Senior Economic Affairs Officer

UNCTAD - United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Geneva, Switzerland


Within delegated authority, the incumbent assists the Chief of Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch (DITC/UNCTAD) in the overall, programme planning, substantive clearance of documents, conceptualization and implementation of activities, supervision of staff, and reporting of the Branch and manages and oversights his/her section. In this regard, the incumbent will be responsible for the following tasks:

Economic or sectoral analysis

  • Leads and participates in the formulation, organization and management of mandated programmes of economic analysis in the area of trade and sustainable development, in particular, related to creative industries and assists in the formulation of relevant economic strategies, policies and actions for adoption by the international community;
  • Leads and participates in the identification of new or emerging trade and development issues of potential concern to the international community, particularly those related to creative industries and of a regional or global nature, and designs and develops programmes to address them;
  • Supervises staff undertaking this work;
  • Commissions economic studies and analyses that cannot be undertaken internally;
  • Conceives, plans and manages intergovernmental meetings such as expert group meetings, seminars and similar consultations that contribute to the satisfactory implementation of the Branch’s programme of work;
  • Finalizes reports on development for issuance by the United Nations, including by assisting the Chief of Branch in the policy clearance of the Branch’s outputs.

Intergovernmental support

  • Assists the Chief of Branch in providing substantive support on relevant development issues to intergovernmental bodies (such as the General Assembly, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Economic and Social Council, the Trade and Development Board, the regional commissions and the subsidiary bodies of each) by offering strategic advice, giving technical guidance and assisting in developing a consensus;
  • Manages the work unit’s/section’s contribution to the preparation and management of meetings of intergovernmental bodies;
  • Assists the Chief of Branch in representing the organizational unit at international, regional and national meetings on development issues.

Technical cooperation

  • Develops and maintains relations with senior officials of member governments and ensures a response to requests for advice and/or assistance on economic issues and policies;
  • Negotiates with donor and recipient governments on technical cooperation programmes and projects;
  • Leads or participates in technical cooperation missions.

Programme support

  • Functions as the head of an organizational unit/section and manages staff under his/her supervision;
  • Contributes to the formulation of the medium-term plan, the programme of work and the budget of the unit and Branch, and participate in the formulation of the organization's overall programme of work and other similar endeavours;
  • Attends to various administrative matters concerning the larger organizational unit (Section or Division) such as the coordination of the Branch’s administrative, budgetary and human resources matters;
  • Performs other related duties as required.


  • Professionalism: Knowledge of international trade and development matters, including related to creative industries. Proven ability to coordinate the production of reports and papers on technical issues and especially in policy clearance; ability to review and edit the work of others. Ability to apply UN rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations. Demonstrated management and supervisory skills of both professional and support staff; Demonstrated professional expertise in respect of planning, UN budgetary matters, substantive intergovernmental support on trade-related issues and the GA. 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;
  • Vision: Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks; clearly communicates links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals; generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction; conveys enthusiasm about future possibilities;
  • Judgement/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 that 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 degree) in economics, international relations or closely related field. A first level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in economic research and analysis, policy formulation, application of economic principles in development programmes, with emphasis on developing countries in areas related to international trade and trade policy formulation is required. Out of these, seven years of experience dealing with trade and trade policy issues with the United Nations Common System or an international organization are desirable. Experience in human resources management, supervising staff, administration and budget is desirable. A proven record of publications in trade and development issues is also desirable.


English and French are the two working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in English and knowledge of French is required. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.

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