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Chief Technical Advisor/ Programme Manager

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
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2020-12-13

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UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. UNDP Sri Lanka has been working as the key development partner of choice since 1967, to achieve sustainable human development on economic, social and environmental fronts. UNDP Sri Lanka has a portfolio of projects that focus on environmental sustainability and climate resilience. Tourism development has direct links with the environment sustainability of countries like Sri Lanka. In this background UNDP is supporting the Government of Sri Lanka to develop a safer and resilient tourism sector in the post Covid pandemic situation.

The tourism sector is a critical economic sector in Sri Lanka and brings together a diverse group of stakeholders, industries, businesses and workers. The sector is an employment generator, especially for rural youth. It is underpinned by a substantial SME sector, providing direct and ancillary services. A high percentage of the sector is informal. It is understood that the sector has not met its full potential, due to external shocks, poorly developed infrastructure, and limited value proposition of tourism products and services. Therefore, tourism is one of the worst-affected industries on account of Covid-19 and SMEs and the informal sector are especially vulnerable.

UNDP is assisting the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to revive the tourism sector and assist the future sector transformation. This involves support being provided to develop a Tourism Road Map, an updated strategic action plan, and the formulation of a Joint Programme to support the rolling out of the Strategic Action Plan. The Joint Programme will contribute to the recovery, sustainability and resilience of the sector, through a three-pronged strategy that provides a) immediate technical and backstopping assistance to the Government of Sri Lanka;  b) strengthen tourism governance frameworks, and 3) develop and test strategies to boost sustainable and equitable tourism products in Sri Lanka. The programme adopts a ‘whole of government’ and a ‘whole of society’ approach and works with diverse stakeholders and partners.

The programme will deliver 4 key results:

Output 1: Government of Sri Lanka receives coherent support to rebuild and transform the tourism sector post-COVID-19
This output contributes to providing the GoSL with demand-driven institutional and technical support and supporting the government’s efforts in building a resilient, sustainable and enhanced tourism sector. It further supports coherent and harmonized external support to nationally driven tourism development.   

Output 2: Improved institutional effectiveness of the tourism sector to accelerate recovery and meet post-COVID-19 conditions
This output contributes to strengthening regulatory frameworks and institutional capacities for promoting, implementing and coordinating tourism development at multi-levels in Sri Lanka. It addresses the need for strategic coherence, enabling policies and regulations, and institutional capacities for tourism development in the country.

Output 3. Sustainable and inclusive tourism products and services promoted for a resilient and enhanced tourism sector post-COVID-19
This output contributes to increasing sustainability and inclusiveness in Sri Lanka’s tourism sector, with a focus on environmental sustainability and inclusive economic practices. It also responds to the potential for the sector to catalyze economic recovery and stimulate growth in the post-COVID-19 phase and the opportunity to promote sustainable and responsible tourism as promotion strategies in a more competitive market.

Output 4. Programme Management
This output contributes to the effective and efficient management of the Technical Advisory Unit (TAU) established to support SLTDA and Sri Lanka tourism industry. The TAU will be comprised of experts hired through UN agencies as well as other funding partners supporting the SLTDA. This will include the management of the TAU to the Ministry and SLTDA, ensure the coordination of technical expertise from other development partners, manage the operations staff of the TAU, and ensure UNDP’s programme management functions are delivered.

The programme is a joint initiative of relevant UN agencies working on the tourism sector and will be implemented through the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation in collaboration with institutions such as;

  • Provincial Councils;
  • Archeology Department;
  • Central Cultural Fund;
  • Forest Department; and
  • Department of Wildlife Conservation etc.

Under the overall strategic guidance of the Team Leader- Climate and Environment Team, the Chief Technical Advisor (CTA) cum Programme Manager will provide overall technical guidance to the Tourism Development and Management Programmes of UNDP Sri Lanka. The Chief Technical Advisor shall lead technical experts and the administrative staff of the programme towards achieving programme outcomes with a special focus on developing/updating and delivering the national Tourism Strategic Plan. He/She is expected to establish and maintain close interactions with the implementing partners and relevant technical agencies concerning programme implementation. Further, the CTA is expected to liaise with other counterparts of the programmes such as other UN agencies, donors and I/NGOs.

As key priorities of the industry, the CTA is expected to finalize the Roadmap for Tourism Recovery  towards a sustainable and resilient tourism industry, provide inputs to Strategic Action Plan development, finalize the Strategic Action Plan, develop and lead the implementation of UN joint programme for tourism development, coordinate Joint Programme members, ensure their technical expertise are properly coordinated to achieve the outcome/outputs of the Joint Programme, and report the progress of the Joint Programme to relevant stakeholders.

Further, the CTA is expected to provide high quality specialized technical guidance and support to the Climate and Environment Team of UNDP Sri Lanka. This support includes strategic planning, policy dialogue, development and advocacy; resource mobilization including programme and project identification and implementation related tasks.


Duties and Responsibilities

Function / Expected Results: Overall technical guidance to the Joint Programme in line with UNDP’s and local partners’ priorities and approved programme document.  The CTA is also responsible to technically guide the sustainable tourism development and management programmes of the Climate and Environment Team of UNDP.

A. Effective and efficient Technical Assistance to sustainable tourism development and management programmes

  • Lead, facilitate and provide technical assistance for the implementation of the sustainable tourism development and management projects, enabling high-quality delivery of outputs and activity results as per the Joint UN Programme document and/or Programme Board decisions.
  • Provide overall technical guidance to the National Programme Director of the Joint Programme and technical team of UNDP and other development partners in line with UNDP’s and local partners’ Sustainable Development Goal priorities.
  • Provide high-quality technical input to the design of project activities, and dedicated technical advisory support to the Programme’s key partner institutions (i.e. government, civil society, UN agencies and where relevant private sector etc.)
  • Provide technical assistance and substantive inputs to improve UNDP’s wider programming in support of sustainable tourism development and management projects.
  • Provide technical assistance and substantive inputs to improve technical agencies’ (including but not limited to Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Ministry of Environment and Wildlife Resources, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Provincial Councils, Central Cultural Fund, Department of Wildlife Conservation, Archeology Department, Department of Museums, Department of Botanical Gardens, Department of Zoological Gardens etc.) wider programming in the areas of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation.
  • Ensure synergies between the Joint Programme and other UNDP programmes/ projects/ other areas of Programming, to ensure strengthened Programming results and promote Sustainable Development objectives.
  • Facilitate knowledge-building and management. Ensure that programme lessons learned and best practices are captured, documented and periodically shared to inform wider policies and programmes.
  • Analyze results and lessons learned, and recommend strategies for improved delivery of programme activity results and outputs.
  • Provide inputs to the National Programme Director (NPD) to develop the programme implementation modality and to implement the programme.
  • Provide inputs to develop Programme Monitoring Framework and to establish a baseline for the Programme.
  • Support NPD to formulate regulations and guidelines required for the programme at national, Provincial, and local levels.
  • Facilitate the Tourism Strategic Plan (TSP) development and implementation process including but not limited to ensuring coherent technical inputs to the development process and resource mobilization efforts for the TSP implementation.
  • Provide high-quality technical advisory services to the public sector officials and tourism industry.
  • Provide required technical direction and guidance to sector experts and technical staff based in the Technical Advisory Unit.
  • Facilitate  the functions of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Programme.
  • Provide necessary guidance and inputs to implementing partner and responsible parties on a regular basis to achieve programme outcomes.
  • Liaise with NPD to identify consultancies required to deliver programme outputs.

B. Coordination, Advocacy and Rapport Building with Programme Partners:

  • Maintain regular communication and coordination with relevant Programme partners to implement programme activities in a timely manner. Facilitate a good working relationship and collaboration between key government partners and other development partners
  • Facilitate and support the development of the capacity of key government institutions.
  • Support the strengthening of partnerships between government entities and civil society organizations, including improved planning and policy-making.
  • Coordinate with other implementing partners (with specific emphasis on partner UN agencies) to provide support for the implementation of the Roadmap and TSP (2020-2024) as well as the multi-donor programme led by UNDP.
  • Provide policy guidance to relevant government counterparts on long term policy/strategy formulation in sustainable tourism development and economic development in line with the President’s manifesto, SD policy, Climate Change policies and other relevant policies.

C. Effective Programme Management

  • Advise the programme management unit on effective programme implementation; This includes preparation of works plans, budgets, progress reports etc.
  • Support the team to deliver outputs as per annual work plans and in keeping with the budgets.
  • Provide regular updates to UNDP and other partners of the Joint Programme on the policy and programmatic direction of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation and other key government counterparts on sustainable tourism management in Sri Lanka.
  • Assist the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation to liaise with the relevant government departments, ministries and other institutions to obtain required support for programme implementation.
  • Advise programme monitoring activities and prepare regular results-based reports, annual reports, donor reports and briefs
  • Manage TAU experts, specialists and staff to ensure coherent and timely expertise is provided to implement and monitor TSP and Joint Programme. Ensure timely progress reports are submitted to the Ministry, UNDP and other funding partners.

D. Partnership Building and Resource Mobilization:

  • Under the overall guidance of the Team Leader – Climate and Environment Team of UNDP, represent the programme and develop partnerships with UN Agencies, government institutions, development partners, civil society organizations, private sector, etc., to achieve the results of the programme.
  • Strengthen and maintain a substantive network of partnerships with relevant national counterparts at different levels, civil society organizations, national NGOs, the private sector, implementing partners, and the donor community


Impact of Results

The above functions/key results will ensure the implementation of the programme and the timely delivery and quality achievement of its activity results and outputs against the agreed work plan; as well as effective monitoring of the programme outcome. In addition, the results will secure strong partnerships with key actors and resource mobilization. Advocacy and technical assistance provided by the incumbent to the implementing partners and other wider stakeholders will result in tangible progress in UNDP’s role in and support for developing a sustainable and resilient tourism industry in Sri Lanka.  



  • Demonstrates integrity by modelling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Shows awareness of the UN Policy on the Prevention of harassment, sexual harassment and abuse of authority;
  • Strong leadership qualities, self-management and planning skills, with the ability to establish and lead effective cross-cultural, field-based operational teams;
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to work with a wide range of counterparts and stakeholders, including senior-level officials in the government, technical counterparts, stakeholders and programme beneficiaries, donor partners etc;
  • Excellent interpersonal and managerial/supervisory skills;
  • Excellent analytical and organizational skills;
  • Resourcefulness, initiative, and maturity of judgment;
  • Ability to work under pressure in a multi-task, multi-cultural environment;
  • Specialist expertise and practical experience in inclusive development with experience in managing multi-donor, multi-programme portfolios in a recovery-to-development context;
  • Sound knowledge of UNDP’s policy and core services in at least two of the areas of conflict prevention and recovery, poverty alleviation and/or local governance, with the ability to implement core policies and targets in her/his programme portfolio;
  • Knowledge of UNDP cross-cutting themes Capacity-building, Gender, Human Rights, and HIV/AIDS;
  • Knowledge of UNDP/UN regulations, rules, policies, procedures and practices an advantage;
  • Knowledge of UNDP/UN programs in Sri Lanka an asset; and
  • Excellent computer/information systems skills, including resources management system.


Required Skills and Experience


  • A Master’s degree or equivalent in tourism management, Business Administration natural resources management, environment, social sciences, development, economics or a related discipline.  
  • Qualification with Programme management, tourism programme development and advocacy for promoting  sustainable development goals


  • Minimum of 7 years of progressively responsible professional experience including first-hand experience in managing livelihood and governance development programmes
  • Previous experience in sustainable tourism will be an added advantage
  • Experience in policy advocacy, provide high-level technical advisory to the government / UN agencies and other international development agencies
  • Experience in managing technical teams with high-level experts and specialists
  • Experience working with and reporting to multiple donors

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English a requirement, in addition to Tamil and/or Sinhala.



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.

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