Head of Global Programmes

Closing date:

Background information – Job specific

Cities Alliance, which is hosted by UNOPS, is the global partnership promoting the role of cities in poverty reduction and sustainable development. Headquartered in Brussels and supported by a Secretariat, it is a unique partnership with a diverse membership which has come together to strengthen both impacts and coherence in urban development. Cities Alliance is a global leader, with a strong track record in grant-making to support strategic citywide planning, slum upgrading strategies and national policies designed to make cities more inclusive and sustainable. Through UNOPS, the Cities Alliance operates a Multi-Donor Fund supported by an efficient, flexible grant-making mechanism with global reach.

The Head of Global Programmes reports to the Director, who provides direction and general supervision. S/he is responsible for achieving the ambition as set out in the Cities Alliance Strategic Plan to advocate and mainstream new thinking on key urban issues. The incumbent provides the substantive oversight, quality assurance and programmatic coherence to achieve agreed results in the annual work plans. By leading and mentoring Project Managers in planning, execution and delivery of allocated projects, s/he ensures gender equality is embedded and practiced in all practices in the secretariat. S/he also contributes to the development and implementation of strategies to enhance the competencies and position of the Cities Alliance sustainable project management and services to partners, stakeholders and UN system partners.

*The position requires extensive field travel*

Functional responsibilities

A. Programme governance, implementation and monitoring

  • Assume overall responsibility for the oversight of analytic and strategic activities related to programmatic activities of the Secretariat. Leads the design of a strategic framework for advocacy activities on key emerging policy issues.
  • Supervise Global and Country Programmes to ensure that project management policies, processes and methods are followed and practiced according to UNOPS standards, project management practices are promoted, and overall assurance of projects is provided.

B. Programme development and planning

  • Leads in the development of new strategic initiatives and/or Joint Work Programme (JWP) in line with the priorities of the post-Habitat III global agenda.
  • Ensures that all normative activities advance the role of cities in the international development agenda, and highlights the importance of pro-poor urban development;
  • Analyses international trends on global programmes to identify strategic areas and comparative advantage for the Cities Alliance by providing substantive orientation, positioning for normative and country level operations, and areas of business growth.

C. Normative coherence in programming

  • Provides expert support in the development of member-driven regional activities, with special focus on the strengthening of regional activities in Sub Saharan Africa
  • Develop and implement the programme governance framework and foster synergies on key urban issues between the normative work and country operations.

D. Networking and Partnership

  • Support the secretariat in the development of a network of member and partner institutions.
  • Acts as focal point for selected CA members, such as UN Habitat, and supports outreach to partners such as the European Commission, and facilitates inter-institutional cooperation.

E. Advocacy

  • Represent the secretariat and the Cities Alliance at conferences, panels and meetings, as requested.
  • Institutionalize and share best practices and lessons learned for corporate development planning and knowledge building.

A. Education
A Master’s degree in a relevant field is required. A PhD in a relevant discipline to the Cities Alliance’s scope of work is an asset.
B. Experience **

A minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible experience in international and urban development is required.

Some experience in the UN system organizations and/or a developing country is desirable.
C. Language

Full working knowledge of English is essential.
Knowledge of French is considered as an asset.


Contract type: Fixed-term staff contracts

Contract level: ICS11/P4
Contract duration: One year initially, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and funding availability
For more details about United Nations staff contracts, please follow this link*:* https://www.unops.org/english/Opportunities/job-opportunities/what-we-offer/Pages/UN-Staff-Contracts.aspx

Additional considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization – UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types.
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns.
Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.



How to apply

Please apply through out website: https://jobs.unops.org/Pages/ViewVacancy/VADetails.aspx?id=23665

*The position requires extensive field travel*

Background information

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

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