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Regional Civil Military Specialist

Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Peace and Development
  • Closing Date: 2020-11-30

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The tri-border region of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, referred to as the Liptako-Gourma region, has over the past years become the epicentre of the escalation violence which engulfs the Sahel. The conflict drivers include a complex mix of political grievances, jihadi ideologies, competition over natural resources, protection of interests linked to wide-spread transboundary organised crime, inter- and intra-community conflicts for power and influence, etc. while the perpetrators of violence include several violent extremist groups, armed political movements, criminal groups, self-defence groups and militias as well as national and international military forces. Some of these groups also cooperate, openly or tacitly, around joint interests. Data from the ACLED data base show that reported fatalities for the first half of 2020 are at 90% of the (full) 2019 annual tally for the entire (Western) Sahel, most of which has taken place in the Liptako-Gourma region, pointing to a rapidly deteriorating situation.

It is against this background that international, regional and national actors have increasingly been mobilising in the fields of security, development and humanitarian aid to stem the violence, protect civilians, address humanitarian needs and create the necessary conditions for a return to peaceful governance and development. Recently, the international community, including the EU and the AU, have announced reinforced military efforts as well as much needed initiatives to enhance coordination and cooperation between security and civilian actors to help ensure that tactically successful military action is backed up by national and regional capacity to ensure a return to state-controlled and civilian led security, a reinforcement of state presence, access to social services and support for local livelihoods, with the overall objective of reducing or eliminating violence, build trust and establish the preconditions for addressing the root causes of the conflict and the political grievances.

In this context, UNDP considers the time ripe for pilot testing its approach to stabilisation, understood as support for the transition period from violent conflict to post-conflict early recovery, building on its experience in the Middle East and currently in the Lake Chad Basin. At the same time, and given the rapidly changing context, UNDP aims to take stock of the complex landscape of actors and conflict drivers in Liptako-Gourma and to formulate a value proposition within the emerging strategic policy and programmatic frameworks for the region, in close consultation and coordination with other actors on the ground. In this endeavour, and based on a formal request, UNDP will support the Liptako-Gourma Authority, a sub-regional organisation composed of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with which UNDP has an ongoing partnership since its inception in 1970 and which has recently seen its mandate extended from a focus on cross-border cooperation on natural resources management and infrastructure to also include security.

The rationale underpinning the proposed 18 months pilot cum inception phase for the pilot testing and initial establishment of a Stabilisation Mechanism encompasses the following dimensions:

  • Politics, i.e. the need for a shared understanding of and strong commitment to required political processes to sustain stabilisation efforts,
  • Analytics, i.e. the need for in-depth and ongoing analysis of the conflict, its actors and effectiveness of crises responses,
  • Capacity, i.e. the need to assess and reinforce required capacity for implementing stabilisation, and
  • Results, i.e. the need to pilot test UNDP’s approach to stabilisation on the ground to collect lessons learnt and demonstrate results to other stakeholders.

UNDP is now recruiting the task team for implementation of the pilot phase, including a Project Manager, a Civil-Military) Adviser, a Project Analyst & MNE Adviser and a Procurement Specialist. The task team will be based at the LGA and work closely with the LGA Management and Technical Units in the spirit of contributing towards building LGA capacity while also implementing the pilot phase and laying the foundation for a full-scale stabilisation mechanism. The task team, through the Project Manager, reports to the UNDP Western and Central Sahel Hub Manager in Dakar and will work in close consultation and cooperation with the Stabilisation Unit in the Dakar Hub. 

This Job Description refers to the Regional Civil Military Adviser. Close coordination and cooperation with security forces, including the military, and supporting political-military dialogue is central to successful stabilisation which depends on the protection provided by the security forces to be able to implement early recovery and trust building interventions in affected areas but also aims at supporting the transition from military to civil led security. The selection of intervention areas for immediate stabilisation shall be aligned on political & security strategies, the design of stabilisation interventions should support enhanced trust in security forces and a transfer to civilian security, conflict analysis and sensitivity must take security strategies into account and overall stabilisation efforts should support military strategies and free up resources for military core operations while also contributing towards capacity building in areas related to Human Rights Accountability and Protection of Civilians. Hence, close and trustful relationship with and between both military and civil security forces at the regional, national and local level and the proposed Stabilisation Mechanism is central to successful stabilisation. This will be the primary task of the Civil-Military Adviser, in close consultation with the Project Manager and Task Team, the Stabilisation Unit in Dakar and existing, or to be established, regional, national and local coordination mechanisms involving security actors, including the local level Partnership Platforms proposed by UNDP under the Stabilisation Mechanism.

Given the role of the UN RC/HC in Humanitarian CIMIC, which is different from a Stabilisation Civil-Military Adviser but where there will be important overlaps and interfaces to learn from and capitalize on, liaison and coordination with the RCO, UNCT and UN Humanitarian Organisations in the region will be another key role of the Civil-Military adviser to be recruited.


Duties and Responsibilities


Establish and maintain a civil-military Network for the implementation of the Pilot Phase:

  • Establish and maintain dialogue and coordination with the national military and internal security forces in the three member states, as well as national authorities and advisory bodies linked to governance and oversight of the security sectors;
  • Support the establishment and smooth functioning of the local level Partnership Platform, in close consultation with their chain of command;
  • Establish and maintain dialogue and coordination with regional and international security partners present in the region, in close coordination with LGA’s Security Expert and Senior Management and aligned on regionally agreed principles of cooperation and subsidiarity in the area of security cooperation;
  • Identify, map, assess and contribute towards existing consultation and coordination mechanisms in the area of civil – military coordination, including but not limited to humanitarian civil-military coordination;
  • Establish and maintain dialogue and coordination with the RC/HC Offices and the UNCTs in the region, including the security and CIMIC experts in UN Humanitarian Agencies and MINUSMA in Mali;
  • Establish and maintain dialogue and coordination with Security and CIMIC experts in civil society organisations.  


Analysis, Policy and Advocacy:

  • Monitor and assess existing mechanism for civil – military coordination and cooperation and make recommendations on improvements in support of effective stabilisation interventions and transition towards state-controlled civil-led security and protection of populations.
  • Identify, assess and formulate policy recommendations to key stakeholders for improved coordination and cooperation between military and civil security forces to maximize the impact of stabilisation efforts and protection of civilians;
  • Conduct a strategic review of UNDP’s civilian-military cooperation approach.
  • Assess various policy options, make suggestions for process improvements, and hold consultations with other interagency stakeholders
  • Map and assess needs and mechanisms for civil-military coordination and cooperation at the sub-regional level and advise LGA on which role they can play to establish or further improve such mechanisms, including in a cross-border cooperation context, in close consultation with other sub-regional organisations, notably the G5S;  
  • Act as an advocate for the promulgation of international and regional ‘best/good practice’ CIMIC concepts, guidelines and principle, including the promotion and protection of human rights and humanitarian principles;
  • Analyse and suggest performance indicators for how improved CIMIC contributes towards stabilisation and support the integration of such dimensions into the MNE system for the Stabilisation Mechanism and the design of stabilisation action plans at the local level;
  • Prepare, or provide substantive input to, policy and position papers and reports on civil-military coordination issues for presentation to relevant stakeholders;
  • Contribute to the Office regular reporting on civil-military coordination issues.


Capacity Building:

  • Based on analysis and assessment of the context, and gradual lessons learnt from implementation of the pilot phase, advise and train the LGA on how to interpret and apply its enlarged mandate in the area of security in relation to stabilization and improved CIMIC at the sub-regional and cross-border level;
  • As relevant, and in particular regarding the formation and smooth functioning of the local level Partnership Platforms, advise and train representatives of national and regional military and security forces in the areas of human rights and humanitarian principles;
  • Lead or contribute towards the formulation of medium-term strategies for LGA’s role in cross-border stabilisation and CIMIC, as relevant and applicable;
  • Contribute to discussions, learning and harmonisation of regional, national and local level approaches to CIMIC and stabilization where relevant, including with humanitarian organisations.


Other duties: 

  • Acts as Security Focal Point for the pilot phase task team while establishing and maintaining engagement with UNDSS in the three countries concerned and any other Security Management System as appropriate;
  • Performs other duties as required.





Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modelling the UN’s values and ethical standards,
  • Promotes the vision, mission and strategic goals of UNDP,
  • Displays cultural, gender, religious, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability,
  • Treats all people fairly without favouritism.


Additional Skills & Requirement:

  • Experience in project preparation, implementation and management, including planning, monitoring and reporting;
  • Demonstrated ability and willingness to travel to deep field locations in harsh living conditions required.


Computer Skills

  • Excellent computer literacy and skills in MS Office;
  • Excellent skills and required computer literacy in on-line work, communication and follow-up, including with remote field locations.


Competencies and Values:

  • Integrity and professionalism: demonstrated expertise in area of specialty and ability to apply good judgment; high degree of autonomy, personal initiative and ability to take ownership; willingness to accept wide responsibilities and ability to work independently under established procedures in a politically sensitive environment, while exercising discretion, impartiality and neutrality; ability to manage information objectively, accurately and confidentially; responsive and client-oriented;
  • Accountability: mature and responsible; ability to operate in compliance with organizational rules and regulations;
  • Commitment to continuous learning: initiative and willingness to learn new skills and stay abreast of new developments in area of expertise; ability to adapt to changes in work environment.
  • Planning and organizing effectively: organizational and problem-solving skills and ability to manage large volumes of work in an efficient and timely manner; ability to establish priorities and to plan, coordinate and monitor (own) work; ability to work under pressure, with conflicting deadlines, and to handle multiple concurrent projects activities;
  • Teamwork and respect for diversity: ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries; ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and harmonious working relations in a multi-cultural, environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity and gender;
  • Communication: proven interpersonal skills; good spoken and written communication skills, including ability to prepare clear and concise reports; ability to conduct presentations, articulate options and positions concisely; ability to make and defend recommendations; ability to communicate and empathize with staff (including national staff), military personnel, volunteers, counterparts and local interlocutors coming from very diverse backgrounds; ability to maintain composure and remain helpful towards colleagues, but objective, without showing personal interest; capacity to transfer information and knowledge to a wide range of different target groups; and
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and ability and willingness to effectuate possible extensive travel within the area of operations.



Required Skills and Experience


  • An advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in political science, social science, international studies, public administration, economics, engineering, earth sciences or a related field, is required. A first-level university degree in combination with an additional two years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.


  • experience in stabilisation, early recovery, humanitarian affairs, emergency relief management, or other related area is required;
  • Prior experience in civil-military coordination is required;
  • Experience from peace-keeping operations or working in or with a UN Mission is desirable;
  • Relevant and extensive field experience from conflict contexts is required;
  •  Experience in the UN Common System is desirable.

Language requirements:

  • Fluency in spoken and written French;
  • Knowledge of English is desirable 



portant information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders)

Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. 

UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

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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