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Communications Specialist

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: IICA-3, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Communication and Public Information
  • Closing Date: 2021-08-10

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Background Information - Job-specific

UN-Water is the United Nations (UN) inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater related issues, including sanitation. The High-Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP) established UN-Water in its meeting held on 18 and 19 September 2003 in response to the need for strengthened coordination of United Nations’ work on water and sanitation related issues. The Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) endorsed this decision at its fall 2003 session in New York. UN-Water currently counts 33 Members (UN entities) and 41 Partners (non-UN system actors).

UN-Water promotes coherence in, and coordination of, water-related UN system actions aimed at the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other relevant policy frameworks, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development and the New Urban Agenda. In so doing, UN-Water complements and adds value to existing UN initiatives by facilitating synergies and joint efforts among the implementing agencies and by fostering greater co-operation and information-sharing within its constituency. UN-Water supports Member States through its three main lines of work: 1. Informing policy processes and addressing emerging issues; 2. Supporting monitoring and reporting on water and sanitation; and 3. Building knowledge and inspiring people to take action.

For UN Member States as well as the international community, the coming years will be critical to solve the water and sanitation crisis. Although Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) – ‘to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030’ – supports many of the other 16 SDGs, the world is alarmingly off-track and the challenges are unprecedented and growing. Communications is one of the keys to getting people to care and feel motivated to take action. In a society where there is information overflow, communicating credible, verified and aligned messages about what can be done about the crisis is paramount for change to take place. This is the role of UN-Water’s corporate communication and global campaigns. 

Within the Technical Advisory Unit, the Communications Specialist will be responsible for: providing sound advice and services in dealing with substantive matters concerning communications operations; developing and implementing creative approaches to global campaigns;  ensuring effective design and delivery of information products in accordance with overall objectives and policies; and forming strong partnerships with relevant parties involved to engender support for UN-Water’s activities.

Functional Responsibilities

Within delegated authority under the direct supervision of the UN-Water Chief Technical Adviser and in close collaboration with the relevant staff in the UN-Water Technical Advisory Unit, the Communications Specialist will:

1. Ensure overall effective communications, including branding and publications
  • Support the coordination of UN-Water’s corporate communications activities in close coordination with UN-Water Members and Partners;

  • Support the implementation of communication-related decisions made at the UN-Water Meetings and the implementation of activities described in the UN-Water Work Programmes. In particular, support the development and implementation of the communications activities of the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework and the Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6;

  • Liaise with media for interviews, identify opportunities and pitch stories as needed;

  • Liaise with communications colleagues in the United Nations, especially Department of Global Communications in New York and UN Information Service in Geneva to keep aligned with system-wide communications and campaigns and exchange information;

  • Coordinate writing speeches, briefings, presentations and articles;

  • Coordinate UN-Water communications consultants for web and social media, editing, illustrations, layout, audio-visual production and graphic design;

  • Coordinate and maintain the UN-Water communications network; Identify relevant speakers, organize meetings and assess effectiveness on a regular basis;

  • Ensure appropriate branding of UN-Water publications including overseeing layout and support to outreach strategies, including promotional material for print/electronic/voice/visual media;

  • Assist the organization of the UN-Water annual meetings.

2. Coordinate engagement campaigns and international observances 
  • Support the strategic and operational coordination of the global communications campaigns World Water Day, World Toilet Day and Water Action Decade by working closely with relevant UN-Water Task Forces and Expert Groups;

  • Work with UN-Water Members and Partners and other stakeholders to implement campaigns system-wide and to incorporate the campaign message and themes into all relevant events and products;

  • Support the development of partnerships with influencers, goodwill ambassadors and other relevant stakeholders;

  • Support the planning, preparation and implementation of events at relevant international fora.

 3. Build knowledge through digital activities
  • Lead and coordinate the migration of UN-Water’s websites into a new Content Management System;

  • Support UN-Water’s digital platforms including UN-Water’s corporate and campaign websites and social media channels


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in communications, international relations, public relations or related fields is required.


  • A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible professional experience in strategic communications is required, of which at least two years working in the UN system.
  • Experience in international development issues as they relate to water and sanitation, including key players and processes, is required. 
  • Experience in building and promoting good working relationships and collaboration across cultures and distance is required. 
  • Practical experience in sustainable development, international policy, advocacy and website management is required. 


Fluency in spoken and written English is required. Knowledge of French and/or other UN official languages is an advantage.


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.
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.  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.

Contract type, level and duration



Contract duration: This is a leave vacancy.  Contract will be issued for up to one year..  Possibility of extension subject to position availability, funding, and satisfactory performance.

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

Remuneration under this contract is subject to Swiss legislation on taxation, social security, mandatory health and accident insurance and other aspects. 

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.

Please include a one-page cover letter on how your academic qualifications and professional experience meet the requirements of the vacancy.

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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