Senior Program Officer - Urban Africa

Job description

VACANCY TITLE Senior Program Officer - Urban Africa

LOCATION Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire or Rotterdam, The Netherlands

INTENSITY Full time 

ANTICIPATED START DATE As soon as possible



The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) is an international organization that works as a solutions broker to catalyze action and support for adaptation solutions, from the international to the local, in partnership with the public and private sector, to ensure we learn from each other and work together for a climate resilient future. Adapting to impacts of climate change provides a “win-win” for health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth. The work of the GCA elevates the visibility and political importance of climate adaptation and facilitates solutions, such as smarter investments, new technologies and better planning to become more resilient to climate-related threats. GCA is a rapidly growing organization with offices in Abidjan, Beijing, Dhaka, Groningen, and Rotterdam.



GCA seeks a dynamic individual as Senior Program Officer (Urban) to join the Water and Urban team to drive forward the Global Center on Adaptation’s role as a solutions broker in the field of adaptation. The individual will actively engage in and provide leadership on policy advocacy for adaptation and programs on urban development and provide technical, content-focused support to advance GCA’s overall policy and advocacy work. This person is responsible for cultivating and managing relationships with external partners and parties and supporting the team’s ongoing work around implementation of the water and urban program. Under the oversight of the Regional Director for Africa and, directly reporting to the Program Lead, the incumbent will carry out the following:

Areas of responsibility

The areas of responsibility of the Senior Program Officer - Urban Africa include:

  • Support and operationalize the conceptual development of GCA’s City Adaptation Accelerator (CAA) in particular in relation to scaling up and acceleration of adaptation, and locally-led adaptation.
  • Develop and implement a pipeline of technical assistance projects in the urban development and urban resilience sectors that shapes and expands GCA’s partnerships with leading Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) such as the African Development Bank and the World Bank to drive on-the-ground adaptation acceleration and scaling up of climate adaptation and creates space and energy for innovation.
  • Closely collaborate with MDB task teams to support the integration and implementation of climate adaptation in key sectors such as integrated water resource management, irrigation, urban water management, and related areas.
  • Participate in the preliminary evaluation of project proposals to assess their feasibility for financial support and/or technical assistance by GCA. This involves the initial screening of project, carrying out desk reviews, preparing preliminary evaluation notes for presentation to the Workstream Lead and the Regional Director
  • Support the procurement and oversee highly innovative and transformative technical assistance to urban climate adaptation and urban resilience building investment projects and programs of MDBs and in particular the African Development Bank. This will include frequent and in-depth interactions with task team leaders/managers of our partner MDBs.
  • Drive an intense program, in coordination with regional and international partners, to build capacity of national and local government and non-governmental stakeholders.
  • Support the operationalization of knowledge development related to urban water resilience and participate in relevant workshops and meetings to keep abreast with the ongoing trends in climate change adaptation and its implications on GCA’s agenda and strategy.
  • Further expand and maintain GCA’s network of international, national and local stakeholders in the water-urban adaptation sector.
  • Support the preparation of knowledge products – e.g. policy briefs, news stories, reports – on GCA’s activities.
  • Support the on-the-job strengthening of capacity of GCA staff and partner organizations.
  • Overall support to the implementation of the AAAP.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned.

Job requirements


  • Master’s degree in environmental studies, urban planning, development studies, public administration, or other relevant fields.
  • Minimum of ten years’ experience in the implementation of complex and large-scale innovative projects and programs in the urban development and urban resilience sectors in Africa. Experience with a multilateral development bank is considered to be of added advantage.
  • Excellent conceptual understanding of key subject areas such as climate adaption, integrated and urban water resource management and resilient cities.
  • Full understanding of the principles of project cycle and project implementation required for portfolio management.
  • Proven ability to translate complex concepts and strategies into technical assistance to national and local governments, and projects teams to support implementation of climate adaptation in the water sector in South Asia.
  • Excellent planning and operational skills–including complex procurement and contract management–and a demonstrable sense of urgency and ability to work under tight deadlines in a team setting while maintaining an empowering and solution-oriented approach.
  • Proven ability to effectively collaborate with diverse stakeholders at different technical and strategic levels– senior government officials and other authorities, representatives of multilateral development banks, implementation partners, and so on.
  • Excellent client and communications skills, backed by an ability to communicate orally and in writing effectively in English and to articulate and present ideas well both in writing and orally to a diverse audience of stakeholders at technical and strategic levels.
  • Working knowledge of French considered to be of additional advantage.


With our global headquarters in Rotterdam on the world’s largest floating office, and regional offices around the globe, the GCA offers a dynamic, high-profile and international working environment in a growing organisation. You will be contributing to our global mission on climate adaptation. You will have the opportunity to draw upon the substantial expertise available at the GCA and its partner organizations across the world and you will be given an opportunity to support the shaping of international policies and global action on climate change, working at the highest governmental levels and collaborating with governments on all continents.

Subject to Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions, this staff post will be located either at GCA’s Africa Regional Office in Abidjan, Ivory Coast or in the Head Office in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.


Please apply at by submitting your CV and cover letter in English before 31 January 2022, 5 pm CET. Kindly mention the date as of which you would be available to start.


The GCA celebrates diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. GCA does not discriminate in any of its programs or activities on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, nationality, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law.


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