Job Opening

Posting Title: Chief of Section, Humanitarian Affairs, P5
Department/Office: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Duty Station: GENEVA
Posting Period: 16 June 2021 - 30 July 2021
Job Opening Number: 21-Humanitarian Affairs-OCHA-156362-R-Geneva (X)
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Org. Setting and Reporting

The post is located in the Humanitarian Leadership Strengthening Section (HLSS), within the Inter-Agency Support Branch (IASB) in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Geneva. 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 principled 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 Chief of the Humanitarian Leadership Strengthening Section (HLSS) reports to the Director of the Branch.

The Chief of HLSS is responsible for leading and coordinating the efforts of the humanitarian community (including IASC members) aimed at ensuring that United Nations Resident Coordinators and Humanitarian Coordinators (RC/HCs) effectively lead and coordinate humanitarian efforts in crisis-affected countries.


Within delegated authority the Chief of Section, Humanitarian Affairs will be responsible for the following duties:

1) Develops, continually adjusts, and secures Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) endorsement of a vision, strategy and action plans for the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) to strengthen the humanitarian coordination leadership function including by:
-liaising with and listening to Resident Coordinators (RCs), Humanitarian Coordinators (HCs) and other senior-level stakeholders of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); Inter- Agency Standing Committee (IASC) partners, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Member States, to ascertain their views on how to strengthen the humanitarian coordination leadership function;
-Supporting Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) relevant entities involved on leadership issues (including EDG and OPAG), including through conceptualizing, drafting and negotiating the content of strategy papers, action plans and leadership tools, listening to and incorporating partners' feedback, so as to produce consensual documents;
-Establishing, developing and nurturing successful partnerships with IASC members at senior level.

2) Manages and drives implementation of the IASC action plans by managing the Humanitarian Leadership Strengthening Section, including its budget and the performance of its staff; in collaboration with the Branch Director, raising funds for the Section with donor governments; in particular, supports the conceptualization and implementation of the inter agency talent management strategy, including through the HC Pool and the RC/HC Talent Pipeline, allowing for the grooming of talented candidates in preparation for the RCAC; advises the Director of the Branch on how to overcome hurdles in the implementation of the action plans;

3) Establishes, develops and nurtures successful partnerships around leadership issues with a broad range of stakeholders at senior level (in OCHA, NGOs, Member States, United Nations entities such as United Nations Development Coordination Office (UNDCO), Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA/DPO) , Executive Office of Secretary General (EOSG), United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC), etc. whose active engagement is required for implementing the action plans; monitors IASC progress in implementing the action plans and proposes corrective measures as necessary.
-Ensures strategic engagement with the United Nations Development Coordination Office (UNDCO) to ensure the streamlining and coherence of efforts on humanitarian leadership, including talent scouting, leadership development, RC and RC/HC designations; knowledge management, appraisals, among others.
-Ensures systematic engagement and collaboration with IASB and IASC partners to ensure strengthened and coherence of support to RC/HCs, including around Protection, GBV, PSEA and AAP.

4) Drafts, in a consultative manner, policy papers on key normative issues relating to the humanitarian coordination leadership function and secure their endorsement by the Inter Agency Standing Committee, by liaising with and listening to Resident Coordinators (RCs) and Humanitarian Coordinators (HCs) and other senior-level stakeholders to ascertain their views.


PROFESSIONALISM: Ability to show in-depth knowledge of humanitarian principles and coordination issues (including NGOs, International Organizations, donors and other UN entities). Ability to build and nurture efficient working relationships with United Nations agencies, NGOs and international organizations, including at senior level, and to lead inter agency and inter-departmental efforts both at Headquarters and/or in the field. Ability to produce reports and papers on technical issues and to review and edit the work of others. 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; and remains calm in stressful situations; Ability to work under pressure. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

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.

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.

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.

MANAGING PERFORMANCE: Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision- making authority. Makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member. Accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills. Monitors progress against milestones and deadlines. Regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff. Encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative. Actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff. Appraises performance fairly.


An advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in political science, social science, public administration, international studies, economics, engineering, earth sciences or a related field, is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two 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 humanitarian affairs, emergency preparedness, crisis/emergency relief management, rehabilitation, development, or other related area, is required.
A minimum of four years of relevant field experience in the last 10 years is desirable.
Experience liaising with governments and the donor community is required.
Relevant coordination and management experience in humanitarian emergencies is required.
Experience working in an inter-agency environment at field and headquarters level is required.
Experience working in the UN Common system or other comparable international organization is required.
Experience working directly with senior leaders is required.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French is a desirable.


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

Special Notice

The duration of the assignment on the post of Chief of Section, Humanitarian Affairs [30517750], in the Humanitarian Leadership Strengthening Section of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Geneva, will be for an initial period of one year. If the assignment is subsequently extended, the total period of the assignment may not exceed the maximum period of four years.

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 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

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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