Chief of office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, P5

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

Location: Geneva

Close date: 26 May 2013

Job description


United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity

Organization Setting And Reporting

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk 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 (SRSG) , UNISDR has over 100 staff located in its headquarters 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 PreventionWeb,
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.

The Function Reports to the SRSG: The post's assigned duties and areas include the management of the Front office for the SRSG. This includes policy and political issues; management and programme issues; external relations and representation of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and UNISDR. S/he provides policy, political and legal advice on a varied number of questions related to the execution of the SRSG and UNISDR's mandated functions, UNISDR's organisational set-up, and UNISDR's organisational strategic framework and work programme and its implementation; leads the Office of the SRSG for Disaster Risk Reduction; supports coordination of UNISDR wide initiatives; performs quality-control functions; and liaises with a vast and diverse array of senior government and UN officials and other external partners.


A) Serve as senior policy, political and legal adviser to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), and to the Director and other senior managers as may be required, on strategic and operational issues that fall within the SRSG's purview. This includes the formulation and application of policy decisions, directives and guidelines of the Secretary-General and the General Assembly Resolutions; inter-agency cooperation and coordination; engagement with UN governance bodies; general management matters and staff-management relations; the development of UNISDR's organisational strategic framework and work programme and its implementation; the execution of the SRSG and UNISDR's mandated functions; and UNISDR's organisational set-up. Lead and serve as start-up focal point on policy-related issues.

B) Review and vet official reports and documentation prepared by UNISDR and ensure their consistency with UN and UNISDR's policy priorities before recommending their approval by the SRSG

C) Take the lead, coordinate and provide substantive input to the preparation of position papers and reports for presentation to intergovernmental bodies such as the UN General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budget Questions, and other policymaking organs, as appropriate.

D) Take the lead on legal questions with institutional, policy and programmatic implications, including providing support to the SRSG in the discharge of the "delegation of full power to sign agreements", in order to ensure adherence to UN regulations and rules and other international legal instruments, in close collaboration with the Office of Legal Affairs and other relevant departments as may be required.

E) Lead the development, and oversee the implementation, of the Office of the SRSG (OSRSG) work plan, including the day-to-day management of the OSRSG and ensure that substantive work programmes are carried out in a timely fashion in coordination with and support to other UNISDR's units at headquarters and in the field. Carry out programmatic and managerial tasks necessary for the functioning of the OSRSG, including preparation of budget, assigning and monitoring of performance parameters, reporting on budget/programme performance, preparation of inputs for results based budgeting, evaluation of staff performance (PAS), and staff selection and recruitment.


Core Competencies:


  • Knowledge and understanding of concepts and approaches relevant to disaster risk reduction and how disaster risk reduction is interrelated to other areas of work of countries and the UN.
  • Knowledge and experience in policy development working with different stake holders at the national and international level.

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.


  • Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments
  • Delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards
  • Operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules
  • Supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments
  • Takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.

Managerial Competencies:


  • Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks
  • Clearly communicates links between the Organization's strategy and the work unit's goals
  • Generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction
  • Conveys enthusiasm about future possibilities

Judgement/ Decision-making

  • Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly
  • Gathers relevant information before making a decision
  • Considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them
  • Takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the organization
  • Proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information
  • Checks assumptions against facts
  • Determines that the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision
  • Makes tough decisions when necessary.


Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in law, international relations, political science or related area. A first-level university degree in combination with two or more additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced
university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in public international law, policy development, institutional reforms or related areas. Experience in advising Senior Officials is desirable.


Fluency in English (both oral and written) is required. Knowledge of French is desirable.

How to apply

Assessment Method

Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview

Special Notice

Extension of the appointment is subject to the availability of the funds. This post is funded from extrabudgetary funds. This vacancy is subject to availability of post. Staff members of the United Nations Secretariat must fulfill the lateral move requirements to be eligible to
apply for this vacancy. Staff members are requested to indicate all qualifying lateral moves in their Personal History Profile (PHP) and cover note.

United Nations Considerations

The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. (Charter of the United Nations - Chapter 3, article 8). The United Nations Secretariat
is a non-smoking environment.

No Fee

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

Please apply online

Additional information

Available here


Governance, Disaster Risk Management
The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 16-19 July 2018 The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 16-19 July 2018.
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