Role as Deputy Executive Secretary at UNFCCC

As the Deputy Executive Secretary at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Ovais Sarmad played a crucial role in providing strategic direction and guidance to the senior management team. His responsibilities encompassed a wide range of areas to ensure effective operations and impactful outcomes.

Strategic Leadership and Coordination:

Ovais Sarmad was responsible for providing strategic support to the Executive Secretary on political and strategic issues. He ensured UN-wide coordination of climate change issues and represented the secretariat at international fora and within the UN system. He led monthly management team meetings and bi-weekly internal coordination meetings to foster collaboration and alignment.

In his capacity as Deputy Executive Secretary, Ovais Sarmad effectively oversaw the day-to-day operations of the secretariat, liaised with presiding officers and COP presidencies, and provided invaluable leadership in advancing the global climate change agenda. His commitment to ethical practices, coordination, and stakeholder engagement contributed to the success of the UNFCCC in addressing the urgent challenges of climate change.

He played a crucial role in guiding the organization towards effective implementation, building partnerships, and mobilizing resources to address one of the most pressing challenges of our time and made significant achievements in driving key initiatives and shaping the organization's direction and operations to address climate change challenges. Some highlights of his accomplishments include:

COP Management and Paris Agreement Implementation:

Ovais Sarmad played a pivotal role in managing and coordinating the process-related and operational aspects of five Conference of the Parties (COP) sessions, from COP23 to COP27. Under his leadership, the secretariat successfully completed the crucial task of developing and implementing the Paris Agreement guidelines, including Article 6, at the Glasgow conference. Additionally, he was instrumental in establishing the Loss & Damage fund during the Sharm-el-Sheikh conference.

Financial Management and Administration:

With a focus on stability and efficiency, Ovais Sarmad ensured stable financial management within the secretariat. He oversaw the management of administration, including budget, finance, human resources, procurement, general services, and legal affairs.

Engagement and Relationship Building:

Building strong relationships was a key aspect of Ovais Sarmad's role. He fostered good relationships with party delegations, private sector stakeholders, civil society organizations, and youth groups through the Action for Climate Empowerment initiative. By actively engaging with various stakeholders, he promoted collaboration and consensus-building in addressing climate change challenges. He provided oversight to the Director of Communications and Engagement to support and coordinate the work of the Communications and Engagement division.

Code of Conduct and Ethical Practices:

Ovais Sarmad took a proactive role in establishing and implementing the Code of Conduct within the secretariat and throughout the UNFCCC process. He prioritized ethics and ensured a respectful working environment, free from all forms of harassment, particularly sexual harassment. As a member of the UN-wide task force for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment, he contributed to promoting a safe and inclusive work culture.

Strategic Framework and Annual Reporting:

Ovais Sarmad played a pivotal role in finalizing the first-ever strategic framework for United Nations Climate Change, providing a clear roadmap for action and impact. Furthermore, he coordinated the production of the organization's inaugural annual report for 2017, showcasing its achievements, progress, and challenges in addressing climate change at a global level.

Resources Mobilization and Partnerships:

Recognizing the importance of financial resources and collaboration, Ovais Sarmad established a successful Resources Mobilization & Partnership function within the secretariat. This function aimed to enhance fund-raising efforts and foster partnerships with the public and private sectors. By strengthening financial resources and expanding cooperation, he facilitated the implementation of climate action projects and initiatives.

Secretariat-wide Restructuring for Implementation Era:

Recognizing the need for organizational effectiveness and adaptability, Ovais Sarmad initiated a comprehensive review and implementation of the secretariat's structure. Through a consultative and collaborative approach involving UNFCCC staff and Party delegations, he led a successful secretariat-wide structure review process. This endeavor aimed to align the organization with the goals and requirements of the Paris Agreement and drive efficient implementation efforts.