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National Project Coordinator (South Africa)

South Africa (South Africa)

  • Organization: UNIDO - United Nations Industrial Development Organization
  • Location: South Africa (South Africa)
  • Grade: Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Engineering
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2020-04-01

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Only nationals and/or permanent residents of the country of the duty station are eligible to apply. Female candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.


Organizational Context

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability. The mission of UNIDO, as described in the Lima Declaration adopted at the fifteenth session of the UNIDO General Conference in 2013, is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in Member States. The relevance of ISID as an integrated approach to all three pillars of sustainable development is recognized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will frame United Nations and country efforts towards sustainable development in the next fifteen years. UNIDO’s mandate is fully recognized in SDG-9, which calls to “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. The relevance of ISID, however, applies in greater or lesser extent to all SDGs. Accordingly, the Organization’s programmatic focus is structured in four strategic priorities: Creating shared prosperity; Advancing economic competitiveness; Safeguarding the environment; and Strengthening knowledge and institutions. Each of these programmatic fields of activity contains a number of individual programmes, which are implemented in a holistic manner to achieve effective outcomes and impacts through UNIDO’s four enabling functions: (i) technical cooperation; (ii) analytical and research functions and policy advisory services; (iii) normative functions and standards and quality-related activities; and (iv) convening and partnerships for knowledge transfer, networking and industrial cooperation. Such core functions are carried out in Departments/Offices in its Headquarters, Regional Offices and Hubs and Country Offices.

The Directorate of Programme Development and Technical Cooperation (PTC) is responsible and accountable for providing technical cooperation services to enhance the capabilities of developing countries and economies in transition to promote ISID in the areas covered by five departments: Department of Programmes, Partnerships and Field Integration; Department of Agri-Business; Department of Trade, Investment and Innovation; Department of Environment; and Department of Energy. The position is located at UNIDO Field Office in South Africa (SARO) under technical supervision of UNIDO HQ project managers in the Industrial Resource Efficiency Division of the Department of Environment (PTC/ENV/IRE) for the project 190110. The Department of Environment (ENV) is to promote industrial resource efficiency by strengthening green industry and improving the effective use of natural resources, including in particular materials and water; assisting developing countries and countries with economies in transition to achieve the objectives of and compliance with Multilateral Environmental Agreements; and by working to reduce the release of industrial pollutants in the environment. The Industrial Resource Efficiency Division (IRE) is responsible for increasing the capacity of industry, government and business environmental service providers as well as NGOs to scale up and mainstream the adoption of resource-efficient and cleaner patterns of production.

PROJECT CONTEXT: Project 190110: “Support for transitioning from conventional plastics to more environmentally sustainable alternatives” In order to reduce the amount of plastic leaking into the environment (including the marine environment) in South Africa, the project will support South Africa’s transition to more environmentally sustainable alternatives from conventional single-use plastics. This will be achieved through the development of an Action Plan to strengthen the local industry for the manufacturing of alternatives based on results of life cycle sustainability assessments of alternatives of single use plastic products, and building up capacities for plastics recycling. The project partners are the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Plastics SA. The proposed project has the potential to reduce plastic leakage to the environment and unlock new economic opportunities - both of which are urgently needed for South Africa. The project consists of two components: one will support the identification and implementation of opportunities for sustainable alternative materials, including bioplastics, and the second will support the implementation of the Industry Waste Management Plan of the plastic packaging industry by building up the capacity and integration of the informal waste sector; with a view to enhance waste separation at source to increase the quality and amount of collected recyclables. Accordingly, the purpose of the project is to support South Africa’s transition to more environmentally sustainable alternatives from conventional plastics. This will be achieved through the development of an Action Plan to strengthen the local bio (and biodegradable) plastics and sustainable alternative material industry, and building up capacities for plastics recycling. As a result, the project not only has the potential to reduce plastic leakage to the environment but also to unlock new economic opportunities - both of which are urgently needed for South Africa. The main goal eventually is reduction of marine plastic litter from South Africa. In this project, the CSIR will take a leading role in conducting the research activities in South Africa to determine the most appropriate approach to reduce petrochemical-based plastic usage and waste; to encourage shifts to more environmentally friendly alternatives; and prepare an action plan by working closely with Department of Environment Affairs (DEA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs) and NGOs. For Output 1: development of an Action Plan, CSIR will be collaborate with the South African Bioplastic Forum, an initiative under Plastics SA, to ensure stakeholder participation. In order to utilize Japanese technical expertise on the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), as stated in the Project Document, the project will consider partnering with Japanese organizations such as Japan National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (AIST), and/or Japanese industry associations such as Japan Bioplastic Association, Japan Clean Ocean Material Alliance (CLOMA), as well as Japanese private sector that has the relevant technology. Appropriate technologies identified during the project could be demonstrated to ensure sustainability in the context of South Africa. For Output 2: strengthening plastic recycling capacity, the CSIR will partner with University of Witwatersrand (Wits University) that has been working on the development of guidelines for the integration of the informal waste sector, and has been partnering with informal waste sector organizations like the African Reclaimers Organization (ARO), South Africa Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA), WIEGO, and Ground Work. The activity aims at raising collection rates to strengthen plastics recycling capacity. A Japanese NGO will be also subcontracted, for Output 2, for integration of informal sector’s training and awareness development as part of social inclusion activities under the supervision of CSIR and Wits University. All activities involving collaboration with suppliers of technology and related services such as but not limited to demonstration and workshops will be conducted in close collaboration with the UNIDO Project Manager in Vienna Austria to ensure UNIDO rules and guidelines are followed. In this context, the National Project Coordinator (NPC) will play a key role to bridge CSIR and industry as well as other stakeholders in the concerned topics to develop sustainable eco-system in the industry in order to expand opportunities of utilizing research outcomes such as an Action Plan by stakeholders beyond the project. Duty Station: UNIDO Field Office in South Africa and home-based (with possible travels within the country) Approximate duration: 45 working days over a period of 3 months (with the possibility of extension)

Main Functions

Under the supervision of the Project Manager (PM) in ENV in Vienna HQ and the UNIDO Representative (UR) in South Africa, and in cooperation with colleagues in the SARO and the CSIR project teams, the NPC will assist in overall coordination and daily communication for implementation of the project activities and achieving outputs in time. Especially, the NPC is expected to facilitate communication between industry, governments, stakeholders, executing agencies (such as CSIR and Wits University) and UNIDO, by collecting from and feeding information to counterparts and bridging them each other if necessary, and to engage the industry and relevant governments, in order to support establishing sustainable eco-system in the industry beyond the project. Generally, s/he is expected to carry out the following duties across the project as a national focal point of the project management team in South Africa and to liaise with the national counterparts, suppliers, partners, stakeholders and international consultants in order to perform the following tasks: - support PM by monitoring the stakeholders’ activities and events, collecting information in the country relevant to project implementation and outcome, and reporting them to PM timely manner and sometimes proposing appropriate actions if necessary; - keeps abreast of technical and economic developments in South Africa through close contacts with specialized institutions and industry representatives, including participating in meetings and conferences on the relevant topics organized by stakeholders and/or other organizations and following the technical press, market developments and trends, and inform to PMs timely manner if necessary; - keep the stakeholders informed about the progress of the assessments of CSIR and encourage the industry and governments officials to involve in the project and to establish strong partnership among stakeholders, in order to deliver the desired project outcome; - support to organize workshops and meetings in collaboration with CSIR, and if required, provide help on preparation including providing inputs, drafting of agendas, preparation and circulation of meeting document; - facilitate field mission of international consultants and UNIDO staff members; - support for procurement process; - support for preparation of publications and other information dissemination aids and tools; - provide monthly progress reports including the summary of activities during the month and proposed activities for next month as well as relevant information gathered, and the final report at the end of the contract; - identify further project development opportunities; - perform any other assignments provided by PMs or UR of the SARO. Specifically, s/he is expected to complete below tasks at the inception phase, - familiarize him/herself on the Circular Economy practices and its application to plastic value chain; - collect baseline data of the industry and the informal waste collectors (detail items to be collected will be specified by the project manager); - start searching potential partner companies to demonstrate material/ technologies identified by the project; - familiarize him/herself on the UNIDO’s Integrated Results and Performance Framework (IRPF) and try to align the project outcomes through activities, and - propose workplan how to deliver the desired project outcome based on the learnings from the above.

Core Competencies

WE LIVE AND ACT WITH INTEGRITY: work honestly, openly and impartially. WE SHOW PROFESSIONALISM: work hard and competently in a committed and responsible manner. WE RESPECT DIVERSITY: work together effectively, respectfully and inclusively, regardless of our differences in culture and perspective. WE FOCUS ON PEOPLE: cooperate to fully reach our potential –and this is true for our colleagues as well as our clients. Emotional intelligence and receptiveness are vital parts of our UNIDO identity. WE FOCUS ON RESULTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: focus on planning, organizing and managing our work effectively and efficiently. We are responsible and accountable for achieving our results and meeting our performance standards. This accountability does not end with our colleagues and supervisors, but we also owe it to those we serve and who have trusted us to contribute to a better, safer and healthier world. WE COMMUNICATE AND EARN TRUST: communicate effectively with one another and build an environment of trust where we can all excel in our work. WE THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX AND INNOVATE: To stay relevant, we continuously improve, support innovation, share our knowledge and skills, and learn from one another.

Minimum Requirements


Advanced university degree in engineering or science disciplines with specialization in chemistry, environment, green technology, sustainable development or any other relevant area.


Fluency in oral and written English is required; fluency in other local language is an asset.

Computer Skills

Field of Expertise

- A minimum of 3 years of working experience, mainly in project coordination in the context working with governments, UN agencies and industry in sustainable development and/or environmental issues; - Experience to connect and establish good partnerships among stakeholders especially in industry; - Have outstanding organizational, analytical and priority setting skills with strong negotiating and coordinating skills; - Committed and passionate about environmental and industrial development issues; - Good interpersonal and communication skills; - Good team player; - Basic knowledge of Circular Economy and plastic waste issues; - Awareness on gender dimensions in waste management and sustainable industrial development.

<strong>This appointment is limited to the specified project(s) only and does not carry any expectation of renewal. </strong>

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Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
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