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Assistant Resident Representat

Apia (Samoa)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Apia (Samoa)
  • Grade: NO-C, National Professional Officer - Locally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Environment
    • Administrative support
  • Closing Date: 2021-05-12

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UNDP is the United Nations (UN) global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life for themselves. It provides policy and technical advice to its programme countries, and connects them to global knowledge, innovative solutions, partners and development finance. UNDP works in 177 countries to help governments and people meet complex development challenges and develop their capacity, fostering empowerment and resilience.

The UNDP Multi-Country Office (MCO) based in Apia, Samoa serves the Governments and people of the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau, and supports them in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the SAMOA Pathway. The current UN strategic programme framework, the UN Pacific Strategy (2018-22), was designed in coordination between 14 Pacific Island Countries and Territories. UNDP’s Sub-Regional Programme Document (SRPD) for Pacific Island Countries (2018-22), covering the programmes of two sister MCOs in Samoa and Fiji, contributes to its outcomes. In terms of programme volume, most of the Samoa MCO’s portfolio (about 95% of the total budget) is focused on environment, climate change and resilience, and funded by Vertical Funds (Green Climate Fund and Green Environment Facility). However, UNDP also provides significant support in democratic governance and poverty reduction. Strategically, the UNDP Samoa MCO’s programme is structured around the priorities of the UNDP corporate offer to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) – climate action, digital transformation and blue economy – with the added “localized” priority areas circular economy and regenerative tourism. The programme is strongly anchored in the notion of leaving no one behind, which the MCO pursues through initiatives on social protection, women’s leadership, ending violence against women and girls, youth employment, ending stigma and discrimination against Persons with Disability, and SDG financing.

The formulation of the next UN strategic programme framework – now globally called the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) – and UNDP SRPD is expected to start in 2021. The next SRPD will be pivotal in supporting countries recover from the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting multidimensional vulnerability, while ‘building back better’ including by renewing their focus on biodiversity conservation, climate action, energy transition, disaster resilience, and green/blue as well as circular economy.

In this context, the ARR is a key function that is pivotal to the success of the office. Under the guidance and direct supervision of the Deputy Resident Representative, s/he contributes actively to UNDP’s programme strategy and implementation within the specific thematic areas assigned, and leads on corporate planning and reporting, partnerships and Results-Based Management (RBM) processes in her/his area of responsibility. S/he also provides strategic advice and policy advocacy, builds and maintains partnerships and networks, mobilizes resources and manages the environment, climate change and resilience programme and project teams.

The ARR works in close collaboration with other UNDP Samoa MCO teams (Operations Team, Governance and Poverty Reduction Unit, Strategic Team, Accelerator Lab), programme staff in other UN agencies, staff from the UNDP MCO in Fiji, the UNDP Global Shared Services Centre in Kuala Lumpur, the UNDP Regional Hub in Bangkok and UNDP HQ in New York to ensure the effective implementation of a quality programme, resolve complex issues, and pursue a client-oriented approach consistent with UNDP rules and regulations, and policies and programmes. S/he also maintains close working relations with Government officials, technical advisors and experts, multi-lateral and bi-lateral donors, civil society, the private sector, IFIs and academia.

UNDP is looking for people who have the analytical, planning and implementation capacities that can address links, choices and connections across many issues and sectors, who are enthusiastic, passionate, motivated, committed and take initiative to make a positive contribution to development in the four countries we serve.  

Duties and Responsibilities

1. Provide top-quality advisory services to management and contribute to programme strategy, focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Horizon scanning and analysis of emerging trends in the areas of environment, energy, climate change, resilience, blue/green economy and circular economy in Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau, and keeping abreast of global and regional developments to provide strategic policy and planning advice to senior management towards advancing Agenda 2030, the SDGs, and the SAMOA Pathway;
  • Preparation of substantive inputs to Common Country Analysis (CCA), UNSCDF, SRPD, Integrated Work Plan (IWP), and other documents, in line with the UNDP Strategic Plan and SIDS Offer and in response to national priorities and needs;
  • Identification of strategic programme areas of cooperation and possibilities for UN joint programming;
  • Representation and strategic positioning of UNDP as a thought leader in the specific thematic areas at the national and regional level.

2. Contribute to the effective implementation of the UNDP multi-country programme within the thematic areas assigned, focusing on quality assurance from programme formulation to implementation:

  • Leading UNDP operational activities in environment, energy, climate change, resilience and blue/green economy and circular economy working in close partnership with key national actors;
  • Development of UNDP’s programme approach to enhancing transparency and accountability through fostering participation of local communities, women, youth, civil society organisations and advancing citizens’ economic and social rights in the specific thematic areas;
  • UNDP programme expansion through providing leadership and technical inputs to project formulation in close collaboration with all relevant partners and stakeholders, ensuring a strong theory of change, quality performance indicators, success criteria, targets and milestones and cost recovery strategies for sustainable results;
  • Implementation of strong internal controls in line with the office Internal Control Framework;
  • Strategic oversight of planning, budgeting, implementing and monitoring of the programme, tracking use of financial resources in accordance with UNDP rules and regulations, and policies and procedures, to ensure the accuracy and reliability of project expenditure;
  • Monitoring and analysis of the programme environment, with timely readjustments in the portfolio as needed, and evaluation of programme impact;  
  • Effective application of RBM tools, establishment of management targets and monitoring achievement of results;
  • Timely Quality Assurance of the projects in the programme portfolio;
  • Financial and substantive monitoring and evaluation of the projects, identification of operational and financial problems, development of solutions;
  • Full implementation of the Harmonized Approach to Cash Transfers framework in the projects in the programme portfolio;
  • Participation in audit planning for nationally implemented projects, and ensuring timely implementation and closure of audit recommendations;
  • In collaboration with the technical project staff and implementing partners, identification of new risks, updating risk frameworks for consideration of the senior management and project steering committees, and decision on possible actions if required. Updating the status of programme risks by maintaining the programme risks log and overseeing the periodic review and update of project risk logs;
  • Supervision and management of programme and project personnel and consultants, including establishment of performance objectives and standards and provision of timely and appropriate feedback, guidance and support to ensure optimum performance and wellbeing of personnel, and promotion of organizational excellence;
  • Promoting collaboration and integrated approaches with other teams in the UNDP MCO.

3. Ensures the creation of strategic partnerships and implementation of the resource mobilization strategy focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Diversification of UNDP’s partner base through developing effective partnerships with UN Agencies, IFIs, inter-governmental organizations, government institutions, bi-lateral and multi-lateral donors, private sector and civil society in the specific thematic areas based on strategic goals of UNDP, national needs and the priorities of Vertical Funds and bi- and multilateral donors to enhance UNDP’s programmatic footprint;
  • Advocacy for UNDP’s mission and value proposition with partners;
  • Development of strategies for, and mobilization of government financing, private sector financing and IFI financing for projects in the specific thematic areas; 
  • Fostering of strategic joint programmes with UN Agencies;
  • Donor relations, including analysis and research of information on donors (including the Global Environment Facility, the Adaptation Fund, and the Green Climate Fund) and key stakeholders, preparation of substantive briefs on possible areas of cooperation, identification of opportunities for initiation of new projects, active contribution to overall office efforts in resource mobilization, and donor reporting;
  • Provision of periodic inputs to revisions of the UNDP MCO’s Partnership and Communications Action Plan.

4. Contribute to innovation and effective knowledge management, focusing on the following results:

  • Portfolio sensemaking and promotion of innovative policy, regulatory, financial, economic, technological or other approaches in programming in the specific thematic areas, in close collaboration with the UNDP Samoa MCO Accelerator Lab;
  • Identification, synthesis and sharing of good practices and lessons learnt in project implementation;
  • Sourcing knowledge and development solutions from other countries to accelerate programme implementation and results in Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau;
  • Frequent sound contributions to UNDP knowledge networks and communities of practice;
  • Promotion of UNDP results, lessons learnt and development stories on social media, online, newsletters and through different other media;
  • Provision of trainings in the specific thematic areas and on project management for national partners and staff of project implementation units;
  • Contribution to cross-learning inside the UNDP MCO.


Core Competencies:


Ability to make new and useful ideas work

  • Creates new and relevant ideas and leads others to implement them.


Ability to persuade others to follow

  • Plans and acts transparently, actively works to remove barriers.

People Management

Ability to improve performance and satisfaction

  • Models high professional standards and motivates excellence in others.


Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform

  • Gains trust of peers, partners, clients by presenting complex concepts in practical terms to others.


Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement

  • Critically assesses value and relevance of existing policy / practice and contributes to enhanced delivery of products, services, and innovative solutions.

Technical/Functional Competencies:

Advocacy/Advancing a policy-oriented agenda

  • Ability to identified and communicates relevant information for a variety of audiences for advocating UNDP’s mandate.

Building Strategic Partnerships

  • Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders, and forge productive working relationships.

Project Management

  • Ability to plan, organize, and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve certain goals.

Resource mobilization

  • Ability to analyze information/databases on potential and actual donors and identity and present opportunities for project proposals to donors.

Results-based programme development and management

  • Ability to contribute into results through primary research and analysis.


  • Technical knowledge of energy transition, environmental conservation and biodiversity, nature-based solutions, green-blue economy and climate change adaptation.

Mentoring and capacity-building

  • Ability to coach/mentor technical staff to enhance sustain capacity development.

Team building

  • Ability to work effectively with diverse groups of professionals towards common goals.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Master’s degree or equivalent in energy/environmental/natural resources management, environmental engineering/economics, development economics, climate change or closely related subjects in the social/environmental sciences;
  • Project management certification and or UNDP programme management certification is an asset.

Qualifications and experience:

  • Minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience at the national or international level in environmental management, climate action and/or green economy issues, in the public and/or private sector, in NGOs, international organizations or international financial institutions;
  • Demonstrated programme management capacity, experience in designing, implementing and monitoring development projects;
  • Familiarity with concepts and methods related to climate change, ecosystem services, social-ecological systems, flood risk assessment and management, ecosystem-based adaptation and disaster risk reduction;
  • Experience with Global Environmental Facility and Green Climate Fund projects is an advantage;
  • Proven ability to establish and maintain strong networks with diverse partners;
  • High digital literacy and proficiency in the use of standard office software packages; experience in using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems (PeopleSoft, Oracle or equivalent) and IPSAS is an advantage;
  • Work experience with a UN entity or inter-governmental organization is an asset.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English and Samoan both written and verbal.


  • Demonstrates and safeguards ethics and integrity;
  • Makes decisions in an informed and transparent manner;
  • Builds strong relationships with clients, focuses on impact and results for the client, and responds positively to feedback;
  • Consistently approaches work with curiosity, initiative, energy and a constructive attitude;
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities;
  • Stays composed and positive even in difficult moments, handles tense situations with diplomacy and tact, and has a consistent behaviour towards others;
  • Surfaces conflicts and addresses them proactively, acknowledging different feelings and views and directing energy towards a mutually acceptable solution;
  • Leads teams by example with strong people management and mentoring skills, and facilitates and encourages open communication;
  • Is a team player with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity;
  • Takes charge of self-development, encourages learning and sharing of knowledge.


  • This vacancy is open to Samoan nationals only;
  • Qualified women candidates are encouraged to apply.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


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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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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