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Advocacy Specialist

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: IICA-2, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
    • Political Affairs
    • Communication and Public Information
  • Closing Date: 2020-12-10

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Background information- ECR

Based in Geneva, the Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (ECR) supports UNOPS offices throughout the region through: management, financial and programmatic oversight of global and country-specific portfolios, clusters and operations centres, including hosting services; fund and management advisory services; project implementation; procuring goods and services; and managing human resources.

ECR ensures that projects are executed to the highest standards, providing a shared knowledge base and ensuring that best practices and lessons learned are disseminated between business units and projects across the entire region.

 ECR strategy is to:

  • Strengthen UNOPS role in operationalizing the Sustainable Development Goals with particular emphasis on health, environment and economic development.
  • Position UNOPS in the Balkan sub-region, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
  • Strengthen the implementation of ECR global and regional programmes, with revitalized partnerships in infrastructure, procurement and project management.

ECR operates global portfolios from offices in Geneva, Brussels and New York, and country-specific programmes from its operations and project centres located in Eastern Europe and Central Asian countries.

Background Information - Job-specific

Launched in September 2010, the purpose of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement is to catalyse collective action and create an enabling environment to end malnutrition in all its forms. With 62 SUN Countries and four Indian States at the helm, the SUN Movement represents an unprecedented country-led effort to bring together stakeholders – from governments, national and global civil society organisations, businesses, the UN system, researchers and scientists across different sectors- and provide them with a collaborative space to convene, mobilise, share, learn, advocate, align and coordinate actions and approaches to improve nutrition.

SUN countries, supported by all stakeholders in the Movement, are committed to creating an enabling environment for scaling up nutrition by strengthening four strategic processes as set out in the SUN Movement Strategy and Roadmap 2016-2020: Expanding and sustaining an enabling political environment; Prioritising effective actions that contribute to good nutrition, Implementing actions aligned with national common results frameworks and Effectively using, and significantly increasing, financial resources for nutrition.  The SUN Movement Coordinator, UN Assistant Secretary General, oversees the day-to-day implementation of the SUN Strategy and Roadmap, heads the SUN Movement Secretariat and represents the SUN Movement globally. In 2021, the SUN Movement will enter its third phase (2021-2025), with a new strategy and implementation plan guiding its work.

Since 2012, the SUN Movement Secretariat has developed as a small coordinating mechanism. It has no operational role but seeks to link together countries and networks in the SUN Movement to ensure that support, requested in countries to intensify actions and achieve nutrition objectives, is received in a coordinated and coherent way.  It also ensures that the Movement’s progress is tracked efficiently and communicated clearly. The Secretariat is headed by the Coordinator and led on a day-to-day basis by the Chief of Staff, who is responsible for ensuring that the Secretariat catalyses, facilitates and supports effective action across the overall SUN Movement.

Functional Responsibilities

Reporting to the Coordinator of the Communications and Advocacy Team, as part of the Communications and Advocacy team, the Advocacy Specialist will help develop and support the implementation of SUN Movement advocacy priorities, facilitate Movement-wide strategic advocacy engagement, including planning and coordinating effective engagement in key inter-governmental processes. Additionally the Advocacy Specialist will support the SUN Movement Lead Group (consisting of 27 high-level individuals) in their advocacy capacity. 

Like all in the SUN Movement, the Advocacy Specialist is vigilant that the SUN Movement’s principles are always upheld, everywhere. S/he will be in frequent contact with a large and diverse network of stakeholders, primarily via telephone, teleconference, and email – often in different time zones. They must be able to sustain productive exchanges with actors that are busy, and whose means of communication can be limited. The Advocacy Specialist produces high-quality written or oral briefs for the SUN Coordinator and the Secretariat, members of SUN Networks, Lead Group members, and external audiences. These briefs should make clear recommendations based on political-economy analysis, data and insights into policy processes. The Advocacy Specialist is expected to be proactive, innovative, entrepreneurial, agile and result-oriented, demonstrating a high standard of professionalism and integrity.

As set out in the skills section below this position needs someone who can work across teams effectively, is resilient and is used to working in a high-paced environment where deadlines and requirements may change.    

In particular the Advocacy Specialist will:

  • Plan and facilitate a strategic, coordinated, Movement-wide approach to advocacy to increase the salience of nutrition, promote the SUN Movement’s approach and amplify SUN country voices
  • Identify, track and follow up on policy agendas and strategic advocacy opportunities to promote nutrition and the SUN Movement approach.

  • Plan and coordinate the SUN Movement Secretariat (SMS) advocacy engagement strategy, including on intergovernmental processes and key events working across the SMS as appropriate.

  • Coordinate SUN country engagement on important advocacy opportunities through sharing information, providing briefings, and supporting engagement in policy processes as well as events.

  • Facilitate and lead a coordinated SUN Movement advocacy approach, including by convening regular calls, developing policy products and supporting joint engagements with the SUN Networks and partners.

  • Maintain regular contact with advocacy “point persons” in the SUN Networks and amongst key partners.

  • Manage strategic external engagement with key partners and networks, including with permanent missions in Geneva, and key advocacy coalitions and partnerships. 

  • Prepare speeches, opinion pieces, policy briefs and other documents in support of advocacy priorities
  • Contribute to the development of SUN policy agendas, key messages and advocacy documents.

  • Provide strategic advice, talking points, briefings etc. to the SUN Movement Coordinator.

  • Develop written materials and communication packs in the lead-up to key engagement opportunities.

  • Work with SUN country stakeholders on advocacy and communications, including through ready-to-use tools, coaching or connecting to technical assistance when required.

  • Support the SUN Movement Lead Group, comprised of 27 high level individuals, in their advocacy role to mobilise political and financial commitment for nutrition, in support of SUN country progress.   
  • Together with SUN Secretariat staff working on governance, and with the Chief of Staff, liaise with Lead Group members’ support staff and ensure their active engagement in support of the SUN Movement’s advocacy priorities.

  • Plan and support Lead Group advocacy engagement, including in intergovernmental processes, national, regional and global events, and through social and traditional media, in close collaboration with Lead Group support staff. 

  • Contribute to  the advocacy and communications’ components of the annual SUN Lead Group meeting, which usually takes place on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.

Monitoring and Progress Controls

  • Setting personal development objectives within the Performance Evaluation Review

  • Successfully meeting deadlines based on a work plan

  • Formulate a work plan, which will be agreed upon between the supervisor with clearly defined outputs, milestones and reporting requirements.


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.(for levels IICA-2, IICA-3, LICA Specialist- 10, LICA Specialist-11, NOC, NOD, P3, P4 and above)
Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.
Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.
Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

a. Education Advanced university degree (Master or equivalent) in Communications, Advocacy, Political Science or related fields. A Bachelor’s degree with two additional years of relevant experience may be acceptable in lieu of the advanced degree.

b. Work Experience 

  • Minimum 5 years of relevant experience in advocacy and/or political engagement is required.

  • Proven experience in leading advocacy work on a variety of issues with a strong understanding of leveraging political influence and influencing policy change is required.

  • Proven conceptual and analytical capacity to monitor complex and interlinked issues to ensure that the main arguments of the written/edited document are communicated is an asset.

  • Proven experience in development cooperation, and knowledge of UN processes related to food security and nutrition would be an asset.

  • Experience of briefing and supporting senior leaders in public engagements is an asset. 

  • Some field experience in food security and nutrition and/or health programmes and policies is an asset. Whilst this is an advocacy role, experience of communications would be considered an asset.

c. Skills

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

  • Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity and discretion. 

  • Demonstrated leadership, team working and coordinating skills.

  • Ability to self-start, self-organise and work independently when required.

  • Ability to work across a very wide range of actors.    

  • General management and judgement/decision-making skills. 

  • Excellent written and oral skills.

  • Excellent analytical skills and a proactive approach.

d. Languages

Fluency in oral and written English is required.
French and/or Spanish skills are an asset.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: ICA Contract level: ICSC-10
Contract duration: Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance.

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

  This position is based in Switzerland and the contract fee is not exempt from Swiss laws, including but not limited to laws regarding taxation, social security, accident and health insurance.

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.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • 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.

Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

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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