Programme Management Specialist (Retainer), Home based

Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services

Country: Home-based

Closing date: Sunday, 15 November 2020

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners‘ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners‘ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

Within UNOPS, Implementation Practices and Standards (IPS) is responsible for the UNOPS delivery practices. IPS provides thought leadership, standards and oversight as support to the successful delivery of programmes and projects within UNOPS service lines (infrastructure, procurement, project management, human resources and financial management services).

IPS is comprised of Infrastructure and Project Management Group and the Procurement Group which aims to reduce organizational risks, improve project performance, and promote excellence across UNOPS projects through the Standards Management Framework; and provides organisational oversight on the application of standards. These Groups also support the positioning of UNOPS in the UN system and development sector in Infrastructure, Project Management and Procurement. In addition, the Portfolio Support unit aims at building up and managing aspects of the organisational readiness of UNOPS and therefore support the implementation of the UNOPS global portfolio. Last, the IPS is hosting the corporate Knowledge Management initiative.

Background Information - IPMG

UNOPS strategic focus places increased emphasis on national capacity development and sustainable approaches to project management, procurement and infrastructure services. A key objective is to be recognized as an organization that delivers world-class infrastructure and project management, which is both economically and socially sustainable, even in the most challenging environments. To achieve this goal, UNOPS has established the Infrastructure and Project Management Group (IPMG).

Within UNOPS, IPMG’s objectives are to serve the organization’s personnel and partners by broadening their infrastructure and project management capabilities, while disseminating best-practices in both of these areas. Through this work, the group helps facilitate the successful delivery of programmes and projects around the world.

To achieve its objectives, IPMG has established three interrelated and interdependent work streams, namely, Strategic Initiatives, Standards and Engagement Assurance. IPMG is managed overall by the Deputy Director of IPMG.

Standards workstream aims to reduce organizational risks, improve project performance, and promote excellence across UNOPS projects. It is achieved by having a fit for purpose infrastructure and project management standards framework in place, which includes the development and maintenance of project/programme management and infrastructure related technical content, as well as knowledge management, gender, sustainability and tools development associated with this content. This work stream enables IPMG to elevate organizational maturity and contributes to corporate excellence agenda such as ISO certifications and EFQM.

This is a home-based assignment, which may involve travel to various locations, including to remote or post-conflict environments. The functions/responsibilities/key results of this job description are generic and may not always be applicable, nor be comprehensive, for all missions under this job title. The specific tasks and deliverables for each retainer assignment may vary and will be detailed in the terms of reference developed for each assignment by the requesting office/unit, which IPMG will exercise an oversight on.

All UNOPS personnel are required to share a common understanding of UNOPS‘ and the UN’s mandate, policies and activities. To this end, UNOPS Personnel must complete a set of mandatory courses. As a UNOPS ICA retainer, you are required to complete three (3) online courses upon signature of your contract and prior to commencing any retainer assignment related to Ethics and Integrity, the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Security awareness while on official mission. These courses are available for free on UNOPS learning platform and shall be completed within the first three months following the contract signature, at no cost for UNOPS.

Under the overall supervision of the Head of Standards and guidance of the Manager of Standards, the incumbent will primarily be responsible for completing the production of the Programme Management Manual (which comprises Requirements and Guidance) tailored to the UNOPS context, and for developing any other related supporting material. During the development process, the incumbent will need to liaise with key stakeholders, subject matter experts and target audience to further collect requirements, expectations and feedback which may need to be incorporated into the Guidance.

Responsible for furthering the content development of the Programme Management Requirements and Guidance;
Ensure that the technical content and associated complexity is tailored to the targeted audience and is easy to access and understand in an organisational context where there are multiple requirements to factor in;
Lead the process of defining and scoping the structure of the document to bring clarity and ensure full understanding of the content;
Collect expectations, requirements and feedback by engaging with the target audience, technical review and peer review, and document those using the User Stories format;
Conduct additional research where necessary for context and reference purposes;
Carry out additional tasks related to editing, writing and proofreading for clarity, as required, using Google Suite;
Ensure that the content developed is in alignment with UNOPS strategies, policies, practices, rules and regulations (including those of IPS and IPMG, in particular the PMM (Project Management Manual));
Ensure that all documents follow the UNOPS standardized writing requirements;
Assist in the production of all documentation in other UN languages, where applicable;
Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.

Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.

Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others.

Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).

Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.

Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.

Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.

Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.


An advanced university degree (Masters or equivalent) preferably in Programme and Project Management or in any relevant area is required.

A university degree (Bachelor’s degree level in project management) with a combination of 2 years of relevant professional experience in managing humanitarian and/or development and/or physical infrastructure programmes may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.


A minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible and proven experience in managing humanitarian and/or development and/or physical infrastructure programmes, having been responsible for the planning and realization of their outcomes, is required.

Within the above 5 years, at least 1 year of experience in the development and drafting of technical publications/guidance/SOPs in project or programme management is required..

Experience in change management is highly desirable

Experience in development and/or post conflict related project or programme management is an asset

Experience in developing countries is an asset


Fluency and proficiency in English is required.

Proficiency in another UN language, such as French or Spanish would be considered an asset.


Managing Successful Programmes Foundation is highly desirable;
PgMP certification is an asset;
Contract type: ICA

Contract level: IICA 2Contract duration: one year, with possibility of extensionFor more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link:

Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time

Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.

Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.

Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.

Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types

For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post

For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.

The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns.

Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

Additional information

A retainer Individual Contractor Agreement (ICA) is issued for a period of time during which the services of the individual contractor may be required intermittently.

A retainer ICA will specify a unit price (e.g. amount per day actually worked). For budgetary purposes, a monetary limit will be specified at the time the ICA is awarded and issued.

UNOPS shall have no obligation to obtain any minimum quantity of Services from the Individual Contractor during the duration of the retainer ICA.

Payment will be made only after completion of work (if any) or reaching agreed milestones.

A retainer ICA does not accord any exclusivity to the Individual Contractor with respect to the Services listed in the job description. UNOPS shall have no limitation on its right to obtain Services of the same kind from any other source at any time.

UNOPS Individual Contractors must comply with the standards of conduct required of a UN civil servant, when carrying out their official UNOPS responsibilities and also all other times. This includes the standards of conduct set forth in the UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin of 9 October 2003 entitled ‚Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse‘ (ST/SGB/2003/13) and the UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin of 18 June 2002 entitled ‚Regulations Governing the Status, Basic Rights and Duties of Officials other than Secretariat Officials, and Experts on Mission‘ (ST/SGB/2002/9) as they may be amended from time to time.

UNOPS Individual Contractors must comply with all applicable UNOPS policies and instructions. This includes the obligation to declare any outside activity that could result in an actual or perceived conflict with the interests of the UN; as well as to refrain from using information gained through the UNOPS Individual Contractor Agreement contract for the Individual Contractor’s own purposes or to help a third party (unless the information is already in the public domain), in particular but not only in relation to procurement of works, goods and services.

UNOPS Individual Contractors must abide by UN safety and security policies, instructions, directives, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

The standard terms and conditions of the UNOPS ICA as of the present date can be found at