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2173 Portfolio Manager - Local Democracy and Social Inclusion

Belgrade (Serbia)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Belgrade (Serbia)
  • Grade: SB-4 (SC8/SC9), Service Contract, Local Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Democratic Governance
    • Women's Empowerment and Gender Mainstreaming
    • International Relations
    • Managerial positions
    • Social Affairs
    • Poverty Reduction
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Banking and Finance
  • Closing Date: 2021-01-14

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To manage and coordinate activities of the portfolio of projects which are aimed at achieving the  specific project outputs within broader UNDP Serbia Good Governance Programme as well as the national components of regional programmes, dealing primarily with support to the non-governmental sector, local governments, youth, social inclusion and vulnerable groups. 
To ensure results oriented, effective, efficient and accountable implementation of the portfolio activities and achievement of planned results within the projects, as part of the portfolio.
Background Information
Non-state actors, such as media, civil society and communities, form a vital part of the accountability chain and have a strategic role in realization of legitimate local priorities in line with local development strategies. An integral part of the European Union (EU) accession agenda is to promote the inclusion of civil society and further development of participatory democracies in the Western Balkan (WB) region. As a critical component of democratic systems, civil society has been and will continue to be an important actor of reform processes taking place in Serbia. In this context, the EU accession agenda in the region promotes the role of civil society in further democratisation, including consultation in decision making, contribution to processes associated with policy and regulatory changes, as well as performing of a watchdog function and promoting of public accountability.
At present, civil society organisations and local communities in Serbia are highly diverse in their scope and focus and going forward, the new project portfolio will aim to support civil society organisations (CSO)  and local communities by implementing measures to strengthen their technical capacities and provide for specialisation so they can take active part in the development agenda and participate in creating new public sector policies which address the needs of the citizens and enhance civic participation. Furthermore, the portfolio aims to support and reinforce the government – civil society dialogue.
Serbia face challenges when it comes to the cooperation between governments and CSOs, including limitations in the overall environment for CSO operations, lack of structured CSO participation in public affairs and inadequate CSO capacities. CSOs remain largely dependent on financing by foreign donors, which is due to a combination of factors including limitations in public funding and lack of transparent mechanisms for funds disbursement. This clearly undermines the CSO sustainability and independence and represents one of the main obstacles to development and functioning of credible civil society.  
CSOs are also important actors in the context of local governance. They promote inclusion, activate participation in public affairs, reinforce accountability systems, and contribute to reducing gaps in public service delivery. However, limitations in the environment for CSO work, as well as capacity constraints faced by both CSOs and local governments affect their cooperation efforts. While local governments across the region provide sizeable public funding to CSOs, they also face transparency and accountability challenges. Public funding disbursement is often not based on clear criteria, reporting by CSOs on received funding is inadequate, monitoring of awarded funds is not performed, and effects are not measured.
While considered critical for strengthening fragile democracies and promoting broad-based social transformations in the WB, youth engagement in the region leaves a lot to be desired. Recent surveys have shown that many young people do not consider participation in community or politics-related initiatives and activities as important. Several studies also show that they are largely dissatisfied with the level of democracy in their countries. Youth are marginalised also due to the limited job opportunities and inadequate skills which are a direct consequence of outdated educational systems that fail to respond to the needs of the labour market. Weak incentives to stay in the WB region have made emigration a popular option, resulting in alarming levels of brain drain. All of the above results in youth alienation and disengagement, limiting prospects for the positive transformation of societies in the region.  
Since the WB countries were declared “safe countries of origin” the region has seen a significant number of returnees from the EU member states. However, conditions for returnees in Serbia still remain unfavourable. Living conditions in the country are difficult and are characterized by unemployment, large number of people living in poverty, and overstretched resources of social services. This is further aggravated by significant number of socially and economically disadvantaged members of the Roma national minority. The return of a significant number of persons under the readmission process adversely affects the already fragile social and economic situation in the country.
The UNDP is currently implementing several initiatives, which are aimed at broadening stakeholder participation in the social accountability chain and facilitating stakeholder participation and building an inclusive and empowered society on one hand and on the other, supporting coordination and communication of state actors.
The EU-funded Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkan 2 (ReLOaD 2), which is part of the portfolio, is aimed to scale out the ReLOaD introduced model for transparent funding of CSOs to additional local governments across the WB region. This would enable a critical mass of local governments to apply high standards of transparency and accountability when it comes to disbursement of funds to CSOs. It would also strengthen result-oriented dialogue between CSOs and local authorities, contributing to inclusive local governance, greater civic engagement and enhanced delivery of social services for the marginalised population groups and youth in particular.
The regional project “Strengthen national and local systems to support the effective socio-economic integration of returnees in the Western Balkans”, as part of the portfolio, aims to strengthen national and local systems for supporting effective socio-economic integration of vulnerable returnees. As part of the IPA II Multi-Country Action Programme, EU support to fundamental rights of Roma community, and reintegration of returnees, with an objective of enhancing the ability of Western Balkan’s authorities at central and local level to implement effective returnee reintegration policy and programme responses  to the needs of vulnerable returnees. The project goal is to promote holistic solutions in the provision of immediate assistance and medium-term support to returnees for socio-economic reintegration in their home communities. The project will contribute to implementation of the broader social inclusion agenda. 
The UNDP also implements different initiatives to ensure that labour market institutions at the national and local levels and in partnership with the private sector and the civil society, have improved capacities to design and implement, inclusive policies and programmes for those individuals experiencing multiple forms of social and labour market exclusion. The target groups are vulnerable population categories that need access to social protection and services to avoid poverty and marginalization, including people with disabilities.

Duties and Responsibilities

Overall responsibilities:  
The overall responsibility of the Portfolio Manager is to ensure that the projects within the portfolio produce the results specified in the project documents, to the required standard of quality and within the specified constraints of time and cost. 
Specific responsibilities will include the following:
Effective management of projects within the portfolio 
  • Provide overall coordination and take overall management responsibility and accountability for successful implementation of the portfolio project’s activities in line with AWPs;
  • Providing support to the Portfolio Manager – Inclusive Political Processes and Civic Participation in generating new project ideas and coordinating activities with other portfolios in the Good Governance cluster;
  • Manage project activities to deliver intended outputs and achieve desirable impact of the projects applying programming tools and policies in line with the UN Results Based Management Approach;
  • Implement the Visibility strategy and communication plan in line UNDP visibility guidelines and donor requirements; 
  • Provide assistance to partners (national institutions, CSOs and local governments) in the promotion and visibility activities for the portfolio of projects and in line with donor requirements;
  • Ensure close collaboration, interaction, experience sharing and synergies with other UNDP Country Offices as well as other similar interventions of other UN agencies and donors, with purpose to maximize the impact and the efficient use of resources;
  • Identification of relevant in-country stakeholders and convene regular meetings of the committees or other bodies necessary for project implementation and other key consultations;
  • Identification and documentation of partnership opportunities with various stakeholders during national implementation of the project activities;
  • Liaise with the local governments, relevant ministries, CSOs, and other relevant institutions to collect, analyse and disseminate information relevant to the projects;
  • Ensure that all project-related issues and risks are identified and reported in a timely manner and suggest corrective measures; 
  • Provide direction and guidance to the consultants engaged and responsible parties where applicable; 
  • Contribute towards creating opportunities for expansion of the current projects. 
  • Contribute to the development of pipeline initiatives primarily under the themes covered by the projects.
Project management and supervision
  • Manage project implementation based on UNDP best practices;
  • Provide guidance and technical advice to in-country project team and project counterparts;
  • Conduct staff performance reviews in accordance with UNDP rules, regulations and procedures ensuring full understanding of all aspects of the project;
  • Oversee the work of the Project Associates, external consultants, and contracted companies, including guidance, problem solving and advisory role when and if necessary; 
  • Manage financial allocations and approve expenditures per authority delegated and ensure timely payments in accordance with UNDP rules and regulations;
  • Monitor and analyses project progress using applicable monitoring & evaluation and risk management tools in PeopleSoft system (ATLAS); 
  • Ensures the existence and implementation of successful quality assurance for the project’s financial, procurement and administrative processes to attain the project goals and desired impact in line with prevailing UNDP rules and regulations as well as in line with the project timelines; 
  • Manage the project risks; inform the Project Board on emerging issues and risks update the issue and risk status by maintaining the project logs in Atlas; 
  • By providing inputs to the UNDP Technical Advisor, ensures that the reporting to donor is prepared timely and the reports are meeting the standards;
  • Participate in UNDP programme-level committees and working groups;
  • Complies with security and safety requirements and regulations and ensure the same are respected by all project personnel.
Gender mainstreaming 
  • Ensure Gender is effectively mainstreamed throughout the projects’ activities, work plans, budgets, reports, research, analyses and, where specifically relevant, analyzed in detail;
  • Ensure Gender equality is mainstreamed throughout portfolio team, consultants and staff management activities;
  • In coordination with the CO Gender mainstreaming focal point, support local governments and CSOs to mainstream gender equality;
  • Coordinate with Gender mainstreaming focal point to Ensure knowledge on gender equality is incorporated in programme knowledge management activities and products.
Networking and support to resource mobilization
  • Maintain good cooperation and coordination between national counterparts, projects’ partners and other stakeholders;
  • Maintain regular contacts with beneficiaries to ensure relevance and quality of projects’ outputs;
  • Establish record with contacts, pursue networking and information sharing and follow up on partnership related issues;
  • Support the partnerships and advocacy activities agreed by the UNDP office in the area/sector covered by the project;
  • Develop pipeline initiatives under the themes covered by the portfolio.
Communication, knowledge management and learning
  • Provide policy advice on issues within the portfolio’s scope;
  • Regular exchange of information/experience with other project and portfolio teams, cross-learning and sharing results and good practices;
  • Sharing knowledge and experiences related to the replication of the model for transparent funds disbursement for CSO;
  • Ensure that the portfolio has the required communication package;
  • Prepare communication materials for dissemination inside and outside the UNDP;
  • Capture lessons learnt; 
  • Participate in internal meetings;
  • Participate in training events and communities of practice;
  • Facilitate portfolio team’s learning and knowledge sharing;
  • Participate in UN Theme Group and other sectoral groups’ work, as required;
  • Performing other duties as required.
In addition to the above, and as part of his/her portfolio, the Portfolio Manager will be in charge of following activities specific to the Regional ReLOaD 2 project and in particular those related to the transparent and efficient implementation of a CSO grant scheme: 
  • Develop systems and procedures for partner local governments for the disbursement of funds;
  • Ensure continuous and accurate monitoring of the status of Project activities;
  • Travel regularly to partner local governments for individual meetings, events, focus group meetings and program related activities/trainings to ensure effective relations with partner local governments throughout the project intervention;
  • Support implementation of the project activities, including the evaluation of CSO project proposals in public calls for CSOs in partner local governments;
  • Provide quality advisory services for local governments and/or CSO for successful cooperation and knowledge building in local communities;
  • Monitor and analyses overall grant scheme progress and distribution in local governments;
  • Present findings on grant scheme implementation in suitable format for internal/external use;
  • Closely coordinate with the Regional Programme Manager for the ReLOaD 2 project ensuring project activities are aligned with a regional workplan and activities in other participating WB countries; 
  • Analyze overall grant scheme progress and distribution in local governments;
  • Present findings on grant scheme implementation in suitable format for internal/external use;
  • Participate in joint coordination meetings of the ReLOaD 2.
In addition to the above, and as part of his/her portfolio, the Portfolio Manager will be in charge for managing the activities specific to the Regional “Strengthen national and local systems to support the effective socio-economic integration of returnees in the Western Balkans” project.
Performance Indicators for evaluation of results
  • Project outputs delivered in accordance with expected quality, time and cost; 
  • Regular exchange of information and dialogue with representatives of national and local assemblies, relevant ministries, other stakeholders and beneficiaries; 
  • Reports and Annual Workplans developed on time in line with quality standards;
  • Project administered in UNDP Software ATLAS;
  • Resource mobilization support to Programme Analyst for Good Governance provided;
  • Lessons learnt compiled and knowledge codified;
  • Effective management of the Project Team.



  • Good application of Results-Based Management;
  • Good communication, coordination and facilitation skills;
  • Consistently ensures timeliness and quality of project work; 
  • Establishes lasting relationships and substantive dialogue with clients;
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism;
  • Strong oral and written communication skills; 
  • Demonstrates strong negotiation skills;
  • Team player who facilitates and encourages open communication in the team; 
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability; 
  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling ethical standards; 
  • MSP training and certification would be an asset.

Required Skills and Experience

  • MA or equivalent in the field of public administration, law, economics, political sciences, other social sciences, or other related areas.
Work experience:
  • Minimum 7 years of relevant professional experience in the field of public administration, preferably in a multilateral development context;
  • Experience in coordinating complex projects/processes that included extensive communication, coordination and facilitation requirements;
  • Experience of cooperation with CSOs on the activities related to social inclusion and support to vulnerable groups, particularly most disadvantaged as Roma, people with disabilities, etc.
  • Experience in partnership building at national, regional and local level;
  • Previous experience with an international public and/or private sector organization is a basic requisite, while experience with complex UN and/or UNDP programmes would be considered as an asset.
  • Excellent understanding of Serbia's political, institutional, and socio-economic situation; 
  • Thorough knowledge of the national institutional and legal framework and public sector policy implementation processes;
  • Excellent understanding of social contracting mechanisms and sustainable funding for CSOs;
  • Good understanding of Serbia’s EU accession requirements in the field especially with regards to social inclusion and civil society role.

Personal qualifications:

  • Proven leadership skills, ability to organize and motivate team, deliver when working under pressure and within changing circumstances;
  • Excellent writing/reporting and presentation skills;
  • Excellent interpersonal, networking and team building skills.
  • Excellent knowledge of written and spoken English and Serbian.


Important applicant information

All posts in the SC categories are subject to local recruitment.

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