Humanitarian Affairs Officer
Org. Setting and Reporting
The position is located in the Operations and Advocacy Division (OAD), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response efforts. OCHA's mission is to mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies; advocate the rights of people in need; promote preparedness and prevention and facilitate sustainable solutions.
This position-specific job opening is being advertised for the position of Humanitarian Affairs Officer based in Panama City, Panama. Under the overall supervision of the Head of Office, Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC), the incumbent reports to the Deputy Head of Office.
Within delegated authority, the Humanitarian Affairs Officer will be responsible for the following duties:
• Conducts frequent (up to 50%) surge and response deployments in support of humanitarian operations in the region and beyond.
• Advises on overall policy direction on specific issues; and, more generally, reviews and provides advice on a diverse range of policy issues related to safeguarding humanitarian principles and ensuring the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance and the linkages with other related areas (e.g. human rights).
• Prepares policy position papers for review.
• Monitors, analyzes and reports on humanitarian developments, disaster relief/management programmes or emergency situations in assigned country/area; develops and maintains a “watch list” of countries with potential for humanitarian crisis.
• Leads and/or participates in large, complex projects, to include disaster assessment or other missions; coordinates international humanitarian/emergency assistance for complex emergency/disaster situations; ensures necessary support (e.g. staff, funding, specialized equipment, supplies, etc.); prepares situation reports to the international community, apprising of situation to date and specifying unmet requirements of stricken countries.
• Assists in the production of appeals and other planning documents and tools for international assistance;
• Ensures the proper use and spending of donor contributions channeled through OCHA.
• Assists member states in capacity-building for handling emergency situations; develops country-specific indicators for countries of concern in collaboration with area experts and ensures the subsequent monitoring of these indicators; recommends actions based on the analysis of pertinent information.
• Initiates and coordinates activities related to technical cooperation and technical assistance projects in disaster response and disaster response preparedness; formulates project proposals and relevant project documents; provides technical support to field work; reviews and clears project reports for submission to governments.
• Organizes and prepares studies on humanitarian, emergency relief and related issues; organizes follows-up work, including interagency technical review meetings to support policy development work and decision-making on important issues; and ensures the implementation of recommendations emanating from relevant studies.
• Assists or leads, as appropriate, in the preparation of OCHA reports, studies, background papers, policy guidelines, correspondence, presentations, background papers, policy guidelines, parliamentary documents, etc.; with respect to the latter, takes the lead in providing support and information to relevant councils or other entities on specific issues.
• Partners with other humanitarian agencies to plan and evaluate complex humanitarian and emergency assistance programmes; helps ensure that latest findings, lessons learned, policy guidelines, etc. are incorporated into these activities, including gender-related considerations.
• Establishes and maintains contacts with government officials, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, diplomatic missions, media, etc.; ensures appropriate mechanisms to facilitate collaboration and exchange of information both in and outside the UN system, including on early warning and contingency planning, etc.
• Serves as the primary focal point on humanitarian access and other specific topics, countries or policy-related issues; keeps abreast of latest developments, liaises with other humanitarian organizations, donors, etc., ensures appropriate monitoring and reporting mechanisms; provides information and advice on a range of related issues.
• Organizes and participates in work groups, meetings, conferences, consultations with other agencies and partners humanitarian and emergency relief-related matters.
• Participates in planning and preparation of budgets and work plans.
• Provides leadership and work direction to assigned work team, and/or mentors and supervises the work of new/junior officers.
• Performs other duties as required.
PROFESSIONALISM: Knowledge of wide range of humanitarian assistance, emergency relief and related human rights issues. Conceptual and strategic analytical capacity, to include ability to analyze and articulate the humanitarian dimension of complex issues that require a coordinated UN response. Demonstrated problem-solving skills and judgment in applying technical expertise to resolve a wide range of complex issues/problems. Knowledge of region or country of assignment, including the political, economic and social dimensions. Ability to negotiate and to influence others to reach agreement. Ability to work under extreme pressure, on occasion in a highly stressful environment (e.g. civil strife, natural disasters and human misery). Knowledge of institutional mandates, policies and guidelines pertaining to humanitarian affairs and knowledge of the institutions of the UN system. Demonstrated ability to complete in-depth studies and to formulate conclusions/recommendations. Ability to relate humanitarian affairs issues and perspectives, including gender issues, to political, economic, social and human rights programmes in affected country/region. 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.
PLANNING and ORGANIZING: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.
ACCOUNTABILITY: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules; supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.
MANAGING PERFORMANCE: Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; Makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; Accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; Monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; Regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; Encourages risk-taking and supports staff when they make mistakes; Actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; Appraises performance fairly.
An advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in political science, social science, international studies, public administration, economics, engineering, earth sciences or a related field is required. A first-level university degree in combination with an additional two (2) years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
A minimum of seven (7) years of progressively responsible experience in humanitarian affairs, emergency preparedness, crisis/emergency relief management, rehabilitation, development, or other related area is required.
A minimum of two (2) years of experience coordinating humanitarian relief operations and managing response teams in humanitarian operations is required.
At least three (3) years in the past seven (7) years of international field experience (actual setting where a mission or project is being implemented) in aid operations (complex emergency or natural disaster) is desirable.
Experience negotiating humanitarian access in a complex operational setting with state and non-state actors is desirable.
Experience in the UN Common System or in a comparable international organization is desirable.
Relevant experience in the region (Latin America and the Caribbean) is desirable.
French and English are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English and Spanish is required. Knowledge of French is desirable.Assessment
The evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview.Special Notice
This position is funded for a finite period of one year. Extension of the appointment is subject to extension of the mandate and the availability of the funds. Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-general and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.
The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for these positions. An impeccable record for integrity and professional ethical standards is essential.
External candidates (including OCHA temporary appointees and OCHA national field staff) who are selected for a position in field duty stations may be strategically placed on a fixed term appointment limited to a specific position or to a specific country office in accordance with paragraph 2.2 (b) of administrative instruction ST/AI/2013/1 on the administration of fixed-term appointment which provides that an FTA may be granted to individuals who are "(b ) Selected but not reviewed by a Secretariat review body for appointments limited to specific entities".
United Nations Considerations
According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.
Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.
The paramount consideration in the appointment, transfer, or promotion of staff shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. By accepting an offer of appointment, United Nations staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and assignment by him or her to any activities or offices of the United Nations in accordance with staff regulation 1.2 (c). In this context, all internationally recruited staff members shall be required to move periodically to discharge new functions within or across duty stations under conditions established by the Secretary-General.
Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.
The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.
Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.
THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.