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Junior Professional Officer (JPO) in Disaster Risk Reduction

Panama (United States of America)

  • Organization: USAID
  • Location: Panama (United States of America)
  • Grade: Junior - Internationally recruited position - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Disaster Management (Preparedness, Resilience, Response and Recovery)
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Conflict prevention
    • Environment
    • Humanitarian Aid and Coordination
    • Security policy
  • Closing Date: 2020-11-30

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I. Overview

Through USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/BHA), the United States sponsors qualified U.S. citizens for employment in The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Program. These fully funded JPO positions strengthen the humanitarian coordination capacity of UNDRR. They further encourage U.S. citizens to become active members of the international community. After completing their JPO assignments, a number of JPOs successfully compete for positions at UNDRR, and in other international and non-governmental organization. 

II. General Information

  • Title: JPO in Disaster Risk Reduction 
  • Organization/Office: UNDRR /Regional Office for the Americas (ROAM) 
  • Duty Station: Panama 
  • Date Required: As soon as possible 
  • Duration: 1 year (with possible extension for another year) 

III. Supervision

  • Title of Supervisor: Deputy Chief of Office 
  • Content and methodology of supervision: Establishment of a Work Plan: During the first month of the assignment, the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) will work jointly with his/her direct supervisor to finalize an agreed upon work plan. The final work plan will be discussed and mutually agreed to by the JPO and his/her supervisor. 
  • Evaluation: The United Nations Performance Evaluation System (e-performance) will serve as a primary platform to evaluate of the JPO’s performance. In addition to the above, the JPO will meet periodically (weekly preferred/ or on mutual availability of the JPO and the supervisor) with the supervisor to keep him/ her updated on the progress. 

IV. Duties, Responsibilities, and Output Expectations

Within delegated authority, the JPO/ Associate Programme Officer will be responsible for the following duties: 

  • Acts as support person for partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders, which may include Inter-Governmental Organizations, UN agencies, the private sector, civil society and community based organizations, parliamentarians and the science and technology community in the region. Supports engagement of partners at the regional and national level, in line with the regional office’s workplan. Develops and maintains partner structures, groups and registries in the region as required.
  • Acts as support person for the implementation of UNDRR’s work plan in the region. Carries out research on selected aspects of programs, operations and other activities, etc., to include collecting, analyzing and presenting data and other information gathered from diverse sources. 
  • Participates in survey initiatives; assists with design of data collection tools; issues data collection tools, reviews, analyzes and interprets responses, identifies problems/issues and prepares preliminary conclusions. 
  • Undertakes outreach activities; participates in the development of training workshops, seminars, etc.; participates in and makes presentations on assigned topics/activities including support the organization of partner regional/national consultations related to the Sendai Framework Mid - Term Review. 
  • Provides administrative and substantive support to workshops and other meetings, conferences, etc., including the drafting of meeting documents, proposing agenda topics, identifying and inviting participants, preparation of background documents and presentations, handling logistics, etc. Provides support in the coordination of corporate image, visibility and production of materials for events and activities. 
  • Contributes to the preparation of various written outputs, e.g. draft background papers, analytical notes, sections of reports and studies, inputs to publications; generates, edits and monitors audiovisual content for corporate web portal, social networks and portals / third party newsletters, etc. 
  • Ensures regular information exchange with the Partnerships, Intergovernmental processes and Inter-agency Cooperation and other branches and units in Geneva, Bonn or Incheon as necessary, and in coordination with ROAMC’s officers and supervisors. Prepares proposals for humanitarian donors, interim and final reports on use of donor funds. 
  • May participate in field missions. Coordinates activities related to budget funding (program/project preparation and submissions, progress reports, financial statements, etc.) and preparation of related documents/reports (pledging, work program, program budget, etc.). Supports with related administrative and logistical work. 
  • Performs other duties as required. 

V. Qualifications and Experience

  • Education: An advanced university degree in communication, political science, international relations, development, social and environmental sciences, economics, business or public administration or a related field. 
  • Experience: A minimum of two years of progressively responsible experience in project/program management, communication and media, partnerships, sustainable development or related area. Experience working in the private sector or civil society organizations is desirable 
  • Languages: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations. For this position, fluency in English and Spanish is required. Knowledge of other official language(s) spoken in the region is highly desirable
  • UN Competencies: 
    • Professionalism: Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to particular sector, functional area or other specialized field. Ability to identify issues, analyze and participate in the resolution of issues/problems. Ability to assist with 3 data collection using various methods. Conceptual analytical and evaluative skills to conduct independent research and analysis, including familiarity with and experience in the use of various research sources, including electronic sources on the internet, intranet and other databases. Ability to apply judgment in the context of assignments given, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work. 
    • Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational 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 decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.
    • Communication: Speaks fluently, expresses opinions, information and key points of an argument clearly; presents information with skill and confidence; responds quickly to the needs of an audience and to their reactions and feedback; projects credibility; structures information to meet the needs and understanding of the intended audience; presents information in a well-structured and logical way 

VI. Learning Elements

On completion of the assignment, the JPO will have/be able to: 

  • Unique opportunity to work at the cross-roads of disaster risk reduction, preparedness for response, climate change adaptation and sustainable development in the post-2015 context 
  • Established a wide network with other UN, regional and national public and private partners 
  • In-depth understanding of UN and other intergovernmental work processes in sustainable development, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and preparedness for response 
  • In-depth knowledge of the challenges and opportunities of the region 
  • Facilitate private sector input for international processes and conferences 
  • Support strategy development of UN agency work program with partners 
  • Undertake well researched and sound analysis of sustainable development issues, including the Mid Term Review of the Sendai Framework and on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. 
  • Assist in the organization and preparation of meetings with the key partners 
  • Liaise and interact with colleagues and concerned parties internally and externally 
  • Draft strategy papers (resource mobilization, engagement/ partnership strategies and so on) 
  • Draft work plan and cost plans  Write assessment reports 
  • Draft project proposals  Draft project budgets according to UN standards 
  • Formulate project documents to address issues of public private partnership issues, issues of effect of disasters on business, business continuity planning and so on in the region 
  • Monitor progress on commitments made by a group of organizations as a stakeholder group.

VII. Background Information

UNDRR was established in 1999 as a dedicated secretariat to facilitate the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution (56/195), to serve as the focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities of the United Nations system and regional organizations and activities in socio‐economic and humanitarian fields. It is an organizational unit of the UN Secretariat and is led by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG). 

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters. It was adopted on March 18, 2015 at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan. 

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 established a clear mandate for building resilience to disasters as a common denominator across the 2030 Agenda. Disaster Risk Reduction is associated with at least 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals, inherent in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Agenda for Humanity. The implementation of the Sendai Framework is a critical investment that delivers a risk-informed 2030 Agenda and is effectively reducing humanitarian needs. 

UNDRR is working to directly link the Sendai Framework Monitoring instrument and global and regional platforms for disaster risk reduction to the monitoring and reporting on the 2030 Agenda. UNDRR is leading the UN thinking on the integration and coherency between disaster risk reduction and the 2030 Agenda. Delivering for example, through the facilitation of the revised UN Plan of Action for Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience; producing and disseminating risk information including development of national disaster loss data bases for risk-informed decisions; and, mobilizing partnerships that deliver co-benefits across the 2030 Agenda. 

In line with the Sendai Framework, UNDRR seeks to achieve the following 4 key results, as set out in its Strategic Framework 2016-2020: 

  • Sustained and increased political commitment of governments and stakeholders to implement the Sendai Framework at the national and local level. 
  • Risk informed development policy which results in risk resilient investment, with the strong support of science, technology that taps innovation. 
  • Risk sensitive private investment which results in business and economic resilience. 
  • Coherent policy and actions promoted for the implementation of the Sendai Framework, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, SDGs and the Paris (Climate) Agreement. 

UNDRR’s vision is anchored on the four priorities for action set out in the Sendai Framework: understanding disaster risk, strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk, investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience, and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Examples of activities to achieve these results include: 

  • preparing periodic reviews on progress, in particular for the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, and, as appropriate, in a timely manner, along with the follow-up process at the United Nations, 
  • monitoring the implementation of the Sendai Framework; participating in the work of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators; generating evidence-based and practical guidance for implementation in close collaboration with States and through the mobilization of experts; 
  • reinforcing a culture of prevention among relevant stakeholders through supporting development of standards by experts and technical organizations, advocacy initiatives and dissemination of disaster risk information, policies and practices, as well as by providing education and training on disaster risk reduction through affiliated organizations; 
  • supporting countries, including through national platforms or their equivalent, in their development of national plans and monitoring trends and patterns in disaster risk, loss and impacts; convening the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and supporting the organization of regional platforms for disaster risk reduction in cooperation with regional organizations;
  • facilitating the enhancement of, and continuing to service, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Scientific and Technical Advisory Group in mobilizing science and technical work on disaster risk reduction; 

UNDRR has five regional offices – in Asia (Bangkok), Africa (Nairobi), Europe (Brussels), Arab States (Cairo) and Americas and the Caribbean (Panama) – and the UNDRR Headquarters in Geneva. UNDRR also maintains a UN Headquarters liaison office in New York, liaison offices in Bonn and Addis Ababa and field presences in Kobe, Suva, and Incheon.

The JPO Program selection process is carried out jointly by USAID/BHA and the UNDRR. You must
be a U.S. Citizen to apply. To apply please send

  1. completed UN Personal History Statement (P11);
  2. resume (CV) and;
  3. Cover letter to explain your interest in this position

to BHA.JPOCoordinator@usaid.gov . Please state which position you are applying for in the subject
line of your email. If you wish to apply for multiple positions, please complete a Personal History
Statement (P11) for each position and submit these to us in separate emails with the appropriate
subject heading.

Application Details: Please complete the UN Personal History Statement (P11) thoroughly. The P11 provides the opportunity to include all required information in one document, including your professional work experience and references. Please attach a cover letter to explain your interest in the position and interest in working with the UN, along with a general resume. The P11 has instructions on how to complete the profile; however, please be sure to also follow the additional instructions below:

  • The P11 must be completed in English only;
  • You may leave the signature/date sections blank at this time. If selected for one of the positions, you will then need to submit a signed version.
  • Do not submit a photograph.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered;
  • Application deadline: November 30, 2020, 5:00 PM Eastern Time
  • For more information please consult the Frequently Asked Questions– https://bhajobs.net/files/resources/FAQ_JPO.pdf
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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