Project Risk Specialist, Afghanistan

Organization: UNDP

Country: Afghanistan

City: Kabul

Office: UNDP Kabul, Afghanistan

Closing date: Monday, 6 March 2023


Description of assignment title: Project Risk Specialist

Assignment country: Afghanistan

Expected start date: 04/01/2023

Sustainable Development Goal: 17. Partnerships for the goals

Volunteer category: International UN Volunteer Specialist

DoA reserved for persons with disabilities: No

Host entity: UNDP

Type: Onsite

Duration: 6 months (with possibility of extension)

Number of assignments: 1

Duty stations: Kabul


Mission and objectives

UNDP has been working across Afghanistan for more than 50 years on challenges related to climate change and resilience, gender, governance, health, livelihoods and rule of law. Guided by the government and its Development Councils, our work is fully aligned with the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework and National Priority Programmes, and is carried out in close coordination with partner UN agencies under the One UN Framework. As the UN’s development network, we connect the Afghan government and people with the resources and information they need to drive their own development according to their own priorities, as well as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet. UNDP has been working in Afghanistan for more than 50 years on climate change and resilience, gender, governance, health, livelihoods, and rule of law. Under the broader framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in close coordination with other UN agencies, UNDP is supporting the Afghan people’s aspiration for peace, prosperity, and sustainability. UNDP is currently implementing its flagship crisis response programme, ABADEI (Area Based Approach to Development Emergency Initiatives), as part of the ongoing UN-led response to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and the breakdown of Afghanistan’s economy following the August 2021 shift in power. The rapidly shifting political and security landscape in Afghanistan has produced significant impacts on both immediate and long-term development and peace in the country. Over 550,000 people have fled their homes due to the conflict between 1 January and 9 August 2021, bringing the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to 3.5 million (9% of the total population). In addition, at least 30,000 people are estimated to be leaving the country each week. The country is experiencing fragility and faces challenges on multiple fronts including COVID-19, poverty, food insecurity, climate disruption, and impacts on the economy. These developments have dramatically altered the landscape in which the United Nations operates, producing challenges to ongoing projects, and operations as well as the ability to progress towards sustainable development goals articulated in Agenda 2030. As articulated in the UNDP Strategic Plan 2022-2025, accelerating and scaling development impact, building resilience and human security include preventive/early action and effective response to the crisis. Within the UNDP Global Policy Network, the Crisis Bureau (CB) guides UNDP’s corporate crisis and fragility-related strategies and vision for crisis prevention, response and recovery. The Bureau has the responsibility for support prevention, crisis response, resilience, recovery and peacebuilding work under the auspices of UNDP’s Strategic Plan. At the country level, UNDP works with international partners, the UN Country Team and national implementing partners to launch and deliver a comprehensive, risk-informed crisis response programme composed of interventions, inter alia, in the areas of socio-economic resilience and recovery as well as maintenance of key health services. To support the efforts of the Afghanistan country office in key areas related to reorienting its programme and responding to the current situation on the ground, the Crisis Bureau is providing key support and capacities to strengthen UNDP’s team in Afghanistan, in close collaboration with UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific (RBAP).

Task description

Within the delegated authority and under the supervision of the UNDP Head of the IRMU or his/her designated mandated representative(s), the UNV Risk Specialist will: Key Duties and Accountabilities: 1.) Regularly monitor the conflict, political and economic situation in the country, preparing and using conflict and political analysis tools adjusted to the Afghanistan context

Coordinate and work closely with the respective experts in human rights, gender, security, environmental and political analysis in UNDP CO, Regional Bureau, Headquarter and other UN agencies to collect information and undertake analysis to inform programme development and implementation.

Establish a network of colleagues and partners across Afghanistan, especially in the areas benefitting from UNDP interventions, to regularly exchange on recent developments.

Prepare updates/briefings as necessary for inclusion into the risk monitoring and mitigation framework, and briefings to senior management. 2.) Support the operationalization of the IRMU programme risk management framework, focusing on programmatic and project risks in compliance with Enterprise Risk Management

Contribute to the development of best-practice risk management systems following international standards, from a programme risk perspective.

Lead programme risk analysis and management discussions and contribute to common tools and practices across the UNDP, UN, and other partners.

Contribute to knowledge management and dissemination of best practices within the country office, with local partners and UNDP corporately. 3.) Continuously analyze programme/project risks related to the implementation of ABADEI and other UNDP programmes.

Identify and assess programme risks, especially those related to results achievement and impact of the ABADEI and other UNDP programmes.

Gather, analyse, and evaluate information from a variety of public sources, including the UN Security Council, investigation reports, regulatory bodies and law enforcement, or geographic information systems to complete risk profiles.

Proactively support UNDP programme units and project teams to implement programme risk mitigation actions.

Regularly conduct short lessons-learned sessions on risk mitigation and capture lessons that will feed into adjustments/improvements of UNDP Afghanistan risk mitigation practices.

Support programme/project management teams and area managers in preparing and updating risk logs as an integral part of their decision-making and in compliance with Enterprise Risk Management policy

Adjust and gradually improve the UNDP programme risk mitigation and management strategy given the changing situation as well as ongoing experiences with risk mitigation.

Conduct partner verification and risk assessment report contributing to risk-informed decision-making. 4.) Establish effective communication channels with CO business units and field offices, and train staff in programme risk-related analysis and monitoring.

In coordination with the IRMU team, contribute to the development and enhancement of the risk management program and other technical assistance products (guidance notes, etc.)

Implement the plan gradually training all UNDP programme and project staff on UNDP Enterprise Risk Management and IRMU Afghanistan risk framework

Regularly conduct risk discussions/exchanges with UNDP programme and project units to maintain a proactive organisational approach to programme risk management. Furthermore, UN Volunteers are encouraged to integrate the UN Volunteers programme mandate within their assignment and promote voluntary action through engagement with communities in the course of their work. As such, UN Volunteers should dedicate a part of their working time to some of the following suggested activities:

Strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the concept of volunteerism by reading relevant UNV and external publications and taking an active part in UNV activities (for instance in events that mark International Volunteer Day);
Be acquainted with and build on traditional and/or local forms of volunteerism in the host country;
Provide annual and end-of-assignment self-reports on UN Volunteer actions, results and opportunities.

Contribute articles/write-ups on field experiences and submit them for UNV publications/websites, newsletters, press releases, etc.;
Assist with the UNV Buddy Programme for newly-arrived UN Volunteers;
Promote or advise local groups in the use of online volunteering or encourage relevant local individuals and organizations to use the UNV Online Volunteering service whenever technically possible. Results/Expected outputs:

As an active [insert name Host Agency] team member, efficient, timely, responsive, client-friendly and high-quality support rendered to UNDP and its beneficiaries in the accomplishment of her/his functions, including: The Risk Specialist is responsible for assisting the Integrated Risk Management Unit in implementing the risk management regime, through the provision of risk analysis and support in implementing a robust and dynamic in implementing UNDP Adaptive Risk Management Strategy.

Age, Gender and Diversity (AGD) perspective is systematically applied, integrated and documented in all activities throughout the assignment

A final statement of achievements towards volunteerism for peace and development during the assignment, such as reporting on the number of volunteers mobilized, activities participated in and capacities developed

Eligibility criteria

Age: 27 - 80


Candidate must be a national of a country other than the country of assignment.


Required experience

5 years of experience in risk management, audit and finance, project management with international/governmental organisations and highly volatile experience is required

Demonstrated experience in programme risk management and implementation of mitigation strategies.

Proven experience in programme risk management, both in terms of design and implementation of mitigation strategies.

Experience working in conflict environments in geo-politics, social & environmental analysis, monitoring and information / intelligence collection and assessment.

Ability to advocate effectively, communicate sensitively across different constituencies.

Working or collaboration experience with NGOs, UN agencies and bi-lateral aid organizations would be an asset.

Experience in the Microsoft Office software suite, experience in handling of web-based data analytics, data visualization management systems.

Knowledge of international standards on risk management (ISO31000, The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO, Enterprise Risk Management) is required.

Area(s) of expertise

Economics and finance, Business management, Administration

Driving license



English, Level: Fluent, Desirable

Required education level

Bachelor degree or equivalent in Auditing and Financial Reporting, Banking and Finance, Fraud Investigation, Forensic Accounting, Forensic Criminology, Financial Intelligence, Business Administration, Public Administration, or related field

Competencies and values



Due Diligence:

Teamwork and respect for diversity:

Commitment to continuous learning: .

Planning and organizing:

Communication - Crisis and reputational risk:


Genuine commitment towards the principles of voluntary engagement, which includes solidarity, compassion, reciprocity and self-reliance; and commitment towards UNDP’s mission and vision, as well as to the UN Core Values.

Digital & Innovation - Data Privacy and digital ethics:

Digital & Innovation - Data Engineering:

Information Management & Technology - IT Security Management:

Risk Management: Ability to identify and organize action around mitigating and proactively managing risks.

Other information

Living conditions and remarks

The successful applicant will be living within the UN-protected compound (UNOCA) in Kabul. Accommodation will be provided by UNDP. A detailed induction will be provided to the successful applicant on living conditions in the duty station about the security situation, access and air travel, climate, alcohol use, cost of living, accommodation options, availability of food/water/electricity, medical facilities, banking facilities, communications infrastructure, etc.

Inclusivity statement

United Nations Volunteers is an equal opportunity programme that welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, care protected characteristics. As part of their adherence to the values of UNV, all UN Volunteers commit themselves to combat any form of discrimination, and to promoting respect for human rights and individual dignity, without distinction of a person’s race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.

Note on Covid-19 vaccination requirements

Selected candidates for certain occupational groups may be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in line with the applicable host entity policy

Link to the organization’s job posting: