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Regional Emergency Director


  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Copenhagen
  • Grade: Senior Executive level - D-1, Director - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Medical Practitioners
    • Humanitarian Aid and Coordination
    • Emergency Aid and Response
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2024-08-22


All Member States of WHO in the European Region share the common value of the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental human right. All of WHO's actions are based on this and rooted in the underlying value of equity as described in the General Programme of Work. The 13th General Programme of Work defines the mission of WHO as one to promote health, to keep the world safe, and to protect the vulnerable. The GPW calls for heightened accountability, prioritizing impact and outcome at country level, and to improve the lives of three billion people, through universal health coverage, through addressing health emergencies, and promoting healthier populations.

WHO's mandate revolves around six core functions: (i) providing leadership on global health matters; (ii) shaping the health research agenda; (iii) setting norms and standards; (iv) articulating evidence-based policy options; (v) providing technical support to countries; and (vi) monitoring and assessing health trends. The European Region (EURO) of WHO is made up of 53 countries, with over 880 million people. The diversity of people and health situations requires, on the demand side, a solid understanding of the emerging socio-economic, epidemiologic and demographic patterns and trends at both aggregate as well as national and sub-national levels, with due sensitivity to disadvantaged populations and vulnerable segments of the society. On the supply side, it is equally crucial to have a solid understanding of the commonalities and divergences of the health systems, the circumstances and political economy under which they have evolved and operate and, more specifically, how these bear upon the way the health system stewardship function of health ministries is carried out. The mission of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme (The Programme) is to build the capacity of Member States to manage health emergency risks and, when national capacities are overwhelmed, to lead and coordinate the international health response to contain outbreaks and to provide effective relief and recovery to affected populations The Programme brings together and enhances WHO's operational, technical and normative capacities in outbreaks, emergencies and risk analysis to address all health hazards across the risk management cycle in a predictable, capable, dependable, adaptable and accountable manner. The Programme is designed to operate within the broader humanitarian and emergency management architecture in support of people at risk of, or affected by, outbreaks and emergencies, consistent with ways that strengthen local and national capabilities.


The purpose of the position is to direct WHO's Health Emergency Programme in all areas of its work at the regional level. The Regional Emergency Director (RED) will be responsible for ensuring strong WHO management, coordination and leadership of the health response during outbreaks and health emergencies, including acute humanitarian crises, disasters and protracted emergencies. The Regional Emergency Director will also be responsible for ensuring that an effective agenda of Member States preparedness and WHO readiness is implemented across the Region.

Key Duties:

1. Member States preparedness:
• Provides technical leadership to Member States in the region to ensure they receive appropriate and timely technical cooperation to strengthen their capacity to reduce the risk of, prepare for and respond to large scale outbreaks and emergencies with health impact.
• Oversees monitoring & evaluation of countries capacity to deal with large outbreaks and emergencies, including, and particularly the achievement of, IHR core capacities
• Supervises implementation of baseline all-hazards risk assessments and independent assessment of critical preparedness capacities.
• Provides authoritative guidance on the development and costing of national health emergencies plans.
2. WHO readiness:
• Provides WR and WHO Country Offices with authoritative guidance on technical oversight & standards on organizational readiness activities, with a focus on high vulnerability countries (e.g. for annual simulations) in his/her region; is responsible for readiness of the Regional Office.
• Guides WHO Country Offices in high vulnerability countries to build their core response capacities through critical readiness activities.
3. Management of protracted emergencies:
• Advances the application of technical standards and the implementation of the standard minimum package of life-saving and survival interventions, supports the Health Cluster Coordinator in emergency planning, standards, risk assessment and integration.
4. Overall oversight of outbreaks and graded acute emergencies which will be managed through the Incident Management System; has direct supervision of Incident Manager at country and regional level:
• Ensures application of established technical guidance & standards and supports the Regional Director in government relations to ensure the effectiveness of the Incident Management System.
• Coordinates with the DPM and DAF on the management of regional surge capacity within and beyond the Emergencies Programme.
• In case of a multi-region emergency, represents his/her region or designates a team member to do so in coordination meetings with HQ and other Regions.
5. Fosters strong regional emergency-related partnerships: builds and coordinates regional partner networks and coordinates regional response partners during graded & protracted events.
6. Drives and guides resource mobilization activities within the Region, working closely with the RD's, ExD's and HWO's resource mobilization teams.
7. Oversees and ensures rapid and clear information flows with other Regions and HQ.
8. Fosters close-collaborative work with other technical departments, particularly in coordinating an overall strategic and operational approach in protracted emergencies.
9. Supervises joint work plan development, financial and HR planning processes and oversees regional and country work plans, and financial and HR management within his/her authorities.
10. Performs any other relevant duties deriving from the above-mentioned responsibilities.



Essential: An advanced university degree (Master's level or above) in Medicine, Public Health or a related field
Desirable: Specialized training or degree in epidemiology. Specialized training or degree in emergency/humanitarian response. Training in leadership or management.


Essential: At least 15 years of international and national relevant, progressively responsible professional experience in managing, planning, developing and implementing health security, emergency, surveillance, disease control and/or public health programmes, including at least 5 years of experience in providing senior level advice and guidance to expert groups and high-level government officials, as well as at least 5 years inclusive of management experience in recognized senior leadership positions with direct responsibility for managing both human resources and finance operations. Proven experience in policy and strategy formulation, and in coordinating large scale projects with high political impact in developing countries. Relevant experience with the inter-agency mechanisms used to coordinate international preparedness for and response to health emergencies, including those most relevant to coordination of health policy and action in health emergencies.
Desirable: Relevant work experience in WHO and/or UN sister agencies; experience working in relevant non-governmental or humanitarian organizations. Work experience or training as a Health Cluster Coordinator or a Humanitarian Coordinator. Field experience in public health programmes or emergency response programmes in developing countries.


• General demonstrated exceptional leadership and team management skills in international and multi-cultural settings, including the proven capacity to lead and deliver on deadlines during periods of intense stress and activity; demonstrated ability to provide independent leadership in such periods with capacity to organize, monitor and synthesize information quickly and concisely.
• Proven ability to successfully coordinate, manage and lead projects, and build partnerships, across agencies and organizational departments in the context of health emergencies.
• Proven ability to successfully interact and negotiate with senior national and international authorities on the implementation of health emergencies strategies and programmes.
• Excellent interpersonal and communications skills with solid writing and editing experience and ability. Strong strategic thinking, with the ability to quickly comprehend strategic and tactical objectives and to formulate comprehensive plans to address challenges/risks.
• Specific Proven experience in the leadership and management of acute and protracted public health emergency response efforts, including infectious disease outbreaks.
• Knowledge of the epidemiology of infectious diseases and other global health security threats and of issues and practices for the prevention and control of disease.
• Peer-recognized leadership and experience in managing and directing organizational assets to save lives and improve health in the setting of humanitarian disasters.
• Authoritative and comprehensive knowledge of the theory, principles, methods and techniques in international emergency risk management and humanitarian response, with a broad-based understanding of its growing complexity including knowledge of the workings of relevant international policy-setting bodies.

WHO Competencies

Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
Driving the Organization's Position in Health Leadership
Producing results
Creating an empowering and motivating environment

Use of Language Skills

Essential: Expert knowledge of English.
Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of either French, Russian or German.


WHO salaries for staff in the Professional category are calculated in US dollars. The remuneration for the above position comprises an annual base salary starting at USD 106,023 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable), a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station, and currently amounts to USD 7200 per month for the duty station indicated above. Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.


• Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
• A written test and/or an asynchronous video assessment may be used as a form of screening.
• In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
• 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. Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible.
• Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual.
• Staff members in other duty stations are encouraged to apply.
• The WHO is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. The WHO recruits and employs staff regardless of disability status, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, race, marital status, religious, cultural, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, or any other personal characteristics.
• The WHO is committed to achieving gender parity and geographical diversity in its staff. Women, persons with disabilities, and nationals of unrepresented and underrepresented Member States ( are strongly encouraged to apply.
• Persons with disabilities can request reasonable accommodations to enable participation in the recruitment process. Requests for reasonable accommodation should be sent through an email to
• An impeccable record for integrity and professional ethical standards is essential. WHO prides itself on a workforce that adheres to the highest ethical and professional standards and that is committed to put the WHO Values Charter into practice.
• WHO has zero tolerance towards sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), sexual harassment and other types of abusive conduct (i.e., discrimination, abuse of authority and harassment). All members of the WHO workforce have a role to play in promoting a safe and respectful workplace and should report to WHO any actual or suspected cases of SEA, sexual harassment and other types of abusive conduct. To ensure that individuals with a substantiated history of SEA, sexual harassment or other types of abusive conduct are not hired by the Organization, WHO will conduct a background verification of final candidates.
• Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with WHO and an underlying premise of the international civil service. Candidates appointed to an international post with WHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.
• WHO also offers wide range of benefits to staff, including parental leave and attractive flexible work arrangements to help promote a healthy work-life balance and to allow all staff members to express and develop their talents fully.
• The statutory retirement age for staff appointments is 65 years. For external applicants, only those who are expected to complete the term of appointment will normally be considered.
• Please note that WHO's contracts are conditional on members of the workforce confirming that they are vaccinated as required by WHO before undertaking a WHO assignment, except where a medical condition does not allow such vaccination, as certified by the WHO Staff Health and Wellbeing Services (SHW). The successful candidate will be asked to provide relevant evidence related to this condition. A copy of the updated vaccination card must be shared with WHO medical service in the medical clearance process. Please note that certain countries require proof of specific vaccinations for entry or exit. For example, official proof /certification of yellow fever vaccination is required to enter many countries. Country-specific vaccine recommendations can be found on the WHO international travel and Staff Health and Wellbeing website. For vaccination-related queries please directly contact SHW directly at
• WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
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