Chief Technical Specialist (Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Suva, , FJ


Tuvalu is the fourth smallest nation in the world with a population of about 10,000. Due to its geographical remoteness and relatively limited size of the economy, it is one of the least developed countries. It is also one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impact of climate change induced sea-level rise and intensifying storm events. Recent cyclones have already shown large scale population displacement, loss and damage of agriculture and infrastructure, contamination of water supplies, coastal erosion and scouring, impacting long term sustainable development of the country.

As such, in response to this climate challenge, the Government of Tuvalu and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) have jointly committed to US$ 38 million for the ‘Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project’ towards building coastal resilience which is an urgent national priority.  This project will address the financial and capacity constraints at all levels – from technical to community awareness. With GCF financing, the project is expected to;

  • Make at least 35% of the high value vulnerable coastlines more resilient to withstand the effects of increased wave intensity compared to the baseline of 7%. The GCF investment will be in the islands of Funafuti, Nanumea and Nanumaga, and directed along areas with high concentration of residences and social and economic assets;
  • Directly and significantly benefit at least 29% or 3,100 people and indirectly 33% or 3,400 of the total Tuvalu population by mitigating impact of future wave overtopping events;
  • Strengthen institutional and community capacities for sustaining and replicating project results.

This GCF project will be executed by UNDP in close partnership with the Government of Tuvalu, given its extensive experience in implementing climate change adaptation projects globally. The project implementation will be led by a team based in Tuvalu and Suva, Fiji. 

Under the direct supervision of the Team Leader – Resilience and Sustainable Development Team, the Chief Technical Specialist jointly with the National Project Manager are responsible for the implementation and management of the TCAP. In doing so, the Chief Technical Specialist is expected to bring in international best practices to the implementation of the project and train the technical personnel in the Project Management Unit (PMU). While the Chief Technical Specialist will be based in Fiji, the incumbent is expected to spend 70-75% of time in Funafuti, Tuvalu.  

Duties and Responsibilities

Technical Oversight and Expertise:

  • Collaborate with the National Project Manager (NPM) in executing project activities and its implementation;
  • Serve as the chief technical advisor on adaptation options envisaged in the project document, identify needs for external technical support for effective implementation;
  • Liaise with Government, UNDP and other development partners on progress and facilitate implementation of project activities;
  • Provide technical supervision, backstopping and oversight of all aspects of project activites;
  • Is responsible, jointly with the NPM, for the implementation and monitoring of all risk mitigation measures during all project phases such as inception, implementation / construction; and operation;
  • Support the NPM in liaising with the Government of Tuvalu by providing high quality technical inputs;
  • Support the NPM in preparing/organizign the technical materials used in the Project Board Meeting;
  • Carry out assessments of the technical, financial, political, operational and management situations on the ground that affect the project implementation and keep the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji and UNDP Regional Hub in Bangkok abreast of the situations;
  • Provide leadership in identifying solutions to address existing gaps arising out of assessements;
  • Undertake a comprehensive overview of good international practices in the area of coastal adaptation projects and build similar practices within the project;
  • Build and maintain partnerships with technical partners and donors by reporting project progress and identifying opportunities for collaboration;
  • Ensure coordination between UNDP and all project stakeholders.

Policy advice and capacity building:

  • Identify strategic opportunities for the project to achieve greater development impact through partnerships building and adaptive management;
  • Strengthen capacities of the PMU and the Government of Tuvalu to plan, budget and deliver coastal protection related public services;
  • Build technical and managerial capacities within the PMU;
  • Provision of advice and support through technical assistance to the national counterparts, as required;
  • Provision of other advice as needed to UNDP concerning the evolution and role of the relevant Ministries/stakeholders;
  • Participate and actively contribute to the PMU in coordination with the NPM;
  • Provide policy advise to Government of Tuvalu on coastal protection measures and ensure coherence with the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji portfolio.

Effective Project Management in coordination with the NPM:

  • Strongly support project implementation and management under the overall guidance of the  NPM;
  • Provide strategic input to technical, financial and managerial aspects of the project to ensure that activities are in accordance with the Project Document;
  • Provide input in joint collaboration with the NPM and other members of the PMU on the following elements of project management to ensure achievement of targets and results:
    • Annual work planning;
    •  Annual budgeting;
    • Procurement of goods and services;
    • Budget and expenditure analysis;
    • Contractual management;
    • Quarterly and annual progress reporting;
    • Quarterly operational reporting
  • Provide advice for the annual financial audit;
  • Monitoring and Evaluation of project activities, and identify and implement solutions to bring the project back on track, as needed;
  • Planning and providing strategic inputs into all aspects of project activities;
  • Coordinate with the Joint Operations Centre in the Pacific Office in Fiji to ensure that financial and operational procedures of the project are in line with UNDP rules and regulations;
  • Perform other duties as necessary to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the project.

Knowledge management:

  • Identify, analyse and communicate lessons learned that may be useful in design and implementation of similar projects. The duty of identifying and analyzing lessons learned is an on-going one, and the duty to communicate those lessons is on an as-needed basis;
  • Share knowledge on the Project and its achievements. Promote identification and synthesis of best practices and lessons learned from Project implementation, for organizational sharing and learning. Promote a knowledge sharing and learning culture;
  • Produce materials with lessons learnt and best practices and participate in knowledge based tools;
  • Contribute to the analytical work of UNDP and ensure high quality knowledge products. Promote the substantive quality of all knowledge products, reports and services, and ensures effective integration thereof with other pillars.

Functional Competencies:     

Building Partnerships:

  • Analyzes general information and selects materials in support of partnership building initiatives;
  • Tracks and reports on mobilized resources.

Promoting Organizational Learning and Knowledge Sharing:

  • Researches best practices and poses new, more effective ways of doing things;
  • Identifies and communicates opportunities to promote learning and knowledge sharing.

Job Knowledge/Technical Expertise:

  • Understands the general issues of climate change and coastal adaptation;
  • Possesses strong skills and experience in managing large-scale (over US$10 million) projects;
  • Possesses knowledge of organizational policies and procedures relating to the position and applies them consistently in work tasks (broad range of specialized knowledge related to financial resources management, including formulating budgets, maintaining Accounts Receivables and Accounts Payables, reporting);
  • Identifies new and better approaches to work processes and incorporates same in own work;
  • Strives to keep job knowledge up-to-date through self-directed study and other means of learning;
  • Demonstrates good knowledge of information technology and applies it in work assignments.

Promoting Organizational Change and Development:

  • Documents ‘best practices’ in organizational change and development within and outside the UN system;
  • Demonstrates ability to identify problems and proposes solutions.

Design and Implementation of Management Systems:

  • Uses information/databases/other management systems;
  • Makes recommendations related to work procedures and implementation of management systems.

Client Orientation:

  • Reports to internal and external clients in a timely and appropriate fashion;
  • Organizes and prioritizes work schedule to meet client needs and deadlines;
  • Establishes, builds and sustains effective relationships within the work unit and with internal and external clients;
  • Responds to client needs promptly.

Promoting Accountability and Results-Based Management

  • Gathers and disseminates information on best practice in accountability and results-based management systems;
  • Maintains databases.

Core Competencies:

  • Demonstrate corporate knowledge and sound judgment;
  • Self-development, initiative-taking;
  • Acting as a team player and facilitating team work;
  • Facilitating and encouraging open communication in the team, communicating effectively;
  • Creating synergies through self-control;
  • Managing conflict;
  • Learning and sharing knowledge and encourage the learning of others. Promoting learning and knowledge management/sharing is the   responsibility of each staff member;
  • Ability to travel to project sites (travelling by boat)
Required Skills and Experience


Masters or equivalent in any Natural Science, Environmental Management or Environmental Engineering or any other relevant field.


  • At least 7 years of progressively relevant experience in managing and implementing large-scale projects at the regional or international level;
  • Experience leading teams to deliver large scale programme/project;
  • Experience providing expert advice and implementing climate change actions;
  • Familiarity with climate change issues;
  • Ability to lead, conduct, facilitate and document discussions with stakeholders;
  • Experience working in institutional development, project development and management, budgeting;
  • Project management experience in climate change related projects would be an advantage;
  • Experience in the Pacific region would be an advantage. Experience working in atolls is desirable;
  • Experience in utilizing both infrastructure and ecosystem based adaptation approaches is desirable.


Flunecy in English both written and oral.


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