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Senior Communications Adviser


  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Amman
  • Grade: Senior level - P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Communication and Public Information
  • Closing Date: Closed

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.

Senior Communications Adviser

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

The Senior Communication Adviser is usually located in a Regional Bureau or in a Country Officer. She/he works under the direct supervision of either the Bureau Director, Bureau Deputy Director, Head of External Engagement Service or the Representative.
She/he leads and implements UNHCR's communication strategy/ies in the Area of Responsibility (AoR) aimed at building awareness of, empathy with, and concrete support for refugees and other persons of concern while positioning UNHCR as an effective, impactful Organization.

In the Regional Bureaux, the incumbent will lead the PI teams and their work in the region and will have a leading role to coordinate and ensure alignment in the communications work by different teams in the Country Offices as well as communications teams at HQ.  The Senior Communications Officer may also act as a spokesperson for the Bureau Director and the Regional Bureau, in close alignment with GCS News and Media Team, communicating with the international, regional and local media and other communications channels and mediums.

She/he works closely with staff of the Division of External Relations (DER) Global Communications Service as well as with field communications staff.

Depending on the Bureau/country context, she/he oversees communication staff and staff working in related informational disciplines including information management and analysis, and report development and writing.

In the Regional Bureaux, the incumbent is responsible for ensuring in an effective and efficient manner which supports the Organization's Mandate, overall quality assurance and managerial support of operations, in line with the Bureau's 2nd line function, within the three lines of defence conceptual framework for effective control and risk management adopted by the UN system.

S/he will, further, cover the full spectrum of managerial oversight, manage performance and monitor the adherence of Country Operations to UNHCR's rules and regulations, monitoring, identifying and addressing any emerging issues and risks as appropriate.  The incumbent also promotes a culture that is results-oriented, efficient and based on trust and pursues measures to ensure that inclusion, gender balance and diversity are taken into due consideration in staffing, resource allocation and representation at all levels throughout the AoR.

As a key custodian of the organization's standards of conduct, s/he will proactively establish a working environment where all personnel feel safe, heard, equipped and empowered to speak up; demonstrate no tolerance for sexism, gender inequality, discrimination of any kind, abuse of power, harassment or sexual harassment; foster ongoing dialogue on those matters; take seriously all issues of inappropriate behaviour and actions reported, whether formally or informally; and seek guidance and support as necessary to ensure that appropriate follow-up is taken, working on the basis of zero tolerance for any form of misconduct.

All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR's core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.


- Ensures the gathering and packaging of expert knowledge, data, analysis and information on developments within the AoR which can be disseminated to key external audiences in order to position UNHCR as leading the narrative, building compassion and driving action for the people we serve. 
- Serve as advisor to the Director, Representative and other senior managers on external communications opportunities at the regional and country levels and also on managing crises that carry reputational risks both regionally and globally, as well as locally in the region in coordination with Representatives.
- Act as the primary interface with DER Global Communications Service (GCS) in identifying and agreeing positioning and advocacy priorities for UNHCR's global audiences.
- Lead the development of communications strategies and work-plans for the region/country, working in association with communications staff within the region and with the Strategic Communications Unit in the Global Communications Service.
- Ensure systems/working arrangements within the Bureau/country for efficient and timely clearance of materials for external release, including reports, media briefing notes and press releases, and related communications materials.
- Elevate UNHCR's media and public profile in the AoR in order to meet UNHCR's own funding and positioning needs, and to underpin UNHCR's global authority and leadership on displacement and statelessness matters.
- Draft messages, texts and other materials for use in external communications, and oversees the writing of thematic reports.
- Maintain alertness to risk factors that may require crisis communications responses, and ensure that coordinated preparations are in place for handling of these, working with the GCS.
- Working with the designated regional focal points in the GCS News & Media team strive to maintain UNHCR's leading share of voice on asylum, displacement, and statelessness matters in the international media , including by identifying opportunities for media communications for global audiences through high-frequency, high-impact media briefing notes and press releases.
- Where relevant, in close alignment with GCS News and Media Team, serve as Spokesperson for the region, Director or Representative, handling media outreach and response as well as social media communications
- Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

Years of Experience / Degree Level
For P5 - 12 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 11 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 10 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree

Field(s) of Education
International Relations; Journalism; Public Administration; Refugee Studies or other relevant field.

(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Certificates and/or Licenses

(Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Relevant Job Experience
Experience of working in media, journalism, or communications at international level; Professional expertise in writing, editing and sub-editing; Fluent drafting in English; Experience of creating and implementing communications strategies. 
Political communications experience; Language skills relevant to the region; Experience of having worked in a human rights context; Experience of having worked in UN field operations.

Functional Skills
CO-Journalism (incl. print, broadcast, photography, video, layout & graphics)
CO-Media relations
CO-Preparation of key messages/talking points/speeches
CO-Strategic Communication
MS-Drafting, Documentation, Data Presentation

(Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Language Requirements
For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.
For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language.
For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English.

This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. 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
M006L4 - Managing Resources Level 4
M005L4 - Leadership Level 4
M003L4 - Judgement and Decision Making Level 4
M004L4 - Strategic Planning and Vision Level 4
X002L4 - Innovation and Creativity Level 4
X001L4 - Analytical Thinking Level 4
X007L4 - Political Awareness Level 4

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.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

Please note that the closing date for vacancies advertised in the March 2021 Compendium is Thursday 15 April 2021 (midnight Geneva time).

This vacancy is now closed.
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