Turkmenistan nationals: Project Manager

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
5-7 Years
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)
Languages Required: 


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Project:                      UNDP/GEF/SCWM "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for Sustainable Water Management in Turkmenistan" (EERE)


From cities to remote desert, across the nation’s entire territory, water management plays a defining role in all aspects of life in Turkmenistan.  Water management encompasses a wide range of natural and human-managed features, including rivers, other water sources, dams, 15 reservoirs, irrigation networks, interdistrict and interfarm canals, drainage collectors, and a far-flung complex of built structures for diverting and pumping water. 

Water resources of Turkmenistan come mostly from four transboundary rivers – the Amu-Darya, the Murghab, the Tejen, and the Atrek – with volumes based on shares negotiated with other countries through which these waterways pass.  The Amu-Darya, which is Central Asia’s longest river, provides about 88 percent of Turkmenistan’s water for human use. Water is distributed throughout Turkmenistan via networks of canals, extending over 42,500 km, as well as a collector-drainage network over 35,000 km.  The longest among these is the Karakum Canal (known also in the country as the Karakum River), which extends over more than 1300 km across almost all of Turkmenistan’s length and nearly reaching the Caspian Sea.

Management of water resources of Turkmenistan is implemented in three administrative tiers. The State Committee for Water Management of Turkmenistan (SCWM) oversees water management across the country.  The Ministry of Agriculture and Environment Protection (MAEP) is responsible for implementing state policy in protection and rational use of natural resources, also at the national level.  Both Agencies operate under the general authority granted to them by the Constitution and the national Water Codex and Land Codex, as overseen by the President and the Cabinet of Ministers. 

Water management in Turkmenistan is centrally planned and implemented by the Government via SCWM, largely in isolation from market dynamics. SCWM owns essentially all water management infrastructure from canals to pumps, from the source all the way to the farmer or other end user.  The state budget is the source for all investment funds for new and upgraded infrastructure.  Water is supplied within approved limits free of charge to both agricultural and residential consumers as a benefit contributing to overall social welfare. There are therefore essentially no financial incentives for end users to conserve water within their approved quotas.

The current water management system of Turkmenistan serves its essential purpose of supplying water to end users. But Turkmen officials and scientists note deficiencies.  Distribution of water is inequitable over the hydrographic network, with shortages at the ends of canals in water-stressed years. Both within watersheds and in parts of the system that interconnect among various sources, disagreements emerge about management solutions for lack of a sufficiently clear and rational legal framework.  Deficiencies in the legal and policy framework also lead to gaps among various levels of government agencies and resource management water users.  Greater clarification and integration are needed. 

Moving billions of cubic meters of water over thousands of kilometers requires vast inputs of energy.  Turkmenistan’s networks of canals and drainage collectors, as well as its wells, are served by approximately 3500 pumping stations with a total installed electric power capacity in excess of 250 MW. Most of this powered infrastructure dates back to the Soviet era and has not been replaced. Due to its sheer size, but also inefficiencies resulting from age, insufficient maintenance, and other factors water management is the second largest power-consuming sector in Turkmenistan, accounting for about 25 percent of total power consumption.

In addition, in remote areas not connected to the electric grid, especially in the Dashoguz velayat, diesel fuel is used to run approximately 1179 pumps.  This equipment varies widely in water-pumping capacity and energy consumption rates, with most consuming about 14 liters of diesel fuel per hour of operation.  Based on a conservative estimate of 700 hours of operation per year per pump, the project team estimates that diesel-powered water pumps in Turkmenistan collectively consume about 15 million liters of fuel per year.

There are three major ways to raise energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and curtail associated GHG emissions from the water management sector.  The first is to reduce water losses and consumption, thereby reducing pumping volumes and pumping energy consumption throughout the system.  The second is to increase the efficiency of pumps and other energy-using infrastructure.  The third is to replace pumps and other infrastructure with more efficient or renewable technology.  The UNDP/GEF project pursues all three of these paths.

For more detailed information about this project as well as other UNDP Turkmenistan environmental projects please visit: http://www.tm.undp.org

Project strategy

As problems of water management, energy consumption, land degradation (salinization), and agricultural productivity are all closely intertwined in Turkmenistan, so too are potential solutions.  The project addresses these problems through integrated activities, with a goal toward achieving multiple benefits in different areas.  Thus improved water management will lead not only to greater water availability, but also to significant energy savings, avoided GHG emissions, and reduced salinization.  Application of new renewable-energy solutions in water management leads not only to avoided GHG emissions, but also to greater water availability in remote populated areas.  This integrated approach has been practically applied and technically proven first at specific sites in the Akhal velayat, then replicated across the country through region-specific planning and outreach, as well as supporting policies and investment at the national level.

The project’s activities are organized into four components.

  • Component 1 introduces new technologies in irrigated agriculture and pumping for energy efficiency, water conservation, and sustainable land management (SLM).
  • Component 2 scales-up investment in new and expanded efficient water-management infrastructure.
  • Component 3 delivers local and region-specific planning and educational outreach for IWRM and SLM among farmers and water-sector designers and managers
  • Component 4 develops and supports implementation of policy reform for IWRM.

The first two components constitute the technical foundation of the project.  For agriculture and infrastructure, respectively, these components identify, verify, and document the most promising ways to save water, increase energy efficiency, and reduce water-related root causes of land degradation in Turkmenistan.  The components generate technical and financial performance data and practical experience to be used to plan and provide necessary justification to scale-up public investment and technology deployment nationwide. 

While the first two components define the technical opportunity and priorities for replication, the second two components seek to carry actual replication out on a national scale. The third component supports replication from the bottom up via development of action plans at the regional and district levels across the country, as well as educational outreach and capacity-building among farmers and local water-management personnel.  The fourth component work from the top down, defining and implementing policies, programmes, and investment plans for integrated water management and SLM at the national level.

This project embodies the notions of integration and integrated water resource management (IWRM) in an unusually wide variety of senses.  Its most narrow technical meaning applies in the project’s vertical integration of end-use irrigation needs with upstream planning and management, as well as with drainage. The project also reflects integration in a more general sense pertaining to project design, with individual investment projects integrated with strategic approaches for scale-up, and local planning integrated with national policy and investment.  Most fundamentally, the project integrates various environmental and social goals of critical importance to Turkmenistan – water availability, water conservation, reduction of land degradation, agricultural productivity, and energy efficiency – with each other, and with the broader goals of sustainable national economic development and protection of the global environment. 

Project Management Arrangements

The overall duration of the project is six years and project has started in June 2015. The planned completion of the project as per Project Document was June 2021, however, the one-year extension has been applied for and a positive outcome is awaited by the end of 2020. The State Committee of Water Management (SCWM) is the government institution responsible for the implementation of the project and acts as the Executing Agency (EA). UNDP is the Implementing Agency (IA) for the project. A Project Board (PB) has been established and serves as the project’s coordination and decision-making body. The PB is responsible for ensuring that the project remains on course to deliver products of the required quality to meet the outcomes defined in the project document.

The SCWM has appointed a National Project Coordinator (NPC) for the project implementation. The NPC chairs the Project Board (PB), and is responsible for providing government oversight and guidance to the project implementation.

UNDP Programme Specialist on Environment is assigned with the responsibility for the day-to-day quality assurance of the project implementation.

The day-to-day administration of the project is to be carried out by a Project Manager (PM) and Project Implementation Unit (PIU). The PM, with the support of the PIU, manages the implementation of all project activities. The PM is accountable to the SCWM and the PB for the quality, timeliness and effectiveness of the activities carried out, as well as for the use of funds.



Duties and Responsibilities


Overall responsibilities:  The Project Manager has the authority to run the project on a day-to-day basis on behalf of the Project Board within the constraints laid down by the Board. The Project Manager is responsible for day-to-day management and decision-making for the project. The Project Manager’s prime responsibility is to ensure that the project produces the results specified in the project document, to the required standard of quality and within the specified constraints of time and cost. 

Working under the supervision of the NPC and the UNDP National Programme Specialist of Environment to whom he/she will report, and in partnership with the project staff and PIU, the PM will be responsible for leading the Project Team in the day-to-day implementation of the Project and managing Project resources effectively and efficiently so as to achieve the Project Objective and Outcomes within the set timescale and available budget.  More specifically, the PM will perform the following duties:

PM responsibilities would include:

Overall project management:

  • Management and supervision of project implementation and evaluation across all components. Assurance of successful completion of the project in accordance with the stated outcomes and performance indicators summarized in the Project Results Framework.
  • Regular communication and coordination with the National Partner, members of the Project Board, and all other partners and interested stakeholders, with regard to all project activities. Organization of Project Board meetings at least twice a year.
  • Regular communication with senior UNDP management with regard to all project activities. Assurance of coordination with other UNDP projects and broad strategic initiatives.
  • Preparation of Annual Work Plans, including monthly targets and deliverables as well as annual spending targets in accordance with the Project Document. Tracking of work outputs throughout the year in light of these Annual Work Plans.
  • Tracking and managing of project spending in accordance with the project budget, as well as UNDP rules and procedures, to ensure transparency, responsibility, and timely fulfilment of both program targets and budget targets.
  • Preparation and submission of annual Project Implementation Reviews and other required progress reports to the Project Board and UNDP in accordance with applicable requirements, in all required languages (English, Russian, and/or Turkmen, using outside translation as needed).
  • Coordination of the work of international and national consultants engaged in the project.
  • Supervision of regular data collection and analysis, as well as reporting and public outreach via the mass media, events, and other means, to disseminate the results of the project.
  • Oversight of the overall administration of the project office.
  • Travel within Turkmenistan if required; possible travel outside the country for participation in directly relevant international meetings.
  • Support during the project evaluations, if any.

Running a project:

  • Plan the detailed actions according to annual work plans of the project approved by the Project Board and monitor progress against the initial quality criteria.
  • Mobilize goods and services to initiate activities, including drafting TORs and work specifications.
  • Monitor events as determined in the Monitoring & Communication Plan, and update the plan as required.
  • Manage requests for the provision of financial resources by UNDP, using advance of funds, direct payments, or reimbursement.
  • Monitor financial resources and accounting to ensure accuracy and reliability of financial reports.
  • Be responsible for managing issues and requests for change by maintaining an Issues Log.
  • Based on the review, prepare the AWPs for the following years, as well as Quarterly Plans if required.

Closing a Project:

  • Prepare Final Project Review Reports to be submitted and presented to the Project Board.
  • Identify follow-on actions and submit them for consideration to the Project Board.
  • Manage the transfer of project deliverables, documents, files, equipment and materials to national beneficiaries.
  • Prepare final CDR for signature by UNDP and the National Partner.

Developing a Project:

  • In cooperation with the Programme Analyst on Resilience, Environment and Energy, lead the process of developing and mobilizing resources for new projects in the areas of Project Manager’s expertise, such as environmental management, agriculture and water management with a view of reducing GHG emissions and impact of climate change within the sector.




  • Technical expertise to appreciate project aims, ability to speak the “language” with experts;
  • Good analytical and planning skills, ability to set forecasts and refine/review them in the light of experience and further analysis;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, being good communicator at all levels;
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with a broad range of stakeholders;
  • Strong managerial skills, results-orientation, team building and leadership skills;
  • Decisiveness, independence, good judgement, ability to work under pressure;
  • Ability to work effectively under close supervision, as well as under minimal supervision.
  • Decisiveness, independence, good judgement, ability to work under pressure
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively under close supervision, as well as under minimal supervision


Required Skills and Experience



  • University degree in management, economics, water management, engineering, agriculture, natural resource management, or another field with direct relevance to the project;


  • At least 5 years of experience in managing projects on climate change mitigation, energy efficiency, water management, and/or sustainable land management and development issues in Turkmenistan;
  • Close familiarity with the roles, activities, and priorities of the Government of Turkmenistan, and particularly the State Committee of Water Management and other national partners, with regard to energy efficiency, water management, agriculture, and sustainable land management;
  • Basic technical understanding of water management, irrigation, sustainable land management, and energy efficiency;
  • Superior skills in organization and management, including past experience with planning, tracking, evaluation, and supervision of consultants and/or employees;
  • Strong skills in financial tracking and budget management; training/ certification in finance is an asset;
  • Ability to use information technology as a tool and resource;
  • Demonstrable skills in office computer use - word processing, spread sheets, etc.

Language requirements:

  • Fluency in Russian and English, in reading, writing, and speaking.  Fluency in Turkmen is highly desired and will be viewed as a strong asset;