Chief Operating Officer

UNOPS, Geneva, Swaziland

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
7 to 10 Year
Closing Date for Applications: 
31st March, 2019

Job Description

Background Information - Job-specific:

The Defeat-NCD Partnership was established in January 2018 to help tackle the most significant global health problem of the age: premature death, sickness, disability, and the associated social and economic impacts of selected non-communicable diseases (NCDs). These are projected to cost tens of billions of dollars with the most adverse consequences falling upon the poorer countries and communities.

The Defeat-NCD Partnership is hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and forms part of its growing portfolio of global health related Partnerships such as Stop TB, Roll Back Malaria, Scaling up Nutrition, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council. Overall, UNOPS health-related work totaled some US$430 million in 2017 and it is the biggest sector we work in.

Our vision is that of a world in which there is universal health coverage for NCDs. This is a direct contribution to the transformational 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to which all nations subscribe.

Our mission is to enable and assist the approximately 100 lower-income and lesser-developed countries to scale-up sustained action against NCDs so that they can progress SDG 3 on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages and, more specifically, to achieve target 3.4 to reduce, by one-third, premature mortality from NCDs by 2030. Our initial focus is on diabetes and hypertension with expansion to other NCDs in due course probably starting with the early detection and treatment of cervical and breast cancer.

Defeat-NCD is a ‘public-private-people’ Partnership that is an autonomous inclusive programme of the United Nations system. Our membership and governance include governments, multilateral agencies, civil society, academia, philanthropic foundations, and the business sector. We subscribe to the ethical principles of the United Nations Global Compact. We follow the technical norms and guidance issued by the World Health Organization. Our operating procedures derive from United Nations rules but are designed to be fast and responsive. We work in a complementary and coordinated way with other health and development actors at all levels.

The secretariat of the Defeat-NCD Partnership is located in Geneva, Switzerland.


UNOPS supports the successful implementation of its partners' peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to serve people in need by expanding the ability of the United Nations, governments and other partners to manage projects, infrastructure and procurement in a sustainable and efficient manner.

Working in some of the world's most challenging environments, our vision is to advance sustainable implementation practices, always satisfying or surpassing our partners' expectations.

With over 7,000 personnel spread across 80 countries, UNOPS offers its partners the logistical, technical and management knowledge they need, wherever they need it.

A flexible structure and global reach mean that we can quickly respond to our partners' needs, while offering the benefits of economies of scale.

Functional Responsibilities:

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) reports to the Deputy Chief Executive, who provides general guidance and supervision. The role is responsible for managing country operations and providing an efficient and integrated support service for the Defeat-NCD Partnership.

The role leads the development and implementation of Defeat-NCD Partnership operational plans that deliver its services at the country level. Specifically by enabling their populations to access a range of interconnected essential services and resources through four tracks: The Defeat-NCD National Capacity Strengthening Facility, the Defeat-NCD Community & Health Systems Scale-up Facility, the Defeat-NCD Essential Supplies and Distribution Facility, and the Defeat-NCD Financing Facility.

The COO responsibilities will include, but not be limited to the following:

Country operations:

  • Lead the formulation of The Defeat-NCD Partnership’s operational plans.
  • Manage the implementation of track three - the Defeat-NCD Essential Supplies and Distribution Facility – in targeted countries by developing innovative and market based solutions and partnerships for creating access to NCD essential drugs.
  • Develop fit for purpose pass-through and grant management policies and procedures for managing the Defeat-NCD Partnership’s country portfolio of projects/grants.
  • Develop agreements with identified implementation partners.
  • In consultation with the relevant UNOPS counterparts, develop and keep updated the standard operating procedures covering the Defeat-NCD Partnership operations under its four tracks.
  • Provide technical advice and operational guidance on innovative approaches to project financing, risk assessment/ mitigation and use of financing structures, mechanisms instruments and guarantees.
  • Assist the Deputy Chief Executive in administrative and financial project delivery and auditing.
  • Represent, and delegated and required, the Defeat-NCD Partnership to external partners and ensure its position, interests and priorities are fully considered.

Project planning and coordination:

  • Provide assistance and support to programme and project budget preparation, revisions and work planning.
  • Provide input into project engagement and acceptance documents including assisting with contract negotiations and drafting of agreements.
  • Establish project performance targets and recommend tools for monitoring, evaluation and auditing.
  • Establish systems and procedures for programme and project cost sharing, deployment of funds and closures.
  • Constantly monitor and analyse the operating environment to identify potential risks and take action/refer critical issues for intervention to ensure delivery of results.
  • Monitor and supervise all aspects of operations to ensure compliance with Defeat-NCD Partnership corporate strategies, UNOPS rules, regulations, policies, and standards of accountability, ethics and integrity and achievement of results.


  • Oversee and supervise the Defeat-NCD Partnership procurement processes, including tendering processes and evaluation and supplier selection, to ensure viable procurement solutions that meet operational needs and compliance with UNOPS procurement procedures, regulations and standard of accountability, ethics, integrity and performance.
  • Evaluate contractual arrangements and legal commitments/risks for appropriate action.
  • Oversee the efficiency and integrity of the procurement evaluation process to ensure cost-effective procurement of goods and services.
  • In consultation with relevant colleagues, review, administer and issue contracts, agreements/amendments with the different vendors/sub-contractors/service providers.
  • Oversee the logistics of goods and equipment on project sites to confirm delivery and safe warehousing.
  • Evaluate, list, update and monitor the performance of the roster of service providers of suitable firms or institutions.

Financial management:

  • Prepare the Defeat-NCD Partnership financial plan and manage the budget process/cycle to ensure timely revisions and reallocation of funds.
  • Supervise the Defeat-NCD Partnership Finance staff and ensure compliance with the UNOPS/ Financial Rules & Regulations and Finance procedures
  • Monitor, track and control expenditure to ensure optimum and appropriate use of resources.
  • Ensure the availability of required financial reports and exception reports including investigating anomalies to resolve problems, reporting or recommending any action required to relevant stakeholders.
  • Supervise the timely review, posting and closure of accounts. Certify/verify accuracy and compliance with standards of accountability framework. Submit/prepare mandated report on financial status.
  • Supervise all financial services (accounting, cash management, payments etc.) ensuring timeliness and compliance with standards of accountability and performance.
  • Monitor the expenditures for the Defeat-NCD Partnership and ensure that the agreed direct and indirect costs for hosting services charged by UNOPS are properly billed in accordance with the applicable procedures, hosting terms, and standard operating procedures.
  • Act as focal point for any internal/external audit exercises.

Human resource management:

Support the Deputy Chief Executive Officer in his responsibility to manage and oversee all staffing issues within the Defeat-NCD Partnership, including:

  • Plan personnel required for the Defeat-NCD Partnership programmes/projects.
  • Administer human resource services/processes including recruitment and contract administration, training and development, ensuring compliance with human resource rules, regulations, procedures and standards of performance and guide hiring managers to actively seek the creation of diverse teams in terms of gender and diversity.

Administration, legal and information technology;

  • Keep the hosting terms between UNOPS and the Defeat-NCD Partnership relevant and updated, and ensure maximum value for money and efficiency gains from services provided by UNOPS as the hosting agency.
  • Monitor support services to ensure optimum client service and satisfaction, including liaising with appropriate UNOPS Geneva Portfolio team members, UNOPS Headquarters and Europe and Central Asia specialists in Human Resources, Finance, Procurement, and Administration, and UNOPS field offices for required support.
  • Handle relationships with external legal counsel and ensure the Defeat-NCD Partnership has appropriate independent legal and risk advice from recognised law firms for its implementation of its various tracks and subsequent solutions that emerge.
  • Establish and maintain a secure and reliable ICT environment, including adequate plans for disaster recovery.
  • Manage the acquisition, maintenance, inventory, recording, verification and protection of project and administrative facilities/assets, including IT infrastructure, equipment and servers.
  • Identify opportunities for leveraging the use of IT to enhance business operations and efficiency and to facilitate knowledge management, and information sharing.
  • Manage the timely and efficient delivery of all administrative services, (e.g. premises, asset management, organizational and personnel security, travel and IT).
  • Perform any other work-related duties and responsibilities that may be assigned by the Deputy Chief Executive.

Education: A Master’s Degree in business administration, public administration, financial management, economics, international relations, social studies or related field is required.


  • A minimum 7 years of experience covering at least two of the following operations functions: Project Management (Health Sector Programmes), Procurement, Finance, or Human Resources is required. Knowledge of the other functions is desirable.
  • Experience in dealing with International humanitarian or development Organisations/United Nations regulations, rules and policies in the areas of contracting, procurement and human resources is required.
  • Direct operational management experience, within an International humanitarian or development Organisation/ United Nations, in at least one major public health emergency desired.
  • A minimum of 3 years of management experience in an International development or humanitarian Organisation/United Nations, is required.
  • A minimum of 3 years of International humanitarian or development Organisations/United Nations experience working in Africa and Asia (focus regions for the Defeat-NCD Partnership) is required.
  • Experience in private sector preferably in an information technology/ecommerce company is desirable.


  • Fluency in oral and written English is required.
  • Working knowledge of another United Nations official language (French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese Mandarin, Arabic) is an asset.


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