Programme Specialist - Sustainable Development Portfollio Team Leader

UN Development Programme, Bissau, Guinea-Bissau
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Job Summary

Job Description

Guinea-Bissau is a small country wedged between the sub-Saharan arid ecosystems and the Guinean moist forest ecoregion. The resulting combination creates majestic terrestrial landscapes and a patchy mosaic of dense and open forests, gallery forests and woodland savannah that are rich in significant plant and animal life and a refuge for many migratory species that move across the West-African savannahs. In addition, it is one of Africa’s richest countries in terms of natural resources endowment. Beyond having great biodiversity, its soil is fertile and hosts a multitude of minerals. Despite this obvious will and the constant efforts of the Government, the sustainable management of the environment, notably the destruction of biodiversity and poor management of natural resources, remain a major challenge. These challenges derive from various causes, including the impacts of climate change and weakness of environmental governance due to low capacities of the State for the effective application of the international conventions and the national laws governing management of the environment and natural resources, risk management, and disaster prevention.

The rich natural endowment of the country does not benefit the population. The recurrent structural fragility of the economy has left the population with few meaningful opportunities, especially in rural areas. The population continues to be poor and confined to subsistence activities and informal trade. This situation is a source of discontent amongst the population, a serious threat to the livelihood of households, especially in terms of food and social security, and particularly to women and youth, posing extra strain to an already precarious condition. To build the interest of the population in the affairs of the state, a first step is to restore its confidence through investments in local governance for local economic development to create conditions for the population to benefit from the local economic opportunities and natural resources endowment in a participatory and inclusive approach.

The UNDP Country Office (CO) in Guinea-Bissau, as a key government partner in the area of environment and sustainable development, seeks to reposition itself strategically and realign its human resources to better respond to the Country Programme Document (CPD) 2021-2025. UNDP will articulate the need to work in a more integrated and collaborative manner to help Guinea-Bissau address interrelated development challenges and achieve sustainable development goals.

In line with the UNDP Strategic Plan Signature solution 1: Keeping people out of poverty, the programme in Guinea-Bissau will continue flagship programmes including improving rural and urban livelihoods, strengthening gender equality, ensuring access to clean and alternative energy and strengthening financial inclusion, in order to help build resilience to economic, environmental or health shocks. It will also focus on interventions that assist with transitions and structural shifts including economic diversification, redressing widening inequalities including gender inequalities, technology and on skills alignment, etc. The program will also continue in line with the Signature solution 3: Enhance national prevention and recovery capacities for resilient societies, with a focus on the issues of conflict prevention, peacebuilding, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation in a vulnerable environment and crisis response. More specifically, the programme will respond to SDG 7, Clean energy, to SDG 11, Sustainable cities and communities, to SDG 13, Action against climate change, SDG 14, Life in water and to SDG 15, Life on land. The programme will also respond to UNDP’s Blue SIDS offer and the Blue Economy initiative.

In this context and under the overall guidance and supervision by the Deputy Resident Representative-Programme, the Sustainable Development Portfolio Team Leader analyzes political, social and economic trends and leads formulation, management and evaluation of programme activities within his/her portfolio, provides policy advice services. He/she also works in close collaboration with his/her Unit and other Programme Units, Programme staff in other UN Agencies, UNDP HQ and Addis-Ababa Regional Hub staff, Government officials, technical advisors and experts, multi-lateral and bi-lateral donors and civil society to help implement the UNDP country programme, specifically in the areas of resilience, climate change, biodiversity, natural resource management and clean energy. He/she provides quality technical advice to government and other partners in his/her work area. He/she is the driver of innovation and building a forward-looking team to solve complex development challenges.

Summary of Key Functions:

  • Creation and implementation of programme strategies

  • Management of the Country Office programme.

  • Creation of strategic partnerships and implementation of the resource mobilization and communication strategy

  • Provision of top-quality policy advice services to the Government, other partners and facilitation of knowledge building and management.

1. Ensures implementation of programme strategies focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Conducts thorough analysis of the political, social and economic situation in the country and collaborative preparation/revision of UNDAF, CPD, Project Documents, Annual Work Plans and other documents in the area of work;
  • Fosters networks with relevant peers, stakeholders and other worldwide;
  • Ensures operationalization of CPD though ongoing and new programmes and projects and in collaboration with the main partners and other UN Agencies. Identifies opportunities for new programme/project development including joint programming with UN agencies;
  • Identifies, in close collaboration with national and international partners, strategic programme areas of cooperation;
  • Designs and formulates components of UNDP programme translating programme priorities into local interventions and ensuring coordination and networking with clients, stakeholders and programme partners;
  • Collaborates with colleagues in Addis Ababa Regional Service Center (RSC)and Head Quarters (HQ) to apply in country programming new global and regional initiatives, polices and knowledge products.
  • 2. Manages Country Office assigned programme components, focusing on achievement of the following results:**
  • Provides component managerial leadership, technical guidance, oversight and quality control of program operations from planning, budgeting to implementation and monitoring and evaluation, ensuring that results are delivered in accordance with work plan, standards, allocations, framework and rules and regulations;
  • Ensures effective application of RBM tools, establishment of management targets and monitoring achievement of result, as quality assurance, ROAR, IWP etc.;
  • Leads the annual work planning process with CO units and project managers;
  • Monitors work plan implementation, ensures it is on track, and supports resolution of bottlenecks working with CO units, RSC and HQ;
  • Develops programme / outcome level work plan, monitoring plan, human resources and procurement plans;
  • Drafts Terms of References and procurement specifications;
  • Prepares periodic and ad hoc reports; ensures timely completion of required quarterly and annual reports;
  • Ensures project and programme reviews and evaluations take place;
  • Maintains regular contact with project and programme counterparts in order to ensure monitoring of projects' progress, monitoring of unit work plans, programme effectiveness and achievement of results;
  • Organizes regular coordination across outcome teams and other projects to ensure synergies and integration; promotes cross component and cross programme collaboration;
  • Supports audit exercises;
  • Takes on corporate and CO responsibilities such as participation in CAP and interview panels.

3. Establishes and maintains strategic partnerships and supports resource mobilization, focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Formulates and implements CO partnerships and resource mobilization strategy to achieve programme outcomes;
  • Researches and analyses information on existing and new partners;
  • Develops ideas and concepts for possible areas of cooperation;
  • Establishes close working relationships and creates programmatic linkages with relevant government agencies; UN Agencies, IFI’s, bi-lateral and multi-lateral donors, private sector and civil society;
  • Suggests programmatic areas of co-operation based on UNDP´s strategic goals, country needs and donor priorities;
  • Identifies funding opportunities for ongoing and new projects;
  • Identifies and supports development of national partnerships for service provision to projects in areas such as monitoring, training, and others;
  • Represents UNDP at external meetings within his/her area of programming

4. Ensures provision of top-quality advisory services and facilitation of knowledge building and management, focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Identifies sources of information related to policy-driven issues; identifies and synthesizes best practices and lessons learned directly linked to programme country policy goals;
  • Coordinates and ensures integration in project design the development of policies, institutions and advocacy that will address the country problems and needs in collaboration with the Government and other strategic partners;
  • Supports the establishment of advocacy networks at national level and linked to international networks;
  • Implements relevant, high-impact advocacy campaigns with key partners;
  • Ensures that lessons learned from projects are captured and recorded into the CO knowledge networks;
  • Builds capacities of national staff and mentors staff in the area of work;
  • Ensures provision of top-quality advisory services and facilitation of knowledge building.

IV. Competencies and Selection Criteria

Description of Competency at Level Required

(For more comprehensive descriptions please see the competency inventory)



Ability to make new and useful ideas work

Level 5: Creates new and relevant ideas and leads others to implement them


Ability to persuade others to follow

Level 5: Plans and acts transparently, actively works to remove barriers

People Management

Ability to improve performance and satisfaction

Level 5: Models high professional standards and motivates excellence in others


Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform

Level 5: Gains trust of peers, partners, clients by presenting complex concepts in practical terms to others


Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement

Level 5: Critically assesses value and relevance of existing policy / practice and contributes to enhanced delivery of products, services, and innovative solutions



Trends and emerging areas analytics

Ability to scan the horizon and identify approaches and initiatives to bring into policy and programme design

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Results-Based Management

Ability to manage programmes and projects with a strategy aimed at improved performance and demonstrable results

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise


Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships

Level 5:Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Project Management

Ability to plan, organize, and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals t Management

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Knowledge Management

Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise


Resource Mobilization

Ability to identify and organize programmes and projects to implement solutions and generate resources (definition is unclear and not well linked to the stated competency)

Level 3: Apply & Adapt (Recognized contributor with demonstrated ability)

Recruitment Qualifications:


  • Master’s Degree or equivalent in Public Administration, Economics, Rural Development, Social Sciences, Environmental Sciences, International Relations, Political Sciences or related;
  • Prince2 training and certification, RMG are desirable.
  • Design thinking desirable


  • Minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience in sustainable development, with a clear focus on environmental, energy and climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies;
  • Experience in programme and project management in international development organizations and/or bilateral development agencies;
  • Proven ability to work effectively in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams.
  • Sound understanding and capability to empower and develop the capacity of national staff.

  • Proven programmatic management experience with sound knowledge of all aspects of the project cycle (design, implementation, monitoring & evaluation).

  • Excellent skills in fundraising, resources mobilization and donor relations would be an asset.

  • Strong interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills.

  • Strong strive for innovative ideas and practices.

Language Requirements:

  • Proficiency in oral and written English. Working knowledge of Portuguese and French.