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Chief Technical Advisor on SDG based-National Planning and Financing

Colombo (Sri Lanka)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Colombo (Sri Lanka)
  • Grade: SB-5 (SC10/SC11), Service Contract, Local Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Environment
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
    • Banking and Finance
    • Economics
  • Closing Date: 2020-10-20

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Realization of Sustainable Development Goals remains a formidable challenge for Sri Lanka despite having made significant strides in reducing poverty and promoting social development. As an Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC), Sri Lanka is faced with the threat of the ‘triple traps’ - the middle-income trap, the inequality trap, and the imbalance trap - that may jeopardize the country’s ability to transition to high income status and achieve the SDGs. In this context an SDG aligned National Development Framework (NDF), that comprises of both a National Development Plan (NDP) as well as an enabling institutional mechanism for implementation and governance, would help country in overcoming development challenges and meeting SDGs. 
With over four decades of experience in Sri Lanka and with a global footprint spanning over 150 countries, the United Nations Development System (UNDS) can offer a full suite of services towards the development of a comprehensive NDF.
The UNDS in close coordination with the government can convene a multitude of stakeholders towards an NDP. This would be vital for the identification and understanding of solutions that would address country’s development challenges, risk assessments and prioritizations. The risk assessment and risk management components of the NDP process has been made more pertinent in the wake of the recent COVID-19 outbreak and similar epidemic and other threats that present a clear risk factor for the country going forward. 
Within the UNDS, UNDP globally leads the SDG financing agenda at country level and can roll out key instruments to facilitate costing and financing ascertainment including: (i) Development Finance Assessment (DFA), with a complementary more detailed Climate Public Expenditure and Institutions Review (CPEIR), to help understand the development finance needs of the country, financing gaps and financing measures; (ii) an Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) that provides an overall framework for addressing development financing challenges of the country and (iii) National Network for SDG Financing (NNSF) to help oversee the implementation of the INFF. These instruments will be spearheaded by the government with UN support.
The UNDS can also offer holistic support to conceptualize and operationalize the policy and institutional mechanism for NDF implementation. This includes but is not limited to extending expertise to shape the contours of the policy oversight structure, as well as articulate the role of the secretariat and strengthen its capacity to consolidate and strengthen the national planning architecture. Successful implementation of an NDP hinges on a robust accountability mechanism backed by credible data that helps track progress through periodic country reporting. 


Duties and Responsibilities

The Chief Technical Advisor will report to UNDP’s Policy & Engagement Analyst and the Senior Economic Advisor for Sri Lanka and Maldives in carrying out the key responsibilities of the assignment. 
Facilitate the provision of technical and advisory support to relevant Government agencies with technical guidance of the Senior Economic Advisor on the national development framework 
  • Facilitate the provision of technical and advisory support especially in the area of Macro Economic Analysis and Economic planning. Offering technical assistance to strengthen systems and structures that support the development and the implementation of a National Development Framework (NDF) and provide sound financial management. 
  • Supporting the development of an internal pro-doc and an external communication pitch for the government’s stakeholder consultation.
Day to day management of the project and the development of an agreed road map/implementation strategy 
  • Ensure that the project resources, aligned with the overall project resources are effectively used to achieve set project outputs and outcomes 
  • Liaise with the Programme Quality and Design Analyst of UNDP to ensure project quality and the operational compliance with UNDP rules and regulations 
  • Performing other tasks as instructed by the Policy and Engagement Team and the Senior Economic Advisor 
  • Participating in relevant Government and development partner task forces, working groups and/or theme groups 
  • Ensure strengthening Gender and Social Inclusion work through project interventions;
  • Ensure that all activities are prepared in a timely manner and implemented in accordance with stated outcomes and performance indicators;
  • Prepare Annual Work Plans, Quarterly Work Plans and other documents for the approval of the UNDP’s Policy and Engagement Analyst in close liaison with the Senior Economic Advisor to ensure project resources, aligned with overall project resources are effectively used to achieve set project outputs and outcomes;
  • Liaise with the UNDP Programme Quality and Design Analyst for assuring project quality and the operational compliance with the UNDP rules and regulations; 
  • Organize project management meetings on a regular basis and maintain Minutes and Administrative Procedures;
  • Consulting with UNDP’s Policy and Engagement Team and the Senior Economic Advisor on any issues that require the Team Leaders’ attention, including issues related to deviation from the approved work plans and deviation from the approved target and/or budget;  
Monitoring, evaluation, reporting, knowledge management and communication of the project
  • Prepare key operational reports including an inception, mid-term and final report in addition to six-monthly progress reports, summarizing findings, achievements, conclusions and recommendations on the progress of the project in the country as per the requirements;
  • Facilitate the process of monitoring and evaluation of project as per UNDP requirements and procedures;
  • Supervise the development of knowledge products (including brochures, briefs, documents on lessons learnt, evaluation reports); 
  • Facilitate the dissemination of information about the objectives, progress, and achievements of the project;
  • Take the lead, coordinate and participate in the organization of conferences, seminars, workshops, training sessions and meetings related to the project;
  • Build the project’s reputation in the knowledge networks to draw on and disseminate best practices and lessons learnt with national and international stakeholders;
  • Create and foster good working relationships with the media (social media, newspapers and journals, radio, and television) and liaise with the UNDP Communications team on matters of external visibility
  • Facilitate the process to manage knowledge and contribute to accelerating SDGs implementation on Macro Economic sector including focus on poverty, environment, economic growth, employment etc.
Recruitment, coordination and supervision of staff, consultants 
  • Lead recruitment planning and day-to-day management of all project personnel (staff, consultants and contractors);
  • Develop terms of reference and technical specifications of staff, consultants and contractors;
  • Coordinate and manage the recruitment process in consultation with the Policy & Engagement Team;
  • Provide supervision and coordination of the work of project personnel to ensure delivery of project outputs and outcomes in a timely manner
Subject to obtaining concurrence of the government pioneer the establishment of a project management unit (PMU) within the Ministry of Finance/Prime Minister’s office that would provide overall project management support for a NDF in Sri Lanka Development of knowledge products outlined in the National Development Plan 
  • Taking initiative with country office support to develop effective networks for National Development Planning and Finance with key counterparts/stakeholders in government, DFI, private sector and other development partner agencies in the UN system.
  • Develop a concept note (to be endorsed by the government) for establishment of a comprehensive risk management capacity under the national development planning framework
  • Based on the concept note support the establishment of a comprehensive risk framework (comprising aspects of identifying risks, likelihood and severity, risk mitigation/management measures and costing/financing of initiatives)
Development of a comprehensive finance plan to address financing gaps and strengthening strategic partnerships and alliances
  • Support the development of a Joint Programme (JP) on the SDG based Programmatic Bond. Liaise with the MoF, Central Bank and other relevant ministries/agencies on the development and finalization of the JP; 
  • Preparation of necessary analytical and context papers for a scoping/pre-DFA mission of UNDP and other agencies that would form a pre-cursor for the NDF launch with concurrence of the government.
  • Responsible for identifying and using approaches to strengthen partnerships between all stakeholders 
  • Acts as the project focal point and assure excellent communications and working relations with donors, government partners, implementing partners etc. 
  • Responsible for advocating an promoting the use of new technologies to improve efficiency, transparency and accountability at all levels of sub-national governments 
  • Support UNDP to engage and coordinate partnerships with National authorities related to the development of the NDP, country level institutions, bilateral and multilateral donors, UN Agencies and civil society.



  • Innovation, ability to make new and useful ideas work, and openness to the use of new technologies to improve local governance systems
  • Leadership 
  • People Management 
  • Communication. The ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform 
  • Delivery. Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement
  • Good organizational skills and the ability to prioritize work deliverables 
  • Gender Sensitivity and ability to mainstream 

Required Skills and Experience

  • Master's degree in social policy, public policy, politics, economics, development studies or a related area.
  • Minimum of 7 years of progressively responsible work experience in development sector with experience in local governance and local development. 
  • Experience managing and coordinating projects, specifically with government projects.
  • Excellent quantitative and analytic skills   
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience working in the UN System is an asset. 
Language Requirements
  • Fluency in Sinhala and/or Tamil with strong English Communication Skills.


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.

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