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Senior Project Manager (Infrastructure)

Kabul (Afghanistan)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Kabul (Afghanistan)
  • Grade: IICA-3, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Engineering
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Infrastructure and Urban-Rural development
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2020-09-21

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Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

Background Information - Afghanistan

UNOPS strategy for Afghanistan is aimed at providing maximum support to the Government and people of Afghanistan though the delivery of projects and services in line with the government’s own priorities. The UNOPS Afghanistan has been established as an organizational mechanism to deliver a range of projects for which UNOPS has been designated as the implementation agency. At present, UNOPS AFGHANISTAN is implementing a number of projects in a range of sectors including infrastructure (roads and schools) development, capacity building to various ministries, and environmental protection, among others, on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan and the donor community.

The functional objective of UNOPS Afghanistan is to deliver projects in an efficient and effective manner, to achieve the development outcomes sought by the Government of Afghanistan and the donor community, where capacity building is always considered and encouraged. The aim of UNOPS Afghanistan is to provide implementation services to the Government of Afghanistan, the donor community and partner agencies in the reconstruction and development of the country. In doing so, UNOPS aims to exceed client expectations in the delivery of quality services throughout the country.

Established in 2015, Resolute Support (RS) is a NATO-led, non-combat mission with a mandate to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF), who assumed nationwide responsibility for Afghanistan’s security following the conclusion of the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission.  

The purpose of RSHQ is to help the Afghan security forces and institutions develop the capacity to protect its citizens in a sustainable manner and to manage/improve security enhancements with Kabul city.  The purpose of the UNOPS/RSHQ engagement is to support NATO for both the ANA Trust Fund and Kabul Security Force funding streams; for procurement of goods and services, contract management, maintenance of equipment(s), physical security enhancements, construction projects and construction work packages, as well as coordination and facilitation of RSHQ operations, programs and activities (non-kinetic only).

The UNOPS/RSHQ engagement is a complex and challenging programme which is set to expand significantly during 2020 and beyond.

Functional Responsibilities

Purpose and Scope of Assignment

The Senior Project Manager is responsible for the planning, structuring and design of all infrastructure components of the RSHQ (Resolute Support Headquarters) programme; in addition to managing the day-to-day implementation and operations of the programme’s infrastructure components; and provides technical oversight and support to the RSHQ Programme Manager. In addition, the Senior Project Manager (Infrastructure) will provide services to the different donors, partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries.  He/she is expected to meet and exceed the organizations performance and delivery goals.
The Senior Project Manager is responsible for the RSHQ programme adherence to all UNOPS standards for infrastructure, constructions and works; as per the UNOPS Project Management Manual, UNOPS Guidelines and UNOPS regulations and Rules. 
The Senior Project Manager is also responsible for the technical oversight and management of all infrastructure aspects of the RSHQ programme. The Senior Project Manager is responsible to actively contribute to, maintain and ensure the management and compliance of the RSHQ programme and project documentation; including the project initiation documents (PID), Legal Agreement(s), and have a thorough understanding of the terms, conditions, and the respective roles and responsibilities of the partners and stakeholders to ensure that the required products are capable of meeting the business cases for both UNOPS and the RSHQ. 
Success of the Project(s) within the Programme and hence the success of the Senior Project Manager will be based on the Success Criteria of UNOPS engagements which are linked to the below responsibilities. 
The Senior Project Manager at this level will be responsible for more than one infrastructure project within the RSHQ programme at a time. The Senior Project Manager at this level will be expected to manage more complex and high risk projects, within the infrastructure set of projects within the RSHQ programme. 
The infrastructure projects will rely on a number of external suppliers for successful delivery and will be working with firm deadlines. Reporting to the RSHQ Programme Manager, the Senior Project Manager (Infrastructure) is responsible for all technical aspects of the various projects’ life cycles. S/he must be able to apply, independently, the below duties and responsibilities of the project success criteria:

Stakeholder Management:
  • Establish solid working relationship with the project boards of the various projects within the programme (Executive, Senior Users and Senior Suppliers), and with client and other key stakeholders.
  • Manage communications and ensure stakeholders are aware of project activities, progress, exceptions and are in a position to accept handover products within the RSHQ programme.
  • Advise the RSHQ Programme Manager, the Head of Programme and the client on issues that may impact the achievement of outcomes (including issues of sustainability and post project requirements such as maintenance).
  • Manage the information flows between the Projects, Project Boards, the RSHQ Programme Manager and the AFOC Head of Programme.
Delivery and Performance:
  • Develop and maintain project plans for all infrastructure projects under the RSHQ programme.
  • Implement approved project plans (including the establishment of milestones) within tolerances set by the project board.
  • Embed sustainability dimensions including social and gender inclusion, environmental and economic aspects into projects life cycle. 
  • Manage the production of the required products, taking responsibility for overall progress and use of resources and initiating corrective action where necessary.
  • Liaise with any external suppliers or account managers, including RSHQ.
  • Authorize Work Packages within the infrastructure projects within the RSHQ programme.
  • Advise the RSHQ Programme Manager, Project Board, AFOC Head of Programme and the AFOC Director & Representative of any deviations from the plans.
  • Identify and manage risks so that maximum benefit to client and stakeholders is achieved.
  • Manage and review product quality and ensure products are accepted.
  • Monitor and evaluate performance of service providers.
  • Identify and report potential business opportunities for UNOPS to the Programme Manager.
  • Identify and report threats to UNOPS internal business case to the Programme Manager.
  • Follow the UNOPS Infrastructure Project Management Cycle Instructions and ensure that all organizational policy is complied with (Organizational Directives and Administrative Instructions).
  • Prepare/adapt the following plans for approval by the Project Board:  I. Project Initiation Documentation; II. Stage/Exception Plans and relevant Product Descriptions.
  • Ensure that the following UNOPS Manuals and Guidelines are fully integrated and adhered to within all infrastructure projects:
  • UNOPS Project Management Manual (PMM).
  • UNOPS Procurement Manual.
  • UNOPS IPMG Design Review Requirements.
  • UNOPS Design Planning Manual.
  • UNOPS Transport Design Manual.
  • UNOPS Quality Assurance and Quality Control Guidelines.
  • UNOPS Gender and HSSE Guidelines.
  • Maintain the following: I. Electronic Blue File; II. Procurement, HR and Finance files as required by those practices.
  • Ensure that all expenditure comply with UNOPS Financial Regulations and Rules.
  • Manage budgets, cash flow and obligations to ensure that deliverables as per RSHQ requirements are met and payments to contractors and personnel are remitted on time.
  • Understand the unique structures of the UN and budget appropriately for personnel.
  • Manage and remain accountable for expenditures against the budget (based on accurate financial reports).
  • Where the Senior Project Manager has no delegation as a committing officer, s/he retains these responsibilities and will monitor and instruct/request others to carry out the relevant commitments and disbursements.
Knowledge Management:
  • Participate in the relevant Communities of Practice.
  • Actively interact with other PMs and the PM community to share case studies, lessons learned and best practice on the Knowledge System.
  • Provide feedback to Practice Leads on policy, supporting guidance with an aim towards continuous improvement of UNOPS policies.
  • Complete lessons learned as per reporting format.
  • Incorporate lessons learned from others as per planning format.
  • Liaise closely with RSHQ on lessons learned.
Personnel Management: 
  • Lead and motivate the project teams.
  • Ensure that behavioural expectations of team members are established. 
  • Ensure that performance reviews are conducted.
  • Have a thorough understanding of UNOPS personnel contract modalities (including ICA and Staff).
  • Select, recruit and train team as required by project plans.
  • Perform the Team Manager role, unless appointed to another person(s).
  • Perform Project Support role, unless appointed to another person or corporate/programme function.
  • Ensure safety and security for all personnel and comply with UNDSS standards.
  • Keep RSHQ informed of any personnel management related matters. 
Core Values and Principles:
Understand and respect UNOPS sustainability principles
  • Look for ways to embed UNOPS sustainability principles in day to day project management.
  • Seek opportunities to champion gender equality in the workplace.
  • Champion and communicate project’s sustainability aspects with key stakeholders.
  • Understand and Respect National ownership and capacity
  • Understand the principles of the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness and mainstream them into the project plans.
  • Seek opportunities to recruit qualified local staff.
  • Look for ways to build capacity of local counterparts.
Partnerships and Coordination 
  • Understand the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework and UNOPS Strategic Plan, as well as the RSHQ programme’s place in the UN system.
  • Strive to build strong partnerships and effective coordination among relevant project actors (e.g. United Nations, RSHQ, Government, and non-governmental organizations or other relevant partners.
Accountability for results and the use of resources
  • The project management processes are designed to deliver maximum accountability, transparency and results. If a project or processes is not in line with this, it is the responsibility of the infrastructure PM to raise the issue to a supervisor,

  • Contribute to innovation and the adaptation of best practice standards of sustainability and quality. 

Monitoring and Progress Controls
To provide technical management, oversight and training/capacity building to help assure:
  • Regular technical meetings are held for both the project team and stakeholders including RSHQ; to ensure coordination of design work, work plans are updated and where necessary corrective actions are implemented.
  • Weekly progress meetings are held with design team management for reporting on progress and completion of work streams according to project requirements.
  • Submission of monthly progress reports to RSHQ and other stakeholders.
  • Provision of field visit reports as appropriate.
  • Technical documentation is to the required standards
  • Ensure that all aspects of Quality Assurance and Quality Control are fully integrated into the infrastructure projects through robust monitoring and progress controls, in collaboration with relevant colleagues in the RSHQ programme team.
  • Ensure that all aspects of UNOPS HSSE, Gender and Sustainability are fully integrated into the infrastructure projects through robust monitoring and progress controls, in collaboration with relevant colleagues in the RSHQ programme team.
Ensure that the projects produces the required products within the specified tolerance of time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefits. The Senior Project Manager is also responsible for the project producing a result capable of achieving the benefits defined in the Business Case and required by RSHQ. Contribute to the overall business targets and needs.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

The Senior Project Manager Requires;
  • An engineering degree and professional engineering certification in civil and/or structural engineering
  • Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering or similar field required. 
  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering with an additional 2 years of relevant work experience may be considered in lieu of the Advanced University Degree requirement.
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner Certification – an asset.
  • A relevant combination of academic credentials and/or industry certifications and qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the university education.                                                  
Work Experience:
The Senior Project Manager Requires;
  • Seven years (or more based on academic credentials) of progressive experience in project development and management, with focus on monitoring, reporting, development and coordination in either public or private sector organizations.
  • Seven years’ experience in managing infrastructure projects.


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.(for levels IICA-2, IICA-3, LICA Specialist- 10, LICA Specialist-11, NOC, NOD, P3, P4 and above)
Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.
Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.
Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: International ICA Contract level: IICA-3
Contract duration: Ongoing ICA - Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance 

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: 

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns. Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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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