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Procurement Senior Advisor (Retainer, multiple positions), Multiple positions

Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Remote | Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)
  • Grade: IICA-4, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Procurement
    • Documentation and Information Management
  • Closing Date: 2022-02-03

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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 - Implementation Practices and Standards (IPS) 

Within UNOPS, Implementation Practices and Standards (IPS) is responsible for the UNOPS delivery practices. IPS provides thought leadership, standards and oversight as support to the successful delivery of programmes and projects within UNOPS service lines (infrastructure, procurement, project management, human resources and financial management services).

IPS comprises the Infrastructure and Project Management Group and the Procurement Group which aims to reduce organizational risks, improve project performance, and promote excellence across UNOPS projects through the Standards Management Framework; and provides organisational oversight on the application of standards. These Groups also support the positioning of UNOPS in the UN system and development sector in Infrastructure, Project Management and Procurement. In addition, the Portfolio Support unit aims at building up and managing the organisational readiness of UNOPS and therefore supports the implementation of the UNOPS global portfolio. It also provides support services to the Implementation Practices and Standards function. Last, the IPS is hosting the corporate Knowledge Management initiative.

Background Information - PG

The Procurement Group (PG) is part of Implementation Practices and Standards (IPS) and is based at UNOPS HQ in Copenhagen. It leads the organization’s procurement practice and is responsible for: articulating strategy, policy positions and innovative solutions for procurement at UNOPS; enabling the operationalization and managerial oversight of UNOPS procurement activities through appropriate systems and reports; strengthening the knowledge, skills and career development of procurement practitioners; and leading the implementation of Sustainable Procurement across the organization.

As a central procurement resource for the United Nations system and its partners, UNOPS emphasizes efficient, transparent, cost-effective and sustainable delivery of goods, services and works, in line with public procurement best practices. On a yearly basis, UNOPS procures over USD 1.2 Bn worth of goods, services and works on behalf of our partners. These include a broad base of categories, including life-saving pharmaceuticals, mine action equipment, vehicles or road construction services. 

UNOPS has over the years,  including through PG’s leadership,  implemented a series of best practices in procurement including on sustainable procurement, procurement policy and standards, ethics and fraud prevention, e-Procurement, and business intelligence

In addition, UNOPS provides dedicated advisory services solutions so that our partners can increase the transparency, sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency throughout their procurement and supply chain operations. Our experts bring international best practices to strengthen local procurement and financial systems. Our support ensures partners retain ownership of operational procurement decisions and fund management. UNOPS advisory services address key challenges in public procurement. Through this approach, we can assess, design, transform and manage our partners’ procurement needs. From providing capacity assessments and implementing capacity development programmes, to deploying teams of experts to complement on-going projects, UNOPS provides customized solutions and proprietary tools like the Procurement Efficiency Assessment Tool to address all of our partners’ needs.

Background Information - Job-specific

Working within the Implementation Practices and Standards (IPS), the Senior Procurement Advisor (Retainer) is responsible for providing high-level technical expertise as well as leadership and strategic advice to UNOPS practitioners in strategic  procurement at country, regional and corporate levels. In addition, the incumbent is expected to provide the Director of IPS with authoritative and strategic advice. The Senior Procurement Advisor will contribute to strategy development, strategic positioning, policy development, complex business development  and knowledge sharing within UNOPS procurement operations, with colleagues at all levels and across offices of the organization. The Senior Procurement Advisor (Retainer) must have an appreciation for the evolutions, trends, opportunities and risks in the industry, as well as the impact of changes and the relationship between the global development environment and public procurement. S/he should also be able to identify the key players and their agendas at the global level, and how to best operate in the current context of international development procurement and supply chain management. Considering the current global pandemic, understanding of the global health supply chain is an asset.

This retainer position falls under the UNOPS Corporate retainer pool, which is administered by the Implementation Practices and Standards (IPS) Portfolio Support (PS) team.

This is a home-based assignment, which may involve requests to travel to various locations, including to remote or post-conflict environments. The functions/responsibilities/key results of this job description are generic and may not always be applicable, nor be comprehensive, for all assignments under this retainer position. The specific tasks and deliverables for each assignment may vary and will be detailed in the terms of reference developed for each assignment by the requesting office/unit, which the IPS will exercise an oversight on. 

All retainer assignments will be handled via the UNOPS online retainer management tool by Portfolio Support (PS), including the request for the retainer’s services and the provision of feedback for each assignment. 

All UNOPS personnel are required to share a common understanding of UNOPS’ and the UN’s mandate, policies and activities. To this end, UNOPS Personnel must complete a set of mandatory courses. As a UNOPS ICA retainer, you are required to complete selected mandatory courses. At present there are three (3) online courses that are mandatory to be completed upon signature of your contract and prior to commencing any retainer assignment, related to Ethics and standards of conduct at UNOPS, the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Security awareness while on official mission. These courses are available for free on UNOPS learning platform and shall be completed within the first three months following the contract signature, at no cost for UNOPS. UNOPS reserves the right to request a refresher of the mandatory courses is taken or newly promulgated mandatory courses are completed at no cost for 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.

Functional Responsibilities

The specific tasks for each assignment may vary from duty station to duty station. Under the overall guidance and direct supervision of the Hiring office and designated Supervisor within the requesting office, and in coordination with the Advisory Services Team in Procurement Group if applicable, the Advisor will work on a retainer contract and will be called upon for specific projects to fulfill one or more of the following key tasks: 

Strategic positioning

  • Provide strategic advice and inputs to UNOPS strategic documents for an expanded role of the organization in sustainable public procurement and sustainable and resilient supply chains. 

  • Keeping abreast of industry standards, trends, opportunities and threats, provide expert advice in procurement and supply chain which are relevant to UNOPS positioning or impact on UNOPS results.

  • Provide strategic advice to develop innovative approaches to global supply chain systems in advance of or upon identification of major issues with a global impact.

  • Provide technical advice to the continued professionalism and digitisation of procurement in UNOPS to improve performance in speed, quality and risk management.

  • Provide expert knowledge (inc. quality assurance) in procurement and supply chain to contribute to the development of strategic papers, thought leadership pieces, external publications, reports, policies, standards, guidance and tools.

Business development

  • Provide high-level strategic advice to further UNOPS position as a value added partner to governments and other clients by enabling sustainable public procurement and supply chain to be tools for the global development agenda.

  • Provide high quality, industry standard advisory services to UNOPS business units and UNOPS partners, including for business development purposes. Assess the maturity of new opportunities, and support negotiations as applicable.

  • Analyze the nature of services demanded by and the key areas of interest of UNOPS partners in procurement and supply chain at country, regional and corporate levels.

  • Provide strategic level advice in formulation of supply chain assessments, capacity building and organizational development of key ministries/organs of government.

  • Provide expert knowledge (inc. quality assurance) in procurement and supply chain to contribute to country/regional/organizational response to global issues (including emergency response systems).

Technical expertise

  • Advise in the development of adequate procurement strategies for UNOPS programmes or projects, in consultation with key stakeholders.

  • Provide expert advice and guidance to ensure the successful delivery of complex procurement activities, including planning.

  • Provide expert advice and guidance to ensure the successful management of specific supply chains, including in an emergency response context.

  • Contribute to the identification and continuous development of procurement experts.

  • Conduct assessments to improve public procurement effectiveness and efficiency – including the evaluation of regulatory frameworks, organizational structures, processes and tools, qualifications of cadres, aiming to measure the end results of existing public procurement systems;

  • Assist governments in the implementation of public procurement reforms – transforming public procurement structures and its capabilities, be it system wide or through entity specific interventions;

  • Support the implementation of systems, policies and programs that enhance the environmental, social and economic sustainability of purchases and/or the procuring entity.

  • Setting up public procurement monitoring capabilities, linked to financial and budgeting systems;

  • Helping advance the eGovernment agenda through eProcurement development;

  • Identifying inefficiencies along upstream and downstream components of supply chains managed by governments’ agencies or other institutions, and designing strategies and initiatives to overcome them.

Training and Capacity Development

  • Synthesis of lessons learnt, keeping abreast of best practices in procurement and making recommendations for continuous improvements of processes and policies in the Organisation

  • Support in design, development and / or implement training programmes and capacity building initiatives, potentially for both internal and external partners, and for delivering training tools and techniques to improve the quality of UNOPS procurement services

Monitoring and Progress Controls 

  • Review and accept/reject the assignment requests;

  • Establish a meaningful course of action for the completion of the task and deliverables;

  • Successfully meet the agreed deadlines;

  • Successfully delivering;

  • Provide feedback for each assignment.


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.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • An advanced university degree (Masters or equivalent such as MEng, MSc) preferably in Business Administration, Procurement, Supply chain, Public Administration, Public Policy, Accounting, Law, Economics, Finance, International Development or in any relevant area is required.

  • A university degree (Bachelor's degree level) with a combination of 2 years of relevant professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.

Required experience:

  • A minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible combined experience in strategic leadership and procurement/supply chain management is required. 

  • Above experience must include at least 3 years of demonstrated experience in providing expert advice and support in procurement services  (required). 

  • At least 5 years of demonstrated experience applying advanced knowledge of sustainable supply chain management and public procurement principles and approaches are required.

  • Demonstrated understanding of supply chain issues in an international development context is required. 

  • Experience with excellent knowledge of public procurement systems (regulations, and key stakeholders) in any national jurisdiction is required.

Desired experience:
  • Experience from a leading local or global provider of management advisory or consulting services to the public sector is an asset. 
  • Experience working at leadership level in or with government or international financial institutions or other international development organizations is desirable.

  • Understanding of the global health supply chain is an asset.

  • UN/UNOPS experience is an asset.


  • Fluency in English is required. 

  • Fluency of French, Spanish is an asset.


  • Procurement or supply chain management certification from an internationally recognized accreditation authority is desirable.

Additional Considerations

  • A retainer Individual Contractor Agreement (ICA) is issued for a period of time during which the services of the individual contractor may be required intermittently.

  • A retainer ICA will specify a unit price (e.g. amount per day actually worked). For budgetary purposes, a monetary limit will be specified at the time the ICA is awarded and issued.

  • UNOPS shall have no obligation to obtain any minimum quantity of Services from the Individual Contractor during the duration of the retainer ICA.

  • Payment will be made only after completion of work (if any) or reaching agreed milestones.

  • A retainer ICA does not accord any exclusivity to the Individual Contractor with respect to the Services listed in the job description. UNOPS shall have no limitation on its right to obtain Services of the same kind from any other source at any time.

  • UNOPS Individual Contractors must comply with the standards of conduct required of a UN civil servant, when carrying out their official UNOPS responsibilities and also all other times. This includes the standards of conduct set forth in the UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin of 9 October 2003 entitled “Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse” (ST/SGB/2003/13) and the UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin of 18 June 2002 entitled "Regulations Governing the Status, Basic Rights and Duties of Officials other than Secretariat Officials, and Experts on Mission" (ST/SGB/2002/9) as they may be amended from time to time.

  • UNOPS Individual Contractors must comply with all applicable UNOPS policies and instructions. This includes the obligation to declare any outside activity that could result in an actual or perceived conflict with the interests of the UN; as well as to refrain from using information gained through the UNOPS Individual Contractor Agreement contract for the Individual Contractor’s own purposes or to help a third party (unless the information is already in the public domain), in particular but not only in relation to procurement of works, goods and services.

  • UNOPS Individual Contractors must abide by UN safety and security policies, instructions, directives, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

The standard terms and conditions of the UNOPS ICA as of the present date can be found at

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: ICA
Contract level: I-ICA4
Contract duration: 1 year (renewable, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and/or satisfactory performance)

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

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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