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Chief of Emergency Policy and Capacity Development Section


  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Budapest
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Political Affairs
    • Legal - Broad
    • Medical Practitioners
    • Humanitarian Aid and Coordination
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • 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

February 16, 2023

Standard Job Description

Chief of Emergency Policy and Capacity Development Section 

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships
The role of the Chief of Emergency Policy and Capacity Development Section (EPCDS) is to lead the development of emergency-related policies and procedures and facilitate learning among UNHCR staff to promote improved emergency preparedness and response, globally. 
The Division of Emergency, Security and Supply (DESS) is responsible to develop and coordinate UNHCR’s policies, procedures and tools for emergency preparedness and emergency response. Such policies and procedures are integrated among various Divisions including for Protection, Risk Management, Data, Technical Support, Resource Allocation, Supply, Human Resources, monitoring and evaluation, among others, and contribute to emergency management. Overall, these policies and procedures provide strategic direction support and oversight to  regional Bureaux and country offices.  
The incumbent will synchronize the development and dissemination of UNHCR's emergency management policies and procedures for UNHCR staff, its partners and local actors through learning and capacity development opportunities.  The learning and capacity development function will create and deliver emergency learning and training programmes, including Workshops on Emergency Management (WEM), Senior Emergency Leadership Programme (SELP), Inter-agency Emergency Team Leadership Programme and Situational Emergency Trainings (SET) conducted in country operations.  All these require a dedicated attention and ability to effectively plan, develop content, organize and deliver. The incumbent will work under direct supervision of Deputy Director (DESS). 

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.

-    Lead the development and articulation of emergency policies, procedures and tools in coordination with relevant Divisions, reflecting global developments influencing UNHCR’s work such as the Global Compact on Refugees and the Climate Action Strategic Framework.
-    Advise the Deputy Director of DESS on emergency policy developments and tools, outside and internal to UNHCR, with a potential impact on the DESS' policy orientations and strategies and UNHCR's expectations in terms of emergency response capacity building.
-    Undertake new initiatives in fora which can extend UNHCR's influence in emergency response policies and capacity building.
-    Lead the oversight function of emergency preparedness and response, and in particular DESS’s own implementation of emergency support activities, and compile an annual report of learning from third line functions including Evaluations, Audits and other reports to inform policies and procedures and build capacity-buildding opportunities to strengthen areas of corporate 
-    In coordination with DESS' Senior Management, develop the vision and a workplan for UNHCR's emergency learning and capacity-building in emergency preparedness and response, taking into account the inter-agency context. 
-    Ensure that learning from emergencies is linked to staff development and Bureaux/Country Operation capacities, especially in the context regionalization/decentralization including new delegated authorities and responsibilities including with the identified Regional Bureaux focal points for emergency preparedness.
-    Develop emergency capacity development strategy, in consultation with Bureaux/Country Operations assessment of learning needs. 
-    Closely liaise with the Global Learning and Development Centre on emergency related training and staff development activities.
-    Manage budget/expenditures under area of responsibility. 
-    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 
Adult Education          

Cultural Studies            

Humanitarian Law
International Affairs        

International Human Rights Law            

International Humanitarian Law

Political Affairs            

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

Certificates and/or Licenses 
Not specified.

Relevant Job Experience

Minimum 10 years relevant job experience at professional level in refugee, internal displacement and humanitarian emergency or complex operations at management level, field and headquarters assignment with 8 years in international capacity, including capacity building experience. Demonstrated management skills and experience in training, coaching, guiding and supervising staff involved in emergency-related operations. Applied knowledge of UNHCR mandate, its protection principles and assistance activities. Experience with content development of training and staff development programmes. Good grasp of current operational context in which UNHCR emergency operations are implemented, with specific knowledge of inter-agency processes and coordination structures. 

Work experience in a protection-related function a definite advantage. Field experience in operations and programme. Completion of UNHCR specific learning programmes (i.e. PLP, Training of Trainers, WEM, Management LP, etc.)

Functional Skills 

FO-Complex field emergency operations

Emergency Response Preparedness

CO-Drafting, Documentation, Data Presentation

ER-Inter-Agency Leadership/Coordination Mechanisms

PG-Results-Based Management

(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.

Competency Requirements
All jobs at UNHCR require six core competencies and may also require managerial competencies and/or cross-functional competencies. The six core competencies are listed below.

Core Competencies
Organizational Awareness
Teamwork & Collaboration
Commitment to Continuous Learning 
Client & Result Orientation

Managerial Competencies
Empowering and Building Trust
Judgement and Decision Making
Managing Performance
Managing Resources
Strategic Planning and Vision

Cross-Functional Competencies
Analytical Thinking
Innovation and Creativity
Policy Development and Research

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

As per Operational Context & Job Description

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


Desired languages




Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:

Nature of Position:

The Chief of Emergency Policy and Capacity Development Section manages some ten positions as well as commercial contracts with training providers.  Additionally, the incumbent is expected to cultivate effective working relationships with a wide range of internal Divisions, Bureau and entities to understand, develop and communicate, the emergency-related policies and procedures in an effective manner across a wide range of medium including by intranet (through the Emergency Handbook), through the roll-out and continuing education related to the Policy on Emergency Preparedness and Response and related Preparedness Guidance as well as through multiple on-line and face-to-face trainings.

In 2023, DESS will assume the management of emergency trainings and support security trainings.  Training events include, inter alia, mandatory training for emergency roster deployees including the Workshop for Emergency Management (WEM), Senior Emergency Learning Programme (SELP) and in-country Situation Emergency Training (SET) as well as coordinating the inter-agency Emergency Learning Training Programme. Multiple trainings are held annually in various regions throughout the year, necessitating significant mission travel. 

The Chief of the Emergency Policy and Capacity Development Section will liaise with counterparts in the humanitarian community, including UN agencies and NGOs, to promote synergy as well as seeking opportunities for closer collaboration including to strengthen local actors in emergency preparedness and emergency response.  This includes in relation to the risks related to the consequences of climate change and other natural hazards which are increasingly occurring and for which UNHCR will engage on an inter-agency basis.  As per the Job Description, the incumbent will identify corporate emergency learning needs and work with colleagues and providers to design, organize and deliver high-quality training to prepare roster cohorts for effective emergency deployments.  The Snr. Emergency Coordinator will also identify innovative mechanisms to measure the impact of training.  The incumbent will ensure that emergency and other UNHCR policies and related tools are built-in in emergency training programmes and materials. the positions manages with support of team members the Emergency Handbook, an on-line repository of guidance notes for internal UNHCR staff and the external world as to policies, procedures and best practices in emergency preparedness, management and response. 

Living and Working Conditions:

This position is based in Budapest, Hungary and reports directly to the Deputy Director, DESS.

Additional Qualifications



BA: Adult Education, BA: Cultural Studies, BA: Humanitarian Law, BA: International Affairs, BA: International Humanitarian Law, BA: International Human Rights Law, BA: Management, BA: Political Affairs, BA: Political Science


Work Experience

Cluster Coordination and Inter-Agency, Work Context: Emergency, Work Context: High Risk Environment Operations, Work Context: Interagency Coordination


Accountability, Analytical thinking, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Innovation & creativity, Judgement & decision making, Leadership, Managing performance, Managing resource, Organizational awareness, Policy research & development, Strategic planning & visions, Teamwork & collaboration

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

Functional clearance

This position doesn't require a functional clearance
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