National Peace and Development Officer
Violent conflict has surged in recent years, and in 2016, more countries experienced violent conflict than at any time in nearly 30 years. While the complex relationship between conflict, security and development is increasingly understood, international assistance and investment in conflict prevention have remained relatively low. At the same time, approaches to preventing conflict have been refined considerably, as policy and practice on peacebuilding have evolved – and the UN, its Member States and other partners are increasingly looking to prevention as a critical strategy for sustaining peace and nurturing development. Conflict prevention is increasingly recognized as a rational and cost-effective strategy for countries at risk of violence and for the international community.
The joint UNDP-DPPA programme on building national capacities for conflict prevention has made a ground-breaking contribution in bridging the gap between political engagement and development assistance in pursuit of preventing conflict and sustaining peace. In its new phase (2019-2023), the Joint UNDP-DPPA Programme will further strengthen the analytical capacities of national stakeholders and the UN system in support of Member States’ efforts to advance policy and programmatic coherence on conflict prevention and support strategies for sustaining peace.
The deployment of Peace and Development Advisors and has been the primary instrument of the Joint Programme to provide capacity for Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams to support national partners in dialogue and national or local mediation processes, the establishment and operationalization of national infrastructures and mechanisms for peace; and other initiatives aimed at sustaining peace. There are currently 59 PDA positions across the globe, and 33 national Peace and Development Officer positions.
To ensure that PDAs are better equipped and empowered to deliver on their mandates, the Joint Programme has established in a number of contexts small ‘Peace and Development teams’ where a national Peace and Development Officer provides reinforced capacity to the PDA’s engagement in support of the RCOs and UNCTs in conflict prevention and sustaining peace.
Since 2004, Maldives has been undergoing a series of reform initiatives introduced by the Government. The Constitution of 2008 established a system of democratic governance and provided for the separation of powers between the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary. Maldives held its first multi-party presidential elections in 2008. However, the transition to democracy has been difficult with the country facing significant challenges in consolidating initial progress. A contentious and prolonged presidential election in September 2013 further illustrated the volatility in the political sphere and the nascent state of the country’s governing institutions. Socio-political tensions nevertheless eased notably with the inauguration of a new president in November 2013 but remained high until parliamentary elections in late March 2014. Since January 2015, the country has been facing significant challenges characterized by growing polarization between political parties and subsequently across the country’s communities.
The political situation intensified in February 2018, when the Supreme Court of the Maldives issued a ruling ordering to release nine political prisoners and reinstatement of 12 MPs who were suspended for floor-crossing in July 2017. In response, the President announced a State of Emergency in the country, subsequently arresting the former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the Chief Justice, and Justice Ali Hameed. The opposition undertook daily protests while the situation remained polarized.
The presidential elections on 23 September 2018 proved a defining moment in Maldives’ decade-long political transition. With the Opposition holding its fragile coalition together, the day saw an 89% turn-out of voters and the Opposition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih win with a commanding lead of over 38,000 votes. The new government coalition rapidly drew up an ambitious Strategic Action Plan (SAP) based on the presidential election manifesto, undertaking a reform-oriented series of initiatives focusing on the judiciary, investigation of grand corruption cases and killings and disappearances during former President Yameen’s term, as well as roll-out of a decentralization framework across the country. Solih’s government and the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) further consolidated their position during Parliamentary elections in April 2019 with MDP receiving a super majority, enabling a raft of legislative reforms to be rapidly passed. Despite a strong start, the new administration has since faced several challenges.
Early 2020 saw the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Maldives, with international border closures, lockdowns of urban areas such as Greater Male’ area, and closure of international and local resorts, businesses and a general impact on society across the islands. The severe impact on its tourism-dependent economy has deepened the country’s debts as well as its dependence on its large neighbours, including India on which it has relied for a substantial financial boost of over USD 1.2 billion loans. Despite a much-needed resurgence of tourism late in 2020 and into 2021, COVID-19 continues to impact the country and Maldives is only predicted to recover over the next few years. Economic pressures have increased national political contests while potential cases of grand corruption such as those highlighted in the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) scandal risk causing major political damage to both the ruling coalition and the opposition. Some key losses for the ruling party, as evidenced at the local elections in April 2021, are indicators that the upcoming Presidential elections in 2023 will likely be intensely contested and could lead to political upsets. The government’s banning of a well-known CSO has led to self-censorship and this, with other factors, has led to a narrowing of civic space.
In this context, as part of the Strategic Analysis and Collective UN Visioning cluster (with the Human Rights team and Gender advisor) under the Resident Coordinator’s Office (RCO), the Peace and Development Advisor (PDA) and Peace and Development Officer (PDO) remain fully engaged in supporting the Resident Coordinator and UN Country Team’s work in Maldives. The work is focused on development of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) towards meeting the 2030 Agenda through providing consistent, impartial, and high-quality political and human rights analysis, for proactive guidance to the Resident Coordinator in and, where required, on ongoing and planned programmatic activities of the UNCT, while also providing training on conflict- and context-sensitive programming. Working with the RCO team and relevant UN agencies, the Peace and Development Advisor and Peace and Development Officer will support strengthening of civic space through monthly UNCT and CSO meetings, building focused advocacy and programming.
The Peace and Development Officer complements the PDA’s work to provide strategic direction on UNCT priorities contributing to and resulting from the Common Country Assessment (CCA) and UNSDCF as well as help create a renewed vision for informed SDG results delivery. The cluster helps to build trust among and between Government institutions and other partners to assist the UNCT in better programming, while offering innovative ways of articulating the best future vision and actions for the UN and partners in the Maldives to achieve sustainable and higher impact results.
The Peace and Development Officer, with a degree of autonomy, will engage a range of national actors including government and political parties, civil society, religious and opinion leaders in dialogue on current events, future scenarios, development priorities and solutions. S/he will undertake analysis through research and dialogue, reinforce important partnerships, build capacities for conflict prevention and support evidence-based, conflict-sensitive programming.
Duties and Responsibilities
The Peace and Development Officer works under the direct supervision and guidance of the Peace and Development Advisor (PDA), providing substantive support in three main areas of activity, including:
- Undertake research, information-gathering, and analysis with specific focus on supporting and promoting peacebuilding and conflict prevention under the umbrella of SDG16 for delivery of the UNSDCF.
- Identify entry-points and advise the PDA on joint programmatic options for relevant UN agencies on social cohesion, peacebuilding, and efforts to build national capacities for conflict prevention, including in areas related to youth and the gendered dimensions of peacebuilding.
- Provide technical support for coordination, strategic communication, partnerships, and M&E
1. Undertake research, information-gathering, and analysis with specific focus on supporting and promoting peacebuilding and conflict prevention under the umbrella of SDG16 for the delivery of the UNSDCF.
- Provide continuous analysis and advice to the PDA in support of the RC and the UNCT on the developments in the country with particular focus changing context, impacts on programme, and implementation of the UNSDCF.
- Provide proactive political, political economy and/or conflict analysis, monitoring the situation in the country, and reporting of issues related to peace and security, including through analysis of local sources with a view to support the regular update of the CCA.
- Help the PDA support the UN RC and the UNCT to develop a common and complementary approach to Peace, Justice and strong institutions that supports the UN’s Prevention Agenda.
- Keep abreast of developments within the regional offices of UN, and HQ on programmes and policies related to peace and development and opportunities for supporting implementation of the UNSDCF.
- Active monitoring of social media, political networks and other national and local levels in English and local languages to provide real-time trends and information as requested by the PDA for the UNRC and UNCT.
2. Identify entry-points and advise the PDA in support of RC on joint programmatic options for relevant UN agencies on social cohesion, peacebuilding, and efforts to build national capacities for conflict prevention, youth, and the gendered dimensions of peacebuilding in line with implementation of the UNSDCF.
- Identify areas of programmatic engagement with national stakeholders related to social cohesion, dialogue, conflict prevention and consensus building; and contribute to the development of conflict-sensitive programme approaches.
- Advise on mainstreaming conflict-sensitive approaches, and support to provision of training by PDA to UN Country Team staff and key national partners on conflict analysis, conflict prevention and/or conflict-sensitive development at key stages of the programme planning cycle.
- Support the PDA to provide the UNRC with relevant, timely and multi-disciplinary response to UN agencies needs for policy and advisory services related to Peace and Development.
- Provide substantive inputs and identify tools, develop methodologies, and produce knowledge management products linked to governance, peacebuilding, and development, with cross-cutting areas of gender and youth.
3. Provide technical support for knowledge management, coordination, strategic communication, partnerships, and M&E.
- Contribute to and coordinate knowledge generation and management for the UN Country Team, including in positioning the UN as a knowledge provider on governance, social cohesion, peacebuilding, and development.
- Review and assess available data, research findings, and lessons learnt that can be used as substantive learning for the UN, to be integrated into future programme planning.
- Support the communication and advocacy work of the UN to promote peacebuilding, while ensuring messages are conflict sensitive.
- Facilitate more effective connectivity and synergies between key partners to reach informed programming decisions.
- Ensure the establishment and strengthening of strategic partnerships with key national stakeholders, including civil society, private sector, development partners and other internationals actors that support to position strategic role in assisting the government in defining the national development agenda.
- Support monitoring and evaluation function, including collecting, processing, and analyzing data in the framework of peace and development team workplan.
Innovation Ability to make new and useful ideas work: Level 4: Adept with complex concepts and challenges convention purposefully
Leadership Ability to persuade others to follow: Level 4: Generates commitment, excitement and excellence in others
People Management Ability to improve performance and satisfaction: Level 4: Models independent thinking and action
Communication Ability to listen, adapt, persuade, and transform: Level 4: Synthesizes information to communicate independent analysis
Delivery Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement: Level 4: Meets goals and quality criteria for delivery of products or services
Social Cohesion Knowledge of methods and experience of supporting communities to achieve greater inclusiveness, more civic participation and creating opportunities for upward mobility: Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
Peacebuilding and Reconciliation Ability to support peace processes to facilitate recovery and development: Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
Conflict-Sensitive Programming Ability to use methods and tools to monitor conflict triggers and determine impact of various dynamics in conflict-prone situations: Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
Conflict Analysis and Risk Assessment Knowledge of conflict analysis and risk assessment concepts and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations: Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
Gender Knowledge of gender issues and the ability to apply to strategic and/or practical situations, including analysis of projects from a gender perspective: Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
Civil Society Engagement Knowledge to create and implement civil society initiatives and apply across peace and development work: Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
Knowledge Management Ability to efficiently handle and share information and knowledge: Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
Required Skills and Experience
Education: Completion of Master’s Degree in political science, conflict resolution, peace studies, sociology, international relations, international economics, law, public administration, or other related area.
- Minimum of 2 years with Master’s degree of progressively responsible experience in conflict analysis, development and/or conflict prevention in a governmental, multilateral, or civil society organization.
- Extensive experience in analysis, research and sound drafting skills.
- Experience in project/programme development, management
- Experience in national and community-level conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives and programming.
- In-depth knowledge of and extensive experience in Maldives, including in dialogue and conflict prevention initiatives; and awareness and familiarity of key actors and stakeholders across the political, economic, and development spheres alongside knowledge of government, civil society, and other non-state actors.
Language Requirements: Fluent written and spoken English and Dhivehi are required.
- Qualified female candidates are especially encouraged to apply.
- Only Nationals from the Maldives are eligible to apply.
Important applicant information
All posts in the Fixed Term Appointment categories are subject to local recruitment.
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