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Project Manager

Kabul (Afghanistan)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Kabul (Afghanistan)
  • Grade: LICA-10, Local Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Engineering
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2021-01-26

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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


With more than 20 years of experience in the country, UNOPS Afghanistan focuses on providing maximum support to the Government and people of Afghanistan through delivery of projects and services in line with the government’s national priorities. The UNOPS Afghanistan Operations Centre (AFOC) serves as an organizational mechanism to deliver a range of projects for which UNOPS has been designated as the implementation agency. At present, UNOPS AFOC is implementing a number of projects in a range of sectors including infrastructure (roads, bridges, justice and security, health, and water supply) development, procurement services, HR services, capacity building, and humanitarian protection, amongst others, on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan, the international donor community, and other UN agencies.
The functional objective of UNOPS AFOC is to contribute to the achievement of the development outcomes sought by the Government of Afghanistan. The aim of UNOPS AFOC is to provide efficient and cost-effective implementation services on behalf of all our partners to support the reconstruction and development of the country. UNOPS AFOC’s mission is to exceed the expectations of all stakeholders in the delivery of AFOC’s services, at all times, in all places, in all circumstances, in order to improve significantly the lives of all Afghans in need.

Programme 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

Project Manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the project(s) and provides services to the different donors, partners and beneficiaries. Project Manager acts on behalf of the Project Board to manage the project on an ongoing basis during the Implementation Stage. The main responsibility of a 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.

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

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 will be based on the defined Success Criteria.

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

1.         Project Delivery and Performance

●          Develop and maintain project plans

●          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 the project’s 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

●          Authorize Work Packages and manage the design and delivery of civil works, including design reviews of in-house and or outsource designs.

●          Analyse structural designs and renovation works recommendations.

●          Liaise with design review teams and confirm obtaining design review certificates before procurement begins

●          Where necessary, Advise the Project Board, AFOC Director and HOP of any deviations from the plan

●          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 the performance of in-house teams and service providers

●          Identify and report potential business opportunities for UNOPS to his/her supervisor

●          Identify and report threats to UNOPS internal business case to a supervisor

2.         Procedures

Follow the Project Management Cycle instructions and ensure 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

●          Prepare the following reports:

                         i.         Highlight Reports

                       ii.         End-Stage Reports

                      iii.         Operational Closure Checklist

                      iv.         End Project Report

                       v.         Handover Report

●          Maintain the following:

                    i. Electronic Blue File;

       ii. Procurement, HR and Finance files as required.

      iii. Design & Delivery documents/ files where required

●          Ensure all expenditures comply with UNOPS Financial Rules and Regulations (FRR).

●          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 and remain accountable for expenditures against the budget (based on accurate financial reports)

●          Where the PM 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.

3.         Monitoring and reporting

●          Prepare and issue regular project and/or financial reports in accordance with Partner and UNOPS requirements for reporting.

●          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

4.         Stakeholder engagement

●          Reporting to the Program Manager/ Head of Programme (HOP), establish a solid working relationship with the project board (Executive, Senior Users, and Senior Suppliers), client and key stakeholders

●          Manage communications and ensure stakeholders are aware of project activities, progress, exceptions and are in a position to accept handover products

●          Advise the client on issues that may impact the achievement of their outcomes (including issues of sustainability and post project requirements such as maintenance)

●          Manage the information flows between the Project Board/AFOC Director and the project

5.         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.)

6.         Knowledge management and innovation

●          Participate in the relevant Communities of Practice

●          Actively interact with other PMs and the PM community to share case studies, lessons learned, and best practices 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.

7.         Personnel Management   

●          Lead and motivate the design and project delivery team.

●          Ensure that behavioral expectations of team members are established.

●          Ensure that performance reviews are conducted.

●          Identify outstanding staff and bring them to the attention of the AFOC Director

●          Have a thorough understanding of UNOPS personnel contract modalities (including ICA and Staff).

●            Select, recruit and train the team as required by the project plan.

●          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.

IV. Impact of Results

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


●      Advanced University Degree in Civil/Structural Engineering or other relevant disciplines.

●      University Degree (bachelor’s degree / first level) with a combination of 2 additional years of relevant professional experience in Engineering design & Delivery of Civil Works, Project Management, Business Administration, International Relations, Political/Security/Development Studies, or other relevant disciplines, may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

●      Master Degree in civil structural Engineering or other relevant disciplines – Preferred


●      PRINCE2 Practitioner Certification – Preferred

●      Complete the UNOPS Project Management Foundation course (within one year after signing this TOR)

●      A relevant combination of academic credentials and/or industry certifications and qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the university education.


●      5 years (or more based on academic credentials) of progressive experience in project development and management, with a focus on monitoring, reporting, development, and coordination in either public or private sector organizations.

●      The project manager should possess previous progressive experience in managing and design of construction projects with knowledge of procurement processes.

●      The Project Manager should have conducted, supervised, and managed  Health & Safety, Social & Environmental (HSSE) issues and concerns, including its application as per the standards

●       Previous work experience with the UNOPS or any of the United Nations agencies is preferred.

●      Knowledge of UN/UNOPS rules and regulations is a distinct advantage.

Language Requirements:

Fluency in English language is required


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: Local Specialist Contract level: LICA-10
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
  • 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.

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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