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Technical Specialist Reconciliation and Peacebuilding

Colombo (Sri Lanka)


UNDP in Sri Lanka is reorganizing internally and moving to an integrated collaborative business model. Internally, an energetic and innovative team will converge around the planning, design, implementation and quality assurance of an integrated programme in a fast-paced environment. Fostering strategic partnership and alliances with different stakeholders will require a team which consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude and has a strong client orientation. Strong UN partnerships are valued for Delivering Together in a true spirit of collaboration and teamwork.
Since 2017, United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) has been supporting the implementation of priority actions identified in key policy frameworks and commitments made by the Government of Sri Lanka towards promoting Reconciliation and Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka. To this end, UNDP has been working in collaboration with a range of diverse stakeholders, including government, semi-government, civil society, private sector, UN agency and development partners. UNDP’s Flagship Portfolio on SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (henceforth, the portfolio) aims to strengthen the ability of key institutions to address governance deficits and deliver people-centric services, as a contribution to peace and development in Sri Lanka. The portfolio will be implemented by UNDP as part of its Country Programme. The portfolio intervenes across 3 inter-related service lines: (1) Parliament and Independent Commissions; (2) Rule of Law and Access to Justice (including transitional justice); and (3) Public Sector and Local Governance. Promoting Reconciliation and Peacebuilding would be a cross-cutting thematic across these service lines.

UNDP recognizes that there is a key need to bridge the development and peace gap as one of five potential accelerators to Sri Lanka’s implementation of the SDGs. Bridging the development and peace gap efforts should ideally include preventive efforts to avoid social tensions and violence; providing a greater voice for the marginalized (women, youth, ethnic groups) in decision making, and strengthening transitional justice mechanisms that draw on broad consultations with all groups in society. This would include the return of land to their rightful owners; strong oversight mechanisms and access to information as an important vehicle for citizen activism; adopting zero tolerance towards corruption and enforcing the capacities of anti-corruption agencies; addressing sexual and gender-based violence which includes the war-affected areas; and engaging the community in voluntary conflict-prevention and trust-building activities such as community-led early warning systems of potential conflicts, with the involvement of community mediators.

Against this backdrop, UNDP aims to recruit a Technical Specialist to lead the design, and to provide substantive inputs towards the implementation of projects supporting Reconciliation and Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka, while also providing technical input as and when required to the overall portfolio of projects, across service lines.

The Technical Specialist will work as part of a dynamic team, that will not only focus on the above-mentioned portfolio, but also support UNDP Sri Lanka’s overall Country Programme.

Working under the overall guidance and supervision of the Project Manager and with close collaboration with the Programme Quality and Design Specialists and Analysts, the Technical Specialist  will be responsible to coordinate the support provided to the identified institutions, for the design of innovative interventions to achieve development results, provide technical advisory support to UNDP and to its partners, ensure quality documentation of data/knowledge generated, support to form creative partnerships, Joint Programming and resource mobilization efforts with partner UN agencies and work in overall coordination with relevant internal and external stakeholders.

Duties and Responsibilities

Provide quality and cutting edge technical expertise for the effective implementation of activities.

  • Provide high quality technical input to the design of activities and dedicated technical advisory support to the key partner institutions (i.e. government, civil society, UN agencies and where relevant private sector etc).
  • Provide technical assistance for the implementation of the activities, enabling high quality delivery of outputs and activity results as per the resource mobilization proposals, portfolio/project documents and/or Project Board decisions.
  • Provide technical support to the Project Manager and implementing team to analyze results and lessons learned and recommend strategies for improved delivery of project activity results and outputs.
  • Liaise with, and source technical support and policy advice from, the UNDP HQ and Regional Hub, and other national and international technical and academic institutions/think tanks to further enhance the quality of the technical assistance provided to partners.
  • Ensure synergies with/between UNDP portfolio/projects other areas of Programming, to ensure strengthening the achievement of integrated results and promoting Sustainable Development.
  • Facilitate knowledge-building. Ensure that project lessons learned and best practices are documented and periodically shared to inform wider policies.
  • Analyze the country and world context, assess impact upon the thematic area of focus, and identify any issues that requires the attention of UN/UNDP leadership, and prepare succinct reports containing recommendations for course adjustments, for discussion.
  • Participate in relevant events and networks related to the specific scope of work.

Provide technical expertise for project implementation and delivery of quality results

  • Contribute to designing new projects activities and other interventions. Contribute towards risk analyses, and ensure application of relevant principles relating to gender, conflict and environment as cross-cutting factors in every aspect of activity implementation and management.
  • Provide technical input to the preparation of annual and quarterly work plans, in consultation with the Project Manager and ultimately the Project Board, and ensuring complementarity with other thematic areas of programming.
  • Provide technical input towards the development of terms of reference for implementation of key activities and support the quality assurance of services received from consultancy services obtained for these activities.
  • Support the selection of appropriate government and civil society partners in the implementation of activities, in keeping with UNDP Rules and Regulations.
  • Provide input to high quality reporting, in a timely manner.
  • Based on the M&E frameworks help develop and refine indicators, baselines and targets for the effective implementation of the project.
  • Undertake field visits as required, submission of timely follow up technical reports, and undertake required follow up actions.

Advocacy, Partnerships and Resource Mobilization, which entails inter alia:

  • Under the overall guidance of the Project Manager, represent UNDP and strengthen existing partnerships, while developing creative and new partnerships, including with UN Agencies, government institutions, development partners, civil society organizations, private sector, etc., with a view to achieving development results
  • Support to strengthen partnerships between government entities and civil society organizations, including through improved planning and policy-making.
  • Consistent advocacy around the core UN principles, including the sustainable development agenda.
  • Work with other relevant UNDP Technical and Communications colleagues to develop required advocacy messages, strategies and materials.
  • Strengthen Joint Programming efforts with UN agencies, with a view to moving towards a One UN Approach.
  • Analyze and research information on partners, prepare substantive briefs on possible areas of cooperation, identify opportunities for initiation of new interventions, and proactively contribute to the overall UNDP effort in resource mobilization, from traditional and non-traditional development partners.

Impact of Results


  • The key impact will be that anticipated results from key activities will be achieved with a high degree of quality, in line with UN principles, and comparative good practices. In addition, the results will secure strong partnerships with key actors, and enable resource mobilization. Advocacy, management and technical assistance provided by the incumbent will contribute towards tangible progress in achieving sustainable development for the country.


Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism
  • Fulfils all obligations to gender sensitivity and zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

Technical Competencies:

  • Knowledge of evidence-based programming on peacebuilding and reconciliation, including conducting conflict analyses.
  • Strong analytical skills and knowledge on strengthening the peace and development nexus.
  • Comparative knowledge of transitional justice processes, including a sound understanding of the transitional justice process in Sri Lanka.   
  • Excellent knowledge on participatory and human rights-based approaches to programming including gender sensitivity.
  • A good understanding of the relevant key national and international policy and legal developments.
  • Ability to design and prepare strategies to ensure engagement of women and youth in peacebuilding and reconciliation.
  • Knowledge of key current concepts, including the 2030 Sustainable   Development Agenda and Goals, especially in relation to Goals 5, 10 and 16.

Functional Competencies:

Capability to deliver timely results

  • Demonstrates good judgment
  • Ability to plan own work and use time efficiently, manage conflicting priorities and work under pressure of tight and conflicting deadlines
  • Flexible and agile in responding to changes in context/new developments.


  • Builds strong relationships with all partners, focuses on impact and results for the client, and responds positively to feedback
  • Consistently approaches work with energy as well as a positive and constructive attitude
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities
  • Displays strong conflict resolution skills
  • Demonstrates strong oral and written communication skills
  • Remains calm, in control and good humored even under pressure.
  • Proven networking, team building, organizational and communications skills.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality of information and records.

Knowledge Management and Learning

  • Promotes knowledge management and a learning environment in the office through leadership and personal example.
  • Actively works towards continuing personal learning and development in relevant practice areas and applies newly acquired skills and knowledge.   

Required Skills and Experience

Education & Experience:    

  • Master’s Degree and 5 years or Bachelor’s and 7 years of progressively responsible work experience in Peace and Development Studies, Pollical Science, Social Sciences or other relevant field, with experience providing substantive input to peacebuilding and reconciliation related initiatives.
  • Relevant research and published material an asset.
  • Experience dealing with a diverse range of partners would be an advantage.
  • Strong diplomatic skills and acumen in handling counterpart relations.

Language Requirements:    

  • Fluency in English and Sinhala and/or Tamil with excellent written and oral communication skills is essential.


Important applicant information

All posts in the SC categories are subject to local recruitment.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

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.

Workforce diversity

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Scam warning

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Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Colombo (Sri Lanka)
  • Grade: SB-4, Service Contract, Local Contractors Agreement - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Peace and Development
    • Conflict prevention
  • Closing Date: 2018-10-05

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