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Strategic Communications & Media Advisor

Baghdad | Erbil

Background Information - UNOPS

 UNOPS supports the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to serve people in need by expanding the ability of the United Nations, governments and other partners to manage projects, infrastructure and procurement in a sustainable and efficient manner.

Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, our vision is to advance sustainable implementation practices, always satisfying or surpassing our partners’ expectations.

With over 7,000 personnel spread across 80 countries, UNOPS offers its partners the logistical, technical and management knowledge they need, wherever they need it.

A flexible structure and global reach means that we can quickly respond to our partners' needs, while offering the benefits of economies of scale. 

Background Information - PSC

Peace and Security Centre

The UNOPS Peace and Security Centre (PSC) is a principal service provider in the field of mine action with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), UNDP, UNICEF, Governments of mine-affected countries and other mine action partners. The Centre is responsible to administer, provide support and oversight of the day-to-day management of the Project Field offices, both according to the client requirements and in line with UNOPS rules and regulations. It is headed by the Centre Director who has the overall authority and accountability for the performance of the Peace and Security Centre on behalf of its clients.

Background Information - Job-specific

Background Information – UNMAS

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) is the coordinator for Mine Action within the United Nations system, located within the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI) at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). It chairs the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action (IACG-MA) and is the lead of the Global Protection Cluster (GPC) Mine Action Area of Responsibility (MA AoR). Mine action comprises five areas of work: clearance, risk education, victim assistance, advocacy and stockpile destruction. The United Nations applies mine action expertise to an increasingly wide range of explosive hazards, from unexploded missiles, artillery shells, rockets, grenades and mortars, to unsafe and unsecured weapons and ammunition, improvised explosive devices and cluster bombs. UNMAS leads, coordinates and carries out efforts to mitigate these threats when mandated by the United Nations Security Council or, when requested by the Secretary-General or an affected country, often in response to a humanitarian emergency. The Geneva office acts, inter alia, as its humanitarian hub by maintaining a triangular relationship with New York Headquarters and operations in the field. Developing partnerships with the humanitarian and broader Geneva-based community is a priority. The office also deals with relevant international humanitarian law, and coordinates United Nations representation through the IACG-MA in different treaty-related meetings, such as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

Background Information – UNMAS Iraq

UNMAS deployed an initial assessment team to Iraq in March 2015 and has since expanded to offices in both Baghdad and Erbil and supporting multiple layers of operations.

The UNMAS Iraq programme (“UNMAS Iraq”) was formally established in June 2015, at the request of the UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq, to lead the UN efforts to mitigate explosive threats in the country, as well as to support the enhancement of national and regional mine action capacities.

The presence of explosive hazards and explosive contamination in areas ‘retaken’ from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) occupation in Iraq continued to impede security and stability efforts across Iraq. UNMAS has implemented a comprehensive response to address the problem of explosive remnants of war (ERW) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in areas newly retaken from ISIL occupation. Iraq is heavily contaminated with large volumes of recorded and unquantified ERW through protracted ground fighting and aerial bombing. Recent years have seen unprecedented accumulations of IEDs placed in urban and rural areas largely by ‘scorched earth’ tactics by ISIL. This is exemplified by the situation in areas recently retaken from ISIL occupation, and where areas have become uninhabitable and inaccessible because of such threats. As a result, this poses such a significant blockage for humanitarian response efforts, with the UN and national leadership repeatedly referring to a ‘mine action’ as being a high priority. In most cases, this requirement an absolute necessity before humanitarian intervention can proceed and improved communications to specific audiences is a central part of this.

Given the recent history in Iraq, many politicians and officials are limited on the requisite experience of strategic communications and public engagement however their interest in this area is growing quickly as they see the importance of and benefits of effective messaging across the Government of Iraq (GOI) with the public. As a result, the existing communications structures are impeded by several challenges which can lead to multiple messages on humanitarian and stabilisation issues. In regards to Explosive Threat Mitigation (ETM) comms it is extremely important to target the right people, using the right platforms and the right wording at the right time whilst also managing the expectations of the public, government and donors.

Functional Responsibilities

Under delegated authority of the Programme Manager, the Strategic Communications & Media Advisor is responsible for UNMAS communications for the Whole of Iraq with a focus on communication strategies that advance UNMAS Iraq’s goals and mission and will manage one Communications Specialist:

  • Manage and deliver a highly innovative, ambitious and influential explosive threat management strategic communications programme in Iraq, working closely with the GOI, key partners, including donors, and external suppliers.
  • The adviser will identify specific areas where the UNMAS could make a tangible difference to the way in which the government approaches communications on Explosive Threat Mitigation (ETM), including through the development of communications delivery mechanisms. The post holder will be expected to measure the impact of the role through feedback from government and other stakeholders.
  • The post holder will also act as front line support/ oversight for the delivery of any existing and planned UNMAS communications programmes, and will coordinate across the UN system and with international & coalition partners to shape wider efforts which achieve UN policy objectives, avoid duplication and share best practice.
  • Coordinate across UN architecture, GOI and with international and Coalition partners to shape the UNMAS programme as part of wider efforts which achieve UNMAS and GOI strategic policy objectives.
  • Offer strategic counsel to the Management team on communications strategies, media engagement, and partner engagement.
  • Designs and executes a wide range of communication plans to advance awareness, build public understanding, and generate support and resources for UNMAS Iraq through all forms of media and communications. 
  • Day-to-day support and pro-active comms around Iraq-based UNMAS projects, with a specific focus on explosive hazard risk education to the population of Iraq.
  • Develop a comprehensive communications strategy with one plan, one narrative, key themes and agreed messaging to ensure communications effort moves from raising awareness to supporting and fully explaining programme delivery across Iraq.
  • Develop a supporting social media strategy and encourage greater use of social media across ministries to engage key audiences, particularly young people, in the reform agenda and celebration of national unity.
  • Design and conduct internal training for UNMAS Iraq personnel on collecting information, reports, and materials from partners that can be used to promote the work of the mine action sector.
  • Support the overarching design, coordination and delivery of UNMAS’s stratcomms programme in Iraq.
  • Ensure comms coherence across UNMAS Iraq and the broader mine action sector, including through the participation in various UN and other working groups 
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with senior communicators in the GOI, especially within Government security architecture and other partners, assess the effectiveness of existing approaches to ETM comms and to provide expert communications advice.
  • Providing practical expert strategic advice on effective communications to the GoI, and developing effective delivery mechanisms for strategic communications. Potentially acting as front line project support to any existing or planned UNMAS communications programmes.
  • Support the Iraq UNMAS Programme team to ensure a coordinated communications approach to programme delivery and to provide surge support when required.
  • Develop strong relationships with senior communicators in the donor community and UNMAS key donors for delivery of joint communications campaigns aligned with donor strategies and intentions as applicable.
  • Working closely with the existing UNMAS Team, comprising grantees, implementing partners and contractors to help support effective communications from within UNMAS, and across the rest of the Iraq UN Network, GoI and key partners.
  • Developing audience insight, understanding of the media landscape, identifying key influencers and recommendations on what opportunities exist to develop communications campaigns in support of UNMAS and GOI goals.
  • Learn the language and substance of UNMAS’ programmatic work and become expert in effectively presenting it to diverse stakeholders.
  • Draft and/or edit a variety of high-profile materials including speeches, news releases, issue briefs, talking points, correspondence, video scripts, and all social media platforms.
  • Build relationships with key media outlets and contacts who cover public policy issues that intersect with UNMAS work. Monitor and respond to media inquiries, coordinating with other Communications staff. Work with external media outlets and blogs to secure placement of op-eds and blog posts on timely policy issues as relevant.
  • Identify, secure, and prepare key opinion leaders and internal spokespeople to provide perspective and insight to the media, policymakers, and other external audiences.


Teamwork - Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organisational goals; Solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; Places team agenda before personal agenda; Supports and acts in accordance with final group decisions, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings. Planning and Organising - 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.

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.

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 the audience; Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

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.

Technological Awareness - Keeps abreast of available technology; Understands applicability and limitations of technology to the work of the office; Actively seeks to apply technology to appropriate tasks; Shows willingness to learn new technology.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

Education and Years of Experience Requirements:

  • Advanced University Degree (Master’s Degree or equivalent) in Journalism, Communications, Development Studies, International Relations or related field with a minimum of seven (7) years of relevant experience OR;
  • First Level University Degree  (Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent) in Journalism, Communications, Development Studies, International Relations or related field with a minimum of nine (9) years of relevant experience.
  • At least 7 years of  progressively responsible experience, at the operational and strategic levels, developing and implementing complex public communications/media strategies in private, public, or international organizations is required
  • Experience implementing communications strategies in support of humanitarian and stabilisation objectives is required
  • Experience working in the UN system is required
  • Donor relations experience is required
  • Experience  liaising with senior governmental officials in the Middle-East is desired
  • Experience working in conflict or post-conflict environments is desired
  • Experience working in the Explosive Threat Mitigation (ETM) context in Iraq, especially with regard to IEDs and semi-permissive environments is desired
  • Experience working with the political and social context in Iraq is desired
  • Understanding of UN mine action programmes, policies, and coordination mechanisms desired
  • Fluency in English (reading, writing and speaking) is required
  • Fluency in Arabic (reading, writing and speaking) is desired
  • Knowledge of another UN official language is desired

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: International Individual Contractor Agreement
Contract level: ICS-11
Contract duration: 12 months, with possibility of extension based on funding and satisfactory performance

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: 

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns. Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

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: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Baghdad | Erbil
  • Grade: IICA-3, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Communication
  • Closing Date: 2017-07-15

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