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Sri Lanka: Programme Specialist - Urbanization, Resilience and Sustainability

NGO/UN Job Vacancy

Organization: UN Human Settlements Program
Country: Sri Lanka
Closing date: 24 Jun 2017

ORGANIZATION: UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP)

DUTY STATION: Colombo, Sri Lanka; travel to other provinces may be required

FUNCTIONAL TITLE: Programme Specialist - Urbanization, Resilience and Sustainability


POST DURATION: Six Months (With Possibility of Extension)

START DATE: 1st July 2017 or as soon as possible

CLOSING DATE: 24 June 2017


The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, is the agency for human settlements and sustainable urbanization. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. UN-Habitat is playing a key role implementing the Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September 2015 as well as the New Urban Agenda (NUA) adopted in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.

The Quito Declaration re-affirmed the role and expertise of UN-Habitat as a focal point on sustainable urbanization and human settlements and charged the Programme with implementing, following-up, and monitoring the NUA in collaboration with other UN entities. The details of The New Urban Agenda, Strategic Plan for 2014-2019 of the agency and seven thematic branches work are available on the website at and the Sri Lankan website at

UN-Habitat operations in Asia include activities in support of 32 member states, cities, and communities in the countries under the supervision of the Regional Office for Asia and Pacific in Fukuoka Japan.

Since its inception in 1978, UN-Habitat has been closely working with the Government of Sri Lanka and implemented several projects and programmes covering diverse thematic aspects of Habitat Agenda. Currently, the agency is implementing several projects including State of Sri Lankan Cities Report, sustainable involuntary resettlement programs, support to National Housing Policy formulation and catalytic support to peace-building and reconciliation, support to Human Development Initiative in Plantation Settlements, and Housing and Sustainable Resettlement Through Community-Driven Development concepts.

Under the general supervision of the head of the Agency and Senior Human Settlements Officer (SHSO), of the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), working closely with the country offices in the region, and seven branches of UN-Habitat in Nairobi, the Incumbent will produce specialized and innovative results, planned, implemented and reported to the management.

Roles/Responsibilities Expected for the Position:

Under the supervision of the head of the Agency for Sri Lanka, UN-Habitat, the ‘Programme Specialist’ will assist UN-Habitat, with the following tasks:

  • Assist head of the Agency and national professionals in project management, coordination, implementation, quality assurance and documentation of ongoing programs:

    • Provide substantial technical assistance and implementation support to the government, project partners and key stakeholders for successful implementation of ongoing projects and programmes through respective national professionals;

    • Extend quality technical inputs to project activities as well as to national institutions in line with UN-Habitat Strategic Plan 2014 – 2019 and the Habitat Country Programme Document 2016 – 2020 and the relevant thematic interventions and issues related to urbanization, sustainable development and resilience issues in Sri Lanka.

  • Assist in mobilizing additional partnerships and resources in line with UN-Habitat’s new programming ideas in the areas of climate and disaster risk reduction and resilience, and land issues:

    • Identify and develop concept notes and proposals including possible areas for partnerships with bilateral and multilateral partners in Sri Lanka and the region building on ongoing projects, partnerships and programs;

    • Review of the scope of climate change and Hazard Vulnerability and Risk (HVR) impact across sectors and identify strategies and opportunities to build risk sensitive projects and resilience programs in line with New Urban Agenda, and based on current good practices regionally and globally;

    • Liaise with sister UN agencies in the country and analyse the possibilities of UN-Habitat interventions into ongoing collective efforts for UN joint programming. .

  • Assist head of the Agency in application of global tools and initiatives of the agency in Sri Lanka in support of SDG Goals (especially to SDG 11) to existing national platforms and forums and undertake survey efforts; guides design of data collection, managemetn and dissemination instruments and prepares conclusions, concept notes and presentations.

  • Assist in the preparation of various written outputs, e.g. background papers, analysis, substantial sections of reports and studies, inputs to publications, related to urbanization, climate and urban resilience issues and trends about Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

  • Perform other duties and responsibilities which are within the expertise and experience as may be required by UN-Habitat in support of the activities of the agency and programme.


Six Months with possibility of extension based on performance appraisal. Picture of successful assessment includes; two successful interventions related to climate change, urban resilience and land issues or related substantial issues conceived and resources mobilized in Sri Lanka or the Maldives, two successful missions to assist country offices in the region and one draft publication for the technical journal in due course of six months.

Education: At least advanced university degree (Masters) in urban planning and design or architecture, environmental studies, climate science, geography, or related discipline. Prior work experience related to HLP issues, urbanization, and research publications in Asia Pacific region is desirable. Experience with risk assessment, risk modelling tools and statistical packages would be an added advantage.

Work Experience:

At least five (5) years of relevant working experience; preference will be given to those with previous UN-Habitat and/or UN experience. The ability to think creatively, work in a team, and perform under challenging circumstances is crucial. Adequate experience in working in developing countries and knowledge of project implementation in developing country environments is a requisite.

Language and Communication Skills:

Fluency in written and spoken English is required. English and French are the working languages for the UN Secretariat.

Other skills

Ability to work under pressure against deadlines and to work efficiently in a multi-national team with different backgrounds. Excellent interpersonal skills and cross- cultural awareness. Ability to work with minimum supervision, with efficiency, competence, and integrity.


As per UNOPS Salary Scale for International Individual Contractors (IICA) for UN-Habitat, partner personnel.

International Travel (Home – Colombo):

The cost of a return air-ticket from the place of recruitment on least-cost economy and visa fee will be reimbursed upon submission of travel claim together with the supporting documents including copy of e-ticket, receipts and used boarding passes. Three quotations from the reputable travel agents shall be submitted for UN-Habitat’s clearance prior to purchase of tickets.

Local Transportation:

Such as vehicle arrangements to provinces will be covered by UN-Habitat.

Reporting Arrangements: The Programme Specialist, Programme Specialist, Urbanization, Resilience and Sustainability –shall report to the head of the Agency and the Senior Human Settlements Officer based in ROAP.

How to apply:

Applications should include:

Completed UN Personal History Form (P11). Please download the form (MS-Word) from UN-Habitat/ROAP-vacancy website:

  • Cover memo or motivation letter for the position (maximum 1 page).

  • Full resume, indicating the following information:

  • Educational Background (incl. dates)

  • Professional Experience (assignments, tasks, achievements, duration by years/ months)

All applications should be submitted to:

UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

ACROS Fukuoka, 8th Floor

1-1-1 Tenjin Chuo-ku, Fukuoka, 810-0001 Japan

Please indicate the Post Title: SRL-PS-VA No 2017-010**”** in your e-mail subject.

Please note that applications received after the closing date stated below, will not be given consideration. Only short-listed candidates whose applications respond to the above criteria will be contacted for an interview. The fee will be determined according to the qualifications, skills and relevant experience of the selected candidate. In line with UN-Habitat policy on gender equity, applications from female candidates will be particularly welcome.

Deadline for applications: 24 June 2017**

Due to a large number of applications expected, only short-listed candidates will be contacted. The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. (Charter of the United Nations - Chapter 3, article 8).