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  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Madrid
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2019-02-28

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Madrid (Spain)

Before submitting an application, UNHCR staff members intending to apply to this Job Opening are requested to consult the Recruitment and Assignments Policy (RAP, UNHCR/HCP/2017/2 and the Recruitment and Assignments Administrative Instruction (RAAI), UNHCR/AI/2017/7 OF 15 August 2017.


As the High Commissioner's senior representative in the country, the Representative provides managerial leadership and oversight to ensure UNHCR's effective performance in the country of her/his assignment. The incumbent usually manages a budget of less than USD 6 millions.
Reporting to the Director of the Bureau, the Representative is responsible and accountable for translating organizational and Bureau-wide objectives and policies into effective programmes. Through a continuous process of situational analysis, the Representative works with his/her team to identify strategic objectives and develop coherent, consistent and effective responses to the challenges faced.  He/she is responsible for ensuring the adequate provision of technical support and guidance to the office to enable them to fulfil their accountabilities, including those outlined in the Terms of Reference of UNHCR offices as well as the Age, Gender and Diversity Accountability Framework. 
The Representative works to ensure that UNHCR is widely perceived as an effective and trusted partner. S/he is responsible for creating effective networks, relationships, partnerships, and synergies with governments, NGOs, relevant regional political and other fora, civil society, persons of concern and all other key strategic partners and actors. He/she lends visibility to important strategic issues, promotes concerted action and the commitment of sufficient resources and expertise to address important matters of concern to UNHCR.
In a complex and demanding political and operational environment, the Representative strives to build a dynamic and sufficiently capacitated team. S/he devolves appropriate authorities, facilitates the sharing of expertise and best practice and creates a climate of collaboration, which aims to empower and motivate colleagues to approach challenges with insight and innovation and to work toward achieving measurable and effective results. S/he has a responsibility to inform the Bureau and other relevant parties at Headquarters of key political and operational developments in a timely manner.
The comports and actions of the Representative must at all times reflect the core values and principles embodied in UNHCR's mandate. A failure on the part of the Representative to adhere to these standards would have negative implications for UNHCR's credibility, operations and, ultimately, the protection and well-being of persons of concern to the Office.

- UNHCR has a clearly articulated country strategy to protect and find solutions for persons of concern.
- The protection framework in the country ensure availability and quality of asylum, operating systems and search for durable solutions for all categories of persons of concern.
- UNHCR is fully integrated into the UN Resident Coordinator System.
- UNHCR's policies and standards are applied consistently within the country operation to ensure quality protection for populations of concern.
- Resources are commensurate with operational objective and are allocated and managed effectively to meet the country/regional operation's objectives.
- UNHCR provides a healthy, safe and respectful working environment for its workforce in the country.

Strategic Direction
- Stay abreast of the challenges posed by the local political context.
- Manage a consultative process within the country operations and with external partners.
- Develop and implement a comprehensive communications strategy that generates political and financial support for UNHCR's operations. Mobilize financial support for UNHCR corporate priorities as well for country specific projects.

- Implement a results-oriented approach for assessing, designing and delivering the country operation.
- Ensure that the protection strategy is fully integrated into the country operations plan and that necessary resources are allocated to it.
- Ensure the country operation's adherence to UNHCR's policy on Age, Gender and Diversity Mainstreaming (AGDM).
- Ensure the country operation plans are consistent with the regional and global strategic priorities; manage a participatory process, with all stakeholders, to apply UNHCR's standards and indicators in assessing and measuring the performance of the country operations.
- Promote accession to the Convention and Protocol, and ensure the application of protection standards in the treatment of all persons of concern especially women and children.
- Ensure all persons of concern, especially women and children, have access to relevant information; ensure that cases of sexual violence and abuse against girls and boys are reported and dealt with expeditiously.
- Ensure the engagement of UNHCR in the UNCT, UN common programming, planning and funding activities and to actively contribute in the establishment of the CCA/UNDAF and the consequent joint implementation activities.
- Participate in the Cluster approach, ensure UNHCR's Cluster Lead role and implement other IASC and inter-agency/UN policies.
- Ensure that risks to the operation¿s objectives are regularly assessed, priority risks are identified and risk treatments for the priority risks form an integral part of the operations plans.

Resource Management
- Ensure that staff and financial resources are commensurate with operational objectives.
- Ensure effective and efficient management of resources within the rules and procedures of UNHCR.
- Establish and manage local administrative mechanisms such as a Local Contracts (or Purchasing) Committee, Local Asset Management Board and APPC.
- Ensure local compliance with UNHCR's human resources (HR) policies including on gender, disabilities, diversity, ethics and HIV/AIDS.
- Manage a process of recruitment, assignment and reassignment of local staff for the country operation, in accordance UN/UNHCR rules and procedures.
- Where necessary, identify the most appropriate affiliate workforce and optimize its use.
- In coordination with the Global Learning Centre, ensure that the learning needs of UNHCR's workforce in the country are identified, assessed and addressed.
- Exercise effective managerial oversight, direction, guidance and support and conduct regular performance appraisals and coaching.

- In close collaboration with the Designated Official (DO), UNDSS and UN country team/Security Management Team (SMT), gather and analyse information on the local security situation and play an active role in the inter-agency security and contingency planning processes.
- Ensure that appropriate security measures are in place to protect staff, and that the country operation complies with UN  MOSS/MORSS staff security rules, guidelines and procedures

- Represent UNHCR in the UNCT/Humanitarian Country Team and other inter-agency fora.
- Decide on the country strategy and priorities, country operations plans, and approve the country operation's protection strategy.
- Enforce local compliance with UNHCR's global protection, programme, finance and human resources and security policies and standards.
- Negotiate and sign local agreements with implementing and operational partners.
- Authorize payments as per the organization's Delegation of Authority Plan (DOAP) and in accordance with UN/UNHCR rules and procedures.
- Modify operational projects and reallocate funds, within the approved budgets and in respect of donor earmarking.

- Graduate degree (equivalent of a Master's) in Political Science, Social Science, International Relations, Law, Business Administration, Human Resources Management, and/or other relevant fields plus 11 years of relevant job experience at professional level, with more than 10 years in international capacity. Undergraduate degree (equivalent of a BA/BS) plus 12 years or Doctorate degree (equivalent of a PhD) plus 10 years of previous relevant work experience may also be accepted.
- Senior positions in a large governmental or international agency. Extensive knowledge of UNHCR operations and services.
- Extensive knowledge of UNHCR operations and services.
- A high level of skill in management of broad programmes, political decision making and negotiating, as well as demonstrated tolerance to frequently changing and highly charged situations.
- Ability to lead strategic planning, change processes, results-based management and reporting.
- Ability to lead formulation, oversight of implementation, monitoring and evaluation of operations.
- Ability to manage for results: translates strategic aims into achievable plans, with established priorities, monitors them, making periodic adjustments as required.
- Ability to effectively represent UNHCR at the senior level in internal and external meetings and to build strong relationships with clients.
- Excellent IT skills, in particular MS Office Applications.
- Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.

- Completion of UNHCR training programmes, such us Protection Learning Programme, Operations Management Learning Programme;
- Knowledge of geo-political realities and their socio-cultural implications.
- Knowledge of additional UN languages.

This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR Representative (P5) positions. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates. C001L4 - Accountability Level 4
C002L4 - Teamwork & Collaboration Level 4
C003L4 - Communication Level 4
C004L4 - Commitment to Continuous Learning Level 4
C005L4 - Client & Result Orientation Level 4
C006L4 - Organizational Awareness Level 4
M001L4 - Empowering and Building Trust Level 4
M002L4 - Managing Performance Level 4
M006L4 - Managing Resources Level 4
M005L4 - Leadership Level 4
M003L4 - Judgement and Decision Making Level 4
M004L4 - Strategic Planning and Vision Level 4
X004L4 - Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Level 4
X001L4 - Analytical Thinking Level 4
X007L4 - Political Awareness Level 4 <p>The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.</p>
See below for this postion's Operational Context

For those people applying for High Risk Duty Stations, we strongly encourage them – before deciding to apply- to read the country specific security and welfare country profiles which can be found on the Intranet under Support Services - Duty of Care ( Ensuring staff are better informed is part of the increased attention UNHCR is paying to Duty of Care.


Staff after having applied to High Risk Duty Stations will have access to country specific information webinars with Field Safety Section (FSS) and Staff Welfare Section (SWS) colleagues and provided with a tool to test their psychological preparedness for serving in High Risk Duty Stations. Applicants who applied for a position in a High Risk country will receive, after the deadline for applications has expired, a joint invitation from the Staff Welfare Section (SWS) and the Field Safety Section (FSS) to participate in these webinars. During the Webinars, latest updates on security and well-being will be provided, and FSS and SWS will address questions raised by participants. Applicants are highly encouraged to benefit, when applicable, from all measures as they provide most up-to-date security and well-being information helpful to assess staff’s readiness to serve in a High Risk Duty Station. A Staff Welfare Officer will also be available, if and when required, to discuss with interested applicants the results of the psychological preparedness tool as well as readiness for assignment in High Risk Duty Stations.


In the context of the ongoing regionalization and decentralization process, UNHCR Country Office in Spain will be a newly established standalone operation reporting to the Regional Bureau for Europe. In addition to the operation in Spain, UNHCR Country Office will also likely cover Portugal. The team in Spain is composed of more than 30 UNHCR staff members and Affiliated Workforce Personnel and is supported by a newly created Senior Protection Officer position at P4 level.  Given the highly political and generally complex operational environment linked to the fact that Spain has become the European country receiving the largest number of new arrivals in Europe in the incumbent of this post is expected to have appropriate political acumen and strong interpersonal skills in order to identify and proactively address challenges. . This is close coordination with RBE and in close interaction with other UNHCR teams in the region notably the UNHCR EU team. The incumbent has to have the ability to interact at the highest official levels and be able to manage multiple and often complex relationships with various stakeholders, have proven fluency in Spanish (oral/written) and excellent communication skills as public speaking (including media) is a regular component of this post. Therefore a full command of Spanish language is essential for the Representative in Experience in resource mobilization with government donors and private sector as well as strong skills in the development and management of diverse stakeholders will be very important as UNHCR needs to diversify and strengthen its partnership base in Spain.
The Representative is expected to have strong representational, managerial, team-building and coordination skills. Proven diplomatic, negotiation and judgement qualities are crucially important to support the Government of Spain to face unprecedented migration and asylum challenges. Given the fluid situation, the incumbent must be able to demonstrate clear and respectful leadership, translate his/her vision into concrete actions and have acknowledged team leading AND team building capacities. While understanding and knowledge of the European context are additional assets, it is especially important that the incumbent has the ability to proactively seek/identify opportunities for UNHCR to remain relevant in a fast evolving context and to devise creative and innovative responses to support governmental and other efforts.  UNHCR has, by law, an active role in the Spanish protection and asylum system and the office is deeply engaged on issues related to access to the territory, status determination, the development and implementation of the Common European Asylum System (Dublin), monitoring of reception and now plays a key role in promotion of alternative pathways, integration, resettlement and private sponsorships. The Office is likely to continue to be involved in ensuring that UNHCRs views are taken into consideration in the drafting of asylum implementing legislation, and thus relevant leadership skills in this regard will be required to organize an effective team work. Spain is party to the 1951 Convention, and as an EU Member State, subject to the legal framework of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), although the country has not transposed all obligations under European law in its national legislation.  While the legal framework to protect refugees is generally positive, it is not always reflected in practice.  Integration is supported to some extent by the positive attitude of the Spanish population and regional authorities, but limited by a difficult economic/labour market situation.  Consequently, many bona fide refugees do not remain in Spain but try to move on to other European countries.  .  It is likely that more refugees will apply for asylum in Spain in the near future so in addition to exercising its protection mandate, UNHCR has to be able to contribute/support efforts integrating refugees.
There are three main entry routes to Europe across the Mediterranean for refugees and migrants, with Spain being the main entry point in the Western part of the Mediterranean region.  Although numbers are low if compared with the recent trends along the Central and Eastern Mediterranean routes, they have steadily increased since 2015. In 2018, the number of arrivals in Spain more than tripled as compared to 2017 to reach a total of 93,750, including 65,400 arrivals by sea and 28,350 via land border. In 2018, some 43,000 first-time asylum applications were lodged in Spain (41% higher compared to those in 2017). In 2018, Spain was one of the five EU Member States receiving the highest numbers of asylum claims (43,000).  The arrivals are mainly persons originating from various Sub-Saharan African countries, the Middle East, and increasingly from North Africa. Spain also receives significant arrivals via its airports, particularly from Latin America and also from persons from various countries in Africa and Asia seeking asylum under the accelerated border procedure. UNHCR operations exercise protection through presence at the main arrival points and the provision of information and counselling to individuals, attempting to improve access to the asylum procedure for persons of concern.  Furthermore, the office is involved in admission procedures at the only land-borders between Africa and Europe (Ceuta and Melilla) and is directly involved in RSD quality control. The work includes a holistic and thematic approach to protection challenges and identifying solutions in protection gaps.  Furthermore, the office is engaged in a variety of advocacy work related to improving/supporting the asylum system. A key component of UNHCR¿s work is advocacy for resettlement and intra-European relocation, and the provision of public information for Spain and the Spanish speaking world.
Spain is a G20 member, but donor support is limited.  This contrasts to the wide public support for refugees/UNHCR, namely the more than 500,000 individuals who regularly contribute to UNHCR and make Spain the world leader with regard to private fundraising support.  It is expected that the Representative will be actively seeking to increase governmental funding support.  S/he will also be expected to accompany, support and if required, guide, PSP activities in Spain which operates under the umbrella of España con ACNUR (ECA).  But the latter has to be done in a sensitive manner that respects the respective accountabilities and roles/responsibilities of HCR Spain and ECA Spai UNHCR Country Office in Spain is an H duty station.  It counts on more than 30 staff members and affiliated workforce and is located in Madrid's business area.  Additionally to the main office in Madrid, there are three small field offices in Malaga and Algeciras (Andalusian coast), and in the enclave in North Africa, Melilla.
Working language at the duty station is Spanish.
Given the size of the country and the high level of decentralization, missions within the country by staff members (not just the Representative) are frequently needed. Staff members (and their eligible dependents) are accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation to perform their duties in the country.
Spain is a modern and welcoming country which has excellent infrastructures and transport networks in and out. Madrid is a city that is experiencing constant growth and over time it has developed an increasingly multicultural population.  It offers high living conditions and an average cost of living, rather low compared to other Western European capital cities. Education is compulsory for children aged between 6 and 16.  The school year runs from mid-September to the end of June with the main holidays in December/January and July/August. Spain¿s public schools have good standards and are free.  There is also a wide range of semi-private, private and international schools.  Among the internationals, most follow the British curriculum, but there are some that follow the American curriculum or the International Baccalaureate.  Due to the limited number of places in the schools, fees are usually high.
Spain has a very good public healthcare system that can be used by foreigners who are eligible to have a Spanish social security number.  Medical staff are well-trained and often speak English.  Excellent private care is also available at a price. 
Wages are low for an industrialized countries.  Unemployment is one of the highest in the industrialized world.  Unemployment is highest in Andalucia, Extremadura, Ceuta, and Melilla.  Catalonia and Madrid enjoy the highest employment figures. The United Nations Security Management System in Spain (UNSMS) is comprised of 10 participating Organizations with approximately 700 personnel and dependents.  The DO is the UNWTO Secretary General. UNSMS Organizations and personnel enjoy freedom of movement inside Spain and throughout EU Europe (with the required documentation).
Crime rates are assessed as normal against other major European cities and Spain remains a low risk operating environment for UNSMS activities overall, though the risk of terrorist attack in a public place is assessed to be medium. The UNDSS threat level is at level 2 (low) while the host government threat level is at level 4 (a terrorist attack is very likely) and has been for a number of months.  Public places are particularly vulnerable and the highest risk to UN staff members is to be present `at the wrong place, at the wrong time¿.  Tactics may include firearms, explosives, vehicles and/or edge weapons.
Crimes may include violent and non-violent robberies, smash and grab of items in vehicles, pickpocketing, purse snatching and general theft.  Common locations for these crimes are tourist areas, public transport hubs and the metro/subway systems, especially at night.  Criminals often operate in small teams.  Home burglary is also possible. 
Demonstrations occur regularly in major cities and capitals about a variety of political and economic issues.  Police routinely oversee participants and most demonstrations in Spain are non-violent.  While most demonstrations are pre-arranged with local authorities, some do occur without warning. UN presence
* UN headquarters in Madrid: World Tourism Organization (WTO).
* Other UN organizations present in Madrid: IOM, WFP, ONU-Habitat, FAO.
* Other UN organizations in Spain: UN Logistics Base in Valencia, WHO and UN University in Barcelona.

UN national committees and associations
* UNHCR National Association "España con ACNUR" is headquartered in Madrid and it has offices in other regions.
* UNICEF Spanish Committee is also headquartered in Madrid and counts on a large presence, wide visibility and a range of activities.
Work by spouses and dependent family members: Except in the case of citizens of countries belonging to the European Union, Spanish practice requires the conclusion of International Conventions to regulate access to gainful employment by dependent family members of accredited staff. If there is no prior bilateral Agreement or Convention recognizing and establishing the terms and conditions to carry out gainful employment, no type of gainful employment whatsoever may be engaged in.

Please note that the closing date for vacancies in the Addendum 4 is Thursday 28 February 2019 (midnight Geneva time)

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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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