Administrative Associate

United Nations University

Tokyo, Japan

Experience: 5 to 10 Years

Skill Required: HR and Admin

The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in policy-oriented research, capacity development and dissemination of knowledge in furthering the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The mission of UNU is to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations and its Member States.

For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on human survival, conflict prevention, sustainable development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 12 countries, UNU's work spans the 17 Sustainable Development Goals' full breadth, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change. UNU maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies and leading universities and research institutions across the globe. 

About Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)
United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) is one of 14 research and training Institutes that comprise the think tanks in the UNU system. UNU-IAS is a UNU institute based at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo. The mission of UNU-IAS is to serve the international community through policy-relevant research and capacity development focused on sustainability, including its social, economic and environmental dimensions. Through its postgraduate education programmes UNU-IAS developes future international leaders with interdisciplinary understanding and skills needed to advance creative solutions to problems of sustainability. UNU-IAS builds on a strong tradition of UNU research and capacity development in Japan, undertaken in collaboration with a global network of professionals and scholars, particularly in Africa and Asia. For more information, please visit

Under the UNU-IAS Strategic Plan 2020-2024, the UNU-IAS is strengthening administrative functions and activities to support the implementation of the strategic plan, including through enhanced organisational structure, and ensure adherence to UNU rules and guidelines. UNU-IAS Administration will foster a safe and supportive working environment, and enhance professional career development opportunities for personnel. The unit will improve the efficiency of administrative processes through ICT systems, and integrate sustainability considerations in operations, including procurement and travel.


Under the overall supervision of UNU-IAS Director, and under the direct guidance and supervision of Head of Programme and Administration of UNU-IAS, and in close coordination of Finance and Administrative Analyst, the Administrative Associate shall perform the following tasks:

Promote effective travel management focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Provide advice to UNU-IAS personnel on the application of travel policies and procedures;
  • Ensure that travel policies and guidelines are regularly updated and effectively communicated to UNU-IAS personnel;
  • Serve as travel focal point for the institute and closely liaise with the focal point of the UNU Centre

Coordinate procurement processes in accordance with policies and procedures focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Reviews, records and prioritizes purchasing requests through the Institute’s acquisition plans and process accurate tender documents for low value acquisitions (LVA) and request for quotation (RFQ)
  • Provides prompt support to the requisitioners in preparing technical specifications, to ensure completeness, accuracy, and quality, and identifies optional courses of action for LVA/RFQ cases; and
  • Support preparation of clear and concise documentation for LVA/RFQ solicitations (Justifications for waiver, Case presentation, Financial Evaluation Offers, Statement of Award)

Facilitate effective asset management focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Ensure UNU-IAS assets are managed in compliance with the property management policies and guidelines; and Support Asset Manager in all transactions related to the subject, such as but not limited to receipting, physical checks, asset registration, disposal and reconciliation

Assist in preparing contractual agreements with institutional organizations:

  • Assist administration of contractual agreements with institutional organizations, including payment, contract renewals and non-renewals, contract management, and evaluation; and
  • Monitor contract implementation and payment status and advice necessary actions to the requestors

Handle relevant operational procedures such as procurement, staff travel, payment, and event organization for the institute and to research and education project teams per the UN Financial Rules and Regulations and UNU procedures

  • Assist in day-to-day operations and administrative transactions closely liaising with UNU Administration (Human Resources, Procurement, UNU Centre in Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur) to initiate requests, obtain necessary clearances, process and follow-up on administrative actions
  • Work closely with UNU-IAS administrative colleagues to ensure smooth operation, clarify the implementation of policies, and approval of exceptions
  • Implements buyer profile functions in the ERP system, including preparation of purchase orders, contracts, receipts, and timely corrective actions on POs as required, for travel and procurement modules. Execute the role of travel operator in the ERP system, including TR/TE/TC entry; and
  • Ensure accurate, adequate and relevant supporting documents for the online filing system

Key performance indicators

  • High quality, timely and accurate service is provided to requestors
  • Timely delivery of accurate and quality technical advice and documents pursuant to the UN financial rules and regulations and other UN policies and guidelines
  • Prompt and effective resolution to institutes’ queries related to routine finance, procurement, mission travel and asset management
  • Databases and shared folders are up to date
  • Timely and quality transaction and relationship with stakeholders such as research partners, governments, donors, and civil society


Education and certification:

  • Secondary education OR a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification in business, finance, accounting, social sciences, or other related fields


  • Bachelor’s degree with 5 years of relevant working experience is required and preferable in an international setting
  • Demonstrated Excel skills and/or experience with productivity software. Familiarity with any Oracle based ERP system is required
  • Familiarity with the UN system and current issues related to sustainability is an advantage
  • Ability to efficiently manage a variable workload
  • Good team player with strong interpersonal skills, demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity

Language Requirements:

  • Writing and communications skills in both Japanese and English