Humanitarian Affairs Officer
Closing Date for Applications:
Org. Setting and Reporting
This position is located in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Humanitarian Leadership Strengthening Section in Geneva, Switzerland. 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 Humanitarian Affairs Officer reports to the Chief of Section, Humanitarian Leadership Strengthening Section.
- Serves as a senior policy officer; advise on overall policy direction on specific issues; and, more generally, reviews and provides advice on a diverse range of policy issues related to safeguarding humanitarian principles and ensuring the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance and the linkages with other related areas (e.g. human rights).
- Monitors, analyzes and reports on humanitarian developments, disaster relief/management programmes or emergency situations in assigned country/area; develops and maintains a “watch list” of countries with potential for humanitarian crisis.
- Leads and/or participates in large, complex projects, to include disaster assessment or other missions; coordinates international humanitarian/emergency assistance for complex emergency/disaster situations; ensures necessary support (e.g. staff, funding, specialized equipment, supplies, etc.); prepares situation reports to the international community, apprising of situation to date and specifying unmet requirements of stricken countries.
- Assists in the production of appeals for international assistance; ensures the proper use and spending of donor contributions channeled through OCHA.
- Assists member states in capacity-building for handling emergency situations; develops country-specific indicators for countries of concern in collaboration with area experts and ensures the subsequent monitoring of these indicators; recommends actions based on the analysis of pertinent information.
- Initiates and coordinates activities related to technical cooperation and technical assistance projects in disaster response and disaster response preparedness; formulates project proposals and relevant project documents; provides technical support to field work; reviews and clears project reports for submission to governments.
- Analyzes and assists in introducing new technologies for disaster warning/management.
- Organizes and prepares studies on humanitarian, emergency relief and related issues; organizes follows-up work, including interagency technical review meetings to support policy development work and decision-making on important issues; and ensures the implementation of recommendations emanating from relevant studies.
- Contributing to the outreach and advocacy activities of the section on issues relating to the humanitarian coordination leadership function will require: preparing information and advocacy materials including fact sheets, talking points and presentations for internal and external audiences; and maintaining contact with a broad range of stakeholders to ensure awareness of humanitarian coordination leadership issues and services provided by the section.
- Partners with other humanitarian agencies to plan and evaluate complex humanitarian and emergency assistance programmes; helps ensure that latest findings, lessons learned, policy guidelines, etc. are incorporated into these activities, including gender-related considerations.
- Establishes and maintains contacts with government officials, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, diplomatic missions, media, etc.; ensures appropriate mechanisms to facilitate collaboration and exchange of information both in and outside the UN system, facilitate the enlargement of the Humanitarian Coordination Pool; secure endorsement by relevant Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) bodies of policy papers on key normative issues relating to the humanitarian coordination leadership function, etc.
- Serves as the primary focal point on specific topics or policy-related issues; keeps abreast of latest developments, liaises with other humanitarian organizations, donors, etc., ensures appropriate monitoring and reporting mechanisms; provides information and advice on a range of related issues.
- Organizes and participates in work groups, meetings, conferences, consultations with other agencies and partners humanitarian and emergency relief-related matters.
- May participate in planning and preparation of unit budget and work program.
- Provides leadership and work direction to assigned work team, and/or mentors and supervises the work of new/junior officers.
- Performs other duties as required.
- Professionalism: Knowledge of wide range of humanitarian assistance, emergency relief and related human rights issues. Conceptual and strategic analytical capacity, to include ability to analyze and articulate the humanitarian dimension of complex issues that require a coordinated UN response. Demonstrated problem-solving skills and judgment in applying technical expertise to resolve a wide range of complex issues/problems. Knowledge of region or country of assignment, including the political, economic and social dimensions. Ability to negotiate and to influence others to reach agreement. Ability to work under extreme pressure, on occasion in a highly stressful environment (e.g. civil strife, natural disasters and human misery). Knowledge of institutional mandates, policies and guidelines pertaining to humanitarian affairs and knowledge of the institutions of the UN system. Demonstrated ability to complete in-depth studies and to formulate conclusions/recommendations. Ability to relate humanitarian affairs issues and perspectives, including gender issues, to political, economic, social and human rights programmes in affected country/region. 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. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.
- 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.
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 qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
- A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible experience in humanitarian affairs, emergency preparedness, crisis/emergency relief management, rehabilitation, development, or other related area is required.
- At least three (3) years of experience in humanitarian affairs or related area at the international level is required.
- Direct project management or project supervision in the field is required.
- Previous working experience in areas of budget management and administration is required.
- Experience in humanitarian emergencies in the field with the United Nations Common System and/or comparable international organizations is required.
- Relevant experience with NGOs is desirable.