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Policy Specialist- Economic Development


Location : Phnom Penh, Country Office, CAMBODIA
Application Deadline :25-Mar-11
Additional CategoryPoverty Reduction
Type of Contract :FTA International
Post Level :P-4
Languages Required :English  
Duration of Initial Contract :1 year (renewable)


The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are at the core of the development mandate of the United Nation system, and, as reiterated by the UN Secretary General, “set the course for the world efforts to alleviate extreme poverty by 2015,” together with the  larger United Nations Development Agenda.
Cambodia has several challenges to overcome on the road to achieving the MDGs.  Despite prolonged economic growth during the past decade, there are indications that poverty has not declined significantly.  Rural growth has barely kept pace with population growth and unemployment is a considerable challenge. Economic diversification has proven difficult to achieve. Health and sanitary conditions of a significant share of the population is still a matter of concern.  Gains in poverty and hunger reduction are also at stake because of Cambodia’s high vulnerability to the potential impacts of climate change and its vulnerability vis-à-vis external shocks such as the global financial crisis.
Given the short- and medium challenges ahead, there is a critical need for expanding Cambodia’s policy space, as well as generating inclusive policies, creative approaches and practical knowledge in support of the implementation of the National Strategic Development Plan and achieving the CMDGs.  Similarly, there is a pressing need to raise awareness and develop the broad based public support for implementing the needed actions.      
Given the above context, UNDP has been supporting the development of critical and timely research to facilitate policy dialogue on key development issues between the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), Cambodian society and Cambodia’s development partners. UNDP focuses on providing evidence-based policy options to accelerate progress towards Cambodia’s Millennium Development Goals (CMDGs) and human development in the country.
The dissemination of the main recommendations derived from UNDP funded analyses supports an open dialogue between government and key development stakeholders. It is intended to catalyze and inform debates as well as action in critical areas where breakthroughs are needed, enriching the analysis and policy making process.
UNDP follows a three programmed approach: knowledge generation, knowledge sharing and knowledge into action. The first focuses on practical research, and the second focuses on the strategic packaging and dissemination of the research results. The third focuses on advocacy and capacity development to ensure that national counterparts and development partners (multilateral banks, donors, NGOs/CSOs and the private sector) use these results for policy and programming purposes.
The Policy Specialist-Economic Developmentwill strengthen UNDP’s ongoing efforts to support the Cambodia Government efforts to maximize social, economic and environmental benefits towards inclusive growth and Human development.

S/he will work closely with the UNDP team under the Poverty Cluster, Programme unit as well as with the UNCT, government counterparts, development partners, and other stakeholders ensuring successful UNDP programme implementation.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the general guidance of the Project Board and the UNDP Assistant Country Director, Poverty Cluster the Policy Specialist-Economic Developmentwill work under the direct supervision of the Deputy Country Director Programme and the day to day facilitation and coordination of the Policy, Research Coordinator.
S/he will focus on identify global and regional critical policy areas for UNDP to take further specifically to provide alternative perspectives that promotes development which is inclusive and focuses on human development. S/he will provide research conceptualization, quality assurance of research, analysis and expertise needed to deliver the expected outputs in support of the UNDP strategic plan, UNDP Cambodia Country Development Plan, UNDP Cambodia Country Program Action Plan and project Annual Work Plans.
The Specialist will be expected to provide research and analytical inputs and contributions into high-level policy monitoring and dialogue; advice on priority policy issues including inclusive growth and sustainable 'green' development; linking experiences from downstream livelihoods and income generation initiatives with respective national policies and programmes for scaling up; advice and carry out analytical work on social safety net and inclusive finance including micro insurance and social protection approaches; preparation of policy briefs, reports, issues and position papers on strategic development issues; close monitoring of socio-economic context and trends and pro-active dialogue with national and international partners; active participation in knowledge networking at regional and global levels and pro-active promotion of South-South dialogue.
Summary of key functions:
  1. Provide policy advice and assist UNDP on macro and micro economic policy-based research and analysis in the area of socio-economic governance and other high priority issues
  2. Responsible for ensuring high-quality targeted policy-based research
  3. Advise and facilitate knowledge sharing and knowledge management, including networking at the regional and national levels
    Provide capacity building, including coaching to Project National Economists and government counterparts.
1.Advice and Support UNDP on macro- and micro-economic policy research and analysis in the area of socio-economic governance and other high-priority issues
  • Provide strategic advice to the UNDP country office in the area of socio -economic governance and development including social protection approaches and inclusive finance such as micro insurance
  • Develop and maintain in-depth knowledge on strategic economic policy and institutional issues relevant to poverty reduction, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and sustainable human development in Cambodia
  • Advise UNDP Senior Management in the areas where UNDP could undertake applied policy-based economic research, particularly in strategic areas where there is a good potential for policy breakthroughs to significantly reduce poverty, help achieve the MDGs and advance human development
  • Advise and closely monitor policy dialogue on socio-economic and poverty reduction issues with Government, donor community, civil society and private sector
  • Contribute regularly to the ongoing development and enrichment of the inventory of priority issues and questions needing urgent applied research
  • Contribute to high-level policy monitoring on the issues of inclusive growth and sustainable development
  • Contribute to the establishment of substantive networks linking with other UNDP Country Offices.
2.Responsible for ensuring high-quality targeted policy-based research
  • Lead the team in identifying strategic areas based on UNDP’s comparative advantage
    Support the team in defining the expected policy impact of the identified strategic areas for UNDP to advocate for as well propose policy options on evidence and high quality analysis.
  • Support the team in developing its long term strategy for influencing the technical and political policy makers.
    Support the development of policy research work plans and related ToRs -  assist in the design of any needed targeted surveys and/or case studies; determine optimal balance of national and international expertise.
  • Effectively contribute to the various stages of the research and drafting processes including - reviewing the quality of various drafts to ensure value added; providing guidance and direction for further developing and enriching various (policy-based) research drafts; and ensuring that the final research drafts are of high quality.
  • Play a lead role in providing substantive preparation to policy forums such as Cambodia Economic Forum (CEF) and sectoral conferences
  • Develop policy briefs/reports/issues and position papers on strategic development issues
    When required undertake quick and efficient reviews of available information and relevant research already completed for designing new or follow-up research
  • Based on the agreed targeted areas for research - lead, design and contribute to the development of comprehensive plans and strategic economic governance related policy papers. 
    In consultation with the National Economists, effectively formulate and implement any needed follow-up research projects and/or capacity development to help implement the policy or program implications generated by the UNDP programs.  
3.Ensure effective facilitation of knowledge sharing and knowledge management
  • Advice and facilitate knowledge sharing and knowledge management, including networking at the global, regional  and national levels and proactively promote South-South dialogue
  • Contribute to the development of substantive partnerships with regional research institutes, national counterparts, development partners, local research institutes, civil society and private sector and support the development of an effective knowledge sharing network.
  • Proactively offer any innovative ideas and proposed actions to further improve the effectiveness of the knowledge sharing, knowledge in to action and knowledge management functions.
  • Continuously identify relevant knowledge, experience and best practices and facilitate their sharing within the Country Office, with Government counterparts and other stakeholders;
  • Support the collaboration with the UNCT, other donors and civil society knowledge network in conveying  UNDP policy development key messages
  • Support the linkage of downstream livelihoods and income generation initiatives with respective national policies and programmes
4.Provide capacity building, including coaching to National Economists and government counterparts.
  • Facilitate capacity development in priority areas through skill development and sharing international best practices within the local context
  • Support the capacity develop plan for the UNDP poverty team and government counterparts – in identifying training and coaching needs
  • Carry out other relevant duties as requested.


Corporate Competencies:
  • Demonstrates integrity by modelling 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 favouritism.
Functional Competencies:
  • Demonstrated capacity and substantial professional experience in dealing with policy and strategic issues, as well as in project development, related with socio-economic and development in general, and in particular economic governance.
  • Demonstrated competencies and experience in advocacy work, as well as research work and professional publications.
Knowledge Management and Learning
  • Promotes knowledge management in UNDP and a learning environment in the office through leadership and personal example
    Ability to provide policy analysis and recommendation.
  • Actively works towards continuing personal learning and development in one or more Practice Areas, acts on learning plan and applies newly acquired skills.
Partnering and networking
  • Builds and sustains relationships with key constituents (internal/ external/bilateral/multilateral/public/private)
  • Seeks and applies knowledge, information, and best practices from within and outside of UNDP
Innovation and Judgment
  • Conceptualizes and analyses problems to identify key issues, underlying problems, and how they relate
  • Generates creative, practical approaches to overcome challenging situations
  • Devises new systems and processes, and modifies existing ones, to support innovative behaviors
Job Knowledge and expertise
  • Applies the required depth and breadth of economics knowledge and expertise to meet job demands
  • Uses Information Technology effectively as a tool and resource
  • Knowledge of formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development programs and projects
  • Ability to design practical research methodologies, including targeted surveys, case studies and the application of useful quantitative techniques
  • Adept at participating in sectoral knowledge networks for public and private sectors and development partners
  • Ability to apply development theory to the specific country context, carry out high-quality research, including data analysis, application of conceptual models, and institutional and policy frameworks relating to socio-economic issues
Management and Leadership
  • Substantial previous experience in working with senior government officials, donor representatives and civil society on policy and strategic issues
  • Demonstrated strong coordination and facilitation skills (oral and written)
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities
  • Guide teams effectively and shows mentoring as well as conflict resolution skills
  • Builds strong relationships with clients, focuses on impact and result for the client and responds positively to feedback

Required Skills and Experience

  • Advanced University Degree required. PhD in relevant field would be an asset.
  • At least 7 years of relevant work experience as a professional economist, including at least 5 years in practical/applied socio-economic research in developing country context at the managerial or advisory level;
  • Demonstrated experience in  analytical work around human development and poverty eradication
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate and effectively support  various partners, including the government, academia, CSO, private sector, UN and other development donors;
  • Demonstrated experience in facilitating productive dialogue and civic engagement in a development context;
  • Working experience or familiarity with UNDP, particularly with its Results Based Management;
  • Broad knowledge of Cambodia’s socio-economic development situation a definite asset;
  • Ability to work under pressure, keep deadlines, maintain humor in difficult conditions;
  • Maturity, political judgement back by diplomatic, sensitivity working style;
  • Excellent English writing and presentation skills. 
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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