Learning to Lead: Transitioning to Adaptive Sustainable Development Leadership (Oct Edition)



UN Partner

Offered by

United Nations System Staff College

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Course details

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4 days
2500 USD
Start date
13 October 2020
End date
16 October 2020
Registration deadline
4 October 2020

Course summary

This four-day programme for aspiring mid-level UN staff prepares participants for the critical transition to a greater leadership role in supporting transformative processes at country-level and builds on innovative and technologically advanced practices for sustainable development.

About this course

For the first time in history, all countries have committed to a global action plan for people, prosperity and the planet – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The challenges to achieving this ambitious promise are enormous and the United Nations – impactful, effective, and fit for purpose – has never before been more needed by its Member States.

The ongoing UN development system repositioning process calls for a new set of attributes for UN leadership – impactful, adaptive, purposeful, holistic and agile – to lead the organization to deliver results at the scale and pace required to help the countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The course will enable the UN staff who are aspiring to take on leadership roles to build on a more profound understanding of the paradigm shift required by the 2030 Agenda and the changing role of the UN, as well as the new attributes of leadership positions in the UN to align and harness their own competencies and skills to make the necessary transition into roles of greater responsibility.

Course Methodology

This face-to-face course combines inputs and lectures by subject matter experts and senior UN staff with opportunities for knowledge sharing and participatory exercises. Participants will apply their learning through experiential methodologies such as case studies, team discussions, and dialogues with speakers.

Course Contents

  • Sustainable development, the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs: concepts, vision, interconnectedness and complexity, global and local, challenges and opportunities, countries, and the UN.
  • Leadership models and styles: qualities required for successful leadership, practical techniques to improve leadership and management, and strategies for encouraging innovation and managing change.
  • Learning to lead for sustainable development: cultivating the necessary thinking, values and skills; shaping the context; embracing a purposeful, reflective and adaptive leadership style.

Cost of participation

The course fee of $2,500 covers the following:

  • Four days of training with a balance of presentations, group work on case studies, and individual skills and reflection exercises;
  • Exclusive access to a UNSSC online social learning environment with training and supporting background materials, and the opportunity to stay connected with colleagues;
  • All course materials, resources and contacts.

Participants are expected to cover all travel costs related to their attendance in the course.

Certificates from the UN System Staff College will be awarded to participants upon completion of the course.

Special Discount for UN staff working in UN Resident Coordinator Offices (RCOs)

This course is part of the UNSSC Sustainable Development Learning Package offered to Resident Coordinator Offices (RCO) staff. We are offering a special discount of $1,000 to UN staff working in RCOs as part of UNSSC’s targeted support to the UN reform process through sustained and facilitated learning and leadership development programmes.

Clearly indicate in your motivation statement how this course can benefit your work in responding to country-specific needs in implementing the 2030 Agenda.



Target audience

UN staff at the P3-P4 levels and equivalent, working on issues related to the UN support to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at national, regional and global levels.

Learning objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will:

  • Possess knowledge of the vision and principles underlying the 2030 Agenda and effective approaches towards its implementation through practical means and mechanisms to sustainable development;
  • Understand the ongoing repositioning of the UN development system, as well as the related UN reform streams, and the implications for UN work at country, regional and global levels;
  • Understand their current “starting point” in this process, and what competencies, skills and values they will need to develop in order to take on a leadership role in the repositioned UN system, to provide impactful and transformative support to countries for the 2030 Agenda;
  • Harness their individual purpose and leadership style as a driver of superior performance for organizational impact;
  • Acquire and build self-awareness and commit to impactful and adaptive sustainable development leadership.