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Head of Office, Political Affairs

United Nations Field Missions Administered by DPKO

Field Locations

Org. Setting and Reporting

These positions are located in the United Nations field Peace Operations and Special Political missions. Typically Heads of Office (HoO) are deployed at the sub-national level in regional field offices and report to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. The Head of Office (HoO) is the most senior United Nations representative in the designated Area of Responsibility (AoR) and is responsible for implementing the Mission’s mandate and developing strategies for achieving these goals in the AoR using the political, institutional and financial resources available. The position provides a unique opportunity to play a central role in implementing one of the United Nations' most important mandates.

Responsibilities

Within limits of delegated authority, the Head of Office’s responsibilities may include the following:

Representational

  • As the most senior United Nations official in the AoR, the HoO represents the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) with local authorities, senior government officials, international organisations, representatives of civil society and other senior stakeholders;
  • Ensures the mission is fully engaged in any ongoing political processes that the mission is mandated to support in the AoR.

Operational Management

  • In consultation with substantive components at Mission Headquarters (HQ), lead, direct and coordinate the personnel, operations and programs of all civilian Mission components in the Field Office AoR, in line with the mandate and strategic guidance and priorities provided by Mission Headquarters, as well as applicable principles, rules and regulations;
  • Ensure the operational functioning of the Field Office, in collaboration with Mission Support and the military;
  • Formulate a comprehensive programme of work for the Field Office, including operational plans within the AoR, determining local priorities and activities that are in accordance with the mandate, that align with the strategic direction of the Mission and the Result-Based Budget (RBB) and which promote coherence and integration across the substantive units;
  • Monitor and report on performance against targets/indicators developed in the local workplans, for example for mandated reporting to the General Assembly such as the RBB performance report and the Mission’s quarterly goals;
  • Ensures that the resources provided to the Field Office are managed and used efficiently and effectively;
  • Work in close partnership with the Mission’s military and police components to ensure that their activities are aligned with Mission priorities and relevant frameworks and regulations, including vis-à-vis security management;
  • Through delegated authority, act as Area Security Coordinator, responsible for implementing the UN security management framework, designed to ensure the protection of all UN staff and assets;
  • Manage and oversee the development of quick impact projects and their implementation and evaluations;
  • Supervise, mentor, and evaluate civilian staff within the Field Office and participate in the selection of new staff.

Analysis, Advice and Reporting

  • Assess implications of local developments and emerging issues in the AoR and make recommendations to Mission leadership on possible strategies, actions, policies and other measures to address issues of concern and to advance mandated objectives and UN principles and values; Ensure outcomes are monitored, evaluated and reported;
  • Ensure regular, timely and high quality reporting to the Mission leadership on pertinent developments and issues; Oversee and manage the preparation of summary and analytical reports, including conflict analyses, situation reports, briefing notes, notes to file and draft code cables;
  • Oversee the preparation of contextual information materials, such as background notes and profiles; Ensure an effective system of information management designed to guarantee accessibility and utility of information.

Planning, Coordination and Facilitation

  • Develop and maintain productive relationships with the authorities, political and community leaders, civil society actors, the UN family and other national and international partners on operations, coordination and policy matters;
  • Develop and lead outreach strategies targeting the local population, in order to cultivate ties, create/expand political space, foster inter-community dialogue and conflict resolution and develop an understanding of local perceptions and views on relevant issues, challenges and possible solutions thereto; Ensure that perceptions are factored into the Mission’s own activities and contribution to policy-making and planning processes;
  • Consult and collaborate with institutional partners to increase understanding of issues and develop strategies and plans of action to address challenges, in pursuit of shared objectives;
  • Promote coherence in the activities of the members of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT); Support the development and implementation of UN common planning and programming processes, including through the provision of substantive and practical assistance to related activities;
  • Support and/or facilitate visits to the AoR by Mission delegations and/or other partners and stakeholders.

Competencies

  • Professionalism: Extensive understanding of conflict and post-conflict contexts, with proven ability to work under pressure in austere, insecure environments while maintaining resilience, integrity, productivity and effectiveness. Demonstrated capacity and willingness to learn and apply United Nations Secretariat rules and regulations in a sub-national field context. Proven ability to work in a diverse environment, including with uniformed personnel. 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;
  • Creativity: Actively seeks to improve programmes or services; Offers new and different options to solve problems or meet client needs; Promotes and persuades others to consider new ideas; Takes calculated risks on new and unusual ideas; thinks "outside the box"; Takes an interest in new ideas and new ways of doing things; Is not bound by current thinking or traditional approaches;
  • 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; 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;
  • Judgment/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.

Education

Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in political or social science, law, international relations, public administration, humanitarian affairs, security operations, or a related field. A first level university degree with a relevant combination of academic qualifications and experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of fifteen years of progressively responsible experience in political, civil or humanitarian affairs, public administration, programme management, security operations, or a related field is required. Extensive experience in outreach, facilitation, analysis, advice and reporting is required. At least five years of experience in the management and coordination of multi-disciplinary teams is required. At least three years of experience working in a United Nations common system field operation (inclusive of peacekeeping, political missions and UN agencies, funds, and programmes) - or similar international organization or non-governmental organization - in a conflict or post-conflict setting is required. One year of field experience at the sub-national level outside a capital city is required. Experience in crisis or emergency response is required. Experience implementing organisational mandated security protocols is required. Experience working with or coordinating closely with uniformed and non-uniformed personnel is required.

Languages

English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English (oral and written) is required. Working knowledge of French is desirable. 

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