Org. Setting and Reporting
This position is located in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Headquarters in New York. OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response efforts.
OCHA’s mission is to mobilize and coordinate effective and principles humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies; advocate the rights of people in need; promote preparedness and prevention and facilitate sustainable solutions.
The Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer reports to the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and will provide overall guidance and direct supervision to the Internal Displacement Unit.
Within delegated authority, the Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer will be responsible for the following duties:
- Provides authoritative technical and policy advice to senior management in OCHA and other agencies in the UN system, Member State officials, international and regional organizations on programmes, projects and issues of significant impact on internal displacement policy.
- Monitors the performance of the institution’s humanitarian mandate regarding internal displacement, serving as the organizational focal point, repository of good practices, knowledge and expertise and generator of guidance on internal displacement; influences the development and evolution of the UN approach to humanitarian affairs on internal displacement; designs and implements significant policy and programme changes to address country, regional, global humanitarian affairs issues, including gender considerations; conceptualizes the linkages with the political and peacekeeping functions in the Secretariat.
- Develops/ensures implementation of coherent internal displacement response strategies and procedures.
- Conceptualizes, formulates and manages work for OCHA on internal displacement; leads and directs a multi-agency team in carrying out disaster assessment or other missions; initiates, mobilizes and coordinates international humanitarian/emergency assistance for exceptionally complex situations or major disasters; ensures necessary support (e.g. staff, funding, specialized equipment, supplies, etc.); prepares situation reports to the international community, apprising of situation to date and specifying unmet requirements of stricken countries.
- Co-ordinates and oversees the preparation of reports related to internal displacement for presentation to intergovernmental and policy-making organs, as appropriate.
- Leads capacity building initiatives; identifies bottlenecks and gaps and develops proposals to improve response systems and mechanisms, to include technical assistance in the design of specific coordination and other systems/mechanisms; organizes and participates as trainer/resource person in national and international training seminars.
- Serves as primary liaison with non-UN entities, including senior host government officials, donor representatives, NGO officials, the media, etc., on issues related to internal displacement.Establishes overall work plan and budget.
- Leads and directs a team of staff; may oversee activities for a discrete work section or equivalent; plans and allocates work assignments; coaches, mentors and evaluates staff; participates in recruitment, selection and training of new staff and in the development of training programs.
- Organizes and/or chairs inter-agency and other meetings, conferences, task forces; presents views and policies of the IDP Unit.
- Initiates, supervises and finalizes position papers and related submissions on internal displacement and related topics; prepares diverse reports, papers, policy guidelines, parliamentary documents, statements, presentations, etc. for senior management.
- Professionalism: Knowledge of full range of humanitarian and emergency relief assistance and related human rights issues. Ability to advise senior management and other senior officials on approaches and techniques to address highly complex/sensitive issues. Demonstrated capacity for intellectual leadership; conceptual and strategic analytical capacity and ability to thoroughly analyze and evaluate critical matters pertaining to a broad spectrum of humanitarian and emergency relief issues/problems. Demonstrated capacity for original and creative thinking, independent judgment and discretion in advising on and handling major policy, project and other issues/problems. Ability to negotiate and ability to influence others to reach agreement on difficult issues. Ability to work under extreme pressure, on occasion in a highly stressful environment (e.g. civil strife, natural disasters and human misery). Knowledge of institutional mandates, policies and guidelines related to humanitarian affairs and seasoned knowledge of the institutions of the UN system. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrating knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.
- 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 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.
- Vision: 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 the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.
- An advanced university degree (Master’s or Doctorate degree, or equivalent) in political science, social science, public administration, international studies, economics, engineering, earth sciences or related fields is required. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
- A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in humanitarian affairs, emergency preparedness, crisis/emergency relief management, rehabilitation, development, or other related area is required.
- Experience in policy development at a systemwide or global level is required.
- At least three years of previous experience working on internal displacement issues is required.
- Four years in the last ten years of international field experience in aid operations is desirable.
- English and French are the working languages of the UN Secretariat. For this post, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another UN official language is desirable.
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