Disaster Risk Management Specialist

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Kampala, , UG


In pursuit of its development aspiration, Uganda is facing a number of complex development challenges. Among them, Uganda remains a low-income economy, with an annual per capita income of US$ 773 in 2016/17. Some 27 percent of the population, or 10 million Ugandans, live below the poverty line, up from 19.7 percent in 2012/13. Uganda has one of the highest youth populations globally, with 77 percent of the population under 30 years of age coupled with very high youth unemployment. Over 25 percent of the economy, providing 70 percent of formal and informal employment, is reliant on rain-fed agriculture. The impacts of climate change, and the increasing frequency and intensity of natural hazards, therefore presents a fundamental threat to the country’s development.  In addition, Uganda is now Africa’s largest refugee hosting country with over 1.4 million refugees, the vast majority residing in the country’s most economically disadvantaged region, West Nile.

Uganda has witnessed increasing and highly devastating disaster, both climate and human-induced, that have exerted a significant human and economic toll on its population and which, to an extent affected the country’s ability to fully maximize the benefits from its economic growth and social development. The country remains vulnerable to a range of hazards that, if not prevented and/or mitigated, can result in disasters.

To address this situation, the Government of Uganda (GoU) developed and approved a National Policy on Disaster Preparedness and Management with the purpose of creating and promoting a disaster preparedness and management system that safeguards the country against disaster and climate risks, and ensures continued productive capacity of the people, in line with its second National Development Plan.

In response to these challenges, the GoU in collaboration with UNDP is implementing a flagship programme on climate change response and disaster risk reduction, aimed and supporting the shift from manging disaster to managing risk, and to enabling ministries, department and authorities to make risk-informed development and investment decisions. Based at the Office of the Prime Minister, under the direct supervision of the Country Director, and in close coordination with the UN Country Team, the Disaster Risk Management Specialist provides technical and strategic support to the GoU, UNDP and UNCT on all areas related to disaster risk management. 

Duties and Responsibilities:

Provides policy and advisory services to determine optimised approaches for enhanced development effectiveness in support of disaster and climate risk management processes, focusing on the achievement of the following results:

  • Provide technical leadership in the development of the DRM Act and other nationally specificity policies and guidance, that is participatory, inclusive and that operationalizes the National Policy on Disaster Preparedness and Management;
  • Lead advocacy efforts related to mainstreaming of disaster and climate risk management into Government systems, the UN and other development partner supported development initiatives in the country;
  • Perform additional tasks, as may be assigned.

Provides management support to resilience and disaster and climate risk management processes that are needs-based and conducted in an effective and principled manner in the best interests of affected and vulnerable populations, focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Support the mainstreaming of the relevant CPD strategic objectives within the UNDAF operationalization, where appropriate;
  • Ensure the operationalization of the resilience and disaster and climate risk management initiatives in the UNDAF;
  • Develop (and/or support) a comprehensive programme based on the UNDAF, CPD, and GoU priorities;
  • Advise the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on disaster and climate risk management issues and opportunities, including: promoting the adoption of prevention and mitigation measures, linkages with climate change adaptation, utilization of emergency grants, post-disaster needs assessments, reorientation, as appropriate, of existing programmes to meet risk reduction and recovery needs; and planning for longer term recovery
  • Advise OPM in the coordination and implementation of the National Policy on Disaster Preparedness and Management, and its complementation/link with other national policy documents and instruments;
  • Provide technical support to OPM in the running of the National Platform for Disaster Risk Management and the continued operation of the National Emergency Coordination and Operations Centre (NECOC);
  • Oversee the roll-out and full implementation of the national early warning system, and other disaster and climate modelling and monitoring systems;
  • Identify specific needs and demands of the programme and help build partnerships at the national and sub-national levels to meet those needs. where possible, served as a broker in harnessing regional and global support to respond to such needs;
  • Advice and support OPM in the coordination of programme efforts with other system partners – government entities, UN agencies, the World Bank, national and international NGOs, academia – at both country and global levels;
  • Support monitoring mechanisms and reporting of disaster and climate risk management activities in a timely, transparent and consolidated manner, identifying gaps and proposing alternatives.

Provides leadership and advisory support to the UN Country Team, in the areas of resilience-building and disaster and climate risk management, including advocacy and resource mobilisation efforts, focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Chair the UN Disaster Risk Management Task Force, mobilizing and coordinating UN agencies in support of resilience, and disaster and climate risk management priorities and actions;
  • Advise and follow-up on strategic partnership opportunities with Government, development partners, regional bodies, and other relevant actors in continuing to successfully position UNDP within the resilience, and disaster and climate risk management space;
  • Support resilience, and disaster and climate risk management resource mobilization activities and oversee the management of fund requests and allocations from UNDP and other donors.

Ensures the establishment of a knowledge culture with effective advocacy tools, focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Create synergies between stakeholders involved in DRM efforts, while promoting national ownership of coordination processes through increased participation of national and local stakeholders;
  • Facilitate the flow of information between UN global systems, UNCT, Government and development partners on DRM issues;
  • Support the provision and application of the latest policy guidance and technical standards;
  • Liaise with and participate in the UNDP-led global initiatives, and other networking fora.

Core Values and Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modelling the UN’s values and ethical standards
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Shows strong corporate commitment, works to achieve goals of UNDP as a whole and makes contributions to priorities led by other country offices, regional centres and bureaux

Functional Competencies:

  • Policy Advice and Knowledge Management;
  • Knowledge of the international resilience and D/CRM system and agenda;
  •  Ability to provide inputs for the application of disaster risk management to decision­making;
  •  Knowledge of D/CRM coordination mechanisms;
  • Ability to develop evidence­based policy advise;
  • Ability to develop planning and advocacy documents involving multiple stakeholders; 
  • Promotes a knowledge sharing and learning culture;
  • Knowledge on joint programming and operational issues;
  • Actively works towards continuing personal learning and development in relevant practice areas.

Development and Operational Effectiveness:

  • Focuses on impact and results for the client and responds positively to feedback; 
  • Ability to lead strategic planning, results­based management and reporting;
  • Ability to lead and manage corporate strategic initiatives;
  • Excellent computer and information system skills

Management and Leadership:

  • Ability to establish effective working relations in a multicultural team environment; 
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude; 
  • Demonstrates advanced oral and written communication skills; 
  • Demonstrates strong team management skills; 
  • Demonstrates excellent analytical and organizational skills;
  • Builds strong relationships with clients and external actors; 
  • Remains calm, in control and good humoured even under pressure; 
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities;
  • Strategic thinking, strategic decision­making and proven leadership qualities and experience
  •        in management of teams and large groups;
  • Demonstrates capacity to communicate effectively and plan programmes effectively;
  • Resourcefulness, initiative and mature judgment.  

Required Skills and Experience:

  • Advanced university degree (Master) in social sciences, rural development, and management or a discipline relevant to resilience and disaster / climate risk management.
  •  At least 7 years of increasingly responsible international development experience;
  • Proven leadership and experience in planning and managing technical co­operation strategies/investment frameworks and in disaster risk management;
  • Extensive field experience in disaster environments and an in­depth knowledge of issues in the country;
  • Extensive experience in project development especially in the areas of DRM and crisis prevention and recovery;
  • Proven experience in project development processes, especially in the context of UNDP;
  • Demonstrated abilities and contributions to policy and guideline formulation, resource mobilization, team leadership and management; 
  • Experience in establishing inter­organizational networks and partnerships at the operational level