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Director, Oslo Governance Centre

Location : Oslo, NORWAY
Application Deadline :15-Apr-11
Additional CategoryManagement
Type of Contract :FTA International
Post Level :D-1
Languages Required :English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :1 year
Expected Duration of Assignment :1 year


UNDP established the Oslo Governance Center in 2002 as part of its global policy network for democratic governance. As a global thematic facility, the Oslo Governance Centre is part of the Democratic Governance Group in UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy providing systematic analysis, research, reviews, and capturing lessons learned with a view to generating innovative thinking and new ideas on Democratic Governance. It also advises UNDP Country Offices in their support to nationally-owned governance assessments. Activities of the Centre are implemented in close cooperation with Policy Advisors in New York, as well with the Practice Team Leaders and Democratic Governance staff in the Regional Service Centres.
Following an assessment in 2008 to clarify and reposition the Oslo Governance Centre in the context of the UNDP Strategic Plan 2008-2013, the main functions of the Centre are fourfold:
  • Ensuring that systematic analysis and reviews of UNDP’s governance work are conducted around the globe aimed at learning from experience in the field.
  • Supporting evidence based analysis and reviews and in doing so contributing to UNDP’s programming and policy advisory services at the national, regional and global levels.
  • Supporting countries to conduct nationally owned and driven democratic governance assessments that serve to strengthen governance at the country level.
  • Responding to and addressing new and emerging areas of democratic governance and building the capacity of UNDP’s front-life staff to address these new challenges.
Activities of the Centre are organized in two units:

Democratic Governance Analysis and Learning Unit: The unit is responsible for the ‘learning cycle’ work, the reviews of projects funded by the Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund, emerging issues, as well as all the training services offered.

Democratic Governance Assessments Unit:  The Oslo Governance Centre started work on governance indicators in 2002, and it has since developed into a fully fledged global programme with country, regional and global dimensions.

Duties and Responsibilities

UNDP is seeking a highly qualified individual for the position of Director of the Centre.  The Director be responsible for providing leadership and substantive direction to the Centre’s team of specialized governance advisors in Governance Assessment, Analysis and Learning, as well as for the overall management of administrative support functions.The incumbent will be accountable for the delivery and quality of results to Practice Director (DGG) in BDP, NY.  
The incumbent will be responsible for the following functions:
  1. Policy Advisory/Programme Support-Delivery;
  2. Policy Development;
  3. Management/Coordination;
  4. Practice Advocacy;
  5. Partnership Building;
  6. Quality Control and Assurance; and
  7. Knowledge Management.
Policy Advisory/Programme Support-Delivery:
  • Provide policy advice to the DGG Practice Director and to UNDP country and regional offices in the thematic areas within the purview of the OGC;
  • Contribute to the design and formulation of programmes drawing upon lessons from global experiences;
  • Provide effective guidance and follow-up to ensure timely feedback and reporting on implementation of programmes in support of the practice architecture;
  • Mobilize financial resources and ensure effective utilization by policy advisors and global programmes managed by the OGC
  • Provide guidance on cross thematic issues and lead the development of cross practice synergy.
Policy Development:
  • Staying abreast of research and policy developments in governance,  and drawing on expertise and guidance from practice leaders and senior managers in UNDP’s New York Headquarters  to feed relevant knowledge to Regional
  • Centres and Country Offices through a variety of means including knowledge products, knowledge networks and training
  • Contribute substantively to corporate policy and guidance on democratic governance
  • Provide substantive inputs to international fora to help shape global and regional development strategies, policies, norms and standards.
Management and Co-ordination:
Substantive Leadership:
  • Working with DGG and BDP management and OGC advisors to consolidate work on OGC’s new mandate and lead its further development, including improved collaboration between the Centre’s two units
  • Provide substantive and managerial leadership of the advisory team and coordination for all personnel engaged in related operational activities in the OGC;
  • Lead advocacy in the practice area including promotion of the practice’s global policies, norms and standards and the sharing of the practice’s global experience;
  • Collaborate with the PD and policy advisors in Headquarters and the Regions to ensure that the OGC team is up to date on evolving policies;
  • Lead the substantive work of the OGC ensuring UNDP’s credibility in delivery on a highly visible programme which in turn links to UNDP’s delivery on its Strategic Plan 2008-2011;
  • Lead and manage the OGC Programme with accountability for delivery.
Coordination and Management:
  • Providing day-to-day management of the Centre, including supervision of the Advisors responsible for the Centre’s two units, as well as overseeing administration, work planning and reporting
  • Develop and implement OGC/cluster work plans including for the Global Programmes;
  • Provide OGC/cluster programme management oversight including development/management of global programmes;
  • Liaise with country offices to support the inclusion of OGC thematic areas at the planning stages of country offices (and regional programmes);
  • Manage all activities related to the practice functions at the OGC including direct supervision, when appropriate, of the policy advisors and specialists, create positive team environment and ensure access to learning opportunities for all staff;
  • Ensure coordination and management of all related human and financial resources in a complex, multi-faceted organization.
Practice Advocacy:
  • Playing a strong advocacy role for corporate objectives and programmes, as well as ensuring that OGC plays a strategic role in the work of DGG and BDP
  • Provide substantive and content leadership in UNDP corporate discussions and Inter-Agency coordination on practice issues;
  • Represent UNDP (and UN partner organizations) to advocate practice messages in the international development for discussion;
  • Leverage external partnerships in support of UN/UNDP initiatives.

Partnership Building:
  • Strengthening partnerships with research institutes, civil society organizations and other relevant bodies interested in democratic governance, especially supporting South-South knowledge sharing, and ensuring that DGG and OGC work closely with Southern  think-tanks and institutions;
  • Effectively position UNDP’s practice capacity within the UN system to foster consistency in approach;
  • Provides guidance and leadership for the engagement of civil society in global programmes, the promotion of civic engagement and the establishment of strategic partnerships;
  • Engage global, regional and national partners in practice policy and programme responses in collaboration with other DGG clusters;
  • Lead partnership building with global, regional and institutions both locally and from the developing South;
  • Scan partnership opportunities and donor intelligence of new partnership developments – e.g. donor priorities; pledges, new donor funding modalities, etc. ensuring that this supports the practice area;
  • Maintain and strengthen partnerships with key multilaterals (BWIs, OECD/DAC, etc) and key institutions to support the practice architecture.
Quality Control and Assurance:  
  • Provide Quality Assurance to ensure alignment with UNDP’s position on development/governance, UNDP internal policies, norms and standards;
  • Co-ordinate delivery of demand-driven service delivery to requests from the DGG Directorate, country offices and regional programmes ensuring professionalism in support – e.g. timelines, responsiveness, quality in deliverables, etc;
  • Ensure cross-practice approach and cross-regional collaboration back into the global practice level.
Knowledge Management (KM):
  • Facilitate the learning agenda in the Democratic Governance Group, including through support to knowledge management, devoting a significant proportion of time to building knowledge,  disseminating lessons learned, and networking
  • Strengthen,  in co-ordination with the Practice Director, lessons learnt, best practices, and relevant knowledge products to shape UNDP’s  global strategies on governance;
  • Lead local KM sharing events and support the corporate KM agenda;
  • Support the development of a knowledge system and support the utilization of KM strategies and tools (e.g. Teamworks);
  • 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.
  • 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 of practice area and ability to link knowledge to UN/UNDP global policies, treaties, 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 practice/thematic area.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and to provide credible leadership;
  • Innovative approaches/experience on global development issues;
  • Demonstrated intellectual leadership and ability to integrate knowledge with broader strategic overview and corporate vision;
  • Demonstrated flexibility in leadership by performing and/or overseeing the analysis/resolution of complex issues;
  • Strong managerial/leadership experience and decision-making skills with proven track record of mature judgments ;
  • Ability to conceptualize and convey strategic vision from the spectrum of development experience;
  • Knowledge and expertise/recognized expert in practice area;
  • Proven ability to lead a practice area and drive for results;
  • Demonstrated ability to be accountable for practice’s global policies.
Managing Relationships
  • Demonstrated well developed people management and organizational management skills;
  • Strong ability to manage 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;
  • Strong resource mobilization and partnering skills and ability to accept accountability for management of large volume of financial resources.
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 contacts.
Knowledge Management and Learning
  • Ability to strongly promote and build knowledge products;
    Promotes knowledge management in UNDP and a learning environment in the office through leadership and personal example;
  • Seeks and applies knowledge, information and best practices from within and outside of UNDP;
  • Provides 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 international development, political science, sociology, economics or a related and relevant development subject.
  • At least 15 years of relevant experience
  • Management skills and leadership ability, and the ability to motivate and lead diverse teams of highly qualified professionals.
  • Experience in directing research or policy advisory teams in the field of democratic governance or development economics.
  • Management experience in the field of development, with strong developing country experience.
  • Knowledge of and experience with UNDP policies and operations is an asset
  • Technical knowledge in a specific area within the governance and development field.
  • Experience in conflict prevention / post-conflict work would be a strong asset.
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills. A publication record in the field of democratic governance would be desirable.
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal and advocacy skills.
  • Fluency (both written and verbal) in English.
  • Working knowledge of another UN language is desirable.
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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