Local Governance Advisor, Yangon, Myanmar

Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme

Country: Myanmar

City: Yangon, Myanmar

Office: UNDP Yangon

Grade: P-5

Closing date: Thursday, 17 September 2020


The introduction of the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) in 2018 (2018 -2030) has provided an important framework for implementing the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development in Myanmar. The MSDP importantly links peace to the nation’s development ambitions. Myanmar a country with the longest, continuous civil wars, pursues reforms and decentralization within a context of ongoing conflict among state and non-state actors as well as large populations of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Therefore, all UNDP programmes and projects, particularly local governance programming, are conflict-informed and implemented through a conflict sensitivity lens and in line with do no harm principles.

Since the adoption of the new constitution in 2008, Myanmar is on a path towards greater political, administrative and fiscal decentralization. Central to this process is the shift of decision-making power and budgets from the union level to the subnational level. State/Region governments and State/Region parliaments have been established, with their own budgets, their own decision-making power and their own accountability mechanisms, including checks and balances. The ongoing decentralization process at the State/Regional levels has not yet reached the township level to enable township officials to effectively address local needs and populations, and facilitate broad public participation in planning and decision-making processes.

In 2019 the introduction of new miniseries, including the Office of the Union Government (UGO), and movement of the General Administrative Department (GAD) from Ministry of Home Affairs to the Ministry of the UGO in 2019 intensified the ongoing decentralization reforms targeting the sub-national level and GAD has embarked on an ambitious reform process with the development of the General Administrative Reform Framework (2019) in line with its‘ mission ‚to establish a good administrative mechanism centered on the People‘. This provides opportunities for continued support of the reform process at all levels of decision making. UNDP is well positioned to be a partner of choice in support of the ongoing reform processes at the national and sub-national levels.

UNDP’s Country Programme (2018-2022) outlines its ‚contribution toward Myanmar’s sustainable development priorities and, strives to deliver on a large and relevant integrated programme portfolio that is responsive to the main development challenges facing the country, while reaching the most vulnerable populations. The Country Programme areas include Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, as well as Governance and Sustaining Peace (GSP). Two key projects within the GSP portfolio are the Sustainable Effective Responsible Institutions project (SERIP) and the Township Democratic Local Governance Project (TDLG) launched in 2017/18. Together the SERIP and TDLG projects provide a platform for strengthening policy, data and knowledge t support strengthening of local governance institutions, decentralization reforms and SDG localization with an emphasis on more inclusive and responsive institutions and structures that respond to people’s needs.

In 2019/20, the UNDP Country Office is conducting a series of mid-term reviews (MTRs) to assess the relevance of existing programming and adapt programmatic requirements to the current context and needs of the country. The MTR will pay special attention to UNDP’s local governance programming that will impact on UNDP’s local governance priorities and programmatic structures in the coming years.

As part of the Country Office MTR process, UNDP Myanmar commissioned a forward-looking MTR of TDLG project in November 2019 to assess the TDLG project’s relevance and achievements as well as areas for UNDP’s future local governance programming based upon the current and emerging policy and institutional developments as well as the national 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The MTR pointed out a number of positive developments to build upon including the impact of TDLG on strengthened institutional capacities at the sub-national level and greater emphasis on participatory and inclusive bottom-up planning. The MTR report also points out the need for a more strategic policy presence that is linked to and informed by the outcomes of UNDP’s work at the sub-national level. This shift requires a broader programmatic approach with stronger vertical inter- and intra-agency coordination and information flows as well as cross-sectoral linkages at and between union and sub-national levels at state, district, township and district levels. UNDP is currently developing the next phase of its local governance programming and will draw upon the MTR to provide inputs drawing upon the work of the TDLG project, but with an expand scope of programming and integration.

The Local Governance Advisor will provide high quality technical guidance and advice to UNDP Myanmar Country Office and various Ministries at the Union and sub-national level, but will primarily work with the Ministry of the Office of Union Government and GAD, as well as the Ministry of Planning and Finance and Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement. He/she will be based in the UNDP Yangon Office, with frequent travel to the field and capital, and function as part of an integrated country office team that supports the UNDP’s programming at union and the sub-national level with an emphasis on conflict sensitivity and do no harm.

UNDP Myanmar is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the overall guidance and in close coordination with UNDP Country Office, and working closely with the TDLG Project Manager , the Local Governance Advisor will provide high quality technical advice and support to UNDP’s work on Local Governance and will also assume overall coordination functions while delivering technical assistance in supporting the reform process. The Local Governance Advisor will report directly to the Team Leader, Governance and Sustainable Peace Unit, and liaise frequently with the GAD Focal Point, and UNDP Country Office Senior Management. The Local Governance Advisor will also be working in close collaboration with key UN agencies, International Financial Institutions (IFIs), INGOs and donors supporting local governance reform process in Myanmar.

Summary of Key Functions:

In this role the Local Governance Advisor will be responsible for ensuring quality and results by:

Providing high quality policy support and policy advisory services on local governance and decentralization and other relevant reforms to the relevant UNDP Country Office’s programmes and projects;
Creating/strengthening innovative partnerships to respond to a range of different sub-national context and in service of a variety populations with the UN, development partners, IFIs, and other development actors in local governance and decentralization related areas;
Supporting effective coordination for integrated local governance and decentralization programming;
Generating and contributing to knowledge creation and dissemination for advocacy and innovative development financing;
Ensuring conflict-informed and conflict sensitive approach in line with Social and Environmental Screening safeguarding policies;
1) Ensures provision of high quality and timely policy support and policy advisory services on local governance and decentralisation as well as other related reforms to the relevant programmes and projects of UNDP Myanmar in an integrated and coherent manner focusing on achievement of the following results:

Act as a Senior Advisor on local governance and decentralisation programming related reforms at the legislative, institutional and service delivery levels with the strong focus on adaptive learning, innovation, integration, and system thinking approach;
Provide technical inputs and guidance to strengthen policy presence systematically monitoring and analysing the national policy-agenda and reform processes on Local Governance and decentralisation to strengthen policy presence and to ensure that UNDP’s support to policy development, coordination and implementation is integrated, coherent and remains relevant to the changing development context and emerging development challenges in the country.

Identify key policy/programmatic gaps and opportunities. Provide regular briefs to the Country Office management and programme as well as to UN Country Team as required.

Conceptualize and formulate policy option and position papers, concept notes, technical reports, research and assessments, and recommendations for targeted and evidence-informed policy development, coordination and implementation. Lead internal and external consultations within UNDP and broader development fora;
Plan and coordinate provision of policy advisory services, in close collaboration with UNDP CO, IP(s) and technical teams; in line with the relevant local governance and decentralisation frameworks and needs. Define scope of work and develop ToRs, create and mobilise technical teams;
Initiate and proactively engage in policy dialogue process and policy-oriented discussions and country debates on local governance, decentralisation and other related reforms and processes.

Identify key policy-related issues and stimulate system thinking approach for innovative and adaptive learning and programming within UNDP and with Responsible Parties/Implementing Partners;
Represent UNDP in coordination and expert bodies on local governance and decentralisation, as requested by the Country Office. Serve as UNDP focal person on the relevant UN Country Technical Teams on local governance, decentralisation or other related cross-sectoral themes to join efforts in line with Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and One UN Agenda.

Review and quality control, including through broader consultation with the relevant development partners and the government structures, technical outputs such as reports and assessments aiming to inform the related policy debates;
2) Creating/strengthening innovative partnerships to respond to a range of different sub-national context and in service of a variety populations with the UN, development partners, IFIs, non-state actors, and other development actors in local governance and decentralization related areas, focusing on achievement of the following results:

Proactively explore opportunities for collaborative partnerships and synergies with development partners, private sector, academia, think tanks, innovation facilities, knowledge hubs and other stakeholders;
Foster and enhance partnerships with the Government, UN, IFIs, private sector and other development actors;