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Head of Field Office


Head of Field-Office


Head of a UNHCR Field Office (HoFO) is a senior managerial position within a given country operation. The incumbent carries the full delegated authority of the UNHCR Representative (or the country Manager or Head of Sub-Office) of the country, who will exercise entire supervisory managerial responsibility over the position. The position, on the other hand, provides all information on developments in relation to the protection (legal protection issues relating to the persons of concern to UNHCR), security (Physical security in relation to the UNCR staff and the persons of concern to UNHCR) and operational matters (programme and office management / administration) within the domain of its geographical area of responsibility to the UNHCR Representative (or the country manager) on a regular and timely manner. Subject to the specific legal or socio economic or security developments in the Area of Responsibility (AOR), Representative will direct and guide the Head of Field Office to take the most appropriate course of action. Concerning overall physical security concerns, HoFO will liaise directly with the competent UN security coordinator while keeping the UNHCR Representative fully informed.

While the functional responsibility of a Head of Field Office will always remain the same despite its grade level, the other parameters (therefore the depth and breadth of the competencies) such as the size of the population of concern to UNHCR, their specific legal/security concerns, volume of assistance, Number of operational / Implementing partners and the size of the Office (i.e. number of UNHCR staff and their grade levels) will determine the appropriate grade level. The operational autonomy also depends upon the same parameters/competencies.

As the most senior UNHCR staff member within the given geographical area, he/she is required to liaise with all the relevant senior government officials, security organs in the area, the Head of various Non-Governmental Organisations (both national and internationals based in the area), Civilian/tribal leaders/elders, local opinion makers and the local media net-work to ensure his/her assigned responsibilities are effectively and efficiently discharged.

As the extended field representative of UNHCR at the front line of High Commissioner's operations, he/she remain as the effective advocate and assistant to the local authorities to ensure that the respective government authorities in the area implement their conventional responsibilities in favour of refugees and others of concern to UNHCR.



- The Convention concerning the treatment of asylum seekers, IDPs, refugees, returnees and the stateless, where applicable, is disseminated to the local authorities.
- UNHCR policies and standards are applied consistently in the AOR to ensure quality protection of populations of concern.
- A healthy, safe and respectful working environment is provided to the workforce in the AOR.


1. Monitor and report on the implementation of refugee conventional responsibilities and international obligations of the local authorities Vis a Vis the population of concern to UNHCR within the given geographical area; based on local situations/developments make appropriate recommendation to the UNHCR Representative/HoSO.
2. Advocate and promote UNHCR  standards concerning the treatment of asylum seekers, refugees and returnees as well as IDPs, where applicable; Advocate, promote and encourage the concerned authorities and local opinion makers to uphold established UNHCR standards that have become the international norms.
3. Ensure that the basic needs of the concerned population are properly assessed with the participation of the beneficiaries themselves, the host governments and/or the competent Implementing partners and/or UNHCR itself.
4. Subject to the needs, ensure that the planning, formulation and budgeting of identified assistance projects are done as per UNHCR programme cycle; upon approval of assistance project, ensure the timely implementation and rigorous monitoring  of identified assistance activities
5. Ensure through the subordinate staff that all deadlines for monitoring and reporting of UNHCR operational activities (i.e. include assistance as well as Administrative) are met on a regular basis.
6. Manage all UNHCR resources, both human, financial/material, at an optimum level for the wellbeing of the concerned population and the UNHCR staff.
7. Ensure that all security measures of UNHCR office (and residential, where ever applicable) compounds are always up to date; any security breaches and/or potential security threat should be reported immediately to competent UN security coordinator in the country.
8. Ensure that staff welfare, both in terms of working and living conditions, are maintained at a satisfactory level within the constraints in the operational area; this requires remaining current in health and medical facilities locally available and evacuation options available in a moment of medical urgency.
9. Guide, coach and advocate the subordinate staff to maintain highest standards of conduct and behaviour thorough one's own practice and deeds.
10. Prepare and submit regular reports, both verbally and written, to the UNHCR Representative/HoSO. In the event of substantial telephone conversation that leads to specific action or non-action, it should be recorded and share with the other party.
11. Any other responsibilities/functions deemed necessary or as delegated by the UNHCR Representative of the country in order to meet the level of the services in the organization.


- Represent UNHCR in inter-agency fora and with local authorities in the AOR.
- Enforce compliance with UNHCR's global protection, programme, finance, human resources and security policies and standards.
- Submit project proposals for assistance to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR Representation or Sub-Office in coordination with local authorities and NGOs.


- Advanced University degree in Management/Personnel Administration or Law or Political Science or International Relation or Economics or a related field.
- At least 10 years (12 years with university degree) of relevant work experience.
- In-depth knowledge in all aspects of UNHCR mandate and its Field level application.
- Applied knowledge of protection principles, operational arrangements/standards in relation to protection, assistance, UNHCR office management and staff administration.
- Should be conversant in the current priorities in the organisation and existing mechanisms within the organisation to implement those priorities.
- Basic computer skills and working knowledge in MS office software.
- Excellent knowledge of English with working knowledge of another relevant UN language.

(In offices where the working language is not English, excellent knowledge of working language of duty station and working knowledge of English.)


- Working experience both in UNHCR HQ and/or a Regional Office and the Field
- UNHCR Specific learning/training activities ( i.e. Learning Programme in Management & Operations)
- Proficiency of the language(s) that are used within the Sub Office area. C004L3 - Commitment to Continuous Learning Level 3
C003L3 - Communication Level 3
C002L3 - Teamwork & Collaboration Level 3
C001L3 - Accountability Level 3
C005L3 - Client & Result Orientation Level 3
C006L3 - Organizational Awareness Level 3
M004L3 - Strategic Planning and Vision Level 3
M003L3 - Judgement and Decision Making Level 3
M002L3 - Managing Performance Level 3
M001L3 - Empowering and Building Trust Level 3
M005L3 - Leadership Level 3
M006L3 - Managing Resources Level 3
X001L3 - Analytical Thinking Level 3
X002L3 - Innovation and Creativity Level 3
X003L3 - Technological Awareness Level 3
X004L3 - Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Level 3
X009L3 - Change Capability and Adaptability Level 3
X006L3 - Policy Development & Research Level 3
X007L3 - Political Awareness Level 3
X008L3 - Stakeholder Management Level 3
X005L3 - Planning and Organizing Level 3 Under the direct supervision of the Coordinator of Northern Iraq; the Head of Field Office in Suleimanyah should ideally demonstrates:

-Experience in large-scale emergency operations;
-Experience in refugee as well as IDP operations, camp and urban contexts;
-Demonstrated leadership skills and ability to deal with wide range of Government representatives, as well as NGO and refugee community representatives;
-Demonstrated managerial skills to manage large team of staff at different levels within international professional, national officer, general service categories as well as deployees from stand-by partner arrangements;
-Completion of UNHCR Management Learning Programme
-Excellent negotiation skills;
-Experience in field protection as well as programme planning and design;
-Demonstrated expertise in program management and reporting requirements.
-Good communicator with strong interpersonal and negotiation skills to deal with persons of different cultural and   educational backgrounds. At present, UNHCR¿s caseload in Iraq consists of more than 230,000 Syrian refugees, three million internally displaced Iraqis, tens of thousands of Iraqi refugee returnees, long-standing Palestinian, Iranian and Turkish refugee communities, and thousands of stateless persons. More than 97 percent of Iraq¿s Syrian refugees are hosted in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) in Erbil, Dohuk and Sulaymaniyah With the Syrian conflict having continued for more than six years, many Syrian refugees have exhausted their savings and, still unable to return, are becoming increasingly vulnerable. Some refugee families who have been living in urban, peri-urban, and rural locations outside of camps, finding themselves unable to provide for their basic needs without assistance, have entered waiting lists to move into camps. Syrian refugees also face increasing obstacles to regularizing their legal status: formal registration of asylum-seekers in the KR-I has become more difficult since 2016 as a result of security-related and administrative requirements. UNHCR continues to advocate for registration of Syrian asylum-seekers and for their access to legal and physical protection, and to ensure the overall coordination of emergency response operations, including through the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP). Within this context, the Head of Field office will lead UNHCR Office while managing resources, both human, financial/material, at an optimum level for the wellbeing of the concerned population and UNHCR staff. This includes management of security matters and relevant measures.

The Head of the Field Office will have to continue to advocate and promote UNHCR standards concerning the treatment of asylum seekers, refugees and other of concern while continuing to enhance partnership with government authorities and other stakeholders consistently applying UNHCR policies to ensure quality protection of population of concern. While Iraq humanitarian response applies the Joint UNHCR-OCHA Note on Mixed Situations: Coordination in Practice, the Head of Office should ensure coherence of refugee-related and IDPs-related coordination structures including fulfilment of sector coordination roles and responsibilities.  In addition, he/she in collaboration with the Coordination Office in Erbil, will provide strategic directions to the operation taking into account the ever evolving contextual changes which consist of overlapping of emergencies situations with protracted displacement situations. 

The Head of Field Office will have to demonstrate adequate seniority, maturity and communication skills to manage not only UNHCR office, but also partnership with a diverse set of counterparts and governmental actors. It would also be relevant that he/she acquired previous experience in large scale emergency displacement of population which gradually turned into protracted displacement. It is important that the office continue to gradually enhance implementation of resilience strategies while building on community based protection approaches strengthening the self-reliance of the population of concern. -Sulaymaniyah is Category E Duty Station with Security Level 2.
-Staff members assigned to Suleimanyah are residing in the individual residential apartments inside the security cleared hotel complex
-Basic food and other commodities are widely available in the local shops and markets. Banking facilities are rather underdeveloped; therefore cash is the main means of settlement of various bills.
-Both local currency (Iraqi Dinar) and USD are equally accepted for any payments.  No specific dress-code applies and casual European style clothes are worn.
-Eight weeks R&R cycle applies for staff assigned in Sulaymaniyah.
-Several international airlines operate daily flights from Suleimanyah International Airport to number of large international airports in Europe as well as Middle East.
-Holders of UNLP can enter Kurdistan Region of Iraq visa-free. Residence permit is not required for UN staff entering Kurdistan Region with UNLP. -Security Clearance for travel to Iraq is covered under TRIP. Such is approved through TRIP and in additional MoP (Movement of Personnel) manually processed by the Office. No travel should be undertaken without a copy of a fully approved TRIP and MoP requests.
-Three days Security Awareness Induction Training (SSAFE) in Erbil is mandatory for staff assigned to Iraq.  In addition, the new staff is required to attend Security Awareness and Induction Briefing (SAIB) on arrival in Erbil.
-Any movement of UN international staff within Kurdistan Region of Iraq (with the exception of the Erbil city limits) is undertaken in the convoy of two UN vehicles.
-Travel to order areas as well as disputed areas where newly displaced persons are concentrated is allowed in a convoy of two armored vehicles only.
-Although parts of Iraq including areas adjacent to KR-I have recently seen a significant rise in hostilities, in the wake of the IS/AG offensive, KR-I itself remains a relatively permissive environment, with the UN even deploying additional staff in order to address the rising IDP crisis.
-Security incidents are nevertheless possible everywhere, including within KR-I, and the UN therefore maintains a robust security posture, including staff working and living in pre-approved venues, the tight monitoring of work related movements Arabic language is desirable.

Please note that the closing date for all vacancies in the Addendum 2 to the March 2017 Compendium is Wednesday 31 May 2017 (midnight Geneva time).

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Suleimaniyah
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
  • Closing Date: 2017-05-31

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