Capacity Building Specialist in EU Accession – retainer position At UNOPS

Knowledge Management Specialist on Methodology of Specialisation of Prosecutors and Cases Assignment - retainer position At UNOPS

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.

The UNOPS Republic of Serbia Multi Country Office (RSMCO) is implementing 13 projects in Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Ukraine.

In Serbia, where UNOPS has been active since 2000, and North Macedonia and Montenegro where UNOPS works since 2017, the organisation provides support in demanding socio-economic reforms and facilitating accession to the European Union. The projects focus on sustainable socio-economic development, good governance, social cohesion, environment and emergency response. The projects are implemented with the funding from the European Union (EU), Kingdom of Norway, Governments of Switzerland, Sweden and North Macedonia.

In Ukraine, UNOPS support to the partners in their reform agenda since 2017 spans the rule of law, social protection, demining, emergency response and security. The projects are funded by the EU, UNHCR, the Governments of Japan and Canada.

All projects have gender equality as a transversal theme, and have been contextualised within the broader Sustainable Development Goals frameworks and objectives.

Nordic Support for Progress of North Macedonia

A) The Government of Norway is funding a sub-regional programme “Nordic Support for Progress in North Macedonia”implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). The project consists of socio-economic development support to the more undeveloped parts of the country and also envisages support to the national authorities responsible for leading the renewed efforts on the EU accession process. The Government of Norway has allocated funding for the implementation of the Project in North Macedonia for 48 months, starting from September 2018.

The overall objective of the project is to contribute to a more balanced socio-economic development and to contribute to the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement and EU accession negotiations priorities.

Locally, the project aims to increase employment opportunities, support social cohesion, as well as to enhance local infrastructure in the less developed areas with a focus given to the inclusion of youth, women and vulnerable groups in the labour market. Nationally, the project aims at supporting the government to improve its capacity for EU integration and government reform agenda in the accession process.

B) The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency has decided to fund a project “Support to progress in North Macedonia – Government reform agenda in the EU-accession process” to be implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). The objective of the project supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) is to support the enhancement of the EU integration capacity of the Republic of North Macedonia by providing technical assistance to government institutions during the accession period.

SIDA has allocated funding for the implementation of the project in North Macedonia during 48 months.

The Overall Objective of the SIDA support is to contribute to, and effectively communicate to the public, the implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, accession negotiations and government reform priorities in the Republic of North Macedonia.

Project interventions are aimed towards communicating the benefits of the EU accession process to the general population, as well as to involve the civil society and media throughout the accession phases. All project activities will be undertaken in partnership with the Government of North Macedonia, in cooperation with the national institutions, with the aim of allowing them to adopt/adapt the legal requirements and, where relevant, EU accession criteria.

This will ensure national ownership and support the development of national capacities.

Background Information – relevant for the assignment

The purpose of Result 3(1) “Supporting the government reform agenda in the accession process ”is to provide support to relevant national authorities is to contribute to further building of capacities of the central coordination structures for the accession process and relevant national authorities.

General Affairs Council on its session held on 18 June 2019, adopted conclusions on the EU’s enlargement policy and the stabilisation and association process. On the issue of opening negotiation talks with North Macedonia, the Council “Reaffirming its conclusions of 26 June 2018, the Council welcomes the historic and unprecedented Prespa Agreement and takes good note of the Commission’s recommendation to open accession negotiations with the Republic of North Macedonia and Albania based on its positive evaluation of the progress made and of the fulfilment of the conditions identified by the Council.”

Within the framework of the political and reform processes, North Macedonia’s government commenced with preparations for accession negotiations, and activated its coordination structures for EU integration. The main developments include:

Further to the Decision of the European Council in June 2018, the EC prepared timetable for explanatory meetings for the chapters of the acquis. EC commenced with explanatory meetings in September 2018 and ending in December 2019. On the explanatory meetings, the EC representatives are explaining in details policies and requirements of the key EU acquis, standards and best practices for efficient and effective implementation.

On 5 February 2020 the European Commission unveiled a new methodology for the accession negotiations to drive forward the EU accession process “Enhancing the accession process – A credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans, to make the process more credible, with a stronger political steer, more dynamic and predictable. The methodology also introduced new approach by clustering the chapters and introducing new areas in the process, functioning democratic institutions, public administration reform and economic criteria included under the Fundamentals Cluster. On 2 March 2020, the European Commission (EC) published the Update on the Republic of North Macedonia report for 2020. In the document, EC has stated that North Macedonia delivered tangible results in its continued implementation of EU-related reforms and on good neighbourly relations, and recommended accession negotiations with North Macedonia. On 24 March 2020, the European Council adopted decision on opening of negotiations to North Macedonia and Albania. The Council concluded that the country has demonstrated its determination to advance the EU reform agenda and has delivered tangible and sustained results. The General Affairs Council has invited EC to develop and to submit draft negotiating frameworks for Albania and North Macedonia, laying out the guidelines and principles for their accession talks. The EC presented to the member states, the draft Negotiating Framework for North Macedonia in July 2020 handing it over to the EU Council to reach a consensual agreement among the member states.

2021 EC Country Report for North Macedonia was published in October 2021, whereby the Commission recommended that the country sufficiently meets the criteria for opening of the accession negotiations. The Council of EU has not reached a consensus on the Negotiating Framework, and the date for the first Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) has not been set to date.

The Government of the Republic of North Macedonian on its 143 session held on 9 July 2021 has adopted legal documents establishing the Negotiation structure with the Chief Negotiator (DPM), Committee for Accession Negotiations, State Delegation for accession negotiations, the Negotiating Group, Working Committee for European Integration. However, following the adoption of the new accession methodology, a process of revision of the legal acts has been initiated in order to meet the requirements of the said methodology, and should be ready for adoption not later than this April.

Functional Responsibilities

Under the supervision of the Project Manager, the Capacity Building Specialist in EU Accession will provide technical support to the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of European Affairs (the Chief Negotiator), Secretariat for European Affairs (SEA) and Team of negotiators in regard to operationalization of negotiating structures for accession negotiations with the EU and preparations for the bilateral screening.

All relevant documents for this assignment will be provided by the project in cooperation with the SEA.

More specifically, the Specialist will undertake the following activities/ responsibilities:

  • Provide practical recommendations to the Chief Negotiator, members of the Government and SEA in the process of accession negotiations, including bilateral screening and benchmarking, the role and cooperation with other stakeholders such as the Assembly of North Macedonia, civil society, chambers and business community, etc.
  • Provide technical support and guidance in development of legal and operational documents, that will contribute to operationalization of the negotiation structure in accordance with the adopted EU Negotiating Framework for North Macedonia;
  • Provide training and support in preparing North Macedonia General Position for Accession Negotiations, the first IGC in particular, preparation and organization of bilateral screening exercise in accordance with the New Methodology, as needed;
  • Provide recommendations to the SEA on range of training and capacity building related matters related to EU Accession process;
  • Perform other duties as may be reasonably required and in line with the incumbent’s scope of services

Required Selection Criteria


  • Master’s degree preferably in Law, Economy, Political science, International Relations or other relevant discipline is required;
  • University Degree (Bachelor’s degree / first level) with a combination of two additional years of relevant professional experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

  • Five years of experience in European integration process in the Western Balkan region is required;
  • Experience in delivering technical assistance for accession negotiation with EU is required;
  • Experience as head or member of Accession Negotiation team is desirable;

Language Requirements

  • Fluency in English (speaking, reading and writing) is required.

Core Competencies

  • Strategic Perspective – 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)
  • Integrity & Inclusion – 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.
  • Leading Self and Others – 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.
  • Partnering – 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).
  • Results Orientation – 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.
  • Agility – 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 behaviour. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
  • Solution Focused – 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.
  • Effective Communication – 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.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: International Individual Contractor Agreement (IICA) Retainer

Contract level: I-ICA 2 (ICS10)

Contract duration: Up to 40 work days within six months

If the selected candidate is based in a duty station where there is a national scale, s/he may be offered the local equivalent position.

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link:

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
  • 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.

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.

For more information on UNOPS, please visit the UNOPS website at

How to apply

Qualified candidates may submit their application, including a Curriculum Vitae and Cover Letter to UNOPS via UNOPS Jobs.


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