Senior Project Manager at the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

The United Nations Office for Project Services_UNOPS_1

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 organizations.

We are recruiting to fill the position of:

Job Title: Senior Project Manager

Vacancy Code: VA/2023/B5316/26275
Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Job Categories: Project Management, Programme Management
Department/office: AFR, GHMCO, Nigeria
Level: ICS-11
Contract type: International Individual Contract Agreement (I-ICA)
Contract level: IICA-3
Contract duration: Open-ended

Background Information about the Projects

  • The Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) aims to reduce vulnerability to soil erosion in targeted sub-watersheds. The project has been operational in Nigeria since 2013 with funding from The World Bank that ended in June 2022.
  • The “Nigeria Climate Adaptation – Erosion & Watershed project” represents a scale-up phase of the World Bank-financed NEWMAP, under a loan from the European Development Bank (EIB). The project consists of financing sub-investments (schemes) of sites affected by land degradation in Nigeria, including both gully erosion and degradation of drylands. The project involves two components – 1) Infrastructure, and 2) Technical Assistance.
  • The scheme selection is based on a multi-criterion ranking system, coupled with assessments on the level of readiness of the schemes and the capacity of the implementing state/s. All 23 states wish to participate in the project and are intended recipients of assistance from the project.
  • The project is implemented by a Federal Project Management Unit (FPMU), located within the Federal Ministry of Environment (FME), in coordination with the SPIUs that are established in each participating state. 


  • The Nigeria Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP and RAAMP-2) is an initiative that has been financed by the World Bank and the French Development Agency (AFD), along with some contribution from the Government of Nigeria (GoN).
  • The EIB’s “Nigeria Access to Agri-Markets Framework Loan” consists of a framework loan to finance sub-investments proposed under the existing RAAMP. The purpose of the project is to strengthen the infrastructure related to the agriculture sector by (i) improving and expanding the rural roads network connecting farms to markets, whilst (ii) enhancing infrastructure to transform products and support local farmers to increase productivity.
  • The project has so far been implementing schemes across thirteen Nigerian states. The EIB loan may possibly target the six states that have not received RAAMP funding to date viz, Anambra, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Niger, and Taraba, that will involve the rehabilitation and upgrading of rural roads and agro-logistics centers in these pre-selected participating States.
  • RAAMP is implemented by a Federal Project Management Unit (FPMU), located within the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), in coordination with the SPIUs that are established in each participating state.  
  • Under a Financing Agreement with the Government of Nigeria, UNOPS has been requested by EIB to provide implementation and oversight support to both projects in the following areas:
  • Screening and verification of schemes – assist EIB in screening the longlist against the set multi criteria and advise on final approval of shortlists to be financed under EIB loan.
  • Procurement – assist EIB in ensuring alignment with EIB’s minimum requirements through prior and post reviews.
  • Environmental and social risk management of proposed schemes – ensure E&S safeguard compliance through clearance of ESMPs and monitoring their implementation.
  • Implementation Monitoring – oversight of the implementation of schemes and risk mitigating measures in coordination with the FPMU, SPIUs, the EIB, and relevant stakeholders through half-yearly monitoring missions, and Reporting on the implementation of schemes and the overall program performance.
  • Technical Assistance – provision of technical assistance to the FPMUs/ SPIUs on above areas of intervention, as necessary.

The Role

  • The Senior Project Manager reports to the Head of Programme who provides broad supervision and guidance. The role is responsible for the overall project management on behalf of UNOPS to assist EIB in the implementation and oversight of the NEWMAP and RAAMP through close coordination with the respective FPMUs and SPIUs, while managing a team of technical specialists and advisors.
  • The Senior Project Manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the project(s) and provides services to the donors, partners, and beneficiaries.
  • The Senior 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 the Senior Project Manager is to ensure that the project services and outputs are delivered within the specified project tolerances of time, cost, quality, scope, risk, and benefits. They are expected to meet the organization’s performance and delivery goals.
  • The Senior Project Manager has the authority to assign, as per the Project Plan, work packages to Team Managers and approve deliverables produced by them.
  • She/He is responsible for creating the Project 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 can meet the business case outcomes for both UNOPS and its partner(s). Success of the project(s) is measured based on the defined Success Criteria.

Functional Responsibilities
Under the overall supervision of the Head of Programme and in accordance with UNOPS procedures and practices the incumbent will be responsible for the following:
Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Establish solid working relationships with the external and internal stakeholders, including, but not limited to – the EIB Corporate and Regional/National counterparts, the FPMU/ SPIUs located within the Nigerian ministries, UNOPS management and internal control functions, as appropriate.
  • Establish the Project Board (Executive, Senior Users and Senior Suppliers) and other key collaboration mechanisms and ensure routine and adequate engagement.
  • As part of project implementation planning, establish clear expectations of scope, time, cost and learn from the stakeholder’s experience.
  • Formulate project communications plans, coordinate project communications, and monitor the effectiveness through stakeholder feedback.
  • Responsible for regular project updates and communication with key stakeholders to ensure the stakeholders are kept abreast with project progress and stakeholders acceptance of project deliverables.
  • Ensure stakeholders are aware of project activities, progress, exceptions, and are in a position to accept handover outputs.

Project Delivery and Performance:

  • UNOPS maintains high standards of project delivery and performance for its partners, to provide value and sustainable results. The project management ensures a thorough understanding of the commitments made under the project agreement, and in consultation with the EIB and FPMUs, develops and maintains the Project Initiation Document (PID) and Implementation Plan(s).
  • Establish the Project Operations Manual (POM) with clearly defined procedures and templates for the management of activities covered under the project.
  • Manage the overall execution of the approved Implementation Plan by coordinating with the project team and external suppliers.
  • Maintain oversight of the project implementation through regular monitoring and progress reviews. Ensure project Outputs are developed on time, on budget, and as per the Quality specifications defined in the plan. Ensure adequate preventive and corrective measures are taken timely.
  • Accept the completed deliverable by the suppliers/ team, coordinate the handover of the Outputs to the client/s, and ensure acceptance.
  • Monitor and scan the environment for changes, control and manage changes as required.
  • 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.
  • Uphold UNOPS values. Represent UNOPS positively and highlight its strengths as a partner. Promote UNOPS services, continually identify potential partnership opportunities, and engage in business development.

Project and Organizational Procedures:

  • The FPMU shall comply with the minimum EIB process requirements on Procurement, Safeguards, Scheme selection criteria, provide plan and estimates for half-yearly disbursements, and reporting. The project manager will ensure EIB processes are understood and applied by the FPMUs at all times. Manage process workflows and documentation as per requirement to allow transparency and efficiency.
  • Stay informed and understand relevant internal organizational processes and systems, and ensure compliance with all UNOPS policies and guidelines, specifically the Project Management Manual (PMM).
  • Manage project budgets and costs in accordance with Financial Rules & Regulations (FRR), while ensuring timely payments to contractors/ personnel, maintain expenditures against the budget and manage variances, provide timely and accurate forecasts, and ensure all reporting obligations are met as per the legal agreement.
  • Maintain all project files records as per the filing system and requirements within the ERP.
  • Where the Senior Project Manager has no delegation as a committing officer, s/he retains these responsibilities and will monitor and instruct/request others to carry out the relevant commitments and disbursements.
  • Conduct / facilitate routine compliance checks to identify gaps/ lapses, if any.
  • Support project audit activities, including planning, preparation and coordination during the audits and follow up on closure of the audit observations/recommendations.

Monitoring and Reporting:

  • Routinely monitor project activities to ensure clearance procedures are conducted timely, with adequate advice and recommendations provided as necessary.
  • Regularly monitor and review project status, evaluate performance (scope, cost, schedule, and quality), analyze deviations from the plan (if any), and take preventive and corrective actions.
  • Prepare performance reports, indicating trends and forecasts as appropriate to document and facilitate decision-making.  
  • Ensure all project team members track and regularly update milestones and targets for the duration of projects’ life span.
  • Prepare and issue regular project and/or financial reports in accordance with Partner and UNOPS requirements for reporting.
  • Organize regular Project Board meetings, present project progress and performance data, and solicit feedback, guidance, and decision, as needed.
  • Participate and present project information during UNOPS internal Quarterly Review and keep the management updated on issues and risks, if any.

Quality Assurance:


  • Work with internal stakeholders to ensure projects comply with audit requirements.
  • Coordinate with the project team and administer all processes and procedures to ensure compliance to all quality goals of the projects.
  • Coordinate quality reviews of project documents and deliverables.
  • Provide quality control for management outputs (project documents, reports, etc.).

Knowledge Management and Innovation:

  • Routinely monitor the performance on project activities, identify improvement areas, and work towards enhancing the delivery over time. Ensure lessons are documented and disseminated routinely across partners for continual learning and improvements.
  • Encourage routine and effective capacity building activities are conducted in order to build the long-term and sustainable capacity of partners and staff.
  • Actively interact with colleagues and the wider UNOPS community to share case studies, lessons learned, and best practices. Provide feedback to Practice Groups on policy, supporting guidance, etc. with an aim towards continuous improvement of UNOPS policies and procedures.

Personnel Management:

  • Select, recruit, and train the project team as required, taking into account gender parity and diversity objectives. Play an active role in their development and be interested in their professional growth.
  • Provide leadership and direction to the team by ensuring clearly defined performance objectives and targets, delegation of project tasks, clear expectations of time and quality, and behavioral aspects.
  • Ensure team motivation from time to time, through regular project meetings, one-to-one meetings, and/or using other methods and techniques as appropriate.
  • Ensure that performance reviews are conducted fairly, accurately, and timely, and feedback is provided in a transparent manner.  
  • Ensure safety and security for all project personnel in compliance with UNDSS requirements and standards.
  • Create, foster, and 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.

Impact of Results:

  • The effective and successful achievement of project results and performance by the Senior Project Manager directly contributes to the visibility and image of the UNOPS brand, as an effective service provider in project services and management and consequently strengthens its competitive position as a partner of choice in sustainable development and project services.

Education / Experience / Language Requirements

  • An Advanced University Degree, preferably in International Relations, Development Studies, Political Science, Finance, Economics, Business Administration, Project Management, Civil Engineering, or other related fields, is required.
  • A First-Level University Degree (Bachelor’s) in combination with 2 additional years of relevant professional experience may be accepted in lieu of the Advanced University Degree.


  • Certification in Project Management (PRINCE2®, PMP®, or similar) would be an asset.

Work Experience:

  • Minimum of seven (7) years of relevant work experience in project/programme management and development.
  • Within the 7 years experience, at least 3 years must be in preparing project plans, writing project progress reports, project communications, engaging stakeholders, and conducting monitoring and evaluation.
  • Experience in administration, procurement, safeguard, compliance, monitoring, and coordination in a multi-stakeholder environment is desired.
  • Prior experience working with UNOPS, UN, or other humanitarian/development agencies, and previous experience on EIB financed projects would be desirable.
  • Proficiency in computers, and tools like – Google Office Suite, Google Workspace, online ERP systems, and Project Management Information Systems is desirable.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in written, reading and spoken English is required.
  • Working knowledge of another UN language  is an advantage.


  • 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.

Application Closing Date
16th July, 2023.

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should:


Additional Information

  • Applications to vacancies must be received before midnight Copenhagen time (CET) on the closing date of the announcement.
  • Please note that UNOPS will at no stage of the recruitment process request candidates to make payments of any kind.
  • Please note that UNOPS does not accept unsolicited resumes.
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process, which involves various assessments.
  • UNOPS embraces diversity and is committed to equal employment opportunity. Our workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures,  languages, races, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities. UNOPS seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce.
  • Qualified women and candidates from groups which are underrepresented in the UNOPS workforce are encouraged to apply. These include in particular candidates from racialized and/or indigenous groups, members of minority gender identities and sexual orientations, and people with disabilities.
  • We would like to ensure all candidates perform at their best during the assessment process.  If you are shortlisted and require additional assistance to complete any assessment, including reasonable accommodation, please inform our human resources team when you receive an invitation.