Water Policy Advisor

Location : Dushanbe, TAJIKISTAN
Application Deadline :16-May-16 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :July 2016 to June 2018
Expected Duration of Assignment :480 working days within two years (20 days per month)

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.


According to figures released by International Financial Institutions (IFIs), particularly the IMF and WB, remittances made up 50% of Tajikistan’s GDP over the period 2013, with a total of approximately US$ 3 billion. Following Western sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014 accompanied by drastic fall of 50% in oil and gas prices worldwide and the fall of Russian Rubble by almost 40%, it is estimated that the remittance contribution to the household economy and to the GDP was reduced by around 25% in 2014. Similar figures indicate a sharp drop of around 40% in household income from remittances while its impact on the national economy and the GDP would be felt much stronger.

These, accompanied by a drop in the number of Tajik labour migrants in Russia – migrated Ukrainians have replaced many Central Asian migrants in Russia since mid-2014 and obtaining work permission and the right documentation has become more difficult and costly for Tajik labour migrants in Russia. The majority of these migrants come from rural areas of Tajikistan where the economy is dominated by agriculture.  With incomplete agrarian reform, unimplemented land reform and delays in the implementation of the water sector reform, there is a huge constraint towards growth in the agriculture sector with limited capacity to absorb labour.

Unless Russia manages to recover from the economic shocks – which seems very unlikely at the moment – and is able to absorb more migrant labourers, these returnees would eventually become a source of social and economic instability in the country. Therefore, in order to avoid such social and economic instability, the agriculture sector must be able to perform more productive and profitable. Key to improved performance is stable and equitable access to irrigation water, especially as over 80% of agriculture in Tajikistan depends on irrigation.

As such the successful implementation of the water sector reform would significantly contribute to agriculture development and as such more employment would be offered. 

Water sector reform context:

Since the past several years the water issues had been at the top of Tajikistan’s development agenda. The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan (GoRT) promoted several high level initiatives at the global level in 2012, 2013, and 2015 as well as initiated water sector reform with subsequent decisions domestically to stress water sector a priority for country’s sustainable development. Specifically, at the global level, Tajikistan took an active part in the Sixth Global Water Forum in 2012. Tajikistan initiated a resolution which was endorsed to consider the 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation. In the framework of this resolution two high level conferences had been held in 2013 - one in New York, USA in March, and the other hosted by Tajikistan in August 2013. In 2015, Tajikistan hosted a High Level International Conference on the implementation of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life”, 2005-2015. The United Nations is considering adopting a new resolution for the next water decade suggested by Tajikistan – “Water for Development”.

Domestically, in 2009, The GoRT with support of the international community initiated mutually interlinked reform processes in the water, agriculture, land and public sectors. Particularly, for water sector reform it is purposed to (a) for transition to Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach, (b) to change water resources management to hydrological boundaries as opposed to administrative boundaries, (c) to strengthen water integrity and governance through separated roles in policy and regulation, management and operations.

Simultaneously, in response to growing attention in water and energy issues, the GoRT resumed the activities of the National Coordination Council on Water and Energy issues under the GoRT (W&EC), which in the given context is tasked to guide the reform agenda and support its implementation at the highest level.

To promote IWRM, GoRT regularly chaired the meetings of the Coordination Group - National Policy Dialogue on IWRM (supported by the EU/UNECE), which is a high level national platform for policy dialogue and development of strategic instruments (plans, strategies, and decisions). Through this platform, drafts of policy resolutions, an overall water sector reform strategy of transition to IWRM, along with an Implementation Road Map and investment plan had been developed and submitted to the GoRT.

Consequently, December 2013, the GoRT endorsed the reform package with specific decisions on institutional reorganizations enabling further implementation of the reform agenda. Specifically, the Ministry of Land Reclamation and Water Resources was re-organized into Ministry of Energy and Water Resources (MEWR), separating water systems management and operation roles to a new Agency for Land Reclamation and Irrigation (ALRI) under the GoRT (traditionally referred to as “Mirob”). The presented policy package and incurring GoRT decisions are the outcomes of coordinated efforts by the government institutions, the international community and civil society organizations (SDC, EU, USAID, UNECE, UNDP, FAO, etc).

Further in December 2015, the GoRT endorsed the Water Sector Reform Programme (earlier named as “Water Sector Reform Strategy”), along with an Action Plan for implementation of the Programme. The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources has therefore been designated by GoT as the coordinator for implementation of the Programme with semi-annual reporting requirement to the Government. In the meantime, the Mission Team is supporting the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources in coordinating and guiding the reform implementation.

Despite the overall progress, the consultations over the reform process had become lengthy due to lack of coordinated technical assistance and support, as well as well-functioning platforms for consultations and policy dialogue. The ongoing Swiss-funded Policy Dialogue support is working closely with relevant sector agencies and donor agencies engaged in the water sector to optimize a harmonized and substantive investment towards the implementation of the ongoing reforms.

The mission’s main strategy is to build on the achievements of the ongoing policy dialogue project and connect the overall water sector reform with on-going donor support in piloting the reform in the field. In doing so, the project will continue supporting the water institutions of the Government of Tajikistan to implement the planned water sector reform and enhance the current unified policy dialogue and consultation platform that would address the needs of all water users (irrigation, energy, industry, drinking water, fisheries, environment, tourism and others). The policy work is closely linked with ongoing pilot activities in various basins, and the project will support the bottom-up and vice-versa feedback mechanism that informs improved policy implementation on the ground.

Duties and Responsibilities

Goals and objectives:

The overall objective of this assignment is to support the water institutions of the Government of Tajikistan to implement the Water Sector Reform Programme endorsed by the Government in December 2015 along with an Action and Investment plans. To achieve this overall objective, the Water Policy Advisor, in close coordination and cooperation with existing policy platforms (the ongoing National Policy Dialogue process funded by the EU and implemented by the UNECE as well as with Donor Coordination Council), would promote a unified policy dialogue platform that would address the needs of all water users (irrigation, energy, industry, drinking water, fisheries, environment, tourism and others). Such a platform must be government driven rather than donor driven and the Government of Tajikistan must be fully in charge but also willing to steer the process.

Considering the challenges in implementation of the water sector reforms, the sector requires somewhat sustained support through a senior policy specialist to effectively maintain and sustain the process of dialogue and enhance the reform agenda.

Specific Objectives of this assignment include, among others:

  • In close coordination with ongoing initiatives, support the development and effective functioning of a solid systematic policy dialogue and consultation platform between the Government of Tajikistan and development partners involved in the water sector.
  • The water sector reform should be closely linked to other ongoing reform processes and the platform should, therefore, closely link with high level policy dialogue initiatives.
  • Connecting the overall water sector reform (the bigger picture) with ongoing support in piloting the reform in the field.
  • Support the development of a range of regulations and legislative improvements to facilitate the institutional changes and the implementation of the reform on the ground – identifying and hiring of specialized technical assistance.
  • Identify specific capacity building and institutional development needs for the implementation of the reform, in close cooperation and coordination with and possible funding from ongoing projects in the field – including rural and urban drinking water and irrigation sub-sector projects.
  • Provide policy guidance to ongoing projects in the field and support closer coordination between Implementing Agencies (IPs) in the field and policy platforms at national level.

To do this more effectively and ensure some level of sustainability, the Policy Advisor must work with a group of national specialists, both from within and outside the sector ministries/agencies. The aim is to leave a group of trained and qualified policy advisors behind at the end of the project, who will continue the work and thus reduce dependence on permanent external advisors. 


Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standard;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of the UN;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality, and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism.

Functional Competencies:

  • Knowledge and experience of the political, social and environmental factors and issues related to water resources management in Central Asia, and particularly in Tajikistan;
  • Skills in facilitation and development of multi-stakeholder policy dialogue, workshops and broad-based consultative processes/programmes/ project documents on water resources management based on principles of Integrated Water Resources Management;
  • An independent, reliable, responsible self-motivator able work under pressure;
  • Excellent communication, team-building and diplomatic skills to develop partnerships;
  • Familiarity with UNDP and SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) programming policies, templates and requirements.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Postgraduate or other advanced university degree in the fields of development management, preferably in water resources management, or other relevant fields.


  • At least 10 years of working experience in similar policy advisory positions, of which 5 years in Central Asia, preferably in Tajikistan.
  • At least 5 years of experience in policy dialogue and development of efficient policy dialogue platforms, including experience in national policy and strategy development.
  • Professional experience in developing programme/ project documents on development water resources management or other relevant fields.


  • Fluent in English language and ability to work in a multi-cultural, mixed nationality environment regardless of personal feelings or political ideology. Working knowledge of Tajik and/or Russian is a significant asset.

Application Procedure:

Please follow the link to the Individual Consultant Procurement Notice:


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.

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