Job Opportunity: Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager, UNESCO

Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager with the UNESCO Natural Sciences sector in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Overview of the functions of the post:

Under the overall authority of the Director of the UNESCO Almaty Office and the direct supervision of the Programme Specialist for Natural Sciences, the Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager will be responsible for the management and implementation of the project “Strengthening the resilience of Central Asian countries by enabling regional cooperation to assess glacio-nival systems to develop integrated methods for sustainable development and adaptation to climate change”.  The regional project, launched by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNESCO, will be executed in five Central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The project aims to consolidate general knowledge on cryosphere (glaciers, permafrost and snow cover) and downstream affected areas, as well as to strengthen glacier and permafrost monitoring systems in Central Asia. It will also implement targeted demonstration projects on adaptation to climate change with wide range of activities with national authorities, academia, private sector, youth and local communities in the countries.

The incumbent will work in coordination with the Water Sciences Division at UNESCO Headquarters and the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional office in Bangkok, and in close collaboration with other projects of the UNESCO Almaty Natural Sciences Unit, in line with UNESCO’s Medium-term Strategy (C/4), the approved Programme and Budget (C/5) and in the IHP-IX strategic plan (2022-2029) “Science for a water secure world in a changing environment”, as well as in partnership with UNESCO’s specialized institutions.

The incumbent will be responsible for the overall management of the Project, including the mobilization of all project inputs, supervision of project staff, consultants and  subcontracts. The incumbent will also be responsible for providing technical advisory support in his/her capacity as Chief Technical Advisor to the project in the area of integrated water resources management.

In close coordination with the UNESCO Natural Sciences Sector programme, Glacier Lake Outburst Floods in Central Asia (GLOFCA) and other projects managed by the UNESCO office in Almaty, the Chief Technical Advisor/Project Manager will be responsible for the following:

  • Plan, implement and manage the overall activities of the project and ensure continuous monitoring of progress taking into account the gender action plan, stakeholder engagement plan, and environmental and social management plans, as appropriate. 
  • Supervise and provide leadership, guidance, and direction to the project team.
  • Provide support for completion of assessments required by UNDP and UNESCO, including spot checks and audits. 
  • Monitor financial resources and accounting linked to the project to ensure the accuracy and reliability of financial reports. 
  • Perform regular progress reporting to the project board as agreed with the board, including measures to address challenges and opportunities.
  • Ensure coordination with other UN and non-UN agencies active in Central Asia.
  • Ensure that the indicators included in the project results framework are monitored annually in advance of the GEF PIR submission deadline to ensure accurate progress reports
  • Assess major and minor amendments to the project within the parameters set by UNDP-GEF.
  • Support the Mid-term review and Terminal Evaluation process. 
  • Oversee the implementation of the diagnostic analysis (DA), coordinating the work of all consultants engaged in the project and lead the editing and production of the DA including performing an expert technical review of the document. 
  • Oversee the development of the national action plans (NAPs) and the Strategic Action Program (SAP), coordinating the work of the consultants and contractors involved in that process and providing inputs and feedback as needed. 

Competences (Core/Managerial):

  • Communication (C)
  • Accountability (C)
  • Innovation (C)
  • Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
  • Planning and organizing (C)
  • Results focus (C)
  • Teamwork (C)
  • Professionalism (C)
  • Managing performance (M)

For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.

Required Qualifications:


  • Advanced University degree (Master’s or equivalent) in the field of water and natural resource management or environmental sciences.

Work experience:

  • At least 4 years of progressively responsible experience in the field of climate change, water and natural resource management, environmental sciences or sustainable development, of which preferably 2 years acquired at international level. 

Skills and Competencies:

  • Demonstrated ability to effectively coordinate the implementation of large multi-stakeholder projects, including the financial and technical aspects.
  • Ability to effectively lead and supervise the project’s professional, technical and administrative teams.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively and ensure coordination with a wide range of stakeholders across various sectors and at all levels, to develop and nurture long-term partnerships.
  • Proficiency in managing budgets, training, and collaborating efficiently with all project stakeholders.
  • Ability to coordinate and supervise multiple Project Implementation Units for the implementation of technical activities in partnership with a variety of sub-national stakeholder groups, including community and government.
  • Strong drafting, presentation and reporting skills 
  • Excellent understanding of the region. 
  • Excellent strategic project management skills 
  • Capacity to make technically sound decisions on all aspects of project implementation. 
  • Capacity to provide upstream policy advice at highest levels.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a multicultural environment and establish harmonious and effective working relationships, both within and outside the Organization.


  • Excellent knowledge of English (written and spoken).
  • Very good knowledge of Russian (written and spoken).

Desirable Qualifications:


  • Academic training on cryosphere related field (glacier, snow or permafrost).
  • Advanced university degree (Ph D or equivalent) in a relevant field of the Natural Sciences

Work experience:

  • Professional experience in the United Nations System UN or other international organization.
  • Work experience in one of the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and/or the Central Asian sub-region.
  • Experience in managing large-scale projects with the focus on building partnerships and ecosystem/environmental management.

Skills and competencies:

  • Familiarity with the general functioning of the United Nations system.
  • Knowledge of GEF rules and regulations, especially with International Waters projects.
  • Good political judgment and analytical thinking with the ability to negotiate at the decision-making level
  • Knowledge of programming policies and procedures in international development cooperation, in particular in the United Nations.
  • Experience of working with ministries, national or provincial institutions that are concerned with natural resource and/or environmental management.

Benefits & Entitlements:

UNESCO’s salaries consist of a basic salary and other benefits which may include if applicable: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, medical insurance, pension plan etc.

The approximate annual starting salary for this post is 86,435.11 US $.

For full information on benefits and entitlements, please consult our Guide to Staff Benefits.

Selection & Recruitment Process:

Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.

Post Number: 4KZSC0001PA

Grade: P-3

Parent Sector: Natural Sciences Sector (SC)

Duty Station: Almaty

Job Family: Natural Sciences

Type of contract: Project Appointment

Duration of contract: 1 year with the possibility of extension subject to availability of funds and satisfactory performance.

Recruitment open to: Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time): 20 July 2023

UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism

UNESCO recalls that paramount consideration in the appointment of staff members shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence and integrity. UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. UNESCO is committed to achieving and sustaining equitable and diverse geographical distribution, as well as gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Candidates from non- and under-represented Member States (last update here) are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals from minority groups and indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.