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Senior Project Manager

Djibouti (Djibouti)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Djibouti (Djibouti)
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
    • Malaria, Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases
  • Closing Date: 2020-09-25

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Background Information - Job-specific

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners' peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organisations.  With over 6,000 personnel spread across 80 countries, UNOPS offers its partners the logistical, technical and management knowledge they need, where they need it.  By implementing around 1,000 projects for our partners at any given time, UNOPS makes significant contributions to results on the ground, often in the most challenging environments.

The Senior Project Manager  is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the project and provides services to the different donors, partners and beneficiaries. He/she will act on behalf of the Project Board to manage the project on an ongoing basis during the Implementation Stage. The main responsibility of a Senior Project Manager is to ensure that the project outputs are delivered within the specified project tolerances of time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefits. He/she is expected to meet the organization’s performance and delivery goals.

The Senior Project Manager has the authority to assign, as per the Project Plan, work packages to Team Managers and approve deliverables produced by them.

The Senior Project Manager is responsible for creating the Implementation Plan, using the Project Initiation Document (PID), Legal Agreement and having a thorough understanding of the terms, conditions, and the respective roles and responsibilities of the partners/stakeholders, to ensure the project(s) outputs are capable of meeting the business cases for both UNOPS and the partner(s). Success of the project(s) and hence of the Project Manager/Senior Project Manager  will be based on the defined Success Criteria. 

Local Context: 

The UNOPS Hub in Amman implements projects on behalf of UN agencies and bilateral donors and in close coordination with the Government and national authorities. With an established presence across the region including Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon, the office runs operations including large-scale procurement, project development and technical management, and provides financial, human resources and infrastructure-related services. The functional objective of UNOPS Hub in Amman is to deliver its projects in an efficient and effective manner and in line with the principles, rules and regulations of UNOPS, to achieve the outcomes sought by the clients.

The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

UNOPS is committed to achieving a fully diverse workforce.

Project Information

The current conflict in Yemen has resulted in a wide-spread humanitarian crisis, and has left 80 per cent of the population (24.4 million people) in need of assistance.  In addition, according to the latest estimates of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), over 20 million people will face severe insecurity without humanitarian food assistance. In order to address the impediments on commercial imports to Yemen and facilitate restoration of regular commercial cargo flows into the country, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) operationalized the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM) to oversee the monitoring and inspection services of commercial and bilateral assistance cargo destined for Yemeni Red Sea ports not under the control of the Government of Yemen. The mechanism was activated on 2 May 2016, at the request of the Government of Yemen and on behalf of the UN and the concerned Member States.  

In its current operational setup, UNVIM reviews requests from commercial vessels to enter the Red Sea ports outside of the Government of Yemen control (Hodeidah, Saleef, and Ras Issa).  The mechanism also inspects most of the vessels approaching these ports in Djibouti port or conducts inspections in international waters. 

UNVIM is managed and operated by UNOPS and is located in Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti, and currently funded by the Government of Netherlands, Government of Canada, the Department for International Development (DFID), U.S. Department of States, and European Commission.

Functional Responsibilities

Summary of functions:

  1. Project Delivery and Performance

  2. Procedures 

  3. Monitoring and reporting

  4. Stakeholder engagement

  5. Quality assurance

  6. Knowledge management and innovation 

  7. Personnel management

Under the overall guidance and direct supervision of the Director Amman Operational Hub, the Project Manager (PM) will be responsible for all aspects of the project life-cycle in accordance with the Project Document, the legal agreement between UNOPS and the donor, and in compliance with Organizational Directives and Administrative Instructions on Project Management. 

The PM must be able to undertake independently, the following tasks:

Project Delivery and Performance 
  • Ensure the preparation and delivery of all the project’s elements and activities mentioned in the project document/ legal agreement;

  • Ensure timely planning and implementation of the project activities, ensuring that goals and objectives are accomplished within the prescribed project time frame and the available funding parameters/budget;

  • Develop, complete and update implementation plan(s);

  • Implement the approved plan (including the establishment of milestones) within tolerances set by the Project Board;

  • Follow up and report on the project objectives and plans including any delineation of scope, budgeting, scheduling, and setting performance requirements;

  • Study and/ or  prepare the standard operating procedures (SOPs), budgets, terms of reference, contracts and all technical requirements for the project activities;

  • Analyse and review all project documents , including documents for the UN and Member States, and ensure compliance with specifications utilizing research, development, relevant codes and standards;

  • Ensure agreements with Member States and stakeholders are correctly implemented.

  • Embed sustainability dimensions including social, gender , environmental and economic aspects into the project life span;

  • Manage the production of the required outputs, taking responsibility for overall progress and use of resources and initiating corrective action where necessary;

  • Ensure that quality of work packages and deliverables complies with the quality requirements defined in the Implementation Plan;

  • Liaise with any external suppliers or account managers;

  • Manage acceptance and delivery of work packages;

  • Monitor project progress ensuring that work packages are being executed properly

  • Control project and work packages changes

  • Accept goods, services or works delivered by suppliers.

  • Lead contract management duties including supplier performance evaluation.

  • Identify, and anticipate in a timely manner, potential risks and issues and advises mitigating measures to senior management/ Project Board so that maximum benefit to partner(s) and other stakeholders is achieved

  • Identify and report to the supervisor potential business opportunities for UNOPS

  • Comply with all organizational policy and specifically the Project Management Manual, and OneUNOPS Projects System requirements.

  • Prepare/adapt all relevant plans for approval by the Project Board;

  • Manage the reporting obligations defined in the Legal Agreement(s) and in the Implementation Plan;

  • Draft the requirements definitions for procurement processes. Approving requisitions and requests for non-purchase order payments; Evaluating submissions received, if appointed to the evaluation team;

  • Ensure maintenance of the project files and lessons learned are recorded;

  • Ensure the development and implementation of project financial management guidelines and control mechanisms, in conformity with UNOPS rules and regulations;

  • Manage budgets, cash flow and obligations to ensure that deliverables are met and payments to contractors and personnel are received on time;

  • Understand and manage UNOPS overheads, allocable charges, and related corporate charges as they apply to the project;

  • Understand the unique structures of the UN and budget appropriately for personnel

  • Manage expenditures against the budget (based on accurate financial reports);

  • Where the 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;

  • For project closure purposes, provide a formal handover of the project to the closure manager;

  • Support project audit activities, including planning, preparation and coordination during the audits and follow up on audit observations/recommendations.

Monitoring and reporting
  • In coordination with Partnerships Section, prepare and issue regular project and/or financial reports in accordance with each donor and/ or UNOPS requirements for reporting and  as stipulated in contribution agreements;

  • Analyse, monitor, and review key economic indicators on commercial trade in Yemen including, but not limited to, statistics, economic projections and trends;

  • Monitor and assess the developments in Yemen related to the UNVIM Mechanism and keep the Operational Hub Director, Head of Programme, Partnerships Advisor, and UN OCHA, informed;

  • Regularly review project status, evaluating performance criteria (scope, cost, schedule and quality);

  • Maintain diaries and progress reports as required by the organization’s standard procedures;

  • Provide routine oversight and analysis of delivery data within the dashboard system;

  • Ensure all project team members track and regularly update milestones and targets for the duration of projects' life span.

Stakeholder Engagement
  • Develop stakeholder profiles and facilitate the formulation of stakeholder engagement strategies;

  • Establish solid working relationships with the Project Board (Executive, Senior Users and Senior Suppliers), client and key stakeholders;

  • Enable the formulation of project communications plans. Coordinate internal project communications. Monitor the effectiveness of project communications;

  • Coordinate stakeholder engagement and communication, ensuring effective timing and interdependency management of communications. Ensure stakeholders are aware of project activities, progress, exceptions and are in a position to accept handover outputs;

  • In coordination with Amman Hub Director, Head of Programme, and Partnership Advisor (as relevant), maintain regular contact with the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and convene Steering Committee meetings;

  • Ensure donor visibility as stipulated in the approved project document/ legal agreement;

  • Prepare for and participate in Project Steering Committee Meetings.

Quality Assurance
  • Work with internal stakeholders to ensure projects comply with audit requirements

  • Work with procurement/purchasing staff to ensure effective interface with suppliers' quality systems

  • Coordinate quality reviews of project documents and deliverables

  • Provide quality control for management outputs (project documents, reports, etc.)

Knowledge management and innovation
  • Encourage routine and effective capacity building activities are conducted in order to build the long-term and sustainable capacity of staff;

  • Actively interact with other Project Managers and the wider PM community to share case studies, lessons learned and best practices;

  • Contribute to the oversight of lessons learned procedures, ensuring that lessons learnt are shared in a timely and appropriate manner. Participate in the relevant Communities of Practice;

  • Research and logging of lessons learned throughout the project life span;

  • Provide feedback to Practice Groups on policy, supporting guidance with an aim towards continuous improvement of UNOPS policies.

Personnel Management 
  • Lead, supervise, and motivate the project management team;

  • Ensure that behavioural expectations of team members are established;

  • Ensure that performance reviews are conducted fairly, accurately and timely;

  • Select, recruit and train team as required and take into account gender parity and diversity objectives;

  • Ensure safety and security for all project personnel and comply with UNDSS standards;

  • Create, foster and role model a culture of respect and zero tolerance for discrimination, abuse of authority, harrasement, sexual harrasement and sexual exploitation and abuse. Ensure accountability for actions and perform duties in accordance with protection mechanisms and action plans, as expected by UNOPS policies, standards and commitments.

Impact of Results

Project Manager/Senior Project Manager directly impacts on achievement of project results by adhering to project management methods and strategies, reducing risks, cutting costs and improving success rates.  This consequently reinforces the visibility and image of  UNOPS as an effective service provider in project services and management and strengthens its competitive position as a partner of choice in sustainable development and project services.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • Master’s Degree in Project Management, Business Administration, International Relations, Law, Political/ Development Studies, or any other relevant discipline;

  • Bachelor’s degree in Project Management, Business Administration, International Relations, Political/ Development Studies, Law, or other relevant discipline, may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree, with a combination of 2 additional years of relevant professional experience

  • Seven years of progressive experience in project development and management, with a focus on monitoring, reporting, development and coordination in either public or private sector organizations is required;

  • At least 2 years of previous experience in the humanitarian/ post-conflict/ development context in the Middle East and/ or Africa region is required;

  • Track record of national and regional working experience with increasing managerial responsibilities;

  • Experience with an international organization and/or UN agencies is an asset.

  • Fluency in English is required.

  • Certified Senior Project Manager - International Project Manager Association (IPMA Level B) or Project Management Professional (PMP - PMI) or PRINCE2 foundation is an asset.
  • Successful candidates will be required to complete the UNOPS Project Management Foundation course within the first year of their assignment;


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:Fixed Term/Staff Comtract (FTA) Contract level: P4
Contract duration: One year initially, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and funding availability

For more details about United Nations staff contracts, 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.
  • Djibouti is a UN Family Duty Station
  • 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
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • 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.

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.

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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