Senior Project Manager (Balkans)

NGO Jobs / UN Jobs Vacancy

Organization: UNOPS
Closing date: 11 Apr 2021

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners' peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organisations. With over 6,000 personnel spread across 80 countries, UNOPS offers its partners the logistical, technical and management knowledge they need, where they need it. By implementing around 1,000 projects for our partners at any given time, UNOPS makes significant contributions to results on the ground, often in the most challenging environments.

The Austria Multi-Country Office (AUMCO) was set up in August 2019 as a part of the UNOPS Europe & Central Asia Region (ECR). Specifically, AUMCO aims to enable achievement of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement through global programmes and tailored interventions in the Balkans, South Caucasus, and Central Asia, focused on:

Project Management (full service, back on track)
HR and Transactional Services
Grants Management
Technical and Advisory Services

Project Information

In the frame of this multi-year project, UNOPS will provide support in the six countries of the Western Balkans with access to tailored expertise, knowledge and best practice to assist them with advancing their respective reform agenda. Learning and exchanges will be promoted across the six countries, as well as from neighboring countries which have joined the EU. The project will result in strengthened institutional, administrative and legislative frameworks and practices. To this end, UNOPS will coordinate with the respective national governments, UN organizations and other development partners, as well as the civil society.

The Project Manager will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the relevant project(s) and provides services to the different donors, partners and beneficiaries. Accordingly, the Project Manager acts on behalf of the Project Board to manage the project on an ongoing basis during the Implementation Stage. The main responsibility of a Project Manager is to ensure that the project outputs are delivered within the specified project tolerances of time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefits. S/he is expected to meet the organization’s performance and delivery goals.

The incumbent will also cultivate existing or create new linkages and strong networks in the country and sub-region between UNOPS and government organizations, UN system, development partners and other relevant stakeholders.

The Project Manager has the authority to assign, as per the Project Plan, work packages to Team Managers and approve deliverables produced by them.

The Project Manager is responsible for creating the Implementation Plan, using the Project Initiation Document (PID), Legal Agreement and having a thorough understanding of the terms, conditions, and the respective roles and responsibilities of the partners/stakeholders, to ensure the project(s) outputs are capable of meeting the business cases for both UNOPS and the partner(s). Success of the project(s) and hence of the Project Manager will be based on the defined Success Criteria specific to the said project(s).

The assignment timeline will be determined once the project agreement has been signed by the respective donor. The Project Manager is expected to travel extensively across the Western Balkans region.

This role could be based in Albania/ Kosovo*/ Bosnia-Herzegovina/BiH/ North Macedonia/ Montenegro or Serbia, depending on the outcome of the recruitment process. The final decision regarding the duty station lies with UNOPS.

(* All references to Kosovo are made in the context of UNSCR 1244.)

Functional Responsibilities

  1. Project Delivery and Performance

    Develop, complete and update implementation plan(s).
    Implement the approved plan (including the establishment of milestones) within tolerances set by the Project Board.
    Embed sustainability dimensions including social and gender inclusion, environmental and economic aspects into project life span.
    Manage the production of the required outputs, taking responsibility for overall progress and use of resources and initiating corrective action where necessary.
    Ensure that quality of work packages and deliverables complies with the quality requirements defined in the Implementation Plan.
    Liaise with any external suppliers or account managers.
    Manage acceptance and delivery of work packages.
    Monitor project progress ensuring that work packages are being executed properly.
    Control project and work packages changes.
    Accept goods, services or works delivered by suppliers.
    Identify, and anticipate in a timely manner, potential risks and issues and advise mitigating measures to senior management/ Project Board so that maximum benefit to partner(s) and other stakeholders is achieved.

Identify and report to the supervisor potential business opportunities for UNOPS

  1. Procedures

Comply with all organizational policy and specifically the Project Management Manual.

Prepare/adapt all relevant plans for approval by the Project Board.

Manage the reporting obligations defined in the Legal Agreement(s) and in the Implementation Plan.
Coordinate drafting of the requirements definitions for procurement processes. Approve requisitions and requests for non-purchase order payments, and evaluate submissions received, if appointed to the evaluation team.
Ensure maintenance of the project files and lessons learned are recorded.
Ensure the development and implementation of project financial management guidelines and control mechanisms, in conformity with UNOPS rules and regulations.
Manage budgets, cash flow and obligations to ensure that deliverables are met and payments to contractors and personnel are received on time.
Understand and manage UNOPS overheads, charges, and related corporate charges as they apply to the project.
Understand the unique structures of the UN and budget appropriately for personnel.
Manage expenditures against the budget (based on accurate financial reports).
Monitor and request relevant officials to carry out the relevant commitments and disbursements.
For project closure purposes, provide a formal handover of the project to the closure manager.
Support project audit activities, including planning, preparation and coordination during the audits and follow up on audit observations/recommendations.

3. Monitoring and reporting

  • Prepare and issue regular project and/or financial reports in accordance with Partner and UNOPS requirements for reporting.
  • Regularly review project status, evaluating performance criteria (scope, cost, schedule, and quality).
  • Maintain diaries and progress reports as required by the organization’s standard
  • procedures.
  • Provide routine oversight and analysis of delivery data within the dashboard system.
  • Ensure all project team members track and regularly update milestones and targets for the duration of projects and life span.

4. Stakeholder engagement

  • Develop stakeholder profiles and facilitate the formulation of stakeholder engagement strategies, including with project partners, as well as the wider UN system, government counterparts, the development system and other stakeholders in the country and sub- region.
  • Organize, participate in and attend high level meetings with UN and non-UN stakeholders, as and where required.
  • Establish solid working relationships with the Project Board (Executive, Senior Users and Senior Suppliers), client and key stakeholders.
  • Enable the formulation of project communications plans. Coordinate internal project communications. Monitor the effectiveness of project communications.
  • Coordinate stakeholder engagement and communication, ensuring effective timing and interdependency management of communications. Ensure stakeholders are aware of project activities, progress, exceptions and are in a position to accept handover outputs.

5. Quality assurance

  • Work with internal stakeholders to ensure projects comply with audit requirements.
  • Work with procurement/purchasing staff to ensure effective interface with suppliers and quality systems.
  • Coordinate quality reviews of project documents and deliverables.
  • Provide quality control for management outputs (project documents, reports, etc.).

6. Knowledge management and innovation

  • Encourage routine and effective capacity building activities are conducted in order to build the long-term and sustainable capacity of staff.
  • Actively interact with other Project Managers and the wider PM community to share case studies, lessons learned and best practices
  • Contribute to the oversight of lessons learned procedures, ensuring that lessons learnt are shared in a timely and appropriate manner. Participate in the relevant Communities of Practice
  • Research and logging of lessons learned throughout the project life span.
  • Provide feedback to Practice Groups on policy, supporting guidance with an aim towards continuous improvement of UNOPS policies

7. Personnel Management

  • Lead and motivate the project management team, as relevant and assigned.
  • Ensure that behavioural expectations of team members are established.
  • Ensure that performance reviews are conducted fairly, accurately and timely.
  • Help select, recruit and train teams as required and take into account gender parity and diversity objectives.
  • Ensure safety and security for all project personnel and comply with UNDSS standards.
  • Create, foster and role model a culture of respect and zero tolerance for discrimination, abuse of authority, harassment, sexual harassment and sexual exploitation and abuse.
  • Ensure accountability for actions and perform duties in accordance with protection mechanisms and action plans, as expected by UNOPS policies, standards and commitments.

** Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • Advanced degree (master’s level or above) in Project Management, International Relations, Political Science, Economics, Public Administration, Business Management or another relevant discipline is required.
  • A relevant university degree (bachelor’s degree / first level) with a combination of 2 additional years of relevant professional experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.


  • Prince2, IPMA or PMP-PMI project management certification would be considered a significant asset.
  • The incumbent will also be required to complete the relevant UNOPS project management courses within 6 months after appointment.


  • At least 7 years of progressive experience required in the management and/or delivery of projects in either public or private sector organizations is required.
  • Experience working on project management in a UN organization or a similar international organization would be considered a strong asset.
  • Expertise in projects involving the provision of technical assistance to governments regarding governance reform processes, including EU accession criteria related considerations, is highly desired.
  • Experience liaising and working with high level government officials to facilitate planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of projects would be considered a strong asset.
  • Work experience in the Balkans, and a good understanding of the sub- regional context, particularly in relation to the EU agenda, will be considered a significant advantage.

Language Requirements:

  • Excellent (written and oral) English language skills are required.
  • Excellent knowledge of local languages is strongly preferred.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: International Individual Contract Agreement (IICA), Ongoing
Contract level: ICS-11/IICA-3
Contract duration: Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance.
Duty Station: Multiple (Albania/ Kosovo/ Bosnia-Herzegovina/BiH/ North Macedonia/ Montenegro or Serbia), depending on the outcome of the recruitment process. The final decision regarding the duty station lies with UNOPS.

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link:


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.**(for levels IICA-2, IICA-3, LICA Specialist- 10, LICA Specialist-11, NOC, NOD, P3, P4 and above)**

Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.

Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.

Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).

Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.

Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.

Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.

Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • 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.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns.
Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.


How to apply:

Apply in the following link:

Apply to Job


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