As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) in the Pacific, Samoa has been heavily impacted by increasingly severe adverse weather events including cyclones and flooding. Given the topography of the country, these extreme events have caused significant river discharge that resulted in flooding of lowland areas. Recent tropical storms like Cyclone Evan caused floods resulting in serious health impacts and significant damage to both public and private assets. The ensuing damages have been estimated at US$ 200 million. Urban infrastructure has suffered considerably and is expected to further degrade as extreme weather events are becoming yet more frequent.

The objective of the Government of Samoaโ€™s first-ever Green Climate Fund (GCF)-funded and UNDP-supported project Integrated Flood Management to Enhance Climate Resilience of the Vaisigano River Catchment in Samoa (VCP) is to strengthen the adaptive capacity and reduced exposure to extreme weather events of vulnerable communities, infrastructure, and the built environment in the Vaisigano River Catchment area. The project, which has a total volume of US$ 65.7 million (US$ 57.7 million from GCF, and US$ 8 million in co-financing from the Government of Samoa), is implemented by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in collaboration with the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure (MWTI) and Ministry of Health. The project duration is six years (2017-23).

The project represents the Governmentโ€™s initial step in operationalizing a comprehensive flood management solution for the country. It has three major outputs:

In conjunction with Government co-financing leveraged for this project, GCF resources are used to address key technical issues including infrastructure, capacity and information based barriers to enhancing the effectiveness of flood management systems. The direct beneficiaries of the project include approximately 26,528 people in the Vaisigano river catchment area, and 37,000 people benefit indirectly.

While the VCP is a nationally implemented project, and a Project Management Unit (PMU) is in place within the MoF to provide day-to-day management and coordination of the project, the UNDP Multi-Country Office has a critical role to play in oversight, quality assurance and due diligence of the project. The oversight and assurance function is exercised by the Assistant Resident Representative (ARR) for Environment and Climate Change, the Deputy Resident Representative (DRR) and the Resident Representative (RR) of the MCO, and the UNDP Regional Technical Specialist. At the same time, UNDP provides limited implementation support in the areas of human resources and procurement management, and manages three contracts for the provision of services under the project.

Given the complexities of the VCP and implementation delays as well as the high demands on the time of UNDP personnel, there is urgent need for a full-time dedicated officer to support the MCO team with this project. Therefore, UNDP is recruiting a Project Implementation Officer to temporarily support the MCO for a period of 12 months.

Under the guidance and direct supervision of the ARR, Environment and Climate Change Resilience Unit, the Project Implementation Officer will coordinate the day-to-day requirements of the project from UNDP, provide briefing materials on the project as needed, and coordinate directly with the Implementing Partner and the PMU on project progress. S/he will keep UNDP MCO management abreast of any issues, and coordinate solutions. S/he will monitor the project activities, and bring any deviationsย  from the agreed annual and multi-year work plans as well as the Funded Activity Agreement (FAA) signed between the GCF and UNDP to the attention of the ARR, senior management and the regional Technical Specialist.

In collaboration with the team of the VCP PMU, the Project Implementation Officer will provide support to the project as needed, and report on the use of funds, procurement of services and materials/equipment, and the recruitment of project personnel. S/he will be responsible for day-to-day management of procurement contracts concluded by UNDP on behalf of the project and ensure the timely delivery of quality outputs by the vendors, and timely payment of vendors.

In addition, s/he will draft project-related correspondence for UNDP senior management as required, and ensure that all project records and documentation are diligently filed.

The Project Implementation Officer will work in close collaboration with colleagues in the Environment and Climate Change team and Operations team as well as other teams in the UNDP MCO; staff in the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub and the UNDP Global Shared Services Centre in Kuala Lumpur; and engage on daily basis with the GCF PMU and staff in the Government implementing agencies.

1. Keep UNDP management abreast of progress and any issues in the VCP, and provide advice, guidance and written inputs (briefing notes, official correspondence, reports, etc.):

  • Analyze implementation bottlenecks and suggest course corrections to the PMU and UNDP. Provide technical advice/guidance/inputs as needed;
  • Brief and consult with senior management on project progress and provide information and advice as required. Suggest solutions to any issues;
  • Provide written inputs on the VCP for UNDP corporate planning and reporting purposes, and any briefings required by MCO Senior Management;
  • Draft official correspondence related to the VCP;
  • Ensure that project records and documentation are duly e-filed.

2. Support the ARR, DRR, RR and Regional Technical Specialist in exercising UNDPโ€™s oversight, due diligence and quality assurance role, by keeping track of and coordinating requirements:

  • Coordinate with relevant colleagues in the MCO to ensure that complete and up-to-date information on the VCP is available across UNDP Samoaโ€™s online platforms (including Transparency Dashboard, Project Space, MCO website);
  • Ensure timely implementation of annual UNDP HACT assurance and UNDP Project Quality Assurance requirements;
  • Coordinate UNDP technical inputs to required narrative and financial project reporting, including quarterly progress reports and Annual Progress Report;
  • Ensure coordinated and timely feedback to queries from the GCF Secretariat;
  • Provide support and guidance to the PMU and MCO team in following up on audit recommendations, and implementing Interim Evaluation Management Response actions in a timely manner;
  • Manage procurement processes, contracts and payments for UNDP technical due diligence;
  • Coordinate and follow up of UNDP technical due diligence reviews of assessments and infrastructure designs with contractors, PMU and government partners;
  • Facilitate social and environmental safeguards processes for the VCP project in line with UNDP social and environmental Standards and GCF social and environmental policy;
  • Keep track of project implementation progress and escalate issues to UNDP ARR or senior managers as necessary;ย 
  • Work closely with the UNDP M&E Analyst and Programme Finance Analyst to monitor project progress and use of financial resources according to the FAA, project Annual/Quarterly Work Plans, procurement plan, M&E framework, and the UNDP Programme and Operations Policies and Procedures (POPP);
  • Follow up with the PMU, UNDP Regional Technical Specialist and Vertical Funds team at the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub to ensure timely approval of revisions to the annual and multi-year work plan and budget;
  • Ensure the timely submission to UNDP HQ of final technical designs, safeguards reports/documents and any other information as required by the GCF Secretariat.

ย  3. Day to day management of UNDPโ€™s project implementation support:

  • Ensure positive and productive working relations with the PMU, and key partners in the Ministry of Finance and the Government implementing agencies. Facilitate regular discussions and close exchanges between UNDP, the PMU and the MoF;
  • Coordinate planning and execution of procurements action within UNDP;
  • Ensure efficient contract management of VCP project contracts with UNDP;
  • Coordinate and ensure timely follow-up on requests for Contingency payments with the GCF Secretariat through the Regional Technical Specialist and UNDP HQ;
  • Coordinate and ensure timely follow-up on requests for release of new GCF funding tranches through the Regional Technical Specialist and UNDP HQ;
  • Coordinate the timely and complete submission of FACE Forms and supporting documents with the PMU for quality assurance by the MCO, and follow up on timely processing of liquidations and advances by GSSU once approved.

4. Contribute to innovation and effective knowledge management:

  • Identify and synthesize good practices and lessons learned from the VCP, and share knowledge through UNDP Knowledge Networks and Communities of Practice;
  • Work closely with UNDP Communications Analyst to ensure that project results are showcased in UNDP publications, information materials, speeches, blogs and social media platforms.

Core Competencies:

Innovation: Ability to make new and useful ideas work

  • Creates new and relevant ideas and leads others to implement them.

Leadership: Ability to persuade others to follow

  • Plans and acts transparently, actively works to remove barriers.

People Management: Ability to improve performance and satisfaction

  • Models high professional standards and motivates excellence in others.

Communication: Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform

  • Gains trust of peers, partners, clients by presenting complex concepts in practical terms to others.

Delivery: Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement

  • Critically assesses value and relevance of existing policy / practice and contributes to enhanced delivery of products, services, and innovative solutions

Technical/Functional Competencies:

Building Strategic Partnerships:

  • Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders, and forge productive working relationships.

Project Management:

  • Ability to plan, organize, and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve certain goals.

Results-based Management:

  • Ability to manage programmes and projects with a strategy aimed at improved performance and demonstrable results.

Team building:

  • Ability to work effectively with diverse groups of professionals towards common goals.

Desired additional skills and competencies:

  • Demonstrates ethics and integrity;
  • Makes decisions in an informed and transparent manner;
  • Builds strong relationships with clients, focuses on impact and results for the client, and responds positively to feedback;
  • Consistently approaches work with curiosity, initiative, energy and a constructive attitude;
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities;
  • ยทStays composed and positive even in difficult moments, handles tense situations with diplomacy and tact, and has a consistent behaviour towards others;
  • Surfaces conflicts and addresses them proactively, acknowledging different feelings and views and directing energy towards a mutually acceptable solution;
  • Is diligent with keen attention to detail, and highly organized;
  • Is self-motivated and takes responsibility for her/his area of work;
  • ยทIs a team player with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity;
  • Takes charge of self-development, encourages learning and sharing of knowledge.

Education

  • Masterโ€™s degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline (environmental sciences/management, science; development studies; business administration; management or related discipline);
  • Bachelor's degree in above areas.

Experience

  • Master's degree with a minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience at the national or international level in management in the public and/or private sector, NGOs, international organizations or international financial institutions;
  • Bachelor's degree with a minimum of 7 years of progressively responsible experience at the national or international level in above areas;
  • Demonstrated project management capacity, experience in designing, implementing and monitoring development projects;
  • Familiarity with concepts and methods related to climate change, ecosystem services, social-ecological systems, flood risk assessment and management, ecosystem-based adaptation and disaster risk reduction is an advantage;
  • Experience with Global Environmental Facility and Green Climate Fund projects is an advantage;
  • Proven ability to establish and maintain strong networks with diverse partners;
  • High digital literacy and proficiency in the use of standard office software packages; experience in using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems (PeopleSoft, Oracle or equivalent) and IPSAS is an advantage;
  • Work experience with a UN entity or inter-governmental organization is an asset.

Language Requirement

  • Fluency in English and Samoan both written and verbal.

Professional Certificates

  • Project management certification is an asset.

Other

  • This vacancy is open to Samoan nationals only;
  • Qualified women candidates are encouraged to apply:
  • The Project Implementation Officer will be based at the UNDP MCO, with frequent outside engagements.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

Important applicant information

All posts in the SC categories are subject to local recruitment.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.ย  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

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Contract Duration: Initial 12 months

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