Over the years, the United Nations has increased its presence in locations all over the world. There are over 130 field offices, which include peacekeeping and political missions and humanitarian field operations, and they play an essential role in identifying, highlighting, and responding to emerging challenges. While the work may vary greatly, the one unifying factor is the opportunity to make a difference, both in the world and in your own life.

Together with its partners, the United Nations is tasked with a variety of responsibilities, such as providing and coordinating humanitarian assistance; promoting and protecting human rights; assisting countries to combat the supply of illicit drugs, crime and corruption and; providing information on the Organization and its activities in the various locations in which it operates. Furthermore, United Nations peacekeeping and political missions have evolved over the last 60 years to meet the demands of different conflicts and changing political landscapes. Civilian peacekeepers work as administrators and engineers, police officers and legal experts, economists and electoral observers, specialists in civil affairs and gender, as well as experts in information technology and public information among other specialized functions.

Working and living conditions in the field vary from one location to another. If you serve in a peacekeeping or political mission, or in a humanitarian field operation, the country or region that you work and live in is likely to be emerging from conflict or an emergency situation. This means that the conditions are more arduous; the infrastructure is weak and electricity and clean water are often in short supply. In addition, most peacekeeping, political or humanitarian missions are categorized as "non-family," which means that family members may not join the staff member at the location.

Service in the cause of peace is a calling that demands both personal dedication and sacrifice but it also offers real opportunities to help people and countries recover from conflict, rebuild their societies, and enjoy the benefits of peace.

To give you a better idea of what it is like to work in a field location read the profiles of Radhia in Baghdad, Aditya in Kinshasa, Bernadette in Port-au-Prince and Nawaz in Harare.

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