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Project  Management Specialist

Pretoria (South Africa)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Pretoria (South Africa)
  • Grade: SB-5 (SC10/SC11), Service Contract, Local Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Environment
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Malaria, Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases
  • Closing Date: 2020-09-28

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The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) is a global project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme with financial support from the Government of Germany and the Government of Switzerland. BIOFIN supports countries with a methodology that provides innovative steps to measure current biodiversity expenditures, assess financial needs, identify the most suitable finance solutions and supports implementation of these solutions to help achieve national biodiversity targets. 

In South Africa, the BIOFIN project is implemented at a national level by the UNDP in partnership with the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF). The implementation of the project is done according to a stratey and agreed up Annual Work Plan. The national BIOFIN Project Steering Committee, co-chaired by DEFF and UNDP Country Office, provides guidance to the project, and the global UNDP BIOFIN team provides technical and other guidance. 

The BIOFIN South Africa core team will be made up of three members: The National Project Manager, based in the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries; The Project Management Specialist, based in UNDP Country Office; and the Project Administrator, based in UNDP Country Office. 

South Africa is the implementation phase of BIOFIN. There are currently eight finance solutions that are being implemented by BIOFIN SA, as set out in the AWP. These are: 1) growing protected area own-revenue; 2) property rates tax reform; 3) building a grant mechanism for biodiversity stewardship programmes; 4) institutional support for biodiversity tax incentives; 5) improving the biodiversity offsets implementation modality; 6) developing a voluntary market-based certification in the wildlife sector; 7) developing an online biodiversity-economy investment portal; 8) improving the effectiveness of permits. The specific workplans for each of these finance solutions will need to be updated in line with current needs and situation in the country.  

The BIOFIN finance solutions will be implemented in close collaboration with key partners. There are some finance solution working groups already in place to drive the implementation of the finance solutions. These finance solutions complement the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES), which is led by DEFF with oversight from the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME).

Under the overall guidance of the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Lead, the Project Management Specialist will provide technical leadership to the BIOFIN project in South Africa, and support the National Project Manager in the management and implementation of BIOFIN.

The role of the Project Management Specialist is to provide the technical expertise to the project. The Project Management Specialist will report directly to the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Lead.  

The Project Management Specialist will be based at the UNDP Country Offices in Pretoria and may from time-to-time be required to have undertaken work-related aspects such as project related meetings at DEFF and in project landscapes. 


Duties and Responsibilities

1. Technical guidance and leadership (60%):

  • Work with the finance solution working groups/task teams and key experts, as well as the National Project Manager, to update the finance solution implementation plans for each of the finance solutions;

  • Develop the Terms of Reference for the appointment of consultants/experts for the implementation of specific finance solutions in consultation with the National Project Manager and in line with the approved Annual Work Plan;

  • Provide technical leadership and support to the working groups, task teams and experts implementing the BIOFIN South Africa finance solutions, including reviewing reports, conducting necessary meetings, workshops and field visits to support progress and guarantee the quality of work;

  • Together with the BIOFIN National Project Manager, work to ensure technical coordination and backstopping of the project work streams;

  • Lead the provision of capacity development as the annual work plan allows;

  • Contribute to the national dialogue on policies and measures that can improve the sustainable management and protection of South Africa’s natural resources;

  • Identify good practices and lessons learned that could contribute to improving the management of UNDP initiatives, projects and programs.

2. Programme Management support (30%): 

  • Work closely with the National Project Manager, ensuring effective management and implementation of the BIOFIN project as per the BIOFIN Phase 2 Work Plan;

  • Provide input to the National Project Manager and Project Administrator to support the preparation of annual work plans, biannual workplan revisions, and the quarterly procurement plans;

  • Assist the National Project Manager in supervising and coordinating the work of all project personnel, consultants and subcontractors (quality assurance and contract management);

  • Working with the National Project Manager, Project Administrator and Programme Finance Associate, contribute to the proper management of funds according to UNDP requirements, and budget planning and control;

  • Support the National Project Manager in the preparation of timely project reports to the global UNDP BIOFIN team, including biannual progress reports, quarterly consolidated financial reports, final project report, and other reports required by UNDP; 

  • Provide input to the National Project Manager in the development of project reports, including progress reports and the final project report, to the Project Steering Committee;

  • With support from the Project Administrator, ensure compliance of the project by providing regular information to the UNDP corporate systems (ATLAS, Transparency Dashboard, Sharepoint, ATLAS Risk Log, Results Orientated Annual Reporting (ROAR) processes, PIMS+ etc

  • Work in close collaboration with the UNDP South Africa Climate and Environment Programme Manager, the BIOFIN Technical Adviser (global) and the BIOFIN National Project Manager/ Team Leader (DEFF) to ensure the exchange and sharing of experiences and lessons learned from relevant cross-cutting capacity development and environmental projects, both nationally and internationally.

3.Strategic partnerships, promotion and awareness (10%): 

  • Work with the National Project Manager to create strategic alliances with other partners on biodiversity finance;

  • Facilitate collaboration between partners and key stakeholders in the development of finance solutions, including but not limited to National Treasury, SANBI, DEFF, and key NGOs;

  • Provide input to relevant UNDP and DEFF communication initiatives associated with the BIOFIN project (e.g. social platforms, documentaries, radio programming, television spots and awareness campaigns, case studies, etc.), increasing the awareness of the project within South Africa, regionally and globally.

4.  Deliverables:

  • Finalisation of implementation plans for all finance solutions;

  • Finalised terms of reference for the appointment of consultants in line with the Annual Work Plan;

  • Delivery of biodiversity finance solutions as set out in the implementation plans and Annual Work Plan

  • Contributions to Annual Work Plan revisions, quarterly and annual reports and all other project reports available on time;

  • Thematic notes and briefing notes on the BIOFIN topics produced and shared;

  • Contributions to project reports, including biannual reports and final project report;

  • Project evaluations and BIOFIN global team missions carried out and recommendations followed.

  • Preparation and organization of secure information on the execution of the project, contributions for the monitoring and evaluation of UNDP Country Programme Document (CPD), the UN Strategic Development Cooperation Framework (UNSCDF) in South Africa;

  • Final review of the budget and financial closure of the project 12 months after the project's operational term





  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work


  • Ability to persuade others to follow

People Management

  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction


  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform


  • Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement


Results-Based Programme Development and Management

  • Provides information and documentation on specific stages of projects/programme implementation

Building Strategic Partnerships

  • Ability to develop, maintain, and strengthen partnerships with others inside (Programmes/Projects) or outside the organization who can provide information, assistance, and support. 

  • Sets overall direction for the formation and management of strategic relationships contributing to the overall positioning of UNDP.

Sustainable Development Goals

  • Knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations

Innovation and Marketing New Approaches 

  • Documents and tracks innovative strategies/best practices/new approaches

Team Building

  • Ability to work effectively with diverse groups of professionals towards common goals.

Resource Mobilization

  • Maintains information/databases on potential and actual donors

  • Maintains database of project files

  • Provides data and information needed for preparation of project documents

Job Knowledge/Technical Expertise

  • Understands the main processes and methods of work regarding to the position

  • Possesses basic knowledge of organizational policies and procedures relating to the position and applies them consistently in work tasks

  • Demonstrates good knowledge of information technology and applies it in work assignments


Required Skills and Experience


  • University degree (Master's or doctoral degree) in environmental economics, economics, biodiversity conservation or public policy with a strong focus on biodiversity finance or environmental economics, or closely related area.


  • At least 8 years’ experience in biodiversity finance, environmental economics, or closely related field;

  • At least 5 years of experience in programme management, or consultancy and advisory services which include implementation, monitoring and evaluation;

  • Experience in dealing with international and national experts across government and institutions related to research and/or advocacy institutions;

  • Knowledge of UNDP project implementation procedures, including procurement, disbursements and reporting and monitoring will be an added advantage;

  • Experience of strong professional relationship building;

  • High competence in MS Office

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English.


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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