Special assistant, P3

Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.

UNISDR does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process. If you have any questions concerning persons or companies claiming to be recruiting on behalf of UNISDR and requesting the payment of a fee, please immediately contact isdr@un.org.

Location: Geneva

Close date: 14 Oct 2012

Job description

Vacancy ISDR/T/07/2012

United Nations Core Values:

Integrity ● Professionalism ● Respect for diversity


Created in December 1999, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) is the designated focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities of the United Nations and regional organizations and activities in socio-economic and humanitarian fields. Led by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk
Reduction, UNISDR has around 100 staff located in its HQ in Geneva, Switzerland, and 5 regional offices and other field presences. Specifically, UNISDR coordinates international efforts in disaster risk reduction, and guides, monitors and reports on the progress of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action; campaigns to create global awareness of disaster risk reduction benefits and empower people to reduce their vulnerability to hazards; advocates for greater investments in disaster risk reduction to protect people's lives and assets, and for increased and informed participation of men and women in reducing disaster risk; and informs and connects people by providing practical services and tools such as Prevention Web, publications on good practices, and by leading the preparation of the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction and the organisation of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Org. setting and reporting

The incumbent will perform his/her duties in the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG), in the secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) in Geneva under the direct supervision of the Advisor to the SRSG.


The Special Assistant will be responsible for the following duties:

1. Manage the SRSG's agenda; ensure the timely preparation of relevant background documents and the organization of briefings for meetings; ensure that relevant staff are informed and/or called to attend. Assist in the follow-up to meetings, including the preparation of relevant notes and briefing to staff, as appropriate. Ensure synergy between the SRSG's agenda and the agenda of the Director.
2. Draft background documents, notes for the file, presentations as well as ensure the timely and qualitative drafting of speeches and speaking notes.
3. Review incoming and outgoing correspondence and refer it to, and hold consultations with, appropriate units/officers. Take initiative in drafting and preparing correspondence for the SRSG's signature.
4. Provide support to Senior Management Team (SMT) meetings and retreats, including preparation of agenda and minutes, ensuring the timely submission and circulation of relevant background documents and reports.
5. Maintain close contacts with sections in Geneva and the field, and bring to the attention of the SRSG and his/her Advisor on all matters requiring their personal attention. Formulate options as to how those matters might be best handled and followed-up, as directed. Ensure timely follow-up to the SRSG's directives, including effective dissemination of pertinent information to senior management and other relevant staff in the headquarters and the field. Ensure that internal and external communications flow are maintained through appropriate electronic media, including but not limited to, SRSG's corporate website and intranet.
6. Manage the planning and organization of SRSG's missions, including ensuring the timely preparation of mission files and background documents by the relevant branches and units as well as prepare or ensure the preparation of mission reports.
7. Support the SRSG in interactions with high level external partners, including UN entities, NGO community and Member States as well as the private sector and the scientific community. Liaise, as appropriate, with the staff of the Office of the Secretary-General, the
Offices of the Under-Secretary-General of OCHA, UN agencies, funds and programs as well as NGOs and Permanent Missions and other interlocutors. Represent the Office of the SRSG as appropriate and guided.
8. Contribute to the preparation and monitoring of the work plan for the Office of the SRSG.
9. Undertake other assignments as maybe requested by the Advisor to the SRSG and the SRSG.


• Professionalism: Detailed knowledge and understanding of disaster risk reduction related issues; a solid understanding of the working of the United Nations, in particular as this relates to disaster risk reduction, coordination at headquarters and the field, and the workings of inter-governmental mechanisms as well as other consultation arrangements with civil society organizations and the private sector. Conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments; observing deadlines and achieving results; demonstrated problem-solving skills and ability to use sound judgment to ensure the effective and timely completion of complex tasks; ability to work under extreme pressure and prolonged time.
• Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively. Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately. Asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication. Tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience. Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed
• Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals. Solicits input by genuinely valuing others' ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others. Places team agenda before personal agenda. Supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position. Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings
• Planning & organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies. Identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required. Allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work. Foresees risks and allows for
contingencies when planning. Monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary. Uses time efficiently
• Client orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be "clients " and seeks to see things from clients' point of view. Establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect. Identifies clients' needs and matches them to appropriate solutions. Monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients' environment to keep informed and anticipate problems. Keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects. Meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client


Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in international relations, development studies, environment, risk management , humanitarian affairs or related area. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work experience

A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience at international level in coordination, support to Senior United Nations officials, disaster risk reduction, risk management, sustainable development, humanitarian affairs or related field is required.


Fluency in English (both oral and written) is required. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage

Contract type

Duration: Nine months

Date of entry: 15 January 2013 (To be confirmed)

How to apply

Please email the following documents to the ISDR secretariat at: isdr.vacancies@un.org:

1. Cover letter, explaining why you consider yourself qualified and motivated for this particular assignment.
2. Completed personal history profile form (The P11 form can be downloaded from http://www.unisdr.org/who-we-are/vacancies).
3. It would be appreciated your stating your full name and the ISDR vacancy notice number (ISDR/T/07/2012) as the subject in your e-mail of application.

Please note that applications received after the deadline will not be accepted. Applicants will be contacted only if they are under serious consideration

The United Nations does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing, training or any other fees). The United Nations does not concern itself with information on bank accounts.

Additional information


Available here


VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018 VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018.
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