Urban Specialist - Cities Alliance Secretariat

Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS mission is to serve people in need by expanding the ability of the United Nations, governments and other partners to manage projects, infrastructure and procurement in a sustainable and efficient manner. Within these three core areas of expertise, UNOPS provides its partners with advisory, implementation and transactional services, with projects ranging from building schools and hospitals, to procuring goods and services and training local personnel. UNOPS works closely with governments and communities to ensure increased economic, social and environmental sustainability for the projects we support, with a focus on developing national capacity. Working in some of the world's most challenging environments, our vision is to advance sustainable implementation practices in development, humanitarian and peacebuilding contexts, always satisfying or surpassing partner expectations. We employ more than 6,000 personnel and on behalf of our partners create thousands more work opportunities in local communities. Through our headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark and a network of offices, we oversee activities in more than 80 countries.

Background information - GPSO

Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Global Partner Services Office (GPSO) develops and manages a portfolio of projects and services delivered in various locations across the globe. GPSO supports partners such as the World Bank, the European Union, the Department of Peacekeeping operations, the United Nations Mine Action Service, the Global Fund, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, amongst others. This global portfolio constitutes a substantial volume of UNOPS project delivery. As part of its mandate, UNOPS is able to act as Trustee and provide the Secretariat of a range of international organisations. The Consultative Group of the Cities Alliance, an internationally-recognised global partnership, has selected UNOPS to perform these functions. The Cities Alliance is global partnership for urban poverty reduction and the promotion of cities in sustainable development. The Cities Alliance is governed by a Charter adopted by its members. The Consultative group is the primary decision-making body of the organisation, and has delegated a number of roles and responsibilities to the Executive Committee. The Cities Alliance Secretariat is provided by UNOPS, and based in Brussels, Belgium.

This position is located in the Cities Alliance Secretariat (CA Secretariat) office in Brussels, Belgium. The Urban Specialist will work with the Programme Unit team across all activities of the Unit according to individual interests and the specific demands identified by the Head of the Programme Unit. The priority focus of the Urban Specialist will be to provide support to Cities Alliance Country Programmes, which are regarded as one of the organisation's flagship activities.. The Urban Specialist reports to the Head of the Programme Unit. S/he will be a full member of the Cities Alliance Secretariat, and is fully integrated into all policies and procedures.

Functional Responsibilities

Reporting to the Head of Programmes the Urban Specialist:

1. Develops and/or improves internal systems for supporting Cities Alliance country programmes. Uses Results Based Management (RBM) / M&E techniques, methods and their applications. Effective application of RBM tools, establishment of management targets and monitoring achievement of results. Expected Results for the next 12 months: a) Undertakes analysis of portfolio; b) Ensures organizational set-up and project management systems are fully functional in support of country programmes; c) A very clear reporting calendar established with each grantee; d) Prepare monthly and quarterly progress reports and organize, correspondingly, monthly and quarterly progress reviews of Country Programmes.

2. To support growth and sustainability of country programmes, the Urban Specialist will provide insight into potential collaboration and support the review and in-depth analysis of project proposals. Expected Result for the next 12 months: a) Contribute to the identification of strategic and innovative programme areas of cooperation. Accordingly, prepare programme strategic frameworks; b) Analyse and critique project proposals and project documents of the country programmes; c) Strategic oversight of planning, budgeting, implementing and monitoring of the programme, tracking use of financial resources in accordance with Cities Alliance / UNOPS rules and regulations.

3. Outreach, networking, dissemination of information: The Urban Specialist will contribute to Cities Alliance's participation in networks and capturing of information. Expected Result for the next 12 months: a) Disseminate the information on best practices and be an active member of the Cities Alliance's global and regional networks; b) Support the expansion of outreach to the UN, national government, municipal authorities, private sector, non-government and international development organizations; c) Identifies areas of cross-fertilization and learning and promotes exchange of experiences.

4. Actively participates in the work programme activities of the Cities Alliance secretariat. Obtains a good understanding of the mission and mandate of the Cities Alliance, and seeks to identify opportunities to strengthen the country programme portfolio. Undertakes such tasks as the Director may request, from time to time. Expected Result for the next 12 months: a) Good understanding of the Cities Alliance work programme, priorities and key partners; b) Identifies opportunities to share information and strengthen projects, across portfolios, and also with CA members.

Impact of results The Cities Alliance ensures high quality oversight of the country programmes and envisioned expansion of country programmes/startup of new country programmes. Timely and appropriate support is provided to each grantee, and problems are anticipated an addressed. The portfolio is strengthened through high quality monitoring, project and programme support and through identifying connections to other activities. Learning is strengthened within and between projects, and lessons are clearly captured and disseminated. Coordination and synergy between the portfolio, the Cities Alliance and its members and partners is significantly enhanced. The Cities Alliance increases its visibility as a global partnership for urban poverty reduction.


  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills and ability to handle a range of management and coordination issues (Creativity and Innovation)
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and align assignments to broader goals of the organization (Change Orientation)
  • Proven expertise in one or more aspect of urban development
  • Strong drive to develop and lead assigned staff in new initiatives and align them to the performance framework of the organization (Initiative)
  • Proven supervisory ability and/or strategic and operational leadership for given assignments. Ability to maintain effective working relations both as a team member and team leader (Leadership)
  • Demonstrated ability to apply good judgment and decision making skills (Decision-Making)
  • Willingness to keep abreast of new development and support corresponding learning processes, guide tool development (Ability to learn)
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and working relations with people in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity (Teamwork Skills)
  • Proven ability to analyse diverse reporting products/outputs across multiple sectors and disciplines and extract key information and lessons
  • Ability to manage, organize, plan and implement work assignments, juggle competing demands and work under pressure of frequent and tight deadlines (Organising and Quality Orientation)
  • Proven ability to support learning processes, guide tool development and establish norms, standards and results management regimes for monitoring impacts
  • Strong spoken and written communication skills (Communication Skills)

Education/Experience/Language requirements

  • Advanced degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in urban development, political or social science or other relevant discipline
  • Sound conceptual knowledge and a minimum of five (5) years of relevant experience in urban development, especially in urban development cooperation
  • Excellent verbal and written command of English and working knowledge of Spanish, French, Arabic or Portuguese other UN language

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: FTA

Contract level: P-3

Contract duration: one year, renewable subject to available funds and satisfactory performance For more details about United Nations staff contracts, please follow this link:



Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time (CET)
  • 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.
  • For staff positions UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.