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International Water - Senior Project Manager


  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Bangkok
  • Grade: IICA-3, International Individual Contractors Agreement
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Environment
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2022-07-15

Background Information - Job-specific

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners' peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. UNOPS supports partners to build a better future by providing services that increase the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of peace building, humanitarian and development projects. Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organizations.

Background Information - WEC

UNOPS Water and Energy Cluster (WEC) supports the design and management of multi-stakeholder initiatives by providing services in financial and grant management, procurement, human resources, and project management.

The cluster has supported projects in the areas of water resource management, climate change adaptation, mitigation and transparency, energy access and distribution and environmental conservation under the Paris Agreement. The WEC has also supported operations and financial management services, in Vienna, the rest of the ECR region and beyond.

The main partners include UN agencies such as UNEP and UNDP, bilateral donors (Nordic countries, Germany and Italy), the Green Climate Fund and several NGOs (such as CIFF and CWF).

Background Information – Project Specific

The South China Sea is a strategic body of water surrounded by nations that are currently at the helm of industrialization and rapid economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Recent findings of the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme identified coastal communities bordering the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand as being among the most at risk globally from coastal and marine environmental degradation.

This issue has been acknowledged by the countries of the South China Sea, who have committed to a 20-year process of cooperation to reverse environmental degradation trends. This is evidenced by the intergovernmental endorsement of the Strategic Action Programme for South China by Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. This commitment was further reinforced in 2016 when the above mentioned countries signed a special Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) committing to cooperate with one another to implement the Strategic Action Programme (SAP).

This commitment provided a clear signal to the International community to support the financing of the SAP through various projects, including the project entitled “Implementing the Strategic Action Programme for the South China Sea”. The project aims to address habitat degradation,
land-based pollution and regional cooperation. The overall goals of the project include:
  • Maintain an environment at the regional level, in which collaboration and partnership in addressing environmental problems of the South China Sea, between all stakeholders, and at all levels is fostered and encouraged;
  • Enhance the capacity of the participating governments to integrate environmental considerations into national development planning; and to strengthen and expand the network of scientists, government officials and civil society;
  • Assist countries in the medium term in meeting the targets of the approved SAP for the South China Sea (SCS) through implementation of National Action Plans, and strengthening regional coordination.

Functional Responsibilities

The Senior Project Manager will be responsible for managing the delivery of the project activities assigned under the SCS Project to UNOPS, in consultation with UNEP as Implementing Agency, including coordinating project execution with the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC).

The Senior Project Manager is responsible for managing all aspects of the project life cycle as captured in the CEO Endorsement package including the Project Document and UNEP-UNOPS Legal Agreement, in line with UNOPS project management standards and UNEP’s technical requirements.

Therefore, under the direct supervision of UNOPS, and technical guidance of UNEP, the incumbent will be responsible for ensuring that the project delivers the required outputs in a timely manner and on budget, in close coordination with the relevant stakeholders and partners. The incumbent would be expected to review and update the work plan for effective implementation of the project, work with stakeholders and partners to ensure efficient project execution, conduct monitoring and evaluation of project activities, and facilitate quarterly reviews and reporting until project closure.

The above functions will entail the following duties and responsibilities:
Planning, Project & Financial Management:

  • Project and financial planning and management as per the terms of the project agreement, including coordinating monitoring of the project’s co-financing.
  • Ensure that the project is managed and implemented as per UNOPS’s project management standards and requirements, and using its relevant systems and templates, including inter alia creation of a detailed project work plan, regular monitoring of progress, and reporting of achievements and challenges.
  • Financial oversight of budget allocations and expenditures, and preparation of regular financial reports for the funds held by UNOPS, in line with the terms of the project agreement with UN Environment, and facilitation of monitoring and reporting of funds held and managed by SEAFDEC.
  • Preparation quarterly reports to UNEP, and annual financial plans and reports for consideration by the SAP Implementation Committee.
  • In line with UNOPS requirements, preparation of agreements with national executing agencies in the six implementation countries.
  • Leading the recruitment and/or procurement of goods and services with the project team and in coordination with relevant UNOPS units, and management and oversight of relevant vendors.
  • Support countries with the formulation of activities in support of SAP implementation, and conduct of assessments and consultations to secure additional public and private funding for relevant activities.
  • Regular communications with all co-financing/executing agencies to ensure the successful project delivery.
Management of Substantive Activities:
  • Development and oversight of detailed annual work plans and budgets in line with UNOPS requirements for the approval by the SAP Implementation Committee.
  • Planning of all national activities in the 6 participating countries in accordance with the work plan and timetable for the project and periodic guidance provided by the Ministerial level SAP Implementation Committee.
  • Facilitate identification of outputs and activities for national implementation, and lead the drafting of project support agreements and other contracts with the government agencies in the 6 participating countries, in collaboration with the relevant UNOPS and UNEP officials, and as per the approved project plan(s).
  • Provision of oversight and guidance to the execution of the national level activities through monitoring missions, and based on the established agreements, as required.
  • Provision of technical advice and support, directly (within the individuals sphere of competence) and indirectly (through other staff of the unit and consultants) to national level executing agencies, to ensure implementation of the respective contracts.
  • Closely coordinate with SEAFDEC regarding regional components and activities of the project under their responsibility.
  • Provision of oversight and guidance to the preparation of the relevant technical training materials.
  • Oversight and monitoring of progress in all components and activities of the project assigned to UNOPS to ensure effective implementation, and coordinating with and monitoring the progress of SEAFDEC.
  • Organization and convening of regional and sub-regional meetings in the participating countries each year, as per project work plan(s).
  • Monitoring of overall project implementation, facilitating conduct of the mid-term review, as well as terminal independent evaluation.
Regional Co-operation & Collaboration:
  • Acting as Secretary to the ministerial-level SAP Implementation Committee, including convening of meetings; preparation and distribution of the relevant background documents in advance; and dissemination of official meeting reports.
  • Co-chairing of the Regional Scientific and Technical Committee, including convening of meetings; preparation and distribution of the relevant background documents in advance; and dissemination of official meeting reports.
  • Liaising on a regular basis with Ministers and designated senior Officials, National Focal Points and other relevant bodies and stakeholders in the six participating countries regarding project execution and progress.
  • Developing and supporting the network of participating individuals and institutions involved in SAP implementation activities at all levels.
  • Initiating collaborative arrangements with relevant projects in the region, as per UNOPS standards, and as agreed by the SAP Implementation Committee.
  • Oversight of the development and implementation of a communications strategy for SAP implementation, including web site, newsletter and issuance of regular press releases.
  • Oversight of the publication and distribution of all substantive and technical reports resulting from project activities.
  • Organization and supervision of peer reviews of project outputs
  • Facilitate identification of opportunities to expand project outcomes and outputs through new partnerships and additional contributions.
Management of the SAP Implementation Unit:
  • Lead the selection and onboarding of the project personnel to be engaged by UNOPS to constitute the Implementation Unit (SAP-IU), in coordination with UNEP.
  • Supervision and guidance of personnel appointed to the SAP-IU by UNOPS in the execution of their duties, as per UNOPS’s HR requirements.
  • Managing learning, development and performance of project personnel assigned by UNOPS.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the performance of personnel assigned to the SAP-IU by
  • UNOPS in line with UNOPS HR requirements, and in coordination with UNEP on technical and substantive elements.
  • Liaise with SEAFDEC to facilitate the implementation of the activities assigned to the organization by UNEP, including effective provision of operational support for meetings and missions.
Liaison with Project Stakeholders:
  • Liaise regularly with project partners, including UNEP as the implementing agency and SEAFDEC as co-executing agency, to ensure the effective implementation of the project, in line with the project agreement between UNOPS and UNEP, and as per UNOPS project management standards.
  • Liaise with project partners for soliciting inputs in the preparation of project monitoring documents such as annual workplan, progress reports, reports on risks and challenges in line with UNOPS, UNEP and GEF requirements.
  • Liaise on a regular basis with SEAFDEC and COBSEA to ensure synergy and complementarity with other relevant projects and activities in the region and attend relevant meetings in the region to present project activities and results, as appropriate.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

  • Master’s degree in marine biology, ecology, coastal habitats and marine fisheries, resource management or relevant field is required.
  • A Bachelor’s degree combined with two (depending on the contract) additional years of relevant professional experience may be accepted in lieu of the master’s degree.
  • A minimum of 10 years of progressive working experience in an international and project setting is required.
  • At least 5 years of this experience must involve managing and/or formulating projects, including elements such as financial/budget management, monitoring and evaluation, and stakeholder management.
  • Demonstrated competence in the management of environment and water related projects is strongly desirable.
  • Demonstrated competence in the management of large multi-country and multi-disciplinary projects, such as GEF-funded projects, is highly desirable.
  • Demonstrated experience in regional and intergovernmental negotiations, networking, and the management of project activities in the Southeast Asian region is preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience in Southeast Asia, and familiarity with its geopolitical, cultural, social and economic setting, including international treaties and environmental agreements, highly preferred.
  • Expertise in managing multiple and high-level stakeholders and government partners, including production and dissemination of public awareness materials would be considered an asset.
  • Knowledge of the United Nations system and/or Global Environment Facility, including their administrative processes, is an asset.
  • Full working knowledge of English is essential.
  • Working knowledge of other United Nations languages and/or regional languages is an asset.


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: ICA Contract level: IICA-3/ICSC-12
Contract duration: 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.