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Senior Wastewater Engineer

Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)
  • Grade: IICA-3, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Engineering
    • Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
    • Water Resource Management
  • Closing Date: 2021-06-23

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Background information- ECR

Based in Geneva, the Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (ECR) supports UNOPS offices throughout the region through: management, financial and programmatic oversight of global and country-specific portfolios, clusters and operations centres, including hosting services; fund and management advisory services; project implementation; procuring goods and services; and managing human resources.

ECR ensures that projects are executed to the highest standards, providing a shared knowledge base and ensuring that best practices and lessons learned are disseminated between business units and projects across the entire region.

 ECR strategy is to:

  • Strengthen UNOPS role in operationalizing the Sustainable Development Goals with particular emphasis on health, environment and economic development.
  • Position UNOPS in the Balkan sub-region, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
  • Strengthen the implementation of ECR global and regional programmes, with revitalized partnerships in infrastructure, procurement and project management.

ECR operates global portfolios from offices in Geneva, Brussels and New York, and country-specific programmes from its operations and project centres located in Eastern Europe and Central Asian countries.

Background Information - Job-specific

The purpose of the REACT project is to promote the mainstreaming of environmental sustainability in the UN system, focusing in particular on peacekeeping operations, by supporting them and the United Nations Department of Operational Support (DOS) in their efforts to manage and improve their environmental footprint. Peacekeeping operations are international missions mandated by the UN Security Council to operate in specific countries and parts of countries for specific periods. The operations usually take place in locations with a fragile environment and a serious lack of infrastructure. The environmental footprint of UN Peacekeeping Operations is considered to have significant room for improvement in a large number of critical areas. 

To support Peacekeeping Operations in reducing their environmental impacts and risks, REACT acts in the role of an in-house technical assistance (TA) team and provides expertise to support in planning, designing and implementing a range of actions that will cumulatively result in a substantial improvement in environmental performance.  

The technical assistance team will primarily provide expertise directly to Peacekeeping Operations but also strategic support to DOS Environment and Engineering teams in New York and the Global Support Centre based in Brindisi, Italy. Activities will be closely coordinated amongst these respective entities via existing work planning and request for deployment processes, principally under the guidance of the GSC Environmental Technical Support Unit.   

This vacancy announcement is for a Senior Water and Wastewater Engineer to provide hands-on water and wastewater engineering advice to UN field missions and strategic advice on approaches to manage wastewater treatment within challenging operational contexts. 

Functional Responsibilities

The scope of this assignment can be divided into: a) Operational field mission support b) Systemic and strategic advisory, including the catalyzation of change in strategic approach.

  1. Operational field mission support (at least 50%):

Visit field missions to provide on-ground expert advice and / or provide desktop support on:

  • Planning, costing and implementation of wastewater management investment programmes.

  • Troubleshooting recurrent equipment and site performance problems.

  • Undertaking review of and/or conducting risk assessments, root causes and developing appropriate risk mitigation measures.

  • Training / capacity building of UN engineering staff and/or local contractors in wastewater management.

  • Review and provide technical advice to missions on their Water and Wastewater Management Plans.

  • Provide review and proactive technical advice to missions throughout the environmental Action Planning and Performance process. 

  • Engage with senior leadership to elicit top management support for investment programmes, particularly with respect to rectification of key risks and in annual budgeting processes. 

  1. Systemic and strategic advisory

Working under the auspices of a working group on water and wastewater, contribute to systemic and strategic initiatives for improved wastewater management in the field. The output shall include:

  • Scoping the technical challenges and developing field appropriate technical solutions for water and wastewater treatment. The respective role of outsourcing vs in-house solutions is to be comprehensively assessed.

  • A detailed exploration of technologies appropriate for various scales and complexities of field operations.

  • In-depth guidance for each priority technology and infrastructure solution, covering scoping, sizing, design, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance, troubleshooting and decommissioning. 

  • Lead the development of technical specifications, sourcing strategies and SOWs for priority technologies and infrastructures.

  • Cost engineering data including unit rates. 

  • Guidance on the end-of-life, including handover and/or decommissioning of wastewater treatment infrastructure. 

  • Lead the development of Policies, Guidelines, SOPs, Standards, key performance indicators, templates for the implementation of water and wastewater management practices.

  • Provide substantive contributions to various working groups and senior leadership meetings.

3. Monitoring and Progress Controls

The activities and outputs will need to consider, inter-alia, the following constraints:

  • Relatively short timeframes for planning, design, construction and commissioning and operational lifespan.

  • The capital and operating costs, in particular the energy and human resource needs for commissioning and operation.

  • The potential for handover to host nations upon mission liquidation.

Outputs will include:

  • Provision of advice in the form of verbal, written and diagrammatic output, including face to face/VTC meetings and presentations, internal documents and associated working files to high standard.  

  • Writing and/or editing short technical and applied research reports for publication as grey literature.

The Engineer will act as a technical lead and primary author on many documents. Technical, CAD and editing support will be available, however the Engineer will be responsible for coordinating and scheduling the support tasks, which may come from both internal teams and external partners. The Engineer may be responsible for managing the tasks of junior staff members. 

Travel (up to 30%), potentially to remote locations including least developed countries, will be required. All travel expenses will be covered in accordance with UN rules and regulations. 

The successful candidate will be working in a multi-stakeholder team. They would be expected to demonstrate professionalism and a strong work ethic; ability to work independently; flexibility and willingness to provide innovative solutions to potential challenges they will face. They will also use their communication and diplomatic skills to influence a range of stakeholders, from field technical operatives through to managers at senior level within the UN system.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


Advanced University Degree (Master's or equivalent) in water and wastewater, mechanical, civil, chemical or environmental engineering.

Work Experience 

At least 7 years of technical experience in the design, planning, installation and commissioning of water and wastewater engineering projects, and associated technical disciplines such as water quality testing protocols, and risk assessment is required.

Within the 7 years of experience, at least 5 years of experience should be in engineering project management and the leadership and/or capacity building of engineering and technical teams, and at least 3 years of experience should be in applied engineering research and technical development and the writing of technical reports.

Experience in fieldwork in remote sites, fragile states and post conflict settings.

Experience in metering and monitoring technology is desirable.

Experience within the UN is desirable.

Full working knowledge of English is essential. Knowledge of another official UNOPS language (especially French) is an asset.


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.
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: Individual Contract Agreement (ICA)
Contract level:  I-ICA 3
Contract duration: One year initially (with a possibility of extension depending on the performance and budget availability)

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.

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.

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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