Chief Technical Advisor (CTA) (Operations Specialist)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Funafuti, Tuvalu
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Tuvalu, with a land area of 26km2, is the fourth smallest nation in the world with a population of about 10,000. Due to its geographical remoteness and relatively limited size of the economy, it is one of the least developed countries. It is also one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impact of climate change induced sea-level rise and intensifying storm events. Recent cyclones have already shown large scale population displacement, significant loss and damage of agriculture resources and infrastructure, contamination of water supplies, coastal erosion and scouring, impacting long term sustainable development of the country.

As such, in response to this climate challenge, the Government of Tuvalu and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) have jointly committed to US$ 38 million for the ‘Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project’ towards building coastal resilience which is an urgent national priority.  This project will address the financial and capacity constraints at all levels – from technical to community awareness. The TCAP project was approved in June 2016 and the project implementation commenced in September 2017.

With GCF financing, the project is expected to;

  • Make at least 35% of the high value vulnerable coastlines more resilient to withstand the effects of increased wave intensity compared to the baseline of 7%. The GCF investment will be in the islands of Funafuti, Nanumea and Nanumaga, and directed along areas with high concentration of residences and social and economic assets;
  • Directly and significantly benefit at least 29% or 3,100 people and indirectly 33% or 3,400 of the total Tuvalu population by mitigating impact of future wave overtopping events;
  • Strengthen institutional and community capacities for sustaining and replicating project results.

The primary focus of the project is to put in place robust coastal intervention measures in three islands of Funafuti, Nanumea and Nanumaga to reduce Tuvalu’s extreme vulnerability to coastal inundation and erosion.  While the construction of the coastal interventions is expected to increase the resilience of Tuvalu’s vulnerable coastlines, the Government of Tuvalu also recognizes the need to invest in long-term resilience of the country, which can only be achieved by strengthening the ability of Island Government’s (Falekaupules and Kaupules) plan and execute locally-relevant adaptation actions.

This GCF funded project is executed by UNDP and in close partnership with the Government of Tuvalu, given its extensive experience in implementing climate change adaptation projects globally. The project implementation will be led by a team based in Tuvalu and Suva, Fiji. 


Under the direct supervision of the Team Leader - Resilience and Sustainable Development, the Chief Technical Advisor (CTA) - Operations Specialist jointly with the National Project Manager are responsible for the management and implementation of the TCAP. The CTA - Operations Specialist is expected to take an overarching coordinating role ensuring all aspects of the Project are progressed in accordance with the Approved Funding Proposal and international best practice. The position will also support and train the TCAP PMU personnel, coordinate short term contracting and provide oversight across all management and implementation tasks. The CTA - Operations Specialist will be based in Funafuti, Tuvalu and travel to Fiji as required.


Duties and Responsibilities


The Chief Technical Advisor – Operations Specialist is responsible for the implementation and project management of the Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project (TCAP). He is expected to bring in international best practices in the implementation of the project and train the technical personnel in the Project Management Unit.

Summary of Key Functions:

  • Technical oversight and Expertise
  • Policy advice and capacity building
  • Effective Project Management in coordination with the National Project Manager (NPM)
  • Knowledge management

Technical oversight and Expertise:

  • Collaborate with the National Project Manager (NPM) in executing all project activities and ensure timely and effective implementation of the work program;
  • Assist to identify needs for external technical support for effective implementation;
  • Liaise with Government, UNDP and other development partners on progress and facilitate implementation of project activities;
  • Provide management, coordination and supervision, backstopping and oversight of all aspects of project activities;
  • Is responsible, jointly with the NPM, for the implementation and monitoring of all risk mitigation measures during all project phases such as inception, implementation / construction; and operation;
  • Support the NPM in liaising with the Government of Tuvalu by providing high quality reporting inputs;
  • Support the NPM in preparing/organizing the reporting materials used in the Project Board Meeting;
  • Carry out assessments of the financial, political, operational and management situations on the ground that affect the project implementation and keep the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji and UNDP Regional Hub in Bangkok abreast of the situations;
  • Provide leadership in identifying solutions to address existing gaps arising out of assessments;
  • Assist to deliver good international practices in the area of coastal adaptation projects and build the capacity of the TCAP PMU in the same;
  • Build and maintain partnerships with technical partners and donors by reporting project progress and identifying opportunities for collaboration;
  • Ensure coordination between UNDP and all project stakeholders.

Policy advice and capacity building:

  • Identify strategic opportunities for the project to achieve greater development impact through partnerships building and adaptive management;
  • Strengthen capacities of the PMU and the Government of Tuvalu to plan, budget and deliver coastal protection related public services;
  • Build technical and managerial capacities within the PMU;
  • Provision of advice and support and assistance to the national counterparts, as required;
  • Provision of other advice as needed to UNDP concerning the evolution and role of the relevant Ministries/stakeholders;
  • Participate and actively contribute to the PMU in coordination with the NPM;
  • As required, provide policy advise to Government of Tuvalu and ensure coherence with the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji portfolio.

Effective Project Management in coordination with the NPM:

  • Focus on support to all aspects of project implementation and management, collaboratively with the NPM;
  • Provide strategic input to technical, financial and managerial aspects of the project to ensure that activities are in accordance with the Project Approved Funding Proposal;
  • Support the NPM and other members of the PMU on the following elements of project management to ensure achievement of targets and results:
    • Annual work planning;
    •  Annual budgeting;
    • Procurement of goods and services;
    • Budget and expenditure analysis;
    • Contractual management;
    • Quarterly and annual progress reporting;
    • Quarterly operational reporting
  • Provide advice for the annual financial audit;
  • Monitoring and Evaluation of project activities, and identify and implement solutions to bring the project back on track, as needed;
  • Planning and providing strategic inputs into all aspects of project activities;
  • Coordinate with the Joint Operations Centre in the Pacific Office in Fiji to ensure that financial and operational procedures of the project are in line with UNDP rules and regulations;
  • Perform other duties as necessary to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the project.

Knowledge management:

  • Identify, analyze and communicate lessons learned that may be useful in design and implementation of similar projects. The duty of identifying and analyzing lessons learned is an on-going one, and the duty to communicate those lessons is on an as-needed basis;
  • Share knowledge on the Project and its achievements. Promote identification and synthesis of best practices and lessons learned from Project implementation, for organizational sharing and learning. Promote a knowledge sharing and learning culture;
  • Produce materials with lessons learnt and best practices and participate in knowledge-based tools;
  • Contribute to the analytical work of UNDP and ensure high quality knowledge products. Promote the substantive quality of all knowledge products, reports and services, and ensures effective integration thereof with other pillars.





  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work


  • Ability to persuade others to follow

People Management

  • Ability to improve performance and satisfaction


  • Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform


  • Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement

Building Partnerships

  • Analyses general information and selects materials in support of partnership building initiatives;
  • Tracks and reports on mobilized resources;

Promoting Organizational Learning and Knowledge Sharing:

  • Researches best practices and poses new, more effective ways of doing things;
  • Identifies and communicates opportunities to promote learning and knowledge sharing

Job Knowledge/Technical Expertise:

  • Possesses strong skills and experience in managing large-scale projects;
  • Possesses knowledge of organizational policies and procedures relating to the position;
  • Identifies new and better approaches to work processes;
  • Strives to keep job knowledge up-to-date;
  • Demonstrates good knowledge of information technology and applies it in work assignments.
  • Understands the general issues of climate change and coastal adaptation as it applies to atoll environments.

Promoting Organizational Change and Development:

  • Documents ‘best practices’ in organizational change and development within and outside the UN system;
  • Demonstrates ability to identify problems and proposes solutions

Design and Implementation of Management Systems:

  • Uses information/databases and other management systems;
  • Makes recommendations related to work procedures and implementation of management systems.

Client Orientation:

  • Reports to internal and external clients in a timely and appropriate fashion;
  • Organizes and prioritizes work schedule to meet client needs and deadlines;
  • Establishes, builds and sustains effective relationships within the work unit and with internal and external clients;
  • Responds to client needs promptly

Promoting Accountability and Results-Based Management

  • Gathers and disseminates information on best practice in accountability and results-based management systems;
  • Maintains databases.



Required Skills and Experience


Education:Masters Degree in International Development / Project Management / Environmental Management or related field..


  • At least 7 years of progressively relevant experience in managing and implementing large-scale development orientated projects at the regional or international level;
  • Experience leading multi-dimensional teams and complex work programs;
  • Experience delivering large scale projects in small developing island environments;
  • Ability to lead, conduct, facilitate and document discussions with stakeholders;
  • Experience in infrastructure project delivery in remote challenging locations;
  • Experience working in institutional development, project development and management, budgeting;
  • Project management experience in coastal management related projects would be an advantage;
  • Experience in the Pacific region and more so experience working in atolls is desirable

Language Requirements:

  • Proficiency in English - both written and oral Working knowledge of other UN language desirable