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UNDP recruits a Country Programme Specialist

UNDP hiring Country Programme Specialist.

Job Purpose and Organizational Context

The Country Programme Specialist based in the Dakar Regional Hub leads the West and Central Africa Country Oversight and Support Team (COST), S/He is responsible for coordinating CO support to countries in the West and Central Africa sub-region, as well as providing direct coordination and authoritative technical support to a portfolio of five to or more Country Office programmes characterized as having high complexity and with large (funding, geographic diversity, etc.) programmes.

S/He ensures coordinated support to CO’s activities, including but not limited to programme and management-related matters from a corporate perspective, planning, monitoring and reporting; this includes interacting closely with the Regional Hub’s policy teams, operations, partnerships, and the Regional Hub leadership. S/He also works closely with relevant units in HQ units to ensure coherent, timely, and appropriately prioritized support to COs. S/He guides the COs in the planning and provision of policy & programme advisory services, including in crisis situations. The Specialist facilitates alignment and linkage with regional and corporate strategy and priorities, tracks CO performance against corporate standards and agreed results commitments between the CO and the RBA and escalates performance issues to his/her supervisors and the Bureau leadership as needed.

S/He is supervised on a day to day basis by the Regional Hub Manager, and has a matrix management arrangement with Chief of Country Oversight and Support Team in RBA New York.

Duties and Responsibilities

Ensures targeted and aligned CO portfolio management support, including crisis, by:

  •  Proactively engaging with COs to better orient CO programmes against corporate and regional priorities, offering new approaches and programming options to enhance UNDP’s support to the countries, drawing on authoritative subject matter expertise, analysis of other country programmes, reviews of evaluations, performance analytics, and other available sources of lessons;
  •  Guiding COs to develop their annual plan for advisory support, identifying and sharing new innovative practices from other parts of the organization with specific relevance to the CO and working with policy teams to offer a joint portfolio of available knowledge and resources, and proactively liaise with the COs throughout their programme cycle to identify and propose any additional support needed;
  •  Coordinating and serving as advocate for COs in the prioritization of requests for policy and programme management support and contributing to drafting of mission ToRs by bringing country/regional knowledge and working closely with GPN (BPPS and Crisis Bureau)  and other Central Bureaux; helping COs identify and address HQ or regional-level bottlenecks impinging on CO’s performance or compliance with corporate requirements, identifying new ways of working and of improving service provision to the COs;
  •  Facilitating the provision of CO support in crisis situations by working closely with the Regional Advisors, BPPS and Crisis Bureau to coordinate response to crises, liaising closely with the COs to monitor emerging, existing, and evolving crises, and identifying required support; regularly monitoring data on country programme and project performance to inform his/her supervisor decision in preparing for or responding to crisis situations; providing inputs to briefing notes on country-level crisis with up to date information for HQ meetings;
  •  Identifying, in consultation with other Country Programme portfolios, areas for joint multi-country programming with the view to materially enhance the range of UNDP activities, to leverage opportunities for sub-regional and regional development impact and to create and pursue new sources of funding; and
  •  Drafting all relevant briefing notes to provide substantive contributions on country developments and proposing new strategies and UNDP actions in order to assist corporate and regional decision-making in matters concerning countries under portfolio.

Enhances CO programme planning by:

  •  Guiding the CO planning such as (a) contributing substantive inputs in collaboration with Regional Advisors, including to the formulation of the UNSDCF/equivalent and to the country programme in order to ensure the relevance of UNDP’s support to national development priorities and leverage sub-regional opportunities for improved development impacts; (b)  performing  quality assurance of CO programme planning in alignment with corporate and regional priorities; (c) briefing Regional Advisors and Bureau leadership ahead of the HQ PAC; (d) providing support towards authorization of direct implementation where required; (e) quality assuring results management frameworks, programme monitoring plans, and the CPD; and (f) ensuring adequate budgeting and good practice for the conduct of decentralized evaluation throughout the programme cycle, including management response, dissemination, and learning;
  • Guiding the alignment/linkage between CO programmes and projects with regional and corporate strategy and priorities by overseeing compliance with corporate programme management standards in collaboration with Regional Advisors, offering new approaches and strategies to achieve national development goals and liaising with HQ and policy teams to identify latest RBA policies and corporate priorities relevant to the CO portfolio; and
  • Guiding CO IWP and evaluation workplan elaboration process by disseminating guidance on corporate, operational and programmatic standards, offering recommendations for improved evidence-based programming, and providing first level of quality assurance before approval by the Bureau

Enhances CO monitoring, risk management and reporting activities by:

  • Providing authoritative guidance to COs in establishing a realistic and measurable monitoring and evaluation framework / approach by providing technical advice on M&E indicators, sharing new approaches and innovative methods for monitoring frameworks, and drawing on support of the Results Based Management (RBM) specialist;
  •  Monitoring CO progress against IWP and evaluation workplan and offering corrective actions, sharing RBM guidance, corresponding with CO staff, analyzing periodic progress reports, participating in reviews and evaluations, and identifying opportunities for formal training on monitoring and evaluation;
  •  In close coordination with the Regional Hub Operations team, monitoring all aspects of CO operational, financial performance and efficiency, and timely implementation of audit recommendations; identifying corrective actions, including by providing hands-on managerial support to CO leadership, providing training and capacity development and escalating concerns to Bureau leadership; consolidating all CO managerial performance information to facilitate effective and efficient corporate oversight functions, briefing leadership on CO performance and offering recommended actions to improve efficiencies as needed;
  •  Monitoring CO risks and mitigation/escalation plans using the IRRF platform and escalating to his/her supervisor as needed; and
  •  Enhancing the CO results reporting including donor reporting and ROARs by sharing corporate guidance, reviewing drafts and offering recommendations for improved reporting in line with corporate requirements and RBM best practice; providing first level of quality assurance of CO ROAR before their approval by the Bureau

Enhancing knowledge management support for external relationship and partnerships by:

  • Participating with CO and Regional Hub leadership in initiating engagement with potential and existing partners, identifying possible areas of collaboration and representing the CO as requested by the CO leadership, with the view to develop new programme opportunities within the overall country programme framework, achieve resource mobilization targets and enhance partnerships; and
  •  Coordinating the analysis of results from partnership survey and recommend applicable follow-up actions to his/her supervisor.

Ensures integrity and effectiveness in the management of the Sub-Regional Cluster West and Central Africa Team by:

  • Providing strategic guidance and overseeing the resources management of the sub-regional cluster West and Central Africa Team including staff motivation and learning activities to ensure adherence to policies and procedures and the accountability framework;
  •  Establishing the team’s annual work plans and setting objectives, performance measurements, standards and expected results in collaboration with his/her supervisor;
  •  Supervising and assessing work in progress to ensure delivery of results according to performance standards, overall objectives and accountability framework.  Providing intellectual leadership and technical guidance and taking timely decisions to meet objectives, escalating to his/her supervisor as needed;
  •  Promoting teamwork to facilitate harmonization, linkages, collaboration and synergy in order to ensure staff members are provided sufficient information, guidance and support to develop their capacity, share their expertise, expand the reputation of the team, and perform and deliver results according to organizational and professional standards of efficiency, accountability and integrity.

Competencies and Selection Criteria



  • 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


Strategic Planning

  • Ability to make decisions that align with strategy, vision and mission.
  • 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
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Co Knowledge of methodologies, tools, systems and apply practical experience in planning, monitoring, evaluating and reporting and ability to apply to practical situations
  • Level 5:Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Risk Assessment/Management

  • Knowledge of risk assessment methodologies and abilty to determine degree of risk and apply to strategic and/or practical situation
  • Ability to identify and prioritize risks, and organize action   around mitigating them
  • Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Quality Assurance

  • Ability to perform administrative and procedural activities to insure that quality requirements and goals are fulfilled
  • 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
  • Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Data Measurement

  • Ability to set goals and indicators and to interpret and synthesize results into usable information to inform policy, strategy, and/or  action
  • Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise
  • Brief and Speech Writing
  • Ability to prepare quality briefs and/or speeches
  • Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Recruitment Qualifications


  • Master’s  Degree in  Development-related studies  (Economics, International Relations, Political Science or another social science).


  •  At least seven (7) years of experience working in a development-related field, with a strong knowledge and experience of country programme management, preferably within UNDP or the UN system;
  •  Good understanding of Africa’s development challenges and priorities.

Language Requirements: 

  • Proficiency in the English language is required. Working knowledge of French language is an asset.

Application deadline: 22/08/2020

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