Capacity Development Specialist

Location : Cairo, EGYPT
Application Deadline :25-Sep-12 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Management
Type of Contract :FTA International
Post Level :P-4
Languages Required :
Arabic   English  
Duration of Initial Contract :1 year
Expected Duration of Assignment :1 year


UNDP Practice architecture:

UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2008-2013 and the 2008 regionalization paper articulate the corporate requirement to bring timely and effective substantive and technical services to the country offices through strengthened practice architecture at the global, regional and country level. 

The UNDP Practice Architecture is an evolving framework for organizing UNDP to provide consistent policy advisory services, relevant and substantive knowledge, better linking of policy and programming and capacity development. 

The Bureau for Development Policy (BDP) plays a key role in helping countries to reach their development goals. It is responsible for articulating UNDP’s global policy on developmental issues using evidence gathered through country applications, regional experiences and global interactions.  It helps countries through a network of country offices that it connects to the best of knowledge and human resources on various thematic issues, in the design and implementation of programmes and projects that effectively contribute to policies and results at the national level.  Driven by demand, and working through the Regional Bureau and Regional Centres, BDP provides the global tools, analysis and capacities that country offices need to make a real difference in UNDP’s practice areas.

BDP’s support of UNDP’s strategic plan 2008-2013 is currently focused in 4 practices (Poverty Reduction and the MDGs, Governance, Environment and Energy, HIV/AIDS) and 2 cross cutting thematic areas: Capacity Development, and Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment). As per July 1st, 2012, BDP has combined the former Capacity Development and Knowledge Management Groups into the Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity Group, with a view to strengthen the synergies between these different thematic areas. Advisors in regional centres that are matrixed to the KIGC will explore synergies and coordinate their work closely, also when they are performing their main tasks integrated in other clusters in the RCC. 

The practice management structure at the Regional Centre in Cairo (RCC) is composed of two key teams, 1) the Democratic Governance Team, which maintains the following expertise: i) electoral and parliamentarian support, ii) human rights, iii) public administration reform, iv) local governance, v) anti-corruption and integrity, vi) justice and security, vii) gender equality, viii) civil society/youth, ix) capacity development, and x) conflict prevention and recovery. and 2) the Poverty Reduction Team.

The Capacity Development Specialist of the Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity team as part of the democratic governance team coordinates the community of practice with the global practice, to promote consistency and coherence within the thematic area or capacity development. S/he has dual reporting lines to the TL of the Democratic Governance Team as well as the Knowledge Management advisor (principal supervisor).  It is recognised that as the Practice Architecture evolves in respect of the Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity Group, this position will increasingly have a role that bridges across teams, practices and clusters. 

Capacity Development Approach: 

UNDP’s strategic plan identifies capacity development as the overarching UNDP contribution, and states that the development effectiveness principles of national ownership, effective aid management and South-South Cooperation will guide UNDP interventions.

Capacity Development Focus:

The capacity development approach of UNDP ensures that when partner countries undertaken programmes and other interventions, they do so in cognizance of best fit with their national development priorities, and that programmes are well entrenched within national institutions and systems. The ultimate aim for UNDP is to graduate out of individual programmes and leave behind sustainable systems, people and institutions.    As UNDP’s first line of capacity development work, the regional Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity team ensures that development interventions are undertaken with full heed to capacity challenges, that capacity assessments have been undertaken and baselines established, and appropriate CD strategies are recommended and implemented.  CD responses are designed into programmes and CD results tracked and measured. The UNDP CD approach and services are detailed in Supporting Capacity Development: the UNDP Approach (available on as well as other guidance material.

UNDP also undertakes policy advisory support to countries about alternate approaches to capacity development and their advantages and challenges.

The Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity team also covers support to the region on all issues related to capacity development for aid effectiveness (AE), as regional representative of BDP’s global aid effectiveness team. This includes providing advice to Arab Governments on implementing the Busan partnership, with a special focus on AE for transition and post-conflict contexts; facilitating knowledge creation, management and exchange on CD for AE in the Arab region (South-South cooperation, collection and dissemination of best practices and lessons learnt); and supporting COs in incorporating AE principles into programming and business processes;

Regional Context:

The magnitude of change across the region is enormous. Countries are facing tremendous challenges, yet, in a bigger picture, the Arab Spring has opened an unprecedented window of opportunity for positive transformation. In close partnership with the relevant Governments and in response to specific requests for support, UNDP is actively involved in supporting efforts to seize this opportunity by bringing to bear its expertise to meet country needs.

Responding to the events of the Arab Spring and the resulting transitions happening in the region, the Regional Bureau for the Arab States (RBAS) is implementing UNDP’s Strategy of Response to Transformative Change in the Arab States Region. Building on the four pillars of the Strategic Plan, practical experience and knowledge globally, in the region and at country level, including the farsighted analyses contained in its global, Arab regional and country-specific national Human Development Reports, as well as other of its relevant Arab region and country-specific reports, this Response Strategy outlines UNDP’s understanding of the issues underlying the wave of transformations in the region and its proposed programmatic response.

  • Reorienting its established and new country programmes to support democratic reforms and inclusive growth, especially at their nexus;
  • Deepening its ongoing initiatives to support inclusive political participation and dialogue between the state and its citizens;
  • Developing new programmatic lines by bridging the gap between solid analysis and programmatic action;
  • Stepping up and tailoring its conflict prevention and recovery support to the specific country contexts in the region;
  • Bridging the gap between solid diagnostics, analysis, reflection, on the one hand, and programmatic action, on the other;
  • Supporting bold Country Office leadership, able to seize opportunities;
  • Facilitating UNDP’s agility for urgent and time sensitive interventions;.
  • Adopting a “business unusual” approach to rise up to the level of transformation and social change.

The integrated capacity development advice with the application of corporate CD approaches and strategies to the Arab States region will be sensitive to the region’s political economy and root causes of internally and externally driven conflict. It will support strategic capacities for leadership and collaboration in areas such as national dialogue, the building of viable, multi-actor consensus on critical reforms, and the development of integrated frameworks that address the multifaceted nature of transformations.

The Capacity Development Specialist is the principal provider and coordinator of integrated policy advice, technical backstopping and knowledge services to countries in the region. S/he will  work towards creating a partnership platform for CD initiatives with key local, national and regional partners. S/he will facilitate cross-practice and cross-regional collaboration and knowledge brokering on capacity development.  The Advisor will work with the Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity (KICG) global team and will collaborate with UNDP’s country offices, regional bureau and other practice teams to realize the above and be responsible for delivering quality services.

Duties and Responsibilities

The specialist's role is to lead from the front with quality policy, knowledge and technical services delivered to countries. S/he has other roles of practice co-ordination with connecting countries to global experiences.  The incumbent will ensure the quality and relevance of programme and project services in the Arab States region, ensuring consistency at the global level. To that end the specialist's functions are fully integrated in the Regional Service Centre structure, results planning and delivery. As a result, the incumbent will be accountable for the delivery and quality of results to both the Knowledge Management Advisor and the Democratic Governance Team Leader and in the Regional Center.

This integrated approach translates into joint work planning and joint performance assessment. 
The incumbent will be responsible for the following functions:

  • Policy Advisory/Programme Support-Delivery;
  • Substantive Leadership & Coordination
  • Advocacy;
  • Partnership Building;
  • Quality Control and Assurance; and
  • Knowledge Management.

Policy Advisory/Programme Support-Delivery:

  • Provide policy advisory services to the Governments and other partners in the region on capacity development, including but not limited to institutional strengthening of government agencies undergoing fundamental restructuring following the Arab events;
  • Provide policy advisory services in the context of the Regional Bureau for the Arab States regional programmes;
  • Participate substantively in respective regional projects as part of efforts to provide integrated services
  • Contribute to the design and formulation of CO programmes/regional programmes drawing upon lessons from programmes and other initiatives in the region and from global experiences;
  • Provide effective support and backstopping for, and timely feedback and reporting on implementation of programmes in support of the practice architecture;
  • Strengthen internal CO capacity on the use of UNDP corporate capacity development framework;
  • Provide guidance on cross thematic issues and lead the development of cross practice synergy.
  • Ensure that the latest innovation expertise and methodologies are systematically identified, tested and made available to colleagues and clients

Substantive Leadership & Co-ordination:

Substantive Leadership:

  • Provide substantive leadership on capacity development in a politically complex environment to all personnel engaged in related operational activities in the RSC including on the regional programme;
  • Keep abreast on evolving policies and themes in the Knowledge, Innovation and Capacity  Group in headquarters;
  • Support delivery of capacity development services in the region ensuring UNDP’s credibility in delivery on a highly visible programme which in turn links to UNDP’s delivery on its Strategic Plan 2008-2013.


  • In coordination with the Knowledge Management Advisor develop and implement  plans including for the global CD programme and RBAS regional programmes;
  • Liaise with practice leaders at the Cairo Regional Centre to shape integrated regional responses to demand and ensure an integration of CD;
  • Support country offices to  include capacity development at the planning stages of country and regional programmes;
  • Support the Global Tracking system of the capacity development team.

Mobilizing Communities of Practice:

  • Support relevant communities of practice (COP) at the regional level and catalyze and connect to global experiences including cross-regional/practice collaboration;
  • Be appraised of and leverage the approaches and tools in other practices.


  • Advocate for capacity development and related issues in the region including promotion of global policies, norms and standards and the sharing of global experience;
  • Represent UNDP (and UN partner organizations) to advocate common  messages in the international development arena.

Partnership Building:

  • Support positioning UNDP within the UN system to foster consistency in approach at the regional level by scanning and assessing activities of non-UNDP players in local context and in support of UNCTs and UNDP CO programming arrangements with government counterparts;
  • Engage national and regional partners in capacity development policy and programme responses under the leadership of the country offices and the UNCT;
  • Support partnership building with regional and local institutions and consultancies, such as League of Arab States and ESCWA;
  • Develop with colleagues an expert roster for the region;
  • Develop multi-partner proposals;
  • Support the formulation and implementation of the regional partnerships in support of the capacity development agenda
  • Scan partnership opportunities and donor intelligence and inform supervisors as well as the Centre Manager of new partnership opportunities – e.g. donor priorities; pledges, new donor funding modalities, etc.

Quality Control and Assurance:

  • Provide Quality Assurance to ensure alignment with global development policies, norms and standards;
  • Co-ordinate delivery of demand-driven service delivery to country offices and regional programmes ensuring professionalism in support – e.g. timelines, responsiveness, quality in deliverables, etc;
  • Promote quality standards including long-term locally driven initiatives;
  • Support an integrated approach and cross-regional collaboration back into the global level.

Knowledge Management (KM):

  • Support development of region-wide lessons learnt, best practices and generate knowledge needed and lessons learnt to shape UNDP’s  global strategies in the region;
  • Support the development of a knowledge system and support the utilization of KM strategies and tools;
  • Link KM to business processes; and
  • Promote UN wide Knowledge Management Strategies.



  • Demonstrates integrity and fairness, by modeling the UN/UNDP’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.


  • A self-starter with demonstrated credibility to carry missions and country support;
  • Strong ability to apply various practice/thematic area related development theories to the specific context, including translating practice principles into effective policy and programme interventions in the field;
  • Strong substantive knowledge and experience of capacity development and ability to link knowledge to UN/UNDP global policies, processes and frameworks;
  • Capacity to interact with senior officials and credibly influence senior decision makers in UNDP programme countries and other international development organizations;
  • Strong analytical, negotiation and communication skills, including ability to produce high quality practical advisory reports and knowledge products, represent the organization and present global policies, norms and tools;
  • Professional and/or academic experience in one or more of the areas of capacity development.


  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and to provide credible leadership;
  • Innovative approaches/experience on global development issues;
  • Demonstrated flexibility in leadership by performing and/or overseeing the analysis/resolution of complex issues;
  • Ability to conceptualize and convey strategic vision from the spectrum of development experience;
  • Knowledge and expertise/recognized expert in practice area.

Managing Relationships

  • Demonstrated well developed people management and organizational management skills;
  • Ability to coordinate teams; creating an enabling environment, mentoring and developing staff;
  • Excellent negotiating and networking skills with strong partnerships in academia, technical organizations and as a recognized expert in the practice area;
  • Resource mobilization and partnering skills and ability to accept accountability for management of financial resources;
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a matrixed environment balancing regional and global priorites and assignations.

Managing Complexity

  • Ability to address global development issues;
  • Substantive knowledge and understanding of development cooperation with the ability to support the practice architecture of UNDP and inter-disciplinary issues;
  • Demonstrated substantive leadership and ability to integrate knowledge with broader strategic, policy and operational objectives;
  • A sound global network of institutional and individual relationships.

Knowledge Management and Learning

  • Ability to strongly promote and connect knowledge to situations;
  • Promote knowledge management in UNDP and a learning environment in the office through leadership and personal example;
  • Seek and apply knowledge, information and best practices from within and outside of UNDP;
  • Provide constructive coaching and feedback.


  • Mature judgment and initiative;
  • Proven ability to provide strategic direction in practice area;
    Independent judgment and discretion in advising on handling major policy issues and challenges, uses diplomacy
  • and tact to achieve results.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Master's degree in a development related field with academic training in practice areas.
  • At least 7 years of overall relevant professional experience as well as a proven professional record in capacity development;
  • Work experience in the region is highly desirable;
  • A track record of national and international working experience with increasing responsibilities in the development arena and UNDP’s practice areas and the ability to link to global policy development for UNDP;
  • Experience in leading/managing knowledge product development and dissemination.
Language Requirements:
  • Fluency (both written and verbal) in English and Arabic. Working knowledge of French is an asset.

Click here for important information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders).
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.

If you are experiencing difficulties with online job applications, please contact

© 2016 United Nations Development Programme