By continuing to browse this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read our privacy policy

Senior Policy Officer

New York United States of America

  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: New York United States of America
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
    • Political Affairs
  • 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

February 16, 2023

Standard Job Description

Senior Policy Officer Organizational Setting and Work Relationships The role of the Senior Policy Officer is to coordinate the preparation of and to share guidance, positions, strategic advice, on relevant protection and solutions policies and their application and context specific interpretation within the region, building on comprehensive responses outlined in the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The incumbent may be based in the Division/Field/Regional Bureau. S/he will normally report to and be guided by the Deputy Director/Sr. Policy Adviser/Chief of Section and may supervise a small team of local and international staff. The Senior Policy Officer will provide strategic advice and draft UNHCR positions on assigned protection and solutions issues and areas, coordinating closely within the office, as well as with other HQs Services, Regional Bureaux, field offices and operations. The incumbent will also support and assist operations in the development and review of protection and solutions and other country specific strategies and ensure their alignment with regional/Bureau/corporate priorities. The incumbent will have contact with a wide variety of internal and external audiences ranging from staff in the region, public-at-large, diplomats, scholars, civil society and staff from other UN and regional organizations with the overall objective of staying abreast of protection and solutions developments, drawing attention to the problem of human displacement. This will happen in the context of disseminating information, gathering support for UNHCR's activities and advocacy on asylum, displacement and statelessness issues in the region. 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 - Support the coordination and preparation of guidance, positions and strategic advice, on relevant protection and solutions and regional partnerships policies and their application and context specific interpretation. Reflect Major global developments influencing UNHCR's work, such as the Global Compact on Refugees and UNHCR's support to applying comprehensive responses included therein. - Develop, evaluate, and summarise information related to protection and solutions, political, legal, social and economic development perspectives in the region, ensuring overall harmonization and coherence of the Bureau¿s solution strategies, policies and operations, including in line with UNHCR's contribution to reinforce comprehensive responses at national and regional levels. - Provide prompt, principled and accurate guidance and advice on the interpretation and application of international instruments relating to persons of concern, global protection positions and policies and, as required, on the development of situation/country-specific guidance, in coordination with other relevant UNHCR operations and entities. - Contribute to the effective representation and engagement with strategy and policy development and evaluation processes on selected cross-cutting policy issues, both within UNHCR and, as appropriate, on the inter-agency level or with relevance to government-led comprehensive responses at national or regional levels in the area of responsibility (AoR). - Participate in the preparation of UNHCR strategies, positions and public papers on assigned thematic and geographical areas, situations or issues. - Contribute to fostering and maintaining new partnerships with UN, whole-of-government including local authorities as applicable, private sector, development partners, regional organizations and other actors geared towards achieving solutions in line with the GCR and application of comprehensive responses. - Assist in the preparations for high level events, including regional meetings, ExCom, Standing Committee, NGO Consultations, Protection Dialogues and others, by contributing to the preparation, drafting, and editing of various protection and solutions positions and policy papers. - Contribute to and coordinate the preparation of oral and written briefings and background notes, talking points, reports and other documents as required. - In the regional bureaux, support and assist operations in the development and review of protection and solutions and other country specific strategies and ensure their alignment with regional/Bureau/corporate priorities. Assist the Bureau in the review of operations plans. - Undertake Multi-Functional protection and solutions review missions to the field as required. - Perform other related duties as required. Minimum Qualifications Years of Experience / Degree Level For P4/NOD - 9 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 8 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 7 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree. Field(s) of Education Public Policy; Public Administration; Law; International Relations; Political Science; Human Rights; or other relevant field. Relevant Job Experience Essential Experience in policy analysis and development in international context. Experience in managing a variety of internal and external relationships in a cross-cultural professional environment. Experience in drafting and editing, in particular on protection and solutions strategies, advocacy strategies, or partnership building. Desirable Experience in coordination of UN interventions with other actors, in a refugee or humanitarian context. Solid experience in lobbying and advocacy with Government and other institutions. Strong experience in conducting research, fact sheets, global appeals, speeches and concept papers. Functional Skills UN-Policy Advocacy in UNHCR MG-Policy Development, Evaluation, Research, Publication CO-Drafting and Documentation (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

• Solid technical knowledge and understanding of the working methods, timelines and functioning of UN Headquarters (UNHQ) inter-governmental bodies, including the General Assembly (GA), the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Security Council (SC) and their subsidiary organs, and of UNHCR governance structure, programmatic and budgetary processes.
• Proven experience in building and maintaining excellent relations with a wide range of UN stakeholders, in particular in Secretariat functions, to facilitate close cooperation, information-sharing and coordination; strong networking and communication skills.
• Strong drafting skills, with a clear eye for detail and the ability to identify, summarize and report on matters of importance to UNHCR through the annual work cycles of relevant UN mechanisms; proven conscientiousness and efficiency in meeting commitments and observing deadlines. Demonstrated facility to research, select, organize and summarize information and provide guidance required for the preparation of meetings and conferences.

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: Job Specific Occupational Safety and Health Considerations (if applicable).

Nature of Position:

The New York Office (NYO) is the leading ‘interface’ for UNHCR with a wide range of interlocutors including Member States, UN inter-governmental bodies, UN Secretariat and entities, civil society and others. The primary function of the Office is to ensure that UNHCR’s policies and operational priorities are articulated and conveyed in New York fora and understood by external actors. Reciprocally, the NYO ensures relevant external developments are conveyed to HQs, Bureaux and field operations as required. As all staff in the NYO are involved in strategic advocacy and engagement with a wide range of entities, good analytic and advocacy skills are important. The incumbent, under the supervision of the Deputy Director, will coordinate UNHCR’s strategic engagement with UN Headquarters (UNHQ) inter-governmental bodies, including the General Assembly (GA), the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Security Council (SC) and their subsidiary organs. S/he will have a deep knowledge of their rules, procedures and working methods. S/he will establish and maintain close contact with relevant UN Secretariat entities servicing these bodies to ensure a smooth flow of information and provide technical guidance to HQ’s relevant divisions, to ensure UNHCR meets its statutory obligations and reporting requirements to the GA and ECOSOC. S/he will monitor the work of the GA’s and ECOSOC’s annual sessions as well as of its Committees, to ensure NYO’s participation in relevant fora and to ensure UNHCR’s responsibilities are met in a timely manner. This includes, in particular, the GA Third Committee, where UNHCR’s agenda item and relevant resolutions are considered, including the High Commissioner’s annual report; and, the GA Fifth Committee and the reporting to the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and the Board of Auditors. S/he will provide technical support and advice to facilitate HQ’s participation and contribution. S/he will monitor the work of the SC and keep track of its functioning, membership and priorities to facilitate NYO’s engagement with SC members. S/he will support planning for the High Commissioner’s annual briefing to the SC. S/he will provide guidance to Member States on membership to the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme (ExCom) in coordination with HQ’s Governance Section. S/he will provide guidance to the Office on procedures for the election of the High Commissioner by liaising with the Executive Office of the Secretary-General and relevant UN Secretariat entities. A thorough understanding of UNHCR's governance structure, programmatic and budgetary processes, as well as its organizational structure at HQ and the field is also required. S/he will have a clear eye for details and the ability to identify, summarize and report on matters of importance to UNHCR through the annual work cycles of these mechanisms. Effective networking and communication skills are also important aspects of the work as well as proven conscientiousness and efficiency in meeting commitments, observing deadlines, and achieving results. S/he will have demonstrated facility to research, select, organize and summarize information and provide guidance required for the preparation of meetings and conferences.

Living and Working Conditions:

New York is classified as a Category H (HQ) duty station with all amenities and excellent infrastructure. Most staff live in Manhattan or across the East River in Long Island City. There are no security provisions in place, but it is important not to stay in low-income housing as the vector problem is ever-present. The operating environment in New York regarding matters of central concern to UNHCR, is rapidly changing. With the expansion of refugee crisis around the world and the greater attention these and onward movements are garnering globally, more efforts are being made by UN New York (UNNY) to respond to them in a comprehensive manner. UNHCR is therefore increasingly called upon to contribute and lead in the many new efforts that are underway. Matters of our concern are high on the agenda of UNNY and of prominent concern to other stakeholders in New York including NGOs, academia, faith-based groups, and the media. NYO is and will continue to be a central port of call for UN agencies, Member States and other stakeholders for information and guidance on matters related to forced displacement. In discharging this responsibility, NYO works closely with States and the UN (Executive Office of the Secretary General, other parts of the UN Secretariat, and agencies, funds, and programmes). UNHCR is recognized and appreciated as the agency with expertise on displacement issues, and for delivering actual protection and assistance to those on the ground. NYO is frequently called upon to brief and partner with civil society, including academic institutions, regarding refugees and stateless persons, and is increasingly the first port of call for NY-based global media on issues pertaining to UNHCR's global programmes and persons of concern.


Additional Qualifications


UN-UN/UNHCR Mandate and Global Strategic Priorities



Work Experience


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

UNHCR Salary Calculator


Add.2 to Bi-annual Compendium 2022 - Part B

Functional clearance

This position doesn't require a functional clearance
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.