Org. Setting and Reporting
This position is located in the Operations and Advocacy Division (OAD), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which 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.
This position is located in the OCHA office in Damascus, Syria. The Head of Office supports the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator under the overall leadership of the Director of the Operations and Advocacy Division (OAD) of OCHA.
Operating within the limits of delegated authority, and under the overall leadership of the Director of the Operations and Advocacy Division of OCHA and supporting the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, the Head of Office will discharge and be responsible for the following functions:
• Serve as senior policy advisor to the UN RC/HC, the UN Country Team (UNCT) and the humanitarian country team on safeguarding the humanitarian principles, and initiatives to facilitate effective delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection;
• Develop and maintain contacts with the international community in order to raise awareness and advocate for issues of humanitarian concerns;
• Act to strengthen cooperation across humanitarian organisations on policy issues of inter-agency concern and serve as a key interlocutor with relevant Government partners;
• Advise, promote and provide guidance to the UN RC/HC, the UNCT and the humanitarian county team on humanitarian affairs including cluster coordination, humanitarian financing, civil military coordination, humanitarian access, etc.
HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE / COORDINATION
• Provide strategic support to the UN RC/HC in the preparation, implementation and monitoring of a coherent and comprehensive humanitarian needs overview and work plan for the broader humanitarian response (usually expressed though an HNO/HRP), soliciting and negotiating inputs with relevant authorities, UN agencies, NGOs, etc.;
• Consult on a regular basis with the HC, Heads of UN Agencies and Programmes, NGOs heads of mission, the government and the donor community on all appropriate aspects of the implementation and delivery of humanitarian activities, to ensure that coordination structures at local, provincial and national levels operate in a coherent and cost-effective manner, including supporting coordination reviews as appropriate;
• Support the planning, monitoring, and evaluation of humanitarian programs, facilitating incorporation of lessons learned, policy guidelines etc. into humanitarian response activities;
• Promote best practices in humanitarian planning, response and evaluation;
• Facilitate inter-agency resource mobilization in support of response efforts, including through humanitarian pooled funds, the UNCERF and other relevant mechanisms for ongoing as well as new and /or emerging emergencies;
• Develop, reinforce and maintain effective coordination mechanisms with the humanitarian county team and other key humanitarian stakeholders;
• Establish/manage information management systems to effectively map areas of humanitarian needs and response activities in support of coordination and response efforts, including support for cross coordination analysis to inform effective decision-making;
• Foster and reinforce linkages between field monitoring, information management, coordination efforts, operations and decision-making;
• Facilitate implementation of relevant IASC and UN commitments across the collective humanitarian response and within the OCHA operation on PSEA, GBV and Accountability to Affected People;
• Ensure timely and appropriate assistance to the UN RC/HC and (if applicable) the United Nations Disaster Management Teams (UNDMT) in response to disasters and emergencies;
• Support inter-agency efforts to build in-country UN, government and civil society capacity to manage natural disaster response;
• Provide substantive support and leadership to government institutions and local humanitarian entities to build national capacity for emergency and/or disaster management;
• Promote dialogue, regional alliances, sharing of knowledge and resources, among national and, as appropriate, regional humanitarian actors in disaster risk reduction, disaster/emergency preparedness and response;
• Promote and lead contingency planning processes in close cooperation with relevant entities;
• Develop joint initiatives on disaster management with other UN and (if applicable) regional actors, including early warning mechanisms;
• If applicable, and under the overall guidance of the relevant Deputy Director of the OAD and in partnership with other branches of OCHA, work to reinforce regional networks and mechanisms for swift, effective response to emerging humanitarian situations.
OFFICE MANAGEMENT / OCHA REPRESENTATION
• Serve as the OCHA Head of Office in the designated duty station, providing oversight of all programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the efficient functioning of the OCHA office and any sub-offices, and being accountable for the use of resources and for the results obtained;
• Recruit staff, taking due account of gender and geographical balance.
• Represent the Office at international, regional or national meetings, and lead and supervise the organization of meetings, seminars, etc. on substantive issues. Manage the substantive preparation and organization of such meetings or seminars.
• Ensure regular and effective supervision of OCHA staff, particularly by leading, managing, developing, and training staff; foster teamwork and communication among staff; and strengthen linkages between the staff in field, regional and headquarters offices;
• Promote OCHA’s mandate, objectives and tools in the designated area through contacts with the government, diplomatic missions, UN entities, non-governmental organizations and the media;
• Lead, formulate, supervise and carry out the work planning and budgeting process, support resource mobilization and ensure sound financial management;
• Ensure the Office produces timely, high-quality outputs including comprehensive work plans, concise and factual situation reports, analytical papers, comprehensive and fact-based information products; ensures that all outputs produced by the Sections under his/her supervision meet required standards before completion to ensure they comply with the relevant mandates;
• Coordinate the work carried out by different work units under the Office and by other agencies and bodies of the United Nations system and the humanitarian community, NGOs, the government and the donor community on all appropriate aspects of the implementation and delivery of humanitarian activities, to ensure that that coordination structures at local, provincial and national levels operate in a coherent and cost-effective manner;
• Undertake or oversee the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Office, including preparation of budgets, reporting on budget/programme performance, evaluation of staff performance (PAS), interviews of candidates for job openings, evaluation of candidates and preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting.
• Ensure all staff have completed all mandatory trainings and certificates, and maintain a culture within the office.
• Perform other duties as requested by the UN RC/HC, Director of OAD.
• PROFESSIONALISM: Expert knowledge of complex, multifaceted humanitarian affairs issues with wide exposure to humanitarian and emergency relief operations; ability to advise the UN RC/HC as well as the OCHA’s senior management team on tactical approaches and techniques to address complex and sensitive humanitarian issues; conceptual and strategic analytical capacity to thoroughly analyze and evaluate critical matters pertaining to a broad spectrum of humanitarian and emergency relief issues; ability to effectively handle major policy and project development and its implementation; ability to work under pressure including in insecure environments, while maintaining productivity and effectiveness; excellent understanding of institutional mandates, policies and guidelines related to humanitarian affairs and of the institutions of the UN system and NGOs, in particular, the core humanitarian policies and the guiding humanitarian principles; knowledge of OCHA institutional mandate, its policies, and organizational procedures as well as understanding of the core UN and IASC policies and guiding principles pertaining to international humanitarian affairs; ability to examine, edit, and provide analytical inputs and intellectual guidance for the work of others; readiness to serve in hardship environment.
• PLANNING and 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.
• 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 improvements; where necessary, is prepared to not accept the status quo and show the courage to take an unpopular stand. 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 quickly finds the heart of the problem; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with consideration the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information and clear risk management; 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 business or public administration, finance, accounting, law, social sciences, international affairs, political science or related area. A first-level university degree in combination with an additional two (2) years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
A minimum of fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible experience in disaster relief coordination, humanitarian assistance, protection, human resources management, administration, logistics, financial management, budget or related field is required.
Relevant experience in emergency situations (complex emergencies or natural disasters) is required.
Experience in either coordinating relief/humanitarian response, or participating in coordination, is desirable.
Experience within the UN common system or other comparable international organization is desirable.
Previous humanitarian affairs work experience is desirable.
A minimum of four (4) years of relevant experience at the international level is desirable.
Experience at the senior management level (e.g P-5 and above) is desirable.
Experience in Middle East is desirable.
English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this position, fluency in English is required. Fluency in Arabic is desirable. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.
Evaluation of qualified candidates may include a desk review of the applications, an assessment exercise and/or competency-based interview.
• The appointment/assignment is available for 364 days, with the possibility of extension, subject to availability of funds and mandate extension. The selected candidate is expected to start as soon as possible.
• Please note that due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19 and the travel restrictions imposed by national authorities, selected candidates may be required to start the assignment/appointment remotely, in agreement with the hiring manager, and until further notice.
• Please note that the appointment/assignment of the successful candidate will be subject to visa issuance.
• A current staff member who holds a fixed-term, permanent or continuing appointment may apply for temporary positions no more than one level above his or her current grade. However, a current staff member who holds an appointment at the G-6 or G-7 level may also apply to temporary positions in the Professional category up to and including the P-3 level, subject to meeting all eligibility and other requirements for the position. A staff member holding a temporary appointment shall be regarded as an external candidate when applying for other positions, and may apply for other temporary positions at any level, subject to section 5.7 below and staff rule 4.16 (b) (ii). Therefore, a staff member holding a temporary appointment in the General Service or related categories may only apply to positions within those categories. For full information on eligibility requirements, please refer to section 5 of ST/AI/2010/4Rev.1 on Temporary Appointments. In its resolution 66/234, the General Assembly further “stressed that the Secretary-General should not recur to the practice of temporarily filling posts in the Professional and higher categories with General Service staff members who have not passed the General Service to Professional category examination other than on an exceptional basis, and requests the Secretary-General to ensure that temporary occupation of such posts by the General Service staff shall not exceed a period of one year, effective 1 January 2013…” Consequently, eligible candidates in the General Service or related categories for temporary job openings in the Professional category that have not passed the competitive examination may be selected only on an exceptional basis endorsed by the Office of Human Resources Management where no other suitable candidate could be identified.
• Upon separation from service, including, but not limited to, expiration or termination of, or resignation from, a fixed-term, continuing or permanent appointment, a former staff member will be ineligible for re-employment on the basis of a temporary appointment for a period of 31 days following the separation. In the case of separation from service on retirement, a former staff member will be ineligible for re-employment for a period of three months following the separation. This equally applies, mutatis mutandis, with respect to a former or current staff member who has held or holds an appointment in another entity applying the United Nations Staff Regulations and Rules and who applies for a temporary position with the Secretariat.
• Retirees above the mandatory age of separation who wish to be considered for the current temporary job opening must indicate the reason for their last separation as “retirement.” Such retirees shall not be employed by the Organization, unless (a) the operational requirements of the Organization cannot be met by staff members who are qualified and available to perform the required functions; and (b) the proposed employment would not adversely affect the career development or redeployment opportunities of other staff members and represents both a cost-effective and operationally sound solution to meet the needs of the service.
• Subject to the funding source of the position, this temporary job opening may be limited to candidates based at the duty station.
• While this temporary assignment may provide the successful applicant with an opportunity to gain new work experience, the selection for this position is for a limited period and has no bearing on the future incumbency of the post. An external candidate selected for this position is bound by the prevailing condition of the staff selection system under ST/AI/2010/3, as amended, and ST/AI/2010/4/Rev.1. A staff member holding a temporary appointment who is recruited in the Professional and above categories on a temporary appointment, and placed on a position authorized for one year or longer may not apply for or be reappointed to his/her current position within six months of the end of his/her current service. This provision does not apply to staff members holding temporary appointments and placed on positions authorized for one year or more in duty stations authorized for peacekeeping operations or special political missions.
• The expression “Internal candidates”, shall mean staff members who have been recruited after a competitive examination under staff rule 4.16 or after the advice of a central review body under staff rule 4.15.
• Please note that candidates will be required to meet the requirements of Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter as well as the requirements of the position. The United Nations is committed to the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity for all its human resources, including but not limited to respect for international human rights and humanitarian law. Candidates may be subject to screening against these standards, including but not limited to whether they have committed, or are alleged to have committed criminal offences and/or violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
• For information on special post allowance, please refer to ST/AI/1999/17. For more details on the administration of temporary appointments please refer to ST/AI/2010/4/Rev.1.
• The Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and administrative issuances governing staff appointments can be viewed at: http://www.un.org/hr_handbook/English
• Staff members of the United Nations common system organizations who will reach the mandatory age of separation or retirement within the duration of the current temporary need period are not eligible to apply.
• Staff members are not eligible to apply for the current temporary job opening if they are unable to serve the specified duration of temporary need before reaching the mandatory age of separation. Submitting an application or selection for the current temporary job opening does not delay or increase the mandatory age of separation.
IMPORTANT: Candidates found suitable and not selected for the announced duty station, may be selected for deployment to other duty stations. The selection will be for similar functions with similar requirements at the same level.
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.
THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.