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Senior technical advisor in sustainable development and climate change

United Nations Development Programme - Headquarters (UNDP)


The Senior Technical Advisor (STA) will implement his/her main functions under the supervision of the Head of Sustainable Development Cluster. The STA will be based in the project Strengthening Sustainable Development and Climate Planning. Specific tasks will be agreed with the National Project Director (NPD) in the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

In line with UNDP staff rules, the STA’s annual performance will be measured by a full Results and Competency Assessment (RCA). The RCA by the Supervisor, with self-assessment of the STA, will be based on inputs from the NPD, and will be reviewed by UNDP’s Competency Review Group set up by the UNDP Resident Representative. As such, the STA is fully accountable to UNDP as the funding agency for the project.

The STA builds capacities of MPI as well as their local affiliates, together with consultants recruited under the project and especially based on international experience and (national and international) research; plays an important role in formulation of research, partnerships and other activities under the project as well as monitoring and conclusion thereof; and is a key advisor to the project partner (MPI) as well as the UNDP on technical and policy aspects of Sustainable Development and Climate Planning.

In exercising his/her role, the incumbent supports the planning, management and monitoring of the project. He/she works in close collaboration with national counterparts as well as with the programme staff in the UNDP Country Office and relevant HQs units for ensuring knowledge sharing and the highest possible quality of project outputs. He/she ensures the alignment of the project outputs with intented outcomes, benefits and impacts of the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Programme (SDP) in Viet Nam. He/she also contributes to capacity building for Country Office staff in the area of Sustainable Development and Climate Planning.

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of Key Functions

The STA is expected to provide active advices to MPI, the Government and donors in carrying out the Project. The STA has three main functions, one on capacity building for counterpart, one on provision of policy advice, and one on advocacy. More specifically, he/she will:

1. Work on and provide advice to capacity building of MPI and other personnel through the various stages of the project management and implementation.
2. Serve as policy advisor for MPI, the Government and UNDP in the areas of climate change planning and sustainable development. Ensure the alignment of the project outputs with intended outcomes of the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Programme (SDP) in Viet Nam.
3. Advocate sustainable development concepts, share development experiences/good practices that have been acquired elsewhere and learn similar experiences/good practices in Viet Nam and share them with relevant stakeholders, as per the planned project activities. This advocacy will include mainstreaming climate change into the preparation and implementation of social economic development strategies and plans (2011-2020). Specifically for UNDP, provide inputs to and advice on the development and implementation of the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Programme in Viet Nam.

1. Provide inputs into and advice on institutional capacity building and project management quality assurance.

-  Capacity assessment and training: Provide advice in assessing capacity gaps on climate change and sustainable development issues that exist in MPI and project personnel, mainstream lessons and best practices learned elsewhere into capacity building activities for the project, and give guidance in organizing such capacity building activities. Review TORs for study tours/fellowships and implementation plans /curricula of trainings; assist in identifying appropriate training partners/organisations; lead, deliver and provide on-the-job training on climate change relevant aspects, research methodology, and writing and publication of results.
-  Project planning: To provide active advice to MPI, NPD/PMU in identifying emerging issues, improving the quality of the work plans of the current year. To work closely with the NPD and PM in preparation and implementation of quarterly and annual workplans and budgets, and provide comments on the substantive aspects of those plans before approval of work plans by the NPD and UNDP.
-  Project management, monitoring and evaluation: Provide guidance in developing baseline and indicators for project monitoring and evaluation as well as inputs in preparing project reports (quarterly and annual progress) focusing on capturing results, learning lessons and documenting best practices in order to improve project performance. To provide comments on the substantive aspects of those reports before approval by the NPD and UNDP. To help UNDP play its role in providing policy advice to the Government and feed into UNDP’s continuous programming in Viet Nam and UNDP-assisted interventions elsewhere.
-  Final reporting: Prepare an end-of-assignment report which focuses on key lessons learned and best practices drawn from project management and capacity building processes as well as major substantive issues that have merged and that would require further assistance from UNDP in the future.

2. Work and advise on climate change relevant research, research partnerships and on programme impacts

-  Research: Support formulation of applied research plans (social, economic, climate-technical, environmental), including substantive research questions and research methodology with direct relevant to planning for sustainable development at different levels; assure quality of research outputs by project partners and consultants through critical analysis, discussion, and also editing of draft outputs.
-  Research partnerships: Advise on appropriate international and national partners with research capacities and links to policy processes, and ways of developing and consolidating partnerships. Advise on development of mechanisms for sharing of research results, and concrete research information to be shared between national and international partners.
-  Programme impacts: Ensure synergies and coherence between the responsible project and other projects and related activities in order to materialize benefits and impacts of the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Programme in Viet Nam.

3. Provide technical inputs and strategic policy advice.

-  Policy advice: Provide substantive inputs to MPI, the Government and UNDP whenever requested in order to prepare policy statements for important events (e.g. Consultative Group Meetings, donor forums, national conferences) and/or to help formulate UNDP’s positions on particular sets of substantive issues. Provide policy briefs on Sustainable Development and Climate Planning themes.
-  Technical advice and Quality control: The STA is expected to assist the NPD and UNDP in: (i) ensuring the quality control of project technical works. To this end, the STA will be involved in (a) preparing TORs for requested works; (b) reviewing technical reports to be carried out by project individuals/agencies including sub-contracts and suggests to the PMU and UNDP areas for improvement of the outputs/products as specified in the respective specific TORs; and (c) attending and participating in preparation of key project events and all project activities involving foreign inputs; and (ii) facilitating the provision of specialized technical inputs and advisory services re climate change planning/coordinating at all levels.
-  Advocacy: Serve as an advocate for UNDP’s policy on sustainable development and human development concepts in the areas of climate change and sustainable development mainstreaming. Actively contribute to the development and implementation of the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Programme in Viet Nam.
-  Knowledge generation and sharing: Identify knowledge gaps that exist in MPI, line ministries, localities and UNDP staff and suggest necessary measures for addressing such gaps, including suggestions for policy research and data survey; participate in knowledge sharing organized by UNDP, share the knowledge/information acquired from the project and join UNDP’s global knowledge networks.
-  Donor coordination: This is of particular important to the climate change issue in Viet Nam. The STA is expected to advise the UNDP and MPI in strategically linking project activities with other support on climate change by UNDP, other UN, donors and international NGOs.

Impact of Results: Overall performance/impact of the STA will be assessed based on the following criteria:

-  Provided high quality advice on capacity building needs and plans.
-  Provided effective training, with excellent facilitation skills and appropriate delivery skills and styles.
-  High quality inputs into project progress reports and work plans, and review-comments of high quality and relevance
-  Project management advice (planning, monitoring, evaluation) of high quality and relevance.
-  Appropriate international and national consultants recruited and research-partnerships established by the project, and effectively coordinated and used in project implementation.
-  Appropriate and high quality research proposals formulated and implemented and assured high quality of research results
-  Provided effective communication, with appropriate styles in different situations.
-  Policy and technical advice of high quality and relevance.
-  Significant contributions to the devlopment and operation of the UNDP’s SDP in Viet Nam.
-  Effective and active (knowledge, coordination relevant) networking.


-  Demonstrated knowledge and experience in working on policy development and capacity building. This includes setting technical methods to maximise performance for the Sustainable Development and Climate Planning in Viet Nam.
-  Strong knowledge / experience in results based management and results oriented approach to project implementation.
-  Strong inter-personal skills, communication, networking and team-building skills; competent in leading teams and creating team spirit, management of inter-group dynamics and conflicting interests of various actors, stimulating team members to produce quality outputs in a timely and transparent fashion.
-  Excellent oral communication skills and excellent written communication skills, with analytic capacity and ability to synthesize project outputs and relevant findings for the preparation of quality papers and reports.
-  Maturity and confidence in dealing with senior and high ranking members of national and international institutions, government and non-government; ability to deal with politically sensitive issues.
-  Results driven, ability to work under pressure and to meet strict deadlines; remains calm and in control under pressure.
-  Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude.
-  Shares knowledge and experience actively, mentors project staff.
-  Focuses on result for the client and responds positively to feedback.
-  Demonstrates commitment to UNDP’s mission, vision and values.
-  Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.

Critical Success Factors

Whether the STA will be successful depends partly on external factors, such as the progress with overall implementation of the project by the national partners including recruitment of project personnel and procurement of equipment as per the project document. It is also important that the project and its potential results continue to be fully supported by the national leadership on climate change. Success factors that depend directly on the STA include whether the incumbent manages to fully use his/her skills and competencies as per the above, including appropriate self management and effective daily work planning as well as the effective use of practical tools including IT (see also Qualifications, below).

Required Skills and Experience

-  Postgraduate degree (MSc. or Ph.D.) in environmental sciences, climate change or a related field.
-  At least ten years working experience in the development field, especially in climate change-related subjects.
-  Excellent project management skills (management of human and financial resources, team building, and ensure quality of project results as well as strict application of rules, policies and procedures)
-  Knowledge of donor policies and funding modalities.
-  Experience on gender mainstreaming in policies and programmes is an asset
-  Knowledge of UNDP programming practices is an asset
-  Previous work experience in Viet Nam or neighboring countries is an asset.
-  Excellent skills in standard software (Word processing, spreadsheets) are expected
-  Experience with the use of databases is an important asset
-  Proficiency in both spoken and written English is a must, including excellent writing skills

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    Viet Nam

  • Additional location info Hanoi
  • Closing Date 8 May 2009

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