Capacity Development Policy Specialist

Location : Panama City, PANAMA
Application Deadline :18-Jan-13 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :FTA International
Post Level :P-4
Languages Required :
English   Spanish  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :1 year ( renewable)
Expected Duration of Assignment :1 year ( renewable)


UNDP works in 166 countries helping to develop their capacities to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Capacity refers to the ability of individuals, organizations and societies to perform tasks, solve problems and set and achieve goals in a sustainable way. Capacity Development, for its part, is the process through which skills are acquired, strengthened, adapted and maintained over time.
If human development is the “what” of the UNDP mandate, capacity development is the “how”. UNDP defines capacity development as the process through which individuals, organizations and societies obtain, strengthen and maintain their capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives. UNDP considers capacity development as its overarching contribution to development as noted in its Strategic Plan 2008-2011. Capacity development is the key to sustainable human development. Without an enabling environment, efficient organizations and a dynamic human resource base, countries lack the foundation to plan, implement and review their national and local development strategies and promote human development. Over the last decade, the development community has come to realize that it is impossible to work on policies without at the same time working on the capacities of people, organizations and the larger community. The development of the institution – at the grassroots level, at the community level, at the national level – is at the centre of the development challenge, be it about its human resource base, the systems or the environment in which it must function. It is for this reason that capacity development is at the heart of everything UNDP does.
UNDP places priority on strategies that create opportunities to develop and sustain capacity at national and local levels, including accountable leadership, long-term education and learning, stronger partnerships between citizen and state, and institutional reform.
The regional work is implemented directly through the UNDP Capacity Development Practice Area at the Regional Centre, and project implementation will be undertaken in collaboration with the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean through the Regional Centre, the Capacity Development Group in New York, the community of practice, as well as with other programme countries and other partners.
The UNDP activities in SSC in LAC are implemented through the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNDP RBLAC), the Regional Service Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean (RSC-LAC), and the Country Offices of Latin America and the Caribbean, (LAC COs).
Historically, UNDP’s SSC policies date back to the 1978 Buenos Aires Plan of Action for Promoting and Implementing Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (BAPA) which calls upon the UN family to act as “promoters and catalysts of Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC).” This approach has been updated recently with the 2009 Nairobi Outcome Document aiming to “reinvigorate the United Nations development system in supporting and promoting South-South cooperation,” specifically through mainstreaming support to SSC in all agencies and programs.
Furthermore, the 2008 Accra Agenda for Action and the 2010 Bogota Statement constitute the reference for UNDP’s engagement in linking SSC, capacity development, and aid effectiveness.
At the strategic and operational level, the current UNDP rationale for SSC derives from the Fourth Cooperation Framework for South-South Cooperation, which emphasizes SSC as a means to enhance cooperation, progress toward the MDG, build national capacities, and entrust country ownership.
Moreover, SSC permeates nearly every sector and is intended to influence every program, as noted in the BAPA and subsequent performance reports and guidelines.
Through a variety of channels, UNDP works to benefit every country in Latin America and the Caribbean with its support to South-South activities, including supporting conferences that draw in actors from across the region and projects that help connect the majority of the countries in the region. Ecuador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, and El Salvador are just a few of the many beneficiaries of UNDP support to SSC in the region.
The Regional Capacity Development Team
The Regional Capacity Development Practice Area in Panama City currently consists of a core team of four people lead by the Practice leader. One team member is a specialist in Capacity Development and Monitoring and Evaluation, while one team member focuses on strengthening national capacities for Effective Development Cooperation and one team member provides administrative, financial and logistical support.
The Spain-UNDP Trust Fund “Towards integrated and inclusive development in Latin America and the Caribbean” (SPTF) has supported several national projects in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) focused on development (citizen security, energy and environment, democratic governance, disaster risk reduction, etc.) 
The incumbent is expected to support the Capacity Development Unit in its effort to strengthen regional, national, sub national and local development initiatives, mainly focused on development in LAC, through the enhancement of its knowledge management capacity along with ad-hoc technical expertise on institutional development.

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of key functions:

  •  Capacity development;
  •  Capacity development knowledge management;
  •  Capacity development innovation and Policy advisory.

Capacity development:

  • Collect experiences on policies, investments and programs that have proven successful institutional capacity development results, especially regarding projects in the LAC region;
  • Support the preparation, review, and submission of position papers, concept notes, documents or policy proposals for internal and external scenarios;
  • Lead the mapping of and building the relations with external entities involved in capacity development, coordinate with internal and external partners to ensure collective capacity development understanding;
  • Maintain a permanent the roster of consultants who can support the CD cluster
  • Advice the Country Office in the process to prepare Terms of Reference, for candidates for the implementation of capacity development activities
  • Promote regular exchange of comparative experiences, lessons learned and good practices related to sustainable capacity development; and
  •  Identify success factors and develops recommendations to incorporate best practices into Country Offices work;
  •  Facilitate peer-to-peer learning in areas related to capacity development processes (assessments, capacity development response, and evaluation) of capacity development.

Facilitate knowledge building and management and communicate results:

  • Support peer review processes for capacity development publication and its dissemination
  • Prepare, implement and monitor capacity development knowledge products in support to achieving cluster results leading to South-South Cooperation solutions.
  • Draft communications and success stories in close coordination with the Country Offices and partners to demonstrate results in development approaches and in the strengthening of institutional capacities;
  • Makes the case for innovative ideas documenting successes and building them into the design of new approaches;
  • Identifies new approaches and strategies that promote the use of tools and mechanisms of capacity development;
  • Contribute to knowledge management by generating lessons learned and best practices to share within and outside UNDP; and
  • Propose best practices for SSC processes
  • Provide sound contributions to knowledge networks, communities of practice, studies/ surveys and UNDP publications.

Create strategic partnerships and mobilize resources for capacity development:

  •  Liaise with stakeholders and identify opportunities for partnership building and resource mobilization: Ensure the creation of strategic partnerships that advance the capacity development initiatives/ projects of UNDP (e.g. development of partnerships with UN Agencies, UN multilateral funds, IFIs, Government institutions, bilateral and multilateral donors, the private sector and civil society);  and
  • Analysis and research of information on donors, preparation of substantive briefs on possible areas of cooperation, identification of opportunities for initiation of new projects, active contribution to overall resource mobilization efforts.

Impact of Results:  
The key results have an impact on the efficiency of the Capacity Development Unit. Accurate analysis and presentation of information strengthens the capacity of the Practice Team Leader, Capacity Development Unit’s and promotes the image of UN/UNDP as an effective contributor to the development of the LAC Region, and focused on strengthening of institutional capacities.


Corporate Competencies:
  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN's values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism.
Functional Competencies:
Knowledge Management and Learning
  • Possesses in-depth practical knowledge of inter-disciplinary development issues;
  • Promotes knowledge management in UNDP and a learning environment in the office through leadership and personal example;
  • Actively works towards continuing personal learning and development, acts on learning plan and applies newly acquired skills;
  • Seeks and applies knowledge, information, and best practices from within and outside of UNDP;
  • Ability to apply development theory to the specific country context to identify creative, practical approaches to overcome challenging situations.

Development and Operational Effectiveness

  • Ability to lead strategic planning, change processes, results-based management and reporting;
  • Ability to lead formulation, oversight of implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development projects;
  • Ability to apply development theory to the specific country context to identify creative, practical approaches to overcome challenging situations

Management and Leadership

  • Builds strong relationships with clients, focuses on impact and result for the client and responds positively to feedback;
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities;
  • Ability to lead effectively, strong facilitation skills as well as conflict resolution skills;
  • Demonstrates strong oral and written communication skills;
  • Remains calm, in control and good humored even under pressure;
  • Proven networking, team-building, organizational and communication skills.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Advanced university degree (Masters or above) in international relations, public administration, Development Studies, human rights, economic, social sciences or any other related field of study.
  • A minimum of 7 years of professional of progressively responsible experience in work experience in development, institutional strengthening in a governmental or multilateral organization.
  • Practical experience in the field of development, local development, strengthening the ability of institutions, democratic governance and/or human rights.
  • Experience of providing advisory services in the area of capacity development/public administration reforms.
  • Experience of governance and public sector management in general, and public sector capacity development in particular, at both national and sub-national level in developing countries.
 Language Requirements:
  • Fluency in English and Spanish is required. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.
 Please note that only short-listed candidates will be notified. 
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