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Senior Emergency Coordinator


  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Geneva
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Medical Practitioners
    • Humanitarian Aid and Coordination
    • Emergency Aid and Response
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date:

Hardship Level

H (no hardship)

Family Type


Family Type


Residential location (if applicable)



Staff Member / Affiliate Type



Regular > Regular Assignment

Remote work accepted


Target Start Date


Job Posting End Date

December 15, 2022

Standard Job Description

Senior Emergency Coordinator Organizational Setting and Work Relationships The Division of Emergency, Security and Supply (DESS) focuses on ensuring strong teamwork to strengthen the impact of UNHCR¿s work, particularly in emergency preparedness and response, emphasizing immediate protection and humanitarian assistance while working towards solutions from the onset of an emergency, to ensure timely, relevant, field-oriented support that are guided by the Operations, undertaken with the Bureaux and in close coordination with Divisions and other stakeholders. The Senior Emergency Coordinator is supervised by the Principal Emergency Coordinator under the overall supervision of the Director DESS. The incumbent is a member of the Emergency Standby Team, a multi-functional team of experienced emergency professionals who can be deployed as a team or individually to provide leadership as well as technical support in assessment and response. The incumbent will be deployed to declared emergencies and other circumstances where deployments are exceptionally sought for situations being analyzed and considered for a declaration of an emergency level or based on corporate reasons (priorities) as decided by the supervisor. For an Emergency Level 3, the incumbent will be automatically deployed as part of the Emergency Standby Team, led by the supervisor, while h/she will be deployed for other emergency levels or exceptional circumstances as needed. The Incumbent will cover specific geographical region and will also coordinate with other stakeholders to provide support to emergency preparedness and capacity development. The incumbent will supervise a diverse team of international and local staff. 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. Duties - Lead the Refugee Coordination Structure. - Chair and represent the Protection Cluster in inter-cluster meetings and in meetings / interactions with a variety of stakeholders. - Convene and chair meetings with partners to coordinate the emergency (protection) response. - Represent UNHCR in inter-agency coordination fora, vis-à-vis donors and partners. - Advise Bureaux and Operations on emergency preparedness, protection strategies and response interventions. - Represent DESS in emergency coordination meetings (as requested) within the area of responsibility. - In the event of an emergency, be ready for deployment within 72 hours. - Lead and oversee the set-up, development and adjustment of the appropriate UNHCR-led inter-agency emergency response strategy, including the protection and solutions strategy. Develop and implement, jointly with relevant stakeholders, a solid overall protection response strategy. - In IDP situations, ensure adequate and effective coordination of the relevant cluster in line with the Inter-Agency Cluster Coordination architecture. - Ensure that protection considerations, including AGD and accountability to affected populations, are given full attention in all sector / cluster responses using a community-based approach and participatory assessments. - Support the offices by identifying, disseminating and applying good practices of innovative emergency response with a view of improving protection and assistance to persons of concern. - Support the offices to ensure the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) and the duty of care principles. - Ensure timely, accurate, systematized and analytical reporting on protection and assistance interventions and regular sharing of this information with the appropriate stakeholders/fora. - Undertake assessment and preparedness planning missions in conjunction with relevant Bureaux and Divisions, in order to determine and guide appropriate protection interventions before the emergency occurs. - During an emergency deployment, within an agreed framework, act as a team leader to lead and guide an emergency response team. - Work closely with the relevant Regional Bureau and Operations to ensure that timely and adequate emergency preparedness measures are taken. - In close coordination with relevant stakeholders provide inputs and participate in actions on emergency capacity development and emergency preparedness. - Ensure regular inter-action with DIP on protection in emergencies issues. - Perform other related duties as required. Minimum Qualifications Education & Professional Work Experience 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 Political Science; Business Administration; Economics; Law; or other relevant field. (Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential) Certificates and/or Licenses Emergency Management Workshop; HCR Senior Emergency Leadership; Security Management Learning Program; HCR Protection Induction Program; HCR Management Learning Program; (Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential) Relevant Job Experience Essential Minimum of 10 years of job experience at professional level in refugee, internal displacement, humanitarian emergencies and/or in complex security environments, including field and headquarters assignments. Demonstrated leadership and coordination capacities and a full understanding of the Transformative Agenda and the Refugee Coordination Model. Solid understanding of protection issues faced by refugees and IDPs. Solid understanding of the Global Protection Cluster Practical understanding and knowledge of internal UNHCR management systems and procedures. Thorough understanding of UNHCR's global strategies and priorities. Through understanding of UNHCR¿s operational cycle as well as Inter-Agency programming cycle Experience in contingency planning. Desirable Expertise and experience in programme management, including knowledge of PeopleSoft (MSRP), Focus and other corporate software. Capacity building and training delivery experience. Functional Skills CL-Protection Cluster Coordination ER-Inter-Agency Leadership/Coordination FO-Complex field emergency operations PR-Assessment of IDPs Status, Rights, Obligation PR-Community-based Protection - Planning, implementing and analysing surveys/assessments PR-Convention on the Rights of the Child / International Legal Framework PR-Gender Based Violence (GBV) Coordination PR-Human Rights based approach (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. All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination and abuse of power. As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise. 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.

Desired Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have worked in emergency situations in non-capital locations during multiple missions or assignments, including in management, coordination and/or protection roles with considerable inter-agency coordination experience.

Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):



Desired languages




Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:

To view occupational safety and health considerations for this duty station, please visit this link:

Nature of Position:

Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Response is among the HC's strategic directions for 2022-2026 as well as incorporated in the Global Compact for Refugees.  The Division of Emergency, Security and Supply (DESS) is tasked to support Regional Bureau and country operations to prepare and respond to emergencies, including to immediately reinforce staffing in situations activated as emergencies and, by definition, are beyond the scope of the country and/or the Regional Bureau to respond with existing resources.   DESS maintains an Emergency Standby Team (EST), based in Geneva and led by the Principal Emergency Coordinator (D1), composed of multi-functional positions dedicated to deploy within 72 hours when and to where needed. The EST team members may be deployed as a team or individually to provide leadership as well as technical support to protect, assist and coordinate an emergency response. When deployed, the EST member(s) are supervised by the respective Representation Office in country operations.

In emergencies, UNHCR’s over-arching objectives are to pursue effective and timely protection, assistance and coordination, whilst working towards durable solutions from the onset of an emergency. During times of deployment, the successful candidate will have experience, education and skillset to effectively manage emergency teams and represent UNHCR vis-à-vis external actors including inter-agency as well as with local authorities.  The emergency coordinator will effectively engage with the Representative and Regional Bureau to contribution toward, and help cascade and implement, a vision to identify and address protection, assistance and coordination needs and support the design and delivery to effectively address these needs including with partners and other operational actors.

The emergency coordinator will have a strong understanding of the humanitarian coordination mechanisms, and be able to lead or coordinate the RCM or any UNHCR-led IASC cluster, as well as be able to represent UNHCR in the overall county/area coordination mechanism.   Ideally, the successful coordinator will have an appreciation for data, and that its collection and analysis can serve as a powerful protection tool to identify needs and track progress including to meet needs and prepare for solutions, and better engage in communication with communities.  The identified incumbent will also have experience and know-how to address, prevent and mitigate PSEA and coordinate as required.  The Emergency Coordinator is also asked to identify emergency response weaknesses and make recommendations for improvement, through collaboration.  The Emergency Coordinator is expected to have leadership skills, and dedicated to staff well-being and duty of care.    For all missions, he/she will be deployed with TORs outlining well-defined reporting lines, responsibilities, authority and scope of work.

Living and Working Conditions

The Emergency Surge Team is based in Geneva HQ, and the Senior Emergency Coordinator is ready for deployment within 72 hours to where or when needed, usually in field locations outside of capital cities.  It is anticipated that the position will be fifty per cent on deployments, though the actual time of deployment may be more than 50 per cent.  When in Geneva, the incumbent will contribute towards working with DESS and other internal and external stakeholders to improve the practice of emergency preparedness and response, including through advocacy, developing tools to expedite standard processes or contributing to policies and procedures utilized by other Divisions.  This includes liaising with other external organizations and especially respective organization emergency units to build standards of practice and cultivate inter-agency relations.

Additional Qualifications


CL-Protection Cluster Coordination, EM-Application of relevant emergency policies and procedures (e.g. in HR, Admin, Supply), ER-Inter-Agency Leadership/Coordination, FO-Complex field emergency operations, MG-Complex Environment Analysis, MG-Coordination, PR-Assessment of IDPs Status, Rights, Obligation, PR-Community-based Protection - Planning, implementing and analysing surveys/assessments, PR-Gender Based Violence (GBV) Coordination



Emergency Management Workshop - UNHCR, HCR Management Learning Program - UNHCR, HCR Protection Learning Program - UNHCR, HCR Senior Emergency Leadership - UNHCR, Security Management Learning Program - Other

Work Experience

Annual Budget OL in Operation/Office, Number of Workforce in Operation/Work Setting


Accountability, Analytical thinking, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Judgement & decision making, Leadership, Managing performance, Managing resource, Negotiation & conflict resolution, Organizational awareness, Stakeholder management, Strategic planning & visions, Teamwork & collaboration

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Bi-annual Compendium 2022 Part B – November 2022

Functional clearance

This position doesn't require a functional clearance
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