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Area Manager South

Damascus (Syria)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Damascus (Syria)
  • Grade: NO-C, National Professional Officer - Locally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
    • Refugee rights and well-being
    • Human Settlements (Shelter, Housing, Land, Property)
  • Closing Date: 2020-12-02

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With ten years into the crisis, the scale, severity, and complexity of needs across Syria remain deep and far-reaching. Over half of the country’s population have fled their homes: 5.5 million people have sought refuge in the region and beyond, and 6.1 million people are internally displaced. According to the HNO 2020, 11.1 million people remain in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 5.6 million people face acute humanitarian needs. Millions of people have fallen into poverty, forced to resort to harmful coping strategies and faced with increasing protection risks. With hostilities continuing in some parts of the country, COVID 19 preventive measures and impact of the financial crisis in Lebanon, humanitarian needs are expected to deepen in these areas.  In 2020 with no end to the crises in sight, humanitarian needs are expected to continue to grow in scale, severity, and complexity.  Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the successor arrangement to the UNSF are expected to play a role in strengthening the Humanitarian-Development-Peacebuilding Nexus by strengthening Resilience of the affected population in Syria.  The role of Resilience is expected to grow in importance and significance due to the need to accelerate the transition from immediate Humanitarian assistance to IDPs and affected population to more sustainable and recovery-oriented support, including support to potential returns of IDPs as well as refugees. 

The priorities of UNDP Syria are, as stipulated in the Country Programme Document 2016-2017 (extended till the end of 2020), to enhance the resilience and socio-economic stabilization of individuals and communities through restoring the disrupted livelihoods of the affected communities; and restoring, rehabilitating and maintaining sustainable basic services and infrastructure in damaged areas and host communities. Embedded in each priority is an institutional crisis response capacity development component for key national and local partners. Mindful of the scale of the crisis, the scaled-up, targeted, and rapidly responsive interventions of UNDP Syria would strive to mitigate displacement and movement of refugees, including forced, illegal, and unsafe migration and the trafficking of refugees, and to support potential returns of the IDPs.

Under the overall guidance of the Resident Representative and Deputy Resident Representative and direct supervision of the Field Management Specialist and close collaboration with programme and operations teams, the Area Manager is responsible for the coordination and management of UNDP’s area-based strategies and interventions in south governorates.  The Area Manager analyzes social and economic trends and advises UNDP office accordingly on policy and programme interventions; builds strategic partnerships in the field with local authorities and development partners; and coordinates the formulation, management and monitoring of area-based strategies, plans and interventions. S/He ensures achievements of results within the timeline, allocated budget and according to UNDP quality and accountability standards and rules and regulations. The Area Manager is responsible for day to day management of the office and works together with programme portfolio and project managers and early recovery team for programmatic planning and implementation and relevant CO operations units for operational issues.

S/He liaises with relevant partners and stakeholders and supervises and guides field staff, ensuring quality reporting on implementation.

Duties and Responsibilities

Ensures strategic programme planning, coordination and implementation in south governorates, focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Leads the preparation of social and economic analyses and context analyses in the area and feeds results regularly to update the area profile and situation analysis;
  • Regularly conducts analyses of the most critical resilience needs, response capacities, access situation, operational environment and applicable security issues;
  • Provides guidance and manages the overall South area office programme development and implementation including planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring.
  • Ensures overall efficient coordination of programmes/projects including planning processes and timely delivery of results taking into consideration agreed upon work plans with the UNDP country office and consistency with CPD priorities.
  • Support localization and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in the region and promote joint initiatives and delivering as one-UN in the area.                                                                                                                                         
  • Ensures identification and promotion of joint programming and planning opportunities
  • Identifies and develops new programme and project opportunities.
  • Supports capacity building of national counterparts.
  • Oversees project implementation through close monitoring of results. Ensures effective application of RBM tools, management of scorecard targets and other benchmarks.
  • Coordinates and follows through on decentralized local evaluations.
  • Ensures full compliance with audit requirements and timely follow-up to audit recommendations.
  • Promotes identification and synthesis of best practices and lessons learned for organizational sharing and learning.
  • Leads the preparation of local implementation strategies as per locally identified priorities; strategic goals of UNDP and available resources;
  • Based on the above, identifies concrete thematic interventions, prepares the area-based implementation plan in coordination with technical teams in Damascus, and manages the process of formulating proposals in conjunction with local partners;
  • Identifies different implementation modalities for the planned activities according to the operational environment in the target area.

Responsible for Representation and Coordination and effective Management of the Area Office focusing on achievement of the following:

  • Represents UNDP with UNCT and partners at the local level as requested and authorized by the Resident Representative;
  • Provides strong coordination support to UN Agencies, local authorities and other organizations through the establishment of a wider consultation process.
  • Ensures proper coordination and inputs to Interagency initiatives.
  • Maintains collaboration and coordination with the other Area Managers to ensure programmatic integration and sharing of best practices
  • Maintains regular contact with strategic partners, project managers and implementation partners in the area office;
  • Advocates for adherence to UNDP resilience principles with a view to enhance socio-economic recovery and local governance;
  • Ensures smooth running of the Area Office, builds an effective Area Office team, promotes teamwork and an environment that is conducive to delivering results. 
  • Ensures full responsibility for the appropriate use and management of resources attributed to the Area Office by tracking use of financial resources, ensuring the integrity of financial systems and consistent application of the Internal Control Framework and/or rules and regulations. Continually find ways to systematically identify and integrate efficiency gains and cost reductions in all operations of the Area Office.
  • Approves contracts and ATLAS transactions under written delegated authority from the Resident Representative. Has Atlas manager rights as delegated. Responsible for the management of the Area Office staff, monitors their performance, completing performance assessments where necessary.
  • Ensures timely and regular reporting.
  • In collaboration with the CO, ensures that the security needs of office and projects are met. Under the supervision of the Resident Representative and in collaboration with the Local Security Associate/Officer ensures enforcement of security procedures and MOSS/MORSS requirements in the Area Office.
  • Mitigates possible risks and impacts associated with the Area Office operations (e.g. logistical, security etc.) by proactively designing reduction measures in collaboration with the Security Advisor.
  • Builds capacity of the office staff by identifying capacity needs and establishing training/learning programmes.

Leads development, implementation and monitoring of area-based work plans ensuring achievement of results according to UNDP quality and accountability standards, rules and procedures:

  • Implements activities as per approved proposals and monitors implementation regularly to ensure timely delivery of results according to UNDP quality and accountability standards, rules and procedures;
  • Supervises and monitors implementations of programme activities and updates progress against key indicators including inputs into the UNDP’s information management system and alert any potential risks for implementations and take risk mitigation.
  • Participates in the preparation of procurement and recruitment plans and follows up with the Field Management Specialist and relevant CO units as needed;
  • Ensures effective application of RBM tools, closely monitors work plans of the area office and each of the on-going projects;
  • Guides capacity-building of the area office staff in both programme and operations works;
  • Provides regular briefings to the Field Management Specialist and UNDP Management, as needed;
  • Supervises and mentors’ staff, ensuring regular feedback on their performance;
  • Facilitates the work of national and international consultants and participates in missions to the area;
  • Coordinates the preparation and review of all documentation pertaining to the area, such as project sheets, monitoring reports, briefs, stories, etc.;
  • Manages the work of UNDP operationally ensuring relevant documentation is provided to the country office as per HR, financial, procurement and other operational rules and regulations and guidelines.

Building and maintaining strategic and effective partnerships with all stakeholders and coordinates UNDP area-based activities internally with various thematic portfolios and externally with other UN agencies, civil society, local authorities and any other local stakeholder:

  • Establishes and fosters effective relationships with key stakeholders in the field including government authorities, local communities and municipalities
  • Maps stakeholders and builds partnerships with private sector, NGOs/ CBOs and other local partners; 
  • Provides strategic advice to the Syria CO in overall resource mobilization efforts for South in close collaboration with relevant portfolio managers at the CO.
  • Coordinates the local level Early Recovery and Livelihoods Sector Working Group and NGO forum;
  • Participates in inter-agency missions as approved by UNDP Syria Management and provide relevant suggestions for follow up;
  • Identifies potential partners (NGOs, private sector etc.), and manages communications with implementation partners for timely and quality implementation of activities on the ground;
  • Encourages ways of increasing Area Office funding base such as engaging in resource mobilization efforts in consultation with local counterparts and following-up with donors on local opportunities.

Promotes communication flow in the office focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Maximizes communication between the various portfolios and ensures that stakeholders (development partners, bilateral and multilateral donors, private sector, civil society, UN agencies and Government agencies) have one consistent UNDP counterpart.
  • Ensures internal communication and coordination at area office level as well as effective and proactive communication between relevant CO units (management, programme and operations units) and the area office.
  • Monitors the perception of UNDP at the local level and suggest media activities that positions UNDP more strategically and effectively as an impartial broker for local resilience and development. Enhances local visibility for UNDP in development effectiveness
  • Ensures that local resilience results are effectively communicated in collaboration with Communication Office in the country office.
  • Provides inputs to UNDP CO Communications on development results





Core Competencies

  • Innovation: Ability to make new and useful ideas work.
  • Leadership: Ability to persuade others to follow.
  • People Management: Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.
  • Communication: Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.
  • Delivery: Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement.

Technical Competencies

  • Knowledge Management: Ability to capture, develop, share and effectively use information and knowledge.
  • Community Management: Ability to maintain a community on assigned thematic areas.
  • Collaboration and Partnership: 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.
  • Relationship Management: Ability to engage and foster strategic partnerships with other parties, Inter-Agency Coordination and forge productive working relationships.
  • Conflict Analysis and Risk Assessment: Knowledge of conflict analysis and risk assessment concepts and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations.
  • Gender Equality: Knowledge of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) policy and principles and the ability to apply them to strategic and/or practical situations.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Management, Social Sciences, Development Studies.
  • First level university degree with 7 years of experience may be considered in lieu of advanced university degree.


  • A minimum of 5 years of progressively professional experience in the field of development;
  • Hands-on experience in design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development projects;
  • Experience in managing diverse teams;
  • Field experience in the area of local development is a strong asset;
  • Experience in the usage of computers and MS Office;
  • Knowledge of the area, experience of working in South governorates and excellent partnerships is highly desired.

Language Requirements

  • Fluency in both Arabic and English.


Important applicant information

All posts in the GS 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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