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Procurement 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-3, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid 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 Procurement Advisor (Retainer) is responsible for providing expert technical advice and guidance to UNOPS practitioners in procurement at country, regional and corporate levels. 

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 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 missions under this job title. The specific tasks and deliverables for each retainer assignment may vary and will be detailed in the terms of reference developed for each assignment by the requesting office/unit, which 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: 

1. Procurement Advisory Services
  • Advise UNOPS country offices on opportunities for expanding UNOPS procurement portfolio as well as maximizing value for clients by providing institutional and industry knowledge of procurement services with clients

  • Provide expert advice to enable the delivery of procurement services and provide support to UNOPS project teams and partners in line with the UNOPS corporate strategy

  • Provide expert support to business developers in COs in formulation of new initiatives and projects related to procurement

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

  • Provide technical support in the implementation of  the required strategic procurement activities in UNOPS country offices: establish Long Term Agreements and Blanket Purchase Agreements for common user items and services, develop sourcing strategies specific to local context (supplier selection and evaluation, quality management, customer relationship management, performance measurement, etc.)

  • Provide expert advice in the implementation of project specific procurement processes, including formulation of strategy for obtaining best results, developing criteria for evaluation, preparation and conducting of ITBs and RFPs, review/evaluation of bids and proposals, pre-award negotiation of contract conditions with winning bidder(s), submissions for review and award to UNOPS Review Body

  • Provide expert advice and support in  identification of procurement needs at the project development stage; preparation of realistic procurement plans, preparation of technical specifications, terms of references, scope of work; cost estimations for the required goods/services/works; quality of solicitation documents

  • Provide technical and advisory support in contract administration, contract management and dispute resolution issues

  • Provide expert support with quality assurance for procurement related documentation, process and actions

  • 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

3. Capacity development and training
  • Design, develop 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

4. Practice contribution and Knowledge Sharing
  • Ensure best practice guidance is disseminated and communicated throughout the field office procurement projects/programmes

  • Contribute to UNOPS knowledge management by capturing case studies and best practice examples of procurement projects/programmes throughout UNOPS , making recommendations on policy and tools, as well as contributing to the development of guidance material and tools

  • Provide substantive contribution to UNOPS procurement practice focusing on continuous improvement of procurement projects/programmes; support the corporate priorities, development of policy, guidance and tools

5. Monitoring and Progress Controls 
  • Review and accept/reject the assignments in the retainer tool

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

  • Successfully meet the agreed deadlines

  • Successfully delivering

  • Provide feedback in the retainer tool 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


Required experience:

  • A minimum of 7  years of progressively responsible experience in procurement or contracts management or supply chain management is required.

  • Above experience must include at least 2 years of demonstrated experience in providing expert advice and support in procurement services  (required).

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

Desired experience:

  • Experience/knowledge in health procurement or medical procurement or infrastructure procurement is an advantage.

  • Experience from a leading local or global provider of management advisory or consulting services to the public sector is an asset. 

  • Understanding of and/or experience in the SDG’s, climate change and renewable energy is an advantage.

  • Experience in procurement of medical equipment 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.

  • Experience in developing countries or post-conflict context is an asset


  • Fluency and proficiency in English is required. 

  • Proficiency in another UN language, such as French, Spanish or Arabic  is desirable.


  • 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 Given the nature of this position, particular attention should be given to section 11 on Confidentiality. 

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: ICA
Contract level: I-ICA3
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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