Programme Management Specialist

Country: Ethiopia
Organization: UNOPS
Closing date: 19 Apr 2021

Background Information - Job-specific

UNOPS supports partners to build a better future by providing services that increase the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of peace building, humanitarian and development projects. Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organizations.

The New York Service Cluster (NYSC) supports the United Nations Secretariat, as well as other New York-based United Nations organizations, bilateral and multilateral partners in the delivery of UNOPS mandate in project management, infrastructure management, and procurement management. The Sustainable Development Cluster (SDC) supports diverse partners with their peacebuilding, humanitarian and development operations. It was formed by combining the following portfolios: Grants Management Services (GMS), UN Technology Support Services (UNTSS), Development and Special Initiatives Portfolio (DSIP) It provides Services to partners' programmes that are designed, structured, and managed with a global perspective and primarily serving partners that are headquartered in New York. SDC has a footprint of approximately 125 countries.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) is implemented by UNDP’s Local Action Cluster of the Nature, Climate and Energy unit of BPPS on behalf of the GEF Partnership. It is executed by UNOPS. The SGP forms a central part of the UNDP Local Action Cluster of NCE.

SGP grantmaking supports community-based innovation in addressing global environmental issues and improved, more sustainable livelihoods through initiatives led by civil society and community organizations, with special consideration for indigenous peoples, women, youth and persons with disabilities. SGP has supported over 25,000 community-based projects in over 125 countries aimed at biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable land management, protection of international waters, and sound chemicals and waste management. Over the years, SGP has developed extensive partnerships at global, national and local levels. See for further background information.

The Nature, Climate and Energy (NCE) team within the UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) in New York exercises strategic, technical and fiduciary oversight for all of its GEF activities, including the SGP, through a Principal Technical Advisor. Within the NCE, the Local Action Cluster Coordination team, through the SGP Central Programme Management Team, provides the overall global management of the SGP, including strategic, thematic, and operational guidance and support to the Country Programmes. As the responsible Executing Agency for the SGP, UNOPS provides services to UNDP for human resources, administrative, financial and legal aspects of grantmaking and country operations.

The Programme Management Specialist will act as a Regional Programme Specialist for the Africa region for the NCE Local Action Cluster (SGP Regional Focal Point), and form part of the Addis Ababa NCE Regional Team. He/she will contribute to Local Action cluster strategic objectives as follows: responsibility for supervision of Local Action Country Programmes in Africa (SGP and other initiatives), supervision of Country Programme staff vis a vis design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Country Programme Strategies, as well as identification of upscaling, resource mobilization, and knowledge generation opportunities. The Regional Focal Point, with his/her technical expertise, will provide strategic guidance to the NCE Local Action Cluster overall regarding community-based sustainable land management, including climate-resilient, sustainable agriculture, particularly as it pertains to participatory landscape planning and management for socio-ecological resilience.

This is a position to support a project which UNOPS is implementing for the United Nations Development Programme. The incumbent of this position will be personnel of UNOPS under its full responsibility.

Functional Responsibilities

Under the direct supervision of the SGP/CPMT Deputy Global Manager – on behalf of the Local Action Cluster - and UNDP/NCE’s Regional Team Leader, and in collaboration with other Local Action and NCE staff, the incumbent will actively support the implementation of the overall programme of work of the Local Action cluster, with specific focus on SGP as the backbone of the cluster, and will perform the following specific duties:

Guidance for Development and Implementation of Community-based Sustainable Land Management

  • Keep abreast of developments in GEF and other donor policies and programming directions to support the implementation of international frameworks and multilateral environmental treaties relating to Sustainable Land, Forest, and Agriculture management (such as the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and others);
  • Coordinate and consult with relevant UNDP Principal Technical Advisors (PTAs), Global Policy Centre on Drylands and other staff on Sustainable Land, Forest, and Agriculture Management issues regarding alignment of the Local Action portfolio within UNDP NCE strategies.
  • Contribute to the development of global strategies and supply intellectual leadership to Local Action portfolio development in alignment with overall UNDP, GEF and/or other donor policies;
  • Contribute to strategic inputs to the GEF regarding the role of community organizations in Agriculture and Food Security, Land Degradation, Sustainable Forest Management and overall sustainable development and livelihoods of local communities and vulnerable populations, including indigenous peoples, women, youth and persons with disabilities;
  • Undertake periodic reviews of the Local Action portfolio, and monitor implementation progress in achieving global objectives as specified in the relevant global strategies;
  • Provide guidance to Local Action Country Programmes on Sustainable Agriculture, Land Degradation and Sustainable Forest Management and/or link Country Programme requests for technical support to the corresponding Regional Technical Advisors or other local or regional experts;
  • Contribute to the periodic revision of the relevant strategic guidance documents for GEF and other donors, as requested, at the global level;
  • Respond to country, regional or global queries on Country Programme strategies, project eligibility, and other technical and policy aspects related to the design and implementation of Local Action projects;

Key Results: UNDP Local Action is widely recognized for its ability to deliver local sustainable development and global environmental benefits relating to sustainable land, forest and agriculture management through community-based actions.

Development Impact, Knowledge Management and Communications

  • Keep track of the Local Action project portfolio in the area of Sustainable Land, Forest, and Agriculture Management, including monitoring of results and information in the database;
  • Identify lessons learned and best practices both at the global and Country Programme levels, assist in the development of analyses and case studies of the portfolio and other knowledge management products, and assist the Local Action Knowledge Management and Communications team to adequately disseminate the same;
  • Participate in and provide inputs to major evaluation processes, including the periodic independent evaluations of the SGP, as well as country-based evaluations and audits;
  • Support the preparation of SGP Annual Monitoring Reports and any other relevant GEF, UNDP or other M&E reports;
  • Provide, in collaboration with the M&E officer of the Local Action Cluster, guidance to the Local Action Country Programmes on Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) and support the preparation of reports;
  • Facilitate up-scaling of Local Action projects by assisting Local Action Country Programme teams in the development of medium and full-sized projects with the relevant RTAs and UNDP CO staff, country and global policy linkages, and collaboration with other bilateral donors and external partners;
  • Participate in key international conferences, events and networks relating to Sustainable Land, Forest, and Agriculture Management to ensure that Local Action achievements are well-recognized and disseminated throughout international sustainable development circles.

Key Results: UNDP Local Action is widely recognized as a source of cutting-edge tools, knowledge and information relating to community-based approaches to sustainable land, forest, and agriculture management, community empowerment, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development.

Support to Local Action Country Programme Design and Management

  • Provide overall supervision and support of Country Programmes, including facilitation of the recruitment by UNOPS and UNDP Country Offices of Local Action Country Programme staff, and review and approval of NSC composition for the Africa region;
  • Coordinate with UNOPS the financial monitoring and review of regional programmatic delivery;
  • Coordinate SGP country programme operations with UNOPS team, review relevant documents and reports, identify problems and issues to be addressed and initiate corrective actions, liaising with relevant UNOPS portfolio managers and ensuring follow-up actions;
  • Continuously explore opportunities to improve efficiency of SGP operations in collaboration with UNOPS;
  • Maintain regular contacts with UNOPS colleagues on coordination and policy matters relevant to SGP;
  • Conduct oversight, monitoring, and trouble-shooting missions to support the successful implementation of Local Action Country Programmes;
  • Carry out performance assessments of the Local Action Country Programme Managers in the Africa region, particularly in their roles as coordinators of the SGP;
  • Advise Country Programmes on UNDP, GEF, and other relevant policies and their implications on Country Programme management, covering all related technical, policy and operational aspects;
  • Lead the organization of Local Action regional workshops and preparation of regional reports to donors and partners;
  • Under the supervision of the UNDP NCE Regional Team Leader (RTL), coordinate with Regional Technical Advisors (RTAs) and Local Action Country Programme Managers in UNDP regional initiatives and activities, including RSCA/RBA work planning to better integrate Local Action into RBA priorities.

Key Results: UNDP Local Action country operations are implemented efficiently and effectively as part of coherent global programme.

Programme Policy Development and Support

  • Contribute to overall Local Action strategy development, facilitating consultative processes in the preparation of proposal development for thematic and regional initiatives;
  • Act as Local Action focal point and contribute to the discussions at UNDP, GEF, and other donors and partners regarding community-based approaches and achievements in Africa in regard to Sustainable Land, Forest and Agriculture Management;
  • Contribute to strengthening collaboration between UNDP Local Action and other partners as part of the UNDP mandate to build capacity of civil society and safeguard environmental services for the vulnerable communities and address gender concerns;
  • Support and provide inputs to the preparation and organization of the Steering Committee meetings of the SGP and the preparation of GEF Council papers, as appropriate;
  • Contribute to strategic planning and development of operational policies and procedures of Local Action management and supervision of Country Programmes;
  • Facilitate the understanding of, and support to, the implementation of decisions by donors and other authorities in relation to Local Action programmes and activities and in full compliance with their fiduciary requirements.

Key Results: UNDP Local Action is widely recognized for its ability to deliver global environmental benefits relating to land degradation and sustainable forest management, contribute to poverty reduction, and lead to the empowerment of marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Partnership Development & Resource Mobilization

  • Assist, as relevant, Local Action PTA/STA/RTL and the Coordination team/CPMT in development of Local Action partnerships with bilateral donors, multi-lateral organizations, private sector, foundations, and non-traditional donors to mobilize additional resources for relevant regional initiatives as well as Sustainable Land, Forest, and Agriculture Management activities at the global level;
  • Identify new partnerships opportunities and donors to generate greater programme and portfolio impacts;
  • Support the development of partnerships with other UN agencies and internal and external institutions, programmes and projects working on Sustainable Land, Forest, and Agriculture Management (including the UNCCD, UNFCCC, UNREDD Secretariat, and others).

Key Results: Continued growth in the quality, scope, and impact of UNDP Local Action partnerships and leverage financial and technical expertise with relevant organizations at all levels (global, regional and national). Local Action Country Programmes gradually strengthen their institutional sustainability over time.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

A. Education

  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in community development, natural resource management, rural development (agricultural economics, rural sociology, etc.), agronomy or other closely related field
  • Two (2) additional years of relevant work experience, in combination with a relevant first level university (bachelor’s degree or equivalent), may substitute for the requirement of a master’s degree.

B. Experience

  • A minimum of five years of experience in the design, implementation and/or management of projects and application of integrated community-based approaches to sustainable land, forest and/or agriculture management, including at least three years of related work with civil society organizations in one or more developing countries;
  • Working experience and understanding the development challenges in the Africa region is required;
  • Familiarity with the work of UNDP, the Global Environment Facility, and grant-making programmes, in general; work with other similar donors is an asset;
  • Experience in strategic planning, partnership development, systems analysis, and organization of complex programmes an asset.

C. Language

  • Excellent verbal and written communication in English essential;
  • Spoken and written fluency in French highly desirable**Contract type, level and duration**

Contract type: Fixed-Term Staff Appointment
Contract level: P-3
Contract duration: One year initially, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and funding availability.

For more details about United Nations staff contracts, please follow this link*:*

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns.
Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

How to apply:

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