Job Opening

Posting Title: CHIEF OF STAFF, P5
Job Code Title: CHIEF OF STAFF
Department/Office: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 03 November 2020 - 02 December 2020
Job Opening Number: 20-Political Affairs-OHCHR-143150-R-Geneva (G)
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Executive Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Executive Direction and Management. The Chief of Staff reports directly to the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The focus of this position is to direct and manage the activities of the Executive Office in support of the High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner; advise the High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner on complex and sensitive policy issues and assist the High Commissioner in the overall direction of OHCHR, as well as the implementation of her/his objectives and programme of work.


Within delegated authority, the incumbent will be responsible for the following duties:

Directs and supervises the work of the Executive Office, in support of the HC and DHC:
• Ensures the smooth and effective operation of the Executive Office, including the organization, coordination and supervision of activities and tasks requiring the attention of the HC, the communication of instructions an decisions of the HC to those concerned at all levels,
• Ensures the substantive management of the incoming and outgoing correspondence of the HC; delegating, allocating to other staffing OHCHR the task of responding to or advising for follow-up. Ensure the quality and timeliness of all required follow-up.
• Ensures that the HC is kept abreast of all major issues and developments particularly while s/he is traveling.
• Assigns and supervises responsibilities within the Executive Office so that all activities are directed to the completion of the workplan, supervises the workflow of the Office to ensure that all required inputs are received at outputs produced in a timely fashion. Reviews outputs to ensure that they are of the highest quality.
• Coordinates and integrates the work of the Executive Office with the rest of OHCHR, to ensure proper and effective engagement with all Divisions, New York and the field.
• Sets performance objectives for staff of the Executive Office, undertakes regular reviews of performance including ePASes, recognizing good performance and taking appropriate actions to address inadequate performance.
• Interviews and evaluates candidates for vacancies within the Executive Office.
• Fosters teamwork and communications among staff of the Executive Office train, coaches and mentors staff of the Executive Office.

Coordinates and analyses advice on complex and sensitive policy issues and on Office management matters:
• Coordinates and analyses strategic and policy advice emanating from thematic and geographic Divisions to the HC and DHC; Reviews and analyzes advice and information on Office management matters, as required.
• Actively liaises with all Division Directors, Chiefs of Branches and Sections to ensure timely information flow to and from the Executive Office to the Divisions and across the Divisions, for coordinated Office-wide advice and action on complex policy and operational matters, Identifies and addresses possible problems, overlaps or disconnects.
• Keeps an active overview of the work of all Divisions to ensure effective and coordinated support to the HC and DHC.
• Coordinates the development of policies, procedures, and strategies relating to complex and sensitive policy issues for the Executive Office.
• Liaises with external partners and Government representatives to exchange information, co-ordinates and seeks support for the activities of the Office.
• Liaises with senior officials in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General to ensure coherence, coordination and communications on sensitive issues.

Assists the High Commissioner in the overall direction of OHCHR, and implementation of her/his obiectives and programme of work:
• Supports the High Commissioner in ensuring that OHCHR functions as a cohesive whole, both internally and in its relations with outside entities.
• Provides substantive support to the High Commissioner in the formulation of strategies for the Office, from which the medium and longer-term objectives of OHCHR organizational units and operational activities should be derived.
• Acts as secretariat for regular meetings between the HC/DHC and Division Directors to contribute to regular coordination and communication between the senior leadership.
• Acts as the High Commissioner’s “sherpa” in the context of the Chief Executives Board meetings, preparations and follow-up.


•PROFESSIONALISM: 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.

•ACCOUNTABILITY: 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.

•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 improvement, 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. 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 degree) in law, political science, international relations, human rights or other closely related field is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible professional experience in government, diplomatic, and international civil service, with significant work experience in human rights issues, inter-agency work, external outreach, and planning and organizing, is required.
Out of these, at least five years at the international level within the UN common system are required.
Experience providing strategic and policy advice to senior level officials in the UN common system is desirable.
At least three years of direct experience with UN coordination mechanisms, whether at Headquarters or in the field, is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required. Fluency in French or Spanish is also required. Knowledge of another United Nations official language is desirable.


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

Special Notice

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.

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.

At the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the recruitment and employment of staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, with due regard to geographic diversity. All employment decisions are made on the basis of qualifications and organizational needs. The United Nations is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. The United Nations recruits and employs staff regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds or disabilities. Reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities may be provided to support participation in the recruitment process when requested and indicated in the application.

For this position, applicants from the following Member States, which are unrepresented or underrepresented in the UN Secretariat as of 31 July 2020, are strongly encouraged to apply: Afghanistan, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Belize, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, China, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Japan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Norway, Oman, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Suriname, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Vanuatu, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

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.

The paramount consideration in the appointment, transfer, or promotion of staff shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. By accepting an offer of appointment, United Nations staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and assignment by him or her to any activities or offices of the United Nations in accordance with staff regulation 1.2 (c). In this context, all internationally recruited staff members shall be required to move periodically to discharge new functions within or across duty stations under conditions established by the Secretary-General.

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.
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