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Urban Specialist, Multiple positions

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-2, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Infrastructure and Urban-Rural development
    • Urban Development, planning and design
  • Closing Date: 2022-01-16

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Background Information - Job-specific

The Cities Alliance is the global partnership supporting cities to deliver sustainable development. To manage its activities, the Cities Alliance operates a multi-donor fund with UNOPS as host and trustee. The Cities Alliance is therefore governed by the values, rules and procedures of the United Nations and located therein. Headquartered in Brussels and supported by a Secretariat, it is a unique partnership with a diverse membership including – global organizations of local authorities, national governments, international non-governmental organizations, foundations, knowledge networks and multilateral organizations – which have come together to strengthen both impacts and coherence in urban development. Cities Alliance is a global leader, with a strong track record in grant making, that supports strategic city planning, slum upgrading strategies and national policies designed to make cities more inclusive and sustainable. Members promote longer-term and integrated work programs, while actively promoting gender equality throughout all activities.

The Cities Alliance Secretariat is hosted by UNOPS in Brussels, Belgium.

Functional Responsibilities

The Cities Alliance is looking for multiple expert consultants that can support the work of the organization across business development, project/ programme design, technical implementation, M&E, and communications, analytical and sectoral products. Expertise can be in one or more of the following sectors as they relate to urban development and poverty.

  • Urban infrastructure;

  • Urban Services (WASH); 

  • Participatory Governance; 

  • Community/Municipal Development Funds; 

  • Strategic Urban Planning;

  • Slum Upgrading and Housing;

  • Local Economic Development and job creation;

  • Informal Economy; 

  • Environment and Climate Change; 

  • Gender and Women Empowerment; 

  • Migration and Urbanisation, or 

  • Any other specific urban development issue/sector that may be considered strategic by the Cities Alliance. 

Functional responsibilities may include one or a combination or the following:

  • Contribute to writing concept notes, business development proposals, project outputs and other relevant substantive documents prepared by or submitted to the Cities Alliance;

  • Provide analytical and sector-specific technical inputs (remotely or through in-country missions) in the design and development and implementation of Cities Alliance programmes and operations;

  • Conduct monitoring and project/programme evaluations - this may include baseline studies, impact studies, peer and desk reviews, field visits and fact-finding interviews with beneficiaries and stakeholders;

  • Provide cross-support and analytical inputs to the elaboration of Cities Alliance projects and programmes – this may include sectoral diagnostic, studies and analysis, the review and stock-taking of donors’ interventions, stakeholders’ analyses, gathering materials on urban contexts, challenges and opportunities or any other situational analyses that may contribute to the design, monitoring and evaluation of Cities Alliance Programmes and Operations;

  • Draft knowledge products, communication, advocacy products, background documents, keynotes, and presentations to be delivered by Cities Alliance Secretariat, members, and partners;


  • Advanced degree in one of the following subject areas: Urban Planning, Political Studies, Public Administration, Urban Economics, Urban Engineering, or similar disciplines relevant to the areas of Cities Alliance Operations or Programmes. 

  • Bachelor’s/first level university degree with two additional years of relevant experience may be acceptable in lieu of the advanced degree.


  • Minimum of 5 (five) years of post graduation experience in the design, implementation and monitoring of urban development projects and programmes through international and national assignments is required.

  • Strong understanding of work with multilateral and bilateral development partners is desirable.

  • Experience in liaising with civil society groups and local and national governments in developing countries; strategic partnership building skills is desirable.

  • Proven experience in drafting project and programme proposals for international donor agencies (including log frame and budget elaboration) is desirable.

  • In-depth experience in evaluation of development projects and programmes is desirable.

  • Excellent analytical and communication skills is desirable.

  • Excellent written communication skills are desirable.

  • Proven experience in analytical work is required.


  • Fluency in English is mandatory. 

  • Fluency in any other UN language (Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, French, Russian, Spanish) and/or Portuguese will be an advantage


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. 
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

  2. Contract level:  INTERNATIONAL ICA LEVEL 2*
  3. Contract duration: RETAINER - up to 20 working days per year.  Renewable subject to programme requirement, funding availability and satisfactory performance.

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: 

*An equivalent Local ICA Specialist Level 10 may be offered to selected candidates whose home duty station has the national fee scale.

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 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.

What does it mean?

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