Senior Programme Manager – Technology Innovation (Fair Digital Commons)


Background Information – UNOPS

UNOPS – an operational arm of the United Nations – supports the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by successfully implementing its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian, and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve peace and sustainable development.

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

Working with us

We are proud of our people. With a wealth of knowledge and skills in various disciplines – engineering, finance, human resources, ICT, leadership, project management, procurement, and more – they help tackle some of the biggest challenges of our time. Their work around the world supports progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At UNOPS, we offer a range of short- and long-term opportunities in various environments and duty stations – from Denmark and Kenya to Mexico, Switzerland, Myanmar, Senegal, Uganda, and many more.


With over 5,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,400 personnel recruited on behalf of our partners, spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced and diverse labor force — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs. We continually strive to maintain our gender-balanced workplace. We encourage qualified underrepresented groups as per UNOPS Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy to apply for our vacancies.

Work life harmonization

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

Background Information – Job-specific


The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. UNOPS supports partners to build a better future by providing services that increase the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of peace building, humanitarian and development projects. Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organizations.

The UNOPS Global Pulse project is the United Nations Secretary General’s cross-pillar lead and hub for experimentation and digital innovation in advancement of the UN Charter. Originally established in 2009 to harness the power of big data and artificial intelligence to protect the vulnerable during crises, Global Pulse’s mission is to accelerate the discovery, development, and large-scale adoption of innovations for sustainable development and humanitarian action. Global Pulse promotes awareness of the opportunities for innovation to advance sustainable development and humanitarian action and it develops high-impact approaches and solutions. Global Pulse operates as a globally distributed network of regional hubs, including the UNGP Asia Pacific Regional Hub, to drive broad adoption of innovations across the UN System and beyond.

The incumbent of this position will be a personnel of UNOPS under its full responsibility.

UNOPS is seeking for the Global Pulse Project a Senior Programme Manager to establish and lead Global Pulse’s new programme area “Fair Digital Commons”. The Fair Digital Commons Senior Programme Manager will define the programme area, articulate key objectives, and ensure alignment with Global Pulse’s strategic objectives and overarching priorities as directed by the UNGP Executive Director. The Fair Digital Commons Senior Programme Manager will identify and scope initiatives that are a good fit for their programme area and, in coordination with their supervisor and the entire Global Pulse’s senior leadership team, decide to strategically invest in select initiatives to foster the strategic positioning and evolution of the programme area within Global Pulse and the United Nations to deliver maximum impact in service of the well-being of people and the planet.

The Fair Digital Commons Senior Programme Manager will provide senior thought leadership in their programme area and will act as a representative of Global Pulse within and beyond the United Nations. They will participate in panels, working groups, and other relevant forums within and beyond the United Nations to articulate current and future challenges with regards to digital justice. They will serve as an advocate for a fair digital commons to shape current dialogue towards a more just and equitable future including our digital future.

In developing Global Pulse’s Fair Digital Commons Programme, the Senior Programme Manager will also undertake the role of Strategy Lead for the Global Data Access Initiative (GDAI).

GDAI is a UNGP initiative under the Fair Digital Commons programme that brings together UN agencies and private, public, and social sector partners for the development of data and AI products as digital public goods (DPGs). GDAI aspires to catalyze the formation of a cohesive and responsibly open ecosystem of data and AI products and services that reduces inefficiencies in the development of digital solutions for sustainable development and humanitarian action—with an initial focus on natural disaster response and recovery—to accelerate attainment of the sustainable development goals.

As GDAI is the first substantial initiative of UNGP’s Fair Digital Commons Programme, the Senior Programme Manager will develop and oversight the strategy for GDAI and is accountable for the successful implementation of GDAI and the delivery of impact through this initiative. The incumbent will be responsible and accountable for strategic input leading to the successful delivery of use cases, which is the mechanism to realize the GDAI vision. The incumbent will work with global partner organizations to ensure that input gained in the development of use cases support the progression and are integrated into the GDAI vision. The incumbent will ensure the institutional evolution of GDAI. The incumbent will ensure effective communication and liaison with the GDAI steering committee and ensure decisions of the steering committee are effectively incorporated into GDAI’s implementation.

The day to day management and supervision of this position is under the responsibility of the Head of the UNGP- Asia Pacific Regional Hub.

Functional Responsibilities

  1. Programme Management
  2. Thought Leadership
  3. People Management
  4. Coordination and Collaboration

Program Management

  • Lead the initial definition and continued evolution of the programme area “A Fair Digital Commons”;
  • Articulate the programme area’s objectives and direction and ensure continued alignment of the programme area with Global Pulse’s strategic goals and overarching priorities;
  • In consultation with partners articulate GDAI’s objectives and direction and ensure its alignment with the Fair Digital Commons program area
  • Identify and scope project proposals with partners and in close consultation with other programme leads as well as with capability and service leads to ensure availability of required capacity and resources to implement projects;
  • Directionally steer projects and in particular GDAI and assume accountability for the success of initiatives within the programme area;
  • Define the impact horizon of initiatives within the Fair Digital Commons program area, and in particular for GDAI. Assess and actively monitor the risk level of initiatives including the likely drivers of initiative success or failure, and develop mitigation/adaptation strategies;
  • Coordinate with Global Pulse’s senior leadership team and actively assist in the design of Global Pulse’s programme portfolio to ensure that Global Pulse (a) operates at the appropriate risk level across projects and programmes and (b) addresses current needs and anticipates future needs with appropriate impact horizons;
  • Provide strategic guidance to initiatives that are a part of the programme and in particular GDAI. Troubleshoot and provide hands-on assistance in case initiatives need to refocus or are at risk of failure;

Thought Leadership

  • Provide thought leadership in the programme area “A Fair Digital Commons” which includes preparing briefs and other material for the Executive Office of the Secretary General (ESOG) on an as needed basis;
  • Provide thought leadership to the GDAI initiative in particular, including the preparation of briefs and other materials for ESOG and others on an as needed basis
  • Identify and participate in panels, working groups, and other forums within and beyond the United Nations to articulate current and future challenges with regards to digital justice in coordination with the strategic communications lead and in alignment with Global Pulse’s strategic communications and storytelling;
  • Serve as an advocate for a fair digital commons and in particular GDAI to shape current dialogue towards a more just and equitable future including our digital future;
  • Establish partnerships, organize convenings, and author articles to position Global Pulse as a capable, trusted, and trustworthy player in digital equity and advocate for the fair digital commons;

People Management

  • Provide strategic guidance to project teams including for the GDAI team, assume accountability for the work of cross-functional project teams and supervise the streamlined execution of initiatives that are a part of the programme area working in close coordination with and providing guidance to the project manager;
  • In coordination with capability and service leads, ensure effective people resource management and quality project delivery including for GDAI
  • Support the retention, development, and career growth of cross-functional team members;
  • Hire and supervise dedicated project team members as required including for GDAI;
  • Lead by example, nurture a growth mindset, and actively build a collaborative team;

Coordination and Collaboration

  • Identify new partners and efficiently leverage existing partnerships in close consultation and collaboration with Global Pulse’s partnerships team for initiative and programme success and contribute to the continued alignment of partner engagement with Global Pulse’s network-wide partnership strategy;
  • Drive the engagement with GDAI partners as well as identify and develop new partnerships in close consultation/ collaboration with existing partners and the Global Pulse’ partnerships team
  • Proactively identify and surface the need for resources including for GDAI, opportunistically surface funding opportunities, and work in collaboration with Global Pulse’s resource mobilization team to assist in the development of material as conducive to their work;
  • Ensure that all initiatives part of the programme have a clear plan for monitoring and evaluation in collaboration with Global Pulse’s Monitoring & Evaluation team;
  • Ensure that all initiatives part of the programme have a clear plan for scale to achieve long-term sustainable impact in collaboration with Global Pulse’s Innovation and Scale team;
  • Identify the need for skills and other expertise across initiatives part of the programme and collaborate with Global Pulse’s capability teams (data & AI team, anticipation team, behavioral sciences team, etc.) to identify needs for their expertise
  • Contribute to Global Pulse’s network wide optimal allocation of people to projects across programmes and the portfolio.

Impact of Results

The effective and successful achievement of key results by the Fair Digital Commons Programme Lead will position the UNOPS Global Pulse project as a capable, trusted, and trustworthy voice in digital equity and as an advocate for a fair digital commons. Successful initiatives will pave the path towards a more just digital commons. This promotes the image of UNOPS as an effective service provider and leader in digital innovation and enhances UNOPS’ competitive position as a partner of choice in sustainable development and project services at the global, regional, and local level.


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.(for levels IICA-2, IICA-3, LICA Specialist- 10, LICA Specialist-11, NOC, NOD, P3, P4 and above)

Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.

Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.

Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).

Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.

Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.

Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.

Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • An advanced university degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or other relevant disciplines with a PhD degree preferred.
  • A first-level university degree in combination with an additional three years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.


  • A minimum of 7 (seven) years of experience in data science, engineering, data protection, or data privacy policy is required;
  • A minimum of 3 (three) years of experience working in unstructured and research environments including academic research is required;
  • A proven track record of excellence in delivering and managing complex data and digital innovation initiatives is required;
  • Experience in identifying opportunity, scoping initiatives with no guidance, and developing compelling pitches is a strong asset
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills;
  • Experience in people management including coaching and career development is required;
  • Proven track record of successfully working as a part of large, collaborative teams including distributed international teams is required;
  • Knowledge of digital justice, digital equity, data sharing, the data/digital economy from a technical and policy perspective is preferred;
  • Experience working with the UN system is an asset.

Language Requirements:

  • Full working knowledge of English is required;
  • Knowledge of another official UNOPS language is an asset.

Contract type, level and duration

  • Contract type: Fixed-term staff
  • Contract level: P4
  • Contract duration: 12 months with possibility of extension subject to satisfactory performance and funding availability

For more details about United Nations staff contracts, please follow this link*:*

The position is based in a family duty station.

Disclaimer: If the selected candidate is a national of the duty station, a national officer contract will be issued.

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.
  • UNOPS embraces diversity and it is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity for all its employees and encourages qualified candidates to apply irrespective of race, colour, national origin, ethnic or social background, genetic information, gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, religion or belief, or disability.
  • 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
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.
  • All UNOPS personnel are responsible for performing their duties in accordance with the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNOPS Policies and Instructions, as well as other relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, all personnel must demonstrate an understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a manner consistent with UN core values and the UN Common Agenda.
  • 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

Interested candidates to apply via

Closing date: 9/26/2022