Job Opening

Department/Office: Office of Legal Affairs
Duty Station: NEW YORK
Posting Period: 27 December 2019 - 13 February 2020
Job Opening Number: 19-Legal Affairs-OLA-128589-D-New York (R)
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.

Org. Setting and Reporting

The Office of Legal Affairs is the central legal service of the Organization and provides legal advice to the Secretary-General, Secretariat departments and offices and United Nations organs in the field of public and private law; represents the Secretary-General in legal conferences and in judicial proceedings; performs substantive and secretariat functions for legal organs involved in public international law, the law of the sea and ocean affairs and international trade law; and performs the functions conferred on the Secretary-General in Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.

This position is located in the Division for Ocean Affairs and The Law of The Sea, Office of Legal Affairs. The Director will report to the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs.


Under the direct supervision and guidance of the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and within delegated authorities, the Director of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea is responsible for the performance of functions entrusted to the United Nations by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Convention), as well as other activities relating to the implementation of the Convention and related instruments, carried within the UN programme on ocean affairs and the law of the sea.

•Organizes and supervises the substantive support provided to the UN General Assembly, the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention, the Commission on Limits of Continental Shelf, Informal Open-Ended Consultative Process on the Law of the Sea, Informal Consultations of the States Parties to the UN Fish Stocks Agreement and other bodies, including research on various issues of the law of the sea, preparation of relevant reports of the Secretary-General, background materials and other documentation, as well as legal advice and assistance in the conduct of their meetings.

•Assists and cooperates/coordinates with international organizations and programmes.

•Monitors, reviews and analyses developments in the field of ocean affairs and the law of the sea and preparation of legal publications.

•Performs functions relating to deposition of charts and coordinates of maritime spaces by coastal States under the Convention.

•Plans, organizes and supervises the capacity-building programme, including training courses, preparation of training manuals and cooperation with various institutions involved in the programme.

•Manages the Division, including the supervision of the preparation of the budget, reporting on programme performance, the recruitment of the staff of the Division as well as their development and appraisal.

•Communicates with Permanent Missions, Government entities and international organizations on matters relating to the work of the Division.

•Represents the Organization at international conferences and meetings.

•Contributes to the formulation of the department’s overall strategies and policies by participating in various committees, preparing documents on policy issues, and acting, as required, in an advisory capacity to the USG/ASG; contribute to the overall management of the Department’s activities and operations.

•Provides leadership to the development of innovative and/or change management programmes.

•Formulates and implement the substantive work programme of the Office/Division under his/her supervision, determining priorities, and allocating resources for the completion of outputs and their timely delivery.

•Oversees the management of activities undertaken by the Office/Division, ensuring that programmed activities are carried out in a timely fashion and co-ordinates work in the different areas both within the Office/Division and Department, and with other organizations of the United Nations System, donors and agencies as appropriate.

•Co-ordinates and oversees the preparation of reports for presentation to intergovernmental bodies such as the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budget Questions, Committee for Programme Coordination, Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly and other policy-making organs, as appropriate.

•Reports to intergovernmental bodies on budget/programme performance or on programmatic/substantive issues, as appropriate, particularly those presented in biannual and/or annual reports.

•Ensures that the outputs produced by the Office/Division maintain high-quality standards; that reports are clear, objective and based on comprehensive data. Ensures that all outputs produced by the office/division under his/her supervision meet required standards before completion to ensure they comply with the relevant mandates.

•Undertakes or oversees the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Office/Division, including preparation of budgets, assigning and monitoring of performance parameters and critical indicators, reporting on budget/programme performance, preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting, evaluation of staff performance (PAS), interviews of candidates for job openings and evaluation of candidates.

•Oversees the recruitment of staff for Office/Division taking due account of geographical and gender balance and other institutional values.

•Manages, guides, develops and trains staff under hi/her supervision; foster teamwork and communication among staff in the office/Division and across organizational boundaries.

•Chairs meetings, seminars, etc., on substantive-related issues; represents the Organization at international, regional, inter-agency meetings, seminars and conference; provides programmatic/substantive expertise on an issue, or holds programmatic/substantive and organizational discussions with representatives of other institutions.

•Performs other related duties as requested by the senior management of the Organization.



Professionalism: Has a thorough understanding of the UN system; Comprehensive and in-depth theoretical knowledge of public international law with emphasis on the law of the sea, as well as practical application of the Convention to a range of legal issues in the area of ocean affairs and the law of the sea. In-depth knowledge of the processes related to the implementation of the Convention. Outstanding analytical and drafting skills. Proven ability to design research projects, conduct and supervise such research on a variety of complex and intricate law of the sea issues with special emphasis on areas relevant to ongoing international processes relating to implementation of the Convention. Demonstrated ability to prepare and supervise the preparation of legal briefs and studies on multi-dimensional, complex and sensitive issues of the law of the sea. Knowledge of the substantive field of work in general and of specific areas being supervised. Shows ability to produce reports and papers on technical issues and to review and edit the work of others. Shows ability to apply UN rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations. 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.

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.

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.

Managerial Competencies:
Leadership: Serves as a role model that other people want to follow: empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; drives for change and improvements; does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.

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.


Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in law, with a specialization in public international law is required. A first-level university degree in law in combination with two additional years of professional work experience in public international law may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

Over fifteen years of progressively responsible professional experience, including in supervisory positions, in the field of public international law are required.
Experience in the law of sea and ocean affairs related matters at the international level is required.
Experience in providing secretariat services to, or participating as a delegate in, meetings of intergovernmental bodies or conferences is desirable.
Publications on topics of international law, including the law of the sea, and participation in international seminars, including presentations and briefings on topics of the law of the sea, are desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations. For this position, fluency in English (both oral and written) is required. Fluency in French is desirable. Knowledge of another official language of the United Nations is an advantage.


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

Special Notice

Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff.

Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

An impeccable record for integrity and professional ethical standards is essential. Staff members appointed to the current position are required to submit a financial disclosure statement upon assignment or appointment and annually thereafter.

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places 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. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee


Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.
Home | Privacy notice | Site map | Fraud alert | Contact Us
Copyright 2020 United Nations. All rights reserved