibilities will be the production of a discussion paper on NUP development in Iran, followed by a diagnosis report, developed in consultation with the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development. The Senior Urban Policy Consultant will be supported by UN Habitat country office staff for logistics and liaison arrangements.

Discussion Paper

The main objective of the discussion paper is to define and build consensus around the rationale for the development of an NUP in Iran. It should provide:

  • A general overview of the state of urbanization in Iran, based on secondary research and review of existing literature, highlighting urban policy challenges and opportunities.
  • A survey and mapping of the most relevant stakeholders to take part in the NUP process, considering different levels of government, the private sector, civil society and academia.
  • The identification of main subjects of debate, potential obstacles, and areas needing further research.

The findings of the discussion paper will then be presented to a range of stakeholders in an in-country workshop to discuss and reach consensus on the opportunities and priorities of developing a NUP in Iran. This feedback will then be integrated into a final version of a discussion paper, with the addition of a declaration of commitment to the NUP process from the stakeholder present.

Diagnostic Report

The diagnostic report gathers and synthesizes existing and relevant data on which policy-makers will base their choices and decisions. The objectives of the report are to:

  • Highlight challenges, opportunities and possible policy priorities for the management of urbanization in Iran.
  • Assess the capacity and feasibility for the development of a NUP, so that realistic goals can then be defined for the short, medium and long term.
  • Facilitate stakeholder mobilization, coordination and inclusion in the NUP process by identifying relevant actors of urban policy and their relationships and influence.

To document the necessary information for the preparation of a NUP, the diagnostic report will necessary touch on many different subjects, from sectoral policies to the characteristics of the policy process, such as urban economy and development, system of cities, basic services and infrastructure, housing, social inclusion, capacity, participation, and institutional coordination. The structure of the report can be determined by the consultant to appropriately illustrate the main findings and lines of analysis, but should consider the following aspects, summarized here into three main angles: socio-economic and spatial analysis of urbanization, legal and policy framework analysis, and governance analysis.

Suggested content:

  • Socio-economic and spatial analysis of urbanisation

This part of the analysis should rely as much as possible on statistical data and use spatial representations. It should give a picture of the social, economic and spatial consequences of urbanization, and of the interaction between people, spaces and resources (employment, basic services and infrastructure, housing, transport). It should also highlight challenges caused by potential social and spatial inequalities in access to resources, and opportunities of synergies for sustainable urban development.
It should consider the following aspects:

    • Key demographic and urbanization figures
      • Current and projected state of urbanization, and its main drivers
      • Population growth dynamics (age pyramid, growth rates, distribution, density), income and inequalities
    • System of cities and functional urban areas
      • Analysing the existing system and hierarchy of metropolitan areas and cities not according to administrative boundaries but to the flows of commuters between places of work and residence.
      • Describing the interactions and synergies between urban areas 
    • Climate change and environmental sustainability
      • Assessing the vulnerability of cities to climate change
      • Assessing their responsibility (GHG emissions, consumption of natural resources)
      • Scarcity/availability of natural resources, interactions between urban and rural and agricultural land (encroachment, sprawl)
    • Urban economy
      • Territorial economic development: agglomeration economies and clusters
      • Urban scale: availability of economic opportunities and employment
    • Housing
      • Household types and sizes
      • Informal sector
      • Qualitative and quantitative deficits
    • Transport
      • Inner city mobility
      • Regional and national networks
    • Basic services and infrastructure
      • Quality, coverage, accessibility and affordability
    • Quality of the urban environment
      • Analysis of the urban form and planning and the extent to which it promotes compact, socially inclusive, integrated and connected cities that foster development
      • Including considerations for cultural heritage, pollution, safety and security
  • Legal and policy framework analysis

This part maps out the legal and policy context into which the future NUP would need to be integrated, and illustrates the current policy priorities and responses of the government to the challenges of urbanization.
The analysis should therefore consider to what extent this framework addresses the challenges and opportunities identified in the first section.
Attention should also be paid to the articulation of the different legal and policy frameworks, and assess to what extent they mutually reinforce or contradict each other. The assessment of these frameworks should also consider if they have been designed for effective implementation, with clear and evidence-based objectives.

    •  Overview of the legal and political framework on urbanization
      • mapping of the main policies and laws constituting the current national urban policy framework
      • assessment of these against the objectives of global urban agendas
    • Sectoral policies

Assessing how urbanization and urban areas are addressed in the following sectors:

      • Economic development
      • Social development and inclusion
      • Land
      • Housing
      • Transport/infrastructure
      • Environmental protection and Climate Change adaptation and mitigation
    • Spatial planning legislation
      • National strategic level:

Do the plans for a system of cities and integrated territorial growth fit with the observed functional urban areas?

      • Urban development and planning:

– functionally adequate legal planning instruments and mechanisms for compliance
– are the economic and market dynamics taken into account in plans?
– integration of social and environmental assessments within plans, and considerations for heritage conservation and renewal
– technical standards needed for successful urban development

  •  Governance analysis 
    • institutional arrangements: institutional mapping

describing the distribution of responsibilities and financial resources from the central to the municipal level, giving an idea of the extent of decentralization.

      • Administrative organization and hierarchy of responsibilities

– considering the capacity of institutions to carry out their responsibilities
– and the adequacy of administrative boundaries to the functional realities of territories

      • Financial situation per governmental level

with a special emphasis on municipal finances in the wider institutional context:
– revenue sources
– proportion of central transfers and endogenous revenues
– the extent to which budgets are sufficient to carry out responsibilities
– possibilities and capacities for enhancing local revenues (land value capture, regularization of informal land transactions and uses)

      • Mechanisms for horizontal and vertical cooperation:

Description and assessment of the extent to which institutions manage to coordinate and cooperate across sectors and across governmental levels and scales

    • analysis of relevant stakeholders in the urban policy making process
      • stakeholder mapping
      • private sector influence

e.g: public-private partnerships in service provision

      • citizen influence

democratic processes, participation mechanisms, accountability and inclusivity of policy-making

      • Vulnerable population

Particular consideration for the situation and inclusion of vulnerable populations.

Outputs and deliverables 

The consultancy is for 3.5 months, and includes the following deliverables:

  • Drafting of a first version of the Discussion paper before the in-country workshop
  • Attendance at the in-country workshop and presentation of findings
  • Incorporation of feedback in the final version of the discussion paper
  • Preparation of the Diagnosis Report taking into account the inputs of stakeholders in the workshop.


  • Professionalism: Ability to perform a broad range of administrative functions, e.g., budget/work programme, human resources, database management, etc. Ability to apply knowledge of various United Nations administrative, financial and human resources rules and regulations in work situations.  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.
  • 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.
  • Integrity: Demonstrates the values of the United Nations in daily activities and behaviours. Acts without consideration of personal gains. Resists undue political pressure in decision making. Does not abuse power or authority. Stands by decisions that are in the organization’s interest, even if they are unpopular. Takes prompt action in case of unprofessional or unethical behaviour.


  • Advanced university degree in urban planning/engineering/architecture, or discipline relevant to urban/rural regional planning, management, and/or any relevant social science disciplines relating to international development;


  • Minimum of 15 years relevant Urban Planning experience including experience undertaking urban development policy work at a national level;
  • Technical expertise, knowledge and programming skills relating to the area of urban planning, governance, and economy;
  • Extensive experience working with Iran government, including in policy formation and development, and familiarity with the urban planning process in Iran;
  • The ability to gather and synthesise a range of data sources, and work under challenging situations with a limited knowledge base.
  • Good computer skills including Ms-Office (Word, Power Point);
  • Ability to draft reports clearly and concisely.



  • Fluency in Persian and English with excellent written and oral communication skills;



To Be Determined.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should apply through, by submitting their detailed resume or CV, preferably in the UN Personal History Format, in English by the closing date.  Alternatively, applicants can send their CV by courier to UN-Habitat, BHRC, Sheikh Fazlollah Nouri Expressway, Nargol Street, Marvi Street, Tehran, 14639-17151.

It is the responsibility of the applicants to ensure their CV reaches UN-Habitat office before the closing date. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted in due course.  Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise, which may be followed by competency-based interview.

The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs.  The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applications should include:
•    Cover memo (maximum 1 page)
•    CV in the PHP format, accessible through the INSPIRA website ( Please note, if using INSPIRA for the first time, you need to register in order to activate your account, which will allow you to log in and create a personal History Profile.
•    The PHP should be attached to the application as a PDF file.
•    Summary CV (maximum 2 pages), 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
5.  Expectations regarding remuneration
•    Cover memo (maximum 1 page)

Please also be advised that since April 15th 2010, applicants for consultancies must be part of the
UN-HABITAT e-Roster in order for their application to be considered. You can reach the e-Roster
through the following link:

All applications should be submitted to:
P.O. Box 30030, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya

Deadline for applications:  22 November 2017

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: