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Technical Officer (Urban Preparedness)


  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Geneva
  • Grade: Mid level - P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Infrastructure and Urban-Rural development
    • Disaster Management (Preparedness, Resilience, Response and Recovery)
    • Emergency Aid and Response
    • Urban Development, planning and design
  • Closing Date: Closed


Health emergencies continue to have significant and sometimes catastrophic impacts on countries' health, economies and development. Both recent and ongoing public health events have demonstrated that the many communities remain at the high risk, and that strong levels of national preparedness across all relevant sectors are crucial to ensuring the effective management of health emergencies, when they occur. They also illustrate the need for scaling up the implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) that requires countries to build and maintain the capacities to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to, and recover from public health emergencies, anchored on strong and resilient health systems. The Emergency Preparedness Division contributes to the implementation of the WHO Global Programme of Work (GPW 13) and is guided by WHO strategic priorities to “keep the world safe, improve health and serve the vulnerable”. The WHO strategic priorities drive the progress in health towards Universal Health Coverage, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and speaks particularly to SDG 3, to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. The Health Security Preparedness (HSP) department supports Member States in enhancing national preparedness across the IHR core capacities to manage all-hazard risks and emergencies, and to build multisectoral approaches for health security. It ensures that WHO supports Member States to build sustainable preparedness capacities and scale up the implementation of the IHR (2005), and support the implementation of the Sendai Framework, the WHO Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management Framework, Paris Agreement on Climate Change and other related global and regional frameworks. The department also establishes strategic links to, and supports the advancement of global initiatives such as GPMB, GHSA, EUACP, Health and Security Alliance, Foreign Affairs for Global Health initiative and the UN System Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience. HSP works with partners and the broader global heath security community to ensure that the most vulnerable communities in all countries are protected from the impact of health emergencies. At the 75th World Health Assembly in May 2022, WHO Member States adopted WHA Resolution 75.7 on Strengthening Health Emergency Preparedness and Response in Cities and Urban Settings, requesting WHO to offer technical assistance to countries to strengthen their urban health emergency preparedness.


Within the framework of the delegated authority, the incumbent is assigned all or part of the following responsibilities:
- Design and publish technical guidance, tools, training and other materials for the development and implementation of urban health emergency preparedness to implement Resolution WHA 75.7 and the Urban Preparedness Framework and Guidance.
- Support the consolidation of country needs on urban health emergency preparedness and foster coordination with HSP technical teams and other relevant departments to support the national action plan and other related processes.
- Oversee integration of work on urban health emergency preparedness into other departmental and programmatic priorities, i.e., One Health, evidence and analytics, multisectoral preparedness coordination etc.
- Support implementation of policy dialogues, workshop, training at the country and regional level.
- Collaborate closely with Regional and Country Offices regarding the development of operational and strategic plan to implement Resolution WHA 75.7s and engage with multi-sectoral partners in order to improve structure of the development of national plan.
- Support the organization of forums that foster the enhanced engagement of local authorities into health emergency preparedness activities.
- Develop the Global Prepared Cities Platform for Health Emergency Preparedness, including structure and pilot activities.
- Support in addressing the key focus areas for a robust response to COVID-19 pandemic and monkeypox outbreak at the cities and urban settings such as coordinated plan for effective response; risk and crisis communication; contextualize appropriate approaches to public health measures; and continuation of essential services.
- Perform other related responsibilities, including replacing and/or backstopping.



Essential: Advanced level university degree in public health, global development, public administration or a related field.
Desirable: Additional certificates/trainings related to urban/local health emergency preparedness.


Essential: At least seven years of experience in public health-related work, particularly in the area of local authority involvement in health emergencies, gained at both the international and national levels.
Desirable: Experience working directly on health emergency preparedness at the municipal (or local) level within a country.


- Extensive knowledge of the role of local/municipal authorities in health emergencies, in particular in health emergency preparedness.
- Understanding of the context of coordination for the purpose of health emergency preparedness between national and local levels, as well as the unique public health profile of urban environments.
- Sound knowledge of the role of international organizations in public health emergencies, WHO rules and regulations as related to the subject matter.
- Proven organizational and analytical skills, together with excellent interpersonal skills.
- Capacity to promote and implement collaboration and exchange with partners, toward the implementation of best practices.
- Proven ability to write technical documents in a clear and concise manner.
- Excellent communication skills in view of negotiating with partners.
- Tact, discretion and diplomacy.

WHO Competencies

Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond

Use of Language Skills

Essential: Expert knowledge of English.
Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of French. Intermediate knowledge of WHO language.


WHO salaries for staff in the Professional category are calculated in US dollars. The remuneration for the above position comprises an annual base salary starting at USD 75,602 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable), a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station, and currently amounts to USD 4952 per month for the duty station indicated above. Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.


  • This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level
  • Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
  • A written test may be used as a form of screening.
  • In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
  • Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual.
  • Staff members in other duty stations are encouraged to apply.
  • WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
  • WHO prides itself on a workforce that adheres to the highest ethical and professional standards and that is committed to put the WHO Values Charter into practice.
  • WHO has zero tolerance towards sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), sexual harassment and other types of abusive conduct (i.e., discrimination, abuse of authority and harassment). All members of the WHO workforce have a role to play in promoting a safe and respectful workplace and should report to WHO any actual or suspected cases of SEA, sexual harassment and other types of abusive conduct. To ensure that individuals with a substantiated history of SEA, sexual harassment or other types of abusive conduct are not hired by the Organization, WHO will conduct a background verification of final candidates.
  • WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
  • WHO has a mobility policy which can be found at the following link: Candidates appointed to an international post with WHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.
  • Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Member States are particularly encouraged.
This vacancy is now closed.
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