Senior Technical Specialist Colombo, Sri Lanka

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Senior Technical Specialist
Colombo, Sri Lanka


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.

UNDP in Sri Lanka’s Flagship Portfolio on SDG16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions provides an integrated framework of support on Inclusive Governance. It innerves across four over-arching strategic pillars;

Pillar 01: Voice and Representation
Pillar 02: Rights and Justice
Pillar 03: Strong and Efficient Institutions
Pillar 04: Social Cohesion
UNDP’s longstanding engagement in peacebuilding is anchored within the Portfolio strategic pillar on Social Cohesion. A holistic approach to conflict prevention and peacebuilding is envisaged through the pillar. Multi-stakeholder engagement on a host of subject areas including prevention of hate speech, promotion of durable resettlement of displaced communities, support to media, gender and youth peace initiatives are promoted. UNDP’s engagement on peacebuilding builds on its strategic partnerships with the UNCT (i.e UN Joint Programme for Peace), as well as its regional and global programmes. The SDG16 Portfolio pillar on “voice and representation” intervenes to strengthen the core functions of Parliament, promote CSO engagement, Disability Inclusion, and Mainstream Language as a form of inclusive governance.

Against the backdrop of an expanding sub-portfolio on social cohesion, and cognizant of the all-encompassing nature of the subject of social cohesion, UNDP seeks to recruit a Senior Technical Specialist who will be responsible for substantively leading its sub-portfolio of work around Social Cohesion. The position shall work under the direct guidance of the Policy Specialist- Team Leader – Governance and be responsible for providing strategic technical advice, including towards programmatic design and implementation, in the areas of work undertaken by UNDP to promote social cohesion. The Senior Technical Specialist will also be responsible for supervising the technical specialists anchored under the pillars on Social Cohesion & Voice and Representation.


Position Purpose: The Senior Technical Specialist will provide expert technical guidance and direction to the Social Cohesion and Voice and Representation Pillars under the overall substantive guidance of the Policy Specialist & Team Leader-Governance. He/ She will liaise with national, sub-national and international project counterparts (including UN agencies) civil society, private sector (where relevant) organizations/donors and other development partners. He/She will guide the UNDP team to ensure delivery of high-quality results at highest technical standard. He/ She will liaise with the technical specialists to maximize impact of interventions undertaken through the Social Cohesion and voice and representation Pillars. The Senior Technical Specialist will ensure work undertaken through the pillar is in- line with international standards, norms and best practices.


Duties and Responsibilities
Provide strategic technical direction and leadership
Provides strong leadership and overall strategic vision of support to UNDP’s work on Social Cohesion focusing on strengthening the national capacities
Provide high level policy advice on issues related to social cohesion within the scope of UNDP’s pillars on a) Voice & Representation and b) Social Cohesion to government counterparts and other partners including UN sister agencies, CSOs, Development Partners
Propose strategic approaches and priorities for implementation, including definition of baselines, performance indicators and monitoring and evaluation
Provide high level technical guidance on holistic approaches to Social Cohesion that recognize language mainstreaming, disability inclusion, CSO engagement
Provide technical guidance to Joint Peacebuilding Programmes undertaken by UNDP
Provide partnership building
Provide strategic guidance on partnership building on the areas of social cohesion & voice/representation
Collaborate with UN sister agencies, Development Partners on mapping out a holistic package of support on Social Cohesion
Regularly liaise/engage with regional and global platforms
Collaborates effectively with UNICEF, partner in the peacebuilding programme, and more broadly within established frameworks for UN and other international coordination.
Liaise continually with and forges close partnership with other UN offices, programmes, agencies and entities, and other international and national stakeholders
Guide project management
Guide technical consultations with various targeted institutions, partners and actors, to undertake institutional capacity needs assessments and design refined support.
Provide overall technical supervision and direction.
Ensure accountability and corporate standards
Contribute to high quality planning and reporting
Proactively monitor and manage project risks against the country context, and provide guidance to the project team on mitigation measures.
Ensure that alternate delivery mechanisms in-line with project outcomes, are planned and operationalized when faced with obstacles given changing country context.
Improve knowledge building and management
Promote identification and synthesis of best practices and lessons learned from the project area for organizational sharing and learning as well as external information
Actively participate in the knowledge networks and takes advantage of best practices and lessons learned that are available in the region and globally, and encourages staff in the Programme to do so by creating a culture of knowledge and learning.
Have a clear overview of lessons learned and recommendations arising from previous evaluations and assessments conducted over the past 3 years of the Portfolio, and ensure these are factored into planning and design.
Ensure reporting by UNDP to donors under the Social Cohesion pillar is timely and at a high quality. Lead on formulating high quality technical input in-line with donor objectives.
Ensure that research and knowledge products generated by the project translate into clear programming priorities for UNDP.
Support UNDP’s CSO partners to promote peacebuilding sustainably, beyond the project-life span of UNDP supported initiatives.

Achieve Results: LEVEL 4: Prioritize team workflow, mobilize resources, drive scalable results/strategic impact
Think Innovatively: LEVEL 4: Easily navigate complexity, encourage/enable radical innovation, has foresight
Learn Continuously: LEVEL 4: Create systems and processes that enable learning and development for all
Adapt with Agility: LEVEL 4: Proactively initiate/lead organizational change, champion new systems/processes
Engage and Partner: LEVEL 4: Construct strategic multi-partner alliances in high stake situations, foster co-creation
Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 4: Create ethical culture, identify/address barriers to inclusion
Cross-Functional & Technical competencies

Crisis and Fragility Policy and Engagement: Data Analysis for early warning and Crisis Management
Effectiveness: Foresight Scanning, Systems and Tools for managing risks
Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Responsive Institutions: Community Engagement for prevention, response and social cohesion. Crisis Policy and Tools, Early Warning, Infrastructures for Peace, Prevention of Violent Extremism and Violence Prevention, Social Cohesion, Youth Peace and Security.
Governance: Civic Engagement (including Civil Society Engagement), Inclusion and Participation.
Rule of Law, Human Security and Human Rights: Safeguarding human rights and protecting vulnerable groups
Gender: Women, Peace and Security,

Required Skills and Experience

Master’s degree in human/social sciences, law, development studies or a related area
Minimum of Seven (7) years of relevant professional experience including progressive experience in a senior advisory position related to social cohesion / peace-building.
Experience working with a diverse range of national/international actors on social cohesion is required.
Knowledge of cross-cutting principles such as Gender, Human Rights-based approaches to development, Conflict Sensitivity and Do-No-Harm approaches and disability inclusion, Capacity Development, Youth Engagement and/or Environment will be an advantage .
Experience in people management and supervising development projects, will be an advantage.
Experience of collaborative or multi-sectoral approaches to peacebuilding and conflict prevention an asset.
Experience in the areas of CSO and private sector engagement, an asset.
Experience relating to gender mainstreaming is an asset.
Experience of collaborative or multi-sectoral approaches to peacebuilding and conflict prevention an advantage .
Language Requirements:
Fluency in Sinhala and/or Tamil with excellent English communication (Oral and written) skills

Apply for job

To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your cover/motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting.