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Project Technical Officer (Duty Station: Vava'u, Tonga)


  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Tonga
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Project and Programme Management
  • Closing Date: Closed

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UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks. 

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UNDP in the Pacific has developed its multi-country programme document (MCPD, 2023-2027) to guide its interventions in the next five years in full alignment and directly to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF, 2023–27). The Office covers 10 countries in the Pacific with an extensive portfolio which has grown over time. The UNSDCF and UNDP MCPD are designed in full alignment with the 2030 agenda, Samoa Pathway, and 2050 Blue Content Strategy, which is endorsed by the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) among others. The UNDP Pacific Office next five-year plan strategic priorities are encapsulated under three outcome areas: (i) Planet, (ii) Prosperity, and (iii) Peace.

The marine biological diversity of the Kingdom of Tonga is crucial to the well-being of its people and the country's economy. However, this diversity is under threat from various sources, including habitat loss, overexploitation, pollution, and climate change. The GEF project “Implementation of the Fanga’uta Lagoon Stewardship Plan (Tonga R2R Phase II) and replication of lessons learned from the Tonga R2R Phase I to priority areas in Vava’u” aims to protect Tonga's indigenous marine species and ecosystems through a holistic Ridge to Reef management approach. This includes strengthened governance, enhanced capacity building, and the development of resilient blue/green livelihoods. The project focuses on conserving wetland ecosystems and implementing an integrated strategy to prevent destructive activities, with the objective of effectively implementing the Fanga’uta Stewardship Plan (FSP) and replicating successful strategies in priority areas in Vava’u. The project consists of three interrelated components: 1) Conservation of critical lagoon ecosystems and catchment management. 2) Governance for sustainable management and biodiversity conservation, and 3) Awareness raising and knowledge management of ecosystem functions and services.

The Technical Officer will provide technical oversight and support in delivering the project outputs as outlined in the project document, to the required standards of quality and taking into account the implications of time and cost of Tonga component of the regional project in close collaboration with the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC) , Department of Environment, counterparts, partners and relevant stakeholders. The highest standards of integrity, discretion and commitment to UNDP principles are essential as well as ability to meet deadlines and maintain high-quality of outputs working under pressure.

Under the direct supervision of the Project Manager of the Project, and Team leader of the Resilience and Climate Change unit in Suva, Fiji, and working closely with the MCO oversight and Performance unit, The Technical Officer works closely with the national authorities working in the thematic area of the project, the donor community, and other UNDP programmes and projects in the country. The Technical Officer works with the project experts and counterparts of the Government beneficiary institution(s) and engages with other national institutions, international organizations, and other relevant actors.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Under the direct supervision of the Project Manager of the R2R Tonga Project and Team leader of the Resilience and Climate Change unit in Suva, Fiji, and working closely with the MCO oversight and Performance unit, the Technical Officer will provide technical oversight of Tonga component of the regional project in close collaboration with the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC), Department of Environment.

Develop guidelines and update management plans in the area of biodiversity and Conservation.

  • Manage the overall coordination and guidance of the technical aspects of the project, in particular, oversee and guide the preparation/update of management plans, SMA planning, management and monitoring.
  • Oversee and coordination of the technical inputs from the Vava’u Ma’alahi Taskforce Committee and national consultants.
  • Support/oversee and guide the conduct of technical consultations and workshops to develop the Vaipua Channel management plan and PA management plans, strategies for SMA, including mapping and zoning, CMC planning and knowledge management and M&E planning and implementation of related guidelines, tool kits and manuals and regulations, etc.
  • Support and guide the development and organisation of awareness and publicity programs and materials.
  • Support plans and protocols for inter-agency coordination during the preparation of management planning, SMA and livelihood activities 
  • Assess major and minor amendments to the project within the parameters set by UNDP-GEF;
  • Conduct comprehensive assessments of biodiversity resources and ecosystems to inform the development of conservation guidelines and management plans, considering ecological, social, and economic factors.
  • Collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including local communities, indigenous groups, and government agencies, to integrate traditional knowledge and sustainable practices into biodiversity conservation guidelines and management plans.
  • Establish monitoring and evaluation frameworks to track the implementation of conservation guidelines and management plans and assess conservation interventions' effectiveness in preserving biodiversity and ecosystem health.
  • Engage in participatory processes to gather input from diverse stakeholders and experts and to incorporate their perspectives into developing and updating biodiversity conservation guidelines and management plans.

Establish partnerships, coordination and open communication channels, and build the government's capacity.

  • Oversee and support capacity-building and training programs for all relevant local agencies, special interest groups and local communities.
  • Monitor events as determined in the project monitoring plan and facilitate update the plan as required.
  • Develop and implement capacity-building programs for local stakeholders, including government agencies, community groups, and non-governmental organizations, to enhance their understanding of biodiversity conservation principles and practices.
  • Design and deliver training workshops, seminars, and awareness campaigns aimed at building the technical and operational capacities of relevant stakeholders in biodiversity monitoring, conservation planning, and sustainable resource management.
  • Facilitate knowledge-sharing sessions and peer-to-peer learning opportunities to promote best practices in biodiversity conservation and foster collaboration among stakeholders.
  • Support the development of educational materials, guidelines, and toolkits to assist stakeholders in integrating biodiversity conservation into their policies, plans, and activities.
  • Collaborate with external partners and experts to identify capacity development needs and opportunities and to leverage resources for training and skill-building initiatives.
  • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of capacity development interventions and provide recommendations for continuous improvement and adaptation based on feedback and lessons learned.

Provide inputs to the project monthly, quarterly, annual, and final reports and evaluations. 

  • Perform regular progress reporting to the project board as agreed with the board, including measures to address challenges and opportunities.
  • Oversee progress related to project risks – including social and environmental risks.
  • Capture lessons learned during project implementation.
  • Facilitate preparation of revisions to the multi-year work plan, as needed, as well as annual and quarterly plans if required.
  • Monitor implementation plans, including the Social Environmental Screening Procedure (SESP), gender action plan, stakeholder engagement plan, restoration plans, potential land and waste management plans and any environmental and social management plans.
  • Monitor and track progress against the GEF Core indicators.
  • Support the Mid Term Review (MTR) and Terminal Evaluation process.

The incumbent performs other duties within their functional profile as deemed necessary for the efficient functioning of the Office and the Organization.


Core competencies:

  • Achieve Results:  LEVEL 1: Plans and monitors own work, pays attention to details, delivers quality work by deadline.
  • Think Innovatively: LEVEL 1: Open to creative ideas/known risks, is pragmatic problem solver, makes improvements. 
  • Learn Continuously: LEVEL 1: Open minded and curious, shares knowledge, learns from mistakes, asks for feedback.
  • Adapt with Agility: LEVEL 1: Adapts to change, constructively handles ambiguity/uncertainty, is flexible. 
  • Act with Determination: LEVEL 1: Shows drive and motivation, able to deliver calmly in face of adversity, confident.
  • Engage and Partner: LEVEL 1: Demonstrates compassion/understanding towards others, forms positive relationships.
  • Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 1: Appreciate/respect differences, aware of unconscious bias, confront discrimination. 

Cross-Functional & Technical competencies: 

Business Direction & Strategy          

  • System Thinking: Ability to use objective problem analysis and judgement to understand how interrelated elements coexist within an overall process or system, and to consider how altering one element can impact on other parts of the system.

Business Management      

  • Evaluation: Ability to make an independent judgement based on set criteria and benchmarks. Ability to anticipate client's upcoming needs and concern.
  • Knowledge Generation: Ability to research and turn information into useful knowledge, relevant for context, or responsive to a stated need.
  • Monitoring: Ability to provide managers and key stakeholders with regular feedback on the consistency or discrepancy between planned and actual activities and programme performance and results

Partnership Management

  • Relationship Management : Ability to engage with a wide range of public and private partners, build, sustain and/or strengthen working relations, trust and mutual understanding.

2030 Agenda: Planet          

  • Nature, Climate and Energy: Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Natural Resource Management
Required Skills and Experience:

  • Advanced University degree (Master's degree or equivalent)   in Biodiversity Management, Wetland Conservation, Fisheries and Coastal Management or related fields is required. OR
  • A first-level university degree (bachelor’s degree) in above listed fields of study, in combination with an additional two years of qualifying experience will be given due consideration in lieu of the advanced university degree. 
  • Minimum 2 years with (masters degree) or 4 years (with bachelors degree) of relevant experience in  biodiversity conservation, marine and fisheries conservation and management or sustainable resource management
  • Experience in the use of computers, office software packages (MS Word, Excel, etc.) and web-based management systems, and advanced knowledge of spreadsheet and database packages. 
  • Experience on biodiversity conservation, marine and fisheries conservation and management, sustainable resource management
  • Demonstrated coordination and project leadership skills and ability to multi-task.
  • Experience in designing, monitoring, and implementing of biodiversity and land degradation-related projects.
  • Demonstrated experience in legal, institutional and policy matters, and technical knowledge on aspects relating to marine biodiversity conservation and fisheries management.
  • Familiarity with the goals and procedures of government institutions, including those of UNDP and GEF, 
  • Demonstrable ability to organise, facilitate, and mediate technical teams to achieve stated project objectives.
  • Experience and familiarity with logical frameworks and strategic planning.
  • Previous experience working with a GEF-supported project. 

Required Languages:

  • English and Tongan
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UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.
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Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.
UNDP has a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and misconduct, sexual harassment, and abuse of authority. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.  
UNDP is an equal opportunity and inclusive employer that does not discriminate based on race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status. 
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This vacancy is now closed.
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