Regional Technical Advisor for Water and Oceans

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Addis Ababa, , ET


The UNDP Global Environmental Finance (GEF) unit is based in the Sustainable Development cluster of UNDP’s Bureau of Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) and is responsible for providing leadership and technical support to delivery of the Environment and Sustainable Development pillar of UNDP’s Strategic Plan.  Its main focus is helping countries develop the capacity to fully incorporate environmental sustainability into development at national and local, but also global and regional, levels.  The principal areas of work are in environmental mainstreaming, environmental finance, adaptation to climate change, and local governance of resources, including energy.

With its technical focus, the GEF unit is organized into substantive technical teams with a Principal or Senior Technical Advisor (PTA) being the team leader within each area.  Each team leader supports and guides a team of Regional Technical Advisors (RTAs) and Specialists (RTSs).  As well as being a member of a technical team, each RTA and RTS is also a member of a regional team, which consists of RTAs/RTSs from all technical teams working together under the leadership of a Regional Practice or Team Leader.  The regional teams are based in regional hubs from where they support UNDP’s country offices and partners in their region.

The role of a Regional Technical Advisor/Specialist (RTA/RTS) is to provide high quality technical guidance and support to policy and project development and implementation partners, primarily UNDP country offices but also other UN agencies, governments and inter-governmental organizations, NGO’s, donors, etc.

The PTAs and RTAs/RTSs are also responsible for providing detailed knowledge related to sources of funds for environment work, and assisting partners to obtain, use, and report on, such funding.  Currently the main sources of funds include: the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and its Adaptation Funds (LDCF, SCCF), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Adaptation Fund (AF), and various bilateral, multilateral, and sub-national donors and partners including country governments, NGOs, and the private sector.  

The Regional Technical Advisor for Water and Oceans works under the overall guidance and supervision of the Head, Water and Oceans Governance Programme/Principal Technical Advisor-International Waters and the Regional Practice / Team Leader, and in close collaboration with other technical specialists at both global and regional levels.   

This post will be based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with a policy and project portfolio emphasis on Large Marine Ecosystems, fisheries, integrated coastal management and integrated water resources management for Eastern and Southern Africa.  Depending on work load and resources, Regional Technical Advisors/Specialists can be periodically redeployed in accordance with capability, consent, and due process, to any region as needed.  

Duties and Responsibilities
The Regional Technical Advisor for Water and Oceans is primarily responsible for providing technical, policy, and programming implementation support and oversight, and knowledge and capacity development services pertaining to the work of the Water & Oceans signature programmes to UNDP country offices, other UN agencies, governments and inter-governmental organizations, NGO’s, donors, the private sector and others.  Specific results are expected in the areas of:  
  1. Innovation, Strategic Leadership, Policy Dialogue and Advocacy; 
  2. Portfolio Management;
  3. Resource Mobilization; 
  4. Development Impact; 
  5. Learning, Knowledge Management and Self Development. 
Innovation, Strategic Leadership, Policy Dialogue and Advocacy
  • Establishing and maintaining a strategic understanding of, and engagement with, the substantive technical issues, institutions, and processes within the region, including establishing contact with and developing strategic partnerships with other agencies, donors, NGO’s, the private sector, scientific institutions and the like; 
  • Leading, or contributing to, the development and implementation of UNDP’s global and regional strategies on environment and sustainable development within the BPPS and beyond.  Engagement in policy and advocacy work with external partners where relevant;
  • Providing strategic policy development support and guidance; 
  • Developing strategic UNDP policy position papers and internal briefing notes; 
  • Developing and advocating for specific policy analysis and development tools and guidance;
  • Establishing a trusted leadership role within the region; 
  • Keeping the Regional Team informed of trends and issues with respect to the substantive technical area;
  • Keeping the Principal Technical Advisor informed of trends and issues in the region;
  • Support the PTA in the supervision, coaching and mentoring of staff and consultants supporting programming.
Key result:  New strategic opportunities for UNDP are realized, UNDP’s technical focus is leading edge and innovative, UNDP has strong partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders, and UNDP has a trusted leadership role in the technical area of expertise.
Portfolio Management 
  • Contribute towards maintenance of programme/project and portfolio information and corporate information systems;
  • Identifying, and sourcing of technical expertise and support including assisting with the preparation of TORs, identification and evaluation of experts and reviewing reports;
  • Ensuring that the W&O portfolio efficiently matures during the project preparation phase (under 18 months from concept approval to project document submission) and is equally efficient during the implementation phase including start up, first disbursement and closure on time;
  • Maintain high quality standards for Project Implementation Reviews, Mid-term Reviews and Terminal Evaluations.
Key result: Portfolio of programmes/projects managed efficiently and effectively.  UNDP recognized as providing outstanding programme and project oversight and supervision support.
Resource Mobilization
  • Programme and project identification and development including on integrated approaches and multifocal area projects;
  • Providing timely quality information and technical advice on source of funds policies, priorities and activities – including the Global Environment Facility funds, the Green Climate Fund, other multilateral donors, bilateral donors and foundations;
  • Identifying priorities and entry-points for UNDP assistance;
  • Leading the process of preparation, design, submission and approval of programme/project concepts and full-fledged proposals for financing;
  • Identification and sourcing of technical expertise and support including assisting with the preparation of TORs, identification and evaluation of experts and reviewing reports;
  • Liaison with potential financing agencies and institutions;
  • Assist the PTA with providing quality assurance to the programming of projects financed by the GEF, GCF, AF, LDCF and SCCF. 
Key result:  Resources are mobilized in support of developing country clients as a consequence of the identification, development and funding of high technical quality and results based programmes and projects in line with country priorities and UNDP strategic priorities.
Development Impact 
  • Assisting with inception, contracting and start-up of programmes/projects including establishment of indicators, benchmarks and work plans;
  • Supporting UNDP country offices and programme/project implementation partners with supervision, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, troubleshooting and adaptive management;
  • Preparing reports and communications pieces effectively showcasing socio-economic development benefits, as well as, environment results.
Key result: UNDP programmes and projects consistently deliver high quality, high impact development results.
Learning, Knowledge Management and Self Development 
  • Evaluating, capturing, codifying, synthesizing lessons and stimulating the uptake of best practices and knowledge, including the development of resource kits and other knowledge materials;
  • Peer reviewing, commenting on, and seeking to improve, the technical quality of programmes/projects, policies, practices, guidelines, advisory notes, publications and the like; 
  • Assisting with preparation of regional Community of Practice meetings; 
  • Preparing and delivering training courses;
  • Responding to queries on programme/project progress, impacts and lessons;
  • Developing and carrying out a personal learning plan (5%).
Key result:  UNDP recognized as a learning and knowledge management organization.
  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work.
  • Ability to persuade others to follow.
People Management
  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.
  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.
  • Ability to get things done.
Environmental Issues
  • Knowledge of environment issues, concept and principles and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
  • Knowledge of economics concepts, principles and policies and ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
Development Planning
  • Knowledge of development planning processes and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
Program Planning and Design
  • Develop programmes through a process.
Resource Mobilization
  • Ability to identify and organize programmes and projects to implement solutions and generate resources.
Results Based Management
  • Ability to manage programmes and projects with a strategy aimed at improved performance and demonstrable results.
Advocacy and Representation
  • Ability to productively share UNDP knowledge and activities (at UN and other venues).
Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Knowledge of methodologies, tools, systems and apply practical experience in planning, monitoring, evaluating and reporting.
Knowledge Management
  • Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge.
Project Management
  • Ability to plan, organize, motivate, and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals.
Required Skills and Experience
  • Master’s or higher degree in marine sciences, hydrology, oceanography, fisheries, coastal or water resources management, environmental sciences, or a closely related field;
  • Minimum 10 years of experience working with developing countries on marine, coastal, river/lake/aquifer and/or island ecosystems management;
  • Extensive experience with project development, implementation and oversight;
  • Experience in the policy development processes associated with water and ocean management and governance and related sustainable development issues; 
  • Demonstrated strategic technical and intellectual skills in substantive area;
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain strategic partnerships;
  • Demonstrated leadership, facilitation and coordination skills;
  • Full computer literacy;
  • Experience working in Southern and Eastern Africa is highly desirable;
  • Working experience in an international organization is an advantage as is knowledge of UNDP, GEF and GCF policies, procedures and practices.
Language Requirements:
  • Excellent knowledge of the English language, with exceptional writing, presentation and communication skills;
  • Proficiency in other UN languages is an asset.

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