Vacancy: Urban Programme Manager at SKL International

SKL International has been working with sustainable urban development for the past 10 years, primarily in the framework of SymbioCity. SKL International is currently looking for an experienced Urban Programme Manager to take on a two-fold role; 1) managing the ongoing SymbioCity Global Programme– a concept and platform to support sustainable urban development globally with focus on inclusive and pro-poor perspectives. 2) take the strategic leadership of SKL International’s development of future programmes in sustainable and inclusive urban development. This includes identification of strategic priorities, design of future initiatives, business development and the formation of strategic partnerships with international and Swedish actors.

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About the role
The Urban Programme Manager will be managing the ongoing SymbioCity Global Programme including e.g. leading the SymbioCity team, taking care of quality assurance in ongoing initiatives, monitoring and evaluation as well as exchange of lessons learned. The role also includes taking leadership of SKL International’s future initiatives in sustainable and inclusive urban development. This entails strategic development, conceptualization of a new phase of SymbioCity globally  and other business development related to urban development. The Urban Programme Manager will be part of and lead the SymbioCity secretariat in Stockholm and work in close collaboration with SKL International’s Urban Specialist, Component Leaders and Facilitators/Experts.

More specifically s/he would be responsible for:

  • Identification of strategic priorities; development & implementation of strategies for the programme. This includes exploration, conceptualization and design of future programme ideas and components;
  • Formation, development and management of strategic partnerships both at global, regional and national level;
  • Advocacy & policy influence at global, regional and national level: development and implementation of advocacy strategies and activities; development of SymbioCity’s policy work in existing cooperation countries and other countries prioritized by Sida; development of relevant policy & communication material/input;
  • Business development in the area of sustainable and inclusive urban development;
  • Responsible for leading and coordinating the core team in Stockholm as well as planning, managing, following up, evaluating and reporting on project activities;
  • Monitor overall project delivery including compliance with contractual obligations, adherence to agreed budget and work plan and progress towards results;
  • Representing the SymbioCity Secretariat externally, both in Sweden and internationally;
  • Networking with global, regional, national and Swedish actors, including conceptualization and implementation of networking and outreach activities;

The Urban Programme Manager should have:

  • A Master’s degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject such as: urban planning/development, international development cooperation, urban management, architecture or relevant area;
  • A minimum of 15 years of working experience with sustainable and integrated urban development, urban planning, urban management and sustainability related issues;
  • Extensive experience from working in transition- and developing countries as well as international development cooperation;
  • Experience of political environments and carrying out policy dialogue at international and/or national level;
  • Proven capacity to work with a wide range of stakeholders, including, national and local government agencies and authorities, international organizations, academics, development agencies, and NGOs;
  • Good knowledge of Sweden’s international development cooperation policies and/or of equivalent organisations;
  • Experience and capacity to effectively design and manage international development programmes that involve multiple stakeholders including training, facilitation, implementation and strategic partnerships;
  • Experience in business development and funding of urban programmes;
  • Be fluent in written and spoken English and preferably also in Swedish. Additional languages are a merit.

In addition to the qualifications described above, the following experiences are considered an advantage:

  • Experience of urban planning/development in a Swedish municipal context;
  • Experience of working with participatory approaches to urban development/planning and poverty reduction in an urban context;
  • Experience of working with gender perspectives and social inclusion in an urban context;
  • Experience of working with climate resilience and adaptation in urban development.

The successful candidate should:

  • Be a good team player with good communication skills and experience of working in multidisciplinary teams;
  • Be highly professional and able to independently represent SKL International and SymbioCity in contacts with senior stakeholders including international, national and local government representatives, politicians, public officials, embassy staff and civil society organisations;
  • Have capacity to innovate, integrate and develop new ideas into programs and projects on the ground;
  • Be proactive, operational and take responsibility for achieving results;
  • Have a high degree of initiative and self-motivation, with an ability to identify risks and opportunities and respond accordingly;
  • Demonstrate flexibility and good judgement, and be able to solve issues in consultation with others as well as adapt to different situations and cultures.

Organisational structure
The Urban Programme Manager is a full time position and is expected to start as soon as possible. The Urban Programme Manager will be based at SKL International’s head office in Stockholm but with occasional travels to SymbioCity cooperation countries. For technical and operational matters, the Urban Programme Manager will report to SKL International’s Programme Director. For employment and administrative matters, the Urban Programme Manager will report to SKL International’s Managing Director.

Background SymbioCity
SymbioCity is a holistic and inclusive approach to sustainable urban development. Since 2010 and with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), SymbioCity has been used as a supportive tool for cities in different countries around the world with the overall goal to improve living conditions for citizens with a special emphasis on the urban poor. SymbioCity supports the development of urban development solutions by making strategic use of synergies, participatory methods and holistic analysis. The process ensures improved sustainability, synergies between urban systems, involvement of various actors in developing, planning and managing urban areas, alternative development scenarios, impact analysis and evaluation. By integrating economic, environmental, sociocultural and spatial dimensions as well as gender and pro-poor perspectives, we create sustainable results. SymbioCity’s approach contributes to the achievement of several SDGs at the local level and delivers specifically on SDG 11 (make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable).

The ongoing Global Programme is a 5 year-programme, 2015-2020 and is managed by the team at the SymbioCity Secretariat in Stockholm.

About SKL International
SKL International is the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Region’s (SALAR’s) organisation for international development cooperation. SKL International’s vision is a world where all people have the power to shape their own lives in inclusive local democracies and sustainable communities. We build the capacity of local and regional governments so they can lead in a more effective, democratic, sustainable and inclusive way. More info is on our website at

As a workplace, SKL International is dynamic, varied and stimulating. We are a value-driven company where commercial interests are balanced with integrity and ethics. We strive to carry out projects that are characterised by quality, competence, responsiveness, credibility and innovation. Our work is guided by a gender and sustainability perspective. SKL International works externally in English but internally mostly in Swedish.

How to apply
To apply for this role, please send your up-to-date CV including references and a cover letter either in Swedish or English to no later than 31 August 2019. Applications will be assessed continuously and interviews may be conducted before the closing date, therefore we encourage interested applicants to apply as soon as possible.

Unsuccessful applicants will be advised by email once a final decision on the recruitment has been made.

Questions about the role should be sent via email to: