Chief Technical Advisor (CTA)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Riyadh, , SA

During the last years, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA) initiated an ambitious program for the investigations of its major surface and groundwater resources, for the monitoring of these resources, for the study of hydrological resources (research side), and for the management of the resources (management side). While most of these tasks have been completed or are about to come to an end, the implementation of most of the necessary measures is in its very early stages and hampered by the increasing workload in the ministry. The still rapidly increasing population mainly counteracts the successes the Saudi government and MEWA have achieved in sustainable resources water management through its reforms.

To make a transition from the current patterns of water administration to sound water management mode, two things must happen. First, there is strong need to strengthen the technical and organizational capacities of the MEWA to deal with the triple challenge of water exploitation and distribution (operational side), research for additional resources and cutting-edge technologies to satisfy the increasing demand (research side), and rigid control and administration of all water-related aspects (control side). Second, a sound information base covering data on groundwater availability, quality, withdrawal, and usage is about to be put in place.

The transformation of this information into an all-encompassing water resources management requires sustained long-term efforts, especially since the MEWA has limited capacity and experience in this field. An UNDP program has been designed to initiate a systematic process of capacity development to help in sustainable development of water resources and management of water-related affairs the Kingdom to ensure permanent and sufficient supply.  The program has Seven pillars: Groundwater Resources Management; Secondary Water Resources; Water Supply Management; Public Relations, capacity development and research, National Center for water Research and Studies, Water management Control Center each represented by a working group

  • Coordinate all technical activities amongst technical experts and between UNDP and MEWA
  • Coordinate and supervise the activities of technical teams
  • Coordinate group activities with the corresponding stakeholders
  • Enforce project timetable in terms of deliverables
  • Shortlist suitable candidates for expert positions within the Project and provide advice to the Project Coordinator on this matter
  • Coordinate the daily work within the technical groups and mediate in cases of conflicts of competence or interest
  • Exert quality control on the individual experts’ outputs within the teams and of the entire technical project staff
  • Organize the substantive material and agenda of workshops for each team every three month, in which achievements and issues of the group are discussed, documented and resolved
  • Prepare quarterly and Annual progress report for the entire project following the quarterly workshops documenting achievements and problems to be submitted to the project coordinator for approval.  Said reports to be forwarded to UNDP by the project manager
  • Present the main topics of these status reports to the Project Coordination Group
  • Inform the Project Board immediately in case of unforeseen risks that arise and endanger the successful execution of components of the project
  • Provide scientific and technical support and guidance to project Lead Specialists, national focal points and thematic networks for enhanced project effectiveness.
  • Lead a strategic plan for capacity development in all water areas
  • Identifies and evaluates issues, prepares work programmes, technical terms of references, proposals for sector policies, and other papers as deemed necessary in working towards the overall project objectives.
  • Guide various written outputs, e.g. background papers, analysis, substantial sections of reports and studies, etc.
  • Provision of advisory services to the National Project Coordinator on project reporting                   (programme/project preparation and submissions, progress reports,  etc.) and ensures preparation of related documents/reports.
  • To head and guide the on-the-job training to the technical national staff of the Water Sector

People Management:

  • Empowers team managers to act independently
  • Holds  units accountable for  setting challenging goals
  • Sets high peer standards for measuring success and provides encouragement
  • Anticipates and solves organizational conflicts
  • Models best corporate practices and highest ethical standards
  • Creates atmosphere of trust; builds acceptance and seeks diverse views, cultures and individual needs within the team
  • Actively mentors and develops leaders

People Skills:

  • Promotes a learning and knowledge sharing environment
  • Facilitates the development of individual and multi-cultural/team competencies

Managing for Results:

  • Plans and prioritizes work activities to meet organizational goals
  • Strategic approach to problem solving

Partnering & Networking:

  • Builds and sustains relationships with key constituents (internal/external/ bilateral/ multilateral/public/private; civil society)
  • Seeks and applies knowledge, information, and best practices from within and outside of the project
  • Demonstrates ability to handle working relationships with senior officials, academics and technical experts.

Innovation & Judgement:

  • Conceptualizes and analyzes problems to identify key issues, underlying problems, and how they relate
  • Generates creative, practical approaches to overcome challenging situations
  • Devises new systems and processes, and modifies existing ones, to support innovative behaviors
  • Provides technical backstopping to the short-term consultants and coordinate and facilitate their operations;
  • Advises and assist in designing, implementation and enforcement of the monitoring assessment framework;


  • The Chief Technical Advisor will report, in parallel track to the National Project Coordinator (Water Deputy Minister), and to UNDP through the Office of the Resident Representative. 


  • Focuses on impact and result for the client
  • Coordinates/collaborates with all key stakeholders and build strong networks/ partnerships
  • Effective team leadership with strong conflict resolution skills
  • Establishes priorities for self and other members of the team; schedules activities to ensure optimum use of time and resources
  • Demonstrates excellent oral and written communication skills


  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Treats people fairly without favoritism
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude


  • MS or PhD in geosciences or civil engineering with specialization in water-related topics; a relevant multi-disciplinary background is considered useful.


  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience in management of major projects, preferably in water-related business’
  • Previous five years’ or more experience in water or other natural resources issues.
  • Experience in evaluating and conducting result based management
  • Ability of dealing and managing communication channels (mass-communication, social media).
  • Strong teamwork skills and ability to work effectively independently as a consultant and gap         analyzer
  • Strong quantitative and statistical skills
  • Demonstrated ability to proficiently and effectively guide and manage interdisciplinary teams comprised of staff with diverse backgrounds and varied skill sets
  • Comprehensive record of successfully completed projects
  • Excellent leadership and influence skills


  • Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills in English; Arabic language skills will be an advantage.