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Senior Project Manager (Infrastructure), Multiple positions

Kabul (Afghanistan)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Kabul (Afghanistan)
  • Grade: IICA-3, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Engineering
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Infrastructure and Urban-Rural development
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2021-08-15

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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.

Background Information - Afghanistan

With more than 20 years of experience in the country, UNOPS Afghanistan focuses on providing maximum support to the Government and people of Afghanistan through delivery of projects and services in line with the government’s national priorities. The UNOPS Afghanistan Operations Centre (AFOC) serves as an organizational mechanism to deliver a range of projects for which UNOPS has been designated as the implementation agency. At present, UNOPS AFOC is implementing a number of projects in a range of sectors, including infrastructure (roads, bridges, justice and security, health, and water supply) development, procurement services, HR services, capacity building and humanitarian protection, amongst others, on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan, the international donor community , and other UN agencies.

The functional objective of UNOPS AFOC is to contribute to the achievement of the development outcomes sought by the Government of Afghanistan. The aim of UNOPS AFOC is to provide efficient and cost-effective implementation services on behalf of all our partners to support the reconstruction and development of the country. UNOPS AFOC’s mission is to exceed the expectations of all stakeholders in the delivery of AFOC’s services, at all times, in all places, in all circumstances, in order to improve significantly the lives of all Afghans in need.

Background Information - Job-specific

The “Support to Resolute Support Headquarters (RSHQ)” programme supports the NATO Afghanistan National Army Trust Fund Office (NATFO) and the Resolute Support Kabul Security Force (KSF) in enhancing the capacity of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) and relevant ministries and institutions managing and improving security in the country and in Kabul city’s Green Zone, and Enhanced Security Zones. UNOPS provides procurement services, contract management, maintenance of equipment, physical security enhancements, construction projects, and construction work packages, as well as coordination and facilitation of RSHQ operations, programs and activities (non-kinetic).

The Kabul Security Enhancement project under KSF is a comprehensive and holistic 5-year programme designed to enhance the physical and material requirements for and supporting and developing capacities within the Ministries of Defence and Interior enhancing, maintaining and sustaining security in Kabul.

Functional Responsibilities

Purpose and Scope of Assignment

The Senior Project Manager (Infrastructure) is responsible for the planning, structuring and implementation of all projects in his/her cluster under the RSHQ programme. S/He manages the day-to-day implementation and operations of the projects, while also providing support to the RSHQ Programme Manager. 

The Senior Project Manager is responsible for the RSHQ programme adherence to all UNOPS standards for infrastructure and construction works, as per the UNOPS Project Management Manual, UNOPS Guidelines, and UNOPS regulations and Rules. 

Reporting to the Senior Programme Manager, the Project Manager (Infrastructure) is responsible for all technical aspects of the projects and must be able to apply, independently, the below duties and responsibilities:

Stakeholder Management:

  • Establish a solid working relationship with the project board (Executive, Senior Users and Senior Suppliers), the client, and other key stakeholders.

  • Manage communications and ensure stakeholders are aware of project activities, progress, exceptions and are in a position to accept handover products.

  • Advise the Senior Programme Manager, the AFCO Head of Programme, and the client on issues that may impact the achievement of outcomes (including issues of sustainability and post-project requirements such as maintenance).

  • Manage the information flows between the projects, Project Boards, Senior Programme Manager, and the AFCO Head of Programme.

Delivery and Performance:

  • Develop and manage project plans for all projects under his/her cluster.

  • Implement approved project plans (including the establishment of milestones) within tolerances set by the project board.

  • Embed sustainability dimensions, including social and gender inclusion and environmental and economic aspects into projects life cycle. 

  • Manage the production of the required outputs, taking responsibility for overall progress and use of resources, and initiating corrective action where necessary.

  • Authorize work packages within the projects.

  • Advise the Senior Programme Manager, Project Board, AFCO Head of Programme, and the AFCO Director & Representative of any deviations from the plans.

  • Identify and manage risks so that maximum benefit to the client and stakeholders is achieved.

  • Manage and review product quality and ensure products are accepted.

  • Monitor and evaluate performance of service providers.

  • Identify and report potential business opportunities for UNOPS to the Senior Programme Manager.

  • Identify and report threats to UNOPS’ internal business case to the Senior Programme Manager.


  • Follow the UNOPS Infrastructure Project Management Cycle Instructions and ensure that all organizational policies are complied with (Organizational Directives and Administrative Instructions).

  • Prepare/adapt the following plans for approval by the Project Board:  

i. Project Initiation Documentation

ii. Stage/Exception Plans and relevant Product Descriptions

  • Ensure that the following UNOPS Manuals and Guidelines are fully integrated and adhered to within all infrastructure projects:

  1. UNOPS Project Management Manual (PMM)

  2. UNOPS Procurement Manual

  3. UNOPS IPMG Design Review Requirements

  4. UNOPS Design Planning Manual

  5. UNOPS Transport Design Manual

  6. UNOPS Quality Assurance and Quality Control Guidelines

  7. UNOPS Gender and HSSE Guidelines.

  • Maintain the following: 

i. Electronic Blue File

ii. Procurement, HR and Finance files as required by those practices

  • Ensure that all expenditures comply with UNOPS Financial Regulations and Rules.

  • Manage budgets, cash flow and obligations to ensure that deliverables as per RSHQ requirements are met and payments to contractors and personnel are remitted on time.

  • Understand the unique structure of the UN and budget appropriately for personnel.

  • Manage and remain accountable for expenditures against the budget (based on accurate financial reports).

  • Where the Senior Project Manager has no delegation as a committing officer, s/he retains these responsibilities and will monitor and instruct/request others to carry out the relevant commitments and disbursements.

Knowledge Management:

  • Participate in relevant Communities of Practice.

  • Actively interact with other Project Managers and the PM community to share case studies, lessons learned and best practice on the Knowledge System.

  • Provide feedback to Practice Leads on policy, supporting guidance with an aim towards continuous improvement of UNOPS policies.

  • Complete lessons learned as per reporting format.

  • Incorporate lessons learned from others as per planning format.

  • Liaise closely with RSHQ on lessons learned.

Personnel Management: 

  • Lead and motivate his/her project teams.

  • Ensure that behavioural expectations of team members are established. 

  • Ensure that performance reviews are conducted.

  • Have a thorough understanding of UNOPS personnel contract modalities (including ICA and Staff).

  • Select, recruit, and train teams as required by project plans.

  • Perform the Team Manager role, unless appointed to another person(s).

  • Ensure safety and security for all personnel and they comply with UNDSS standards.

  • Keep RSHQ informed of any personnel management-related matters. 

Core Values and Principles:

  • Understand and respect UNOPS sustainability principles

  1. Look for ways to embed UNOPS sustainability principles in day to day project management.

  2. Seek opportunities to champion gender equality in the workplace.

  3. Champion and communicate the project’s sustainability aspects with key stakeholders.

  • Understand and Respect National ownership and capacity

  1. Understand the principles of the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness and mainstream them into the project plans.

  2. Seek opportunities to recruit qualified local staff.

  3. Look for ways to build the capacity of local counterparts.

  • Partnerships and Coordination 

  1. Understand the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework and UNOPS Strategic Plan, as well as the RSHQ programme’s place in the UN system.

  2. Strive to build strong partnerships and effective coordination among relevant project actors (e.g. United Nations, RSHQ, Government, and non-governmental organizations or other relevant partners.

  • Accountability for results and the use of resources. The project management processes are designed to deliver maximum accountability, transparency and results. If a project or processes is not in line with this, it is the responsibility of the infrastructure PM to raise the issue to a supervisor,

  • Excellence. Contribute to innovation and the adaptation of best practice standards of sustainability and quality. 

3. Monitoring and Progress Controls

Provide technical management, oversight and training/capacity building to ensure:

  • Regular technical meetings are held for both the project teams and stakeholders;  to coordinate design work, update work plans and, where necessary, corrective actions are implemented.

  • Weekly progress meetings are held with the design management unit to report on progress and completion of work streams according to project requirements.

  • Submission of monthly progress reports to RSHQ and other stakeholders.

  • Provision of field visit reports, as appropriate.

  • Technical documentation is to the required standards

  • All aspects of Quality Assurance and Quality Control are fully integrated into the infrastructure projects through robust monitoring and progress controls, in collaboration with relevant colleagues in the Core Programme Team (CPT) and AFCO.

  • Ensure that all aspects of UNOPS HSSE and Gender and Sustainability are fully integrated into the infrastructure projects through robust monitoring and progress controls, in collaboration with relevant colleagues in the CPT and AFCO.

  • Projects produce the required products within the specified tolerance of time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefits. 

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering or similar field preferred. 

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering with an additional 2 years of relevant work experience may be considered in lieu of the Advanced University Degree requirement.

  • PRINCE2 Practitioner Certification – an asset.

  • A relevant combination of academic credentials and/or industry certifications and qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the university education.                                                  

Work Experience:

  • At least 7 years (or more based on academic credentials) of progressive experience in managing infrastructure projects or Project development, with focus on monitoring, reporting, development and coordination in either public or private sector organizations.

  • Experience in project or program management is required

  • Experience in engineering and construction is an asset. 

  • Experience with UNOPS is a strong asset. 

  • Previous experience in hardship duty station, conflict zone, or pre conflict environment is an asset.

Language Requirements:

 Fluency in both written and spoken English is required.

Key Competencies: 

  • Proven knowledge of works and issue management on a construction site.

  • Demonstrated ability to train and build capacity of counterparts.

  • Proven organisational, negotiation, and problem solving skills.

  • Able and willing to travel to all provinces within Afghanistan, including insecure and volatile areas, while adhering to the UN DSS Guidelines and MOSS / MORSS Compliance.

  • Able to demonstrate patience and attention to detail.

  • Ability to overcome challenges and work in difficult work environments/conditions.

Contextual Skills:

  • International organisation experience.

  • Management experience.

Project Management Skills:

  • Budget Management

  • Capacity Building

  • Client Management

  • Contracts Negotiation

  • Financial Rules and Regulations

  • Knowledge Management

  • Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Multistage Reporting

  • Project Design

  • Project Development

  • Project Management

  • Risk Analysis

  • Stakeholder Management

  • Developing project teams


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.(for levels IICA-2, IICA-3, LICA Specialist- 10, LICA Specialist-11, NOC, NOD, P3, P4 and above)
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: International ICA
Contract level: IICA-3
Contract duration: Ongoing ICA - Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance 

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.

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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