Consultant, ECOWAS, Abuja

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Vacancy: ISDR/C/12/13

United Nations Core Values: Integrity • Professionalism • Respect for diversity


Created in December 1999, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) is the designated focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities of the United Nations and regional organizations and activities in socioeconomic and humanitarian fields. Led by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNISDR has around 100 staff located in its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and 5 regional offices and other field presences. Specifically, UNISDR coordinates international efforts in disaster risk reduction, and guides, monitors and reports on the progress of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action; campaigns to create global awareness of disaster risk reduction benefits and empower people to reduce their vulnerability to hazards; advocates for greater investments in disaster risk reduction to protect people's lives and assets, and for increased and informed participation of men and women in reducing disaster risk; and informs and connects people by providing practical services and tools such as Prevention Web, publications on good practices, and by leading the preparation of the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction and the organisation of the Global Platform
for Disaster Risk Reduction.

To minimize negative impacts of natural hazards on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa, the African Union and the Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) are emphasizing integration of disaster risk reduction and management into the sub-regional poverty reduction, security, and sustainable development agenda to help create safer and resilient communities in social, economic and environmental terms.

Consequently, to expand and strengthen actions at all levels to reduce disaster risks and build the resilience of nations and communities to disasters, the African Union and the Secretariat of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), with the support of UNISDR and in partnership with UNDP, UNEP and African Development Bank (AfDB), led a process of regional actions to strengthen national capacities for DRR in Africa, beginning with the development of the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction. The strategy aims to contribute to the attainment of sustainable development and poverty eradication by facilitating the integration of disaster risk reduction into development. The Programme of Action for the Implementation of the Africa Strategy 2006-2010 which was developed in compliance with a request by the 2004 Africa Union Summit, endorsed by the 2005 African Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction, and adopted by the Eight Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (2006), provides the operational framework for disaster risk reduction interventions in the region. The extension and enforcement of the Programme of Action to cover the period until 2015 was discussed and agreed at the 2nd Regional Platform Consultative Meeting for DRR in May 2009, and formal adoption of the extended Programme by African Ministers in charge of DRR is awaited in 2010.

The RECs are responsible for coordinating inter-state initiatives under the Africa Regional Strategy, and operationalizing the regional Programme of Action based on their own policies on DRR which are already in place. For example, the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has adopted a sub-regional policy for DRR, established a Disaster Management Unit and is developing an implementation programme for its DRR strategy. IGAD has developed a DRR strategy and programme. SADC is revising its DRR strategy to bring it more in line with the HFA and, ECCAS has completed development of its sub-regional DRR mechanism. ECOWAS is currently strengthening its institutional framework and has recently developed a draft Sub-regional Plan of Action for implementation of the ECOWAS Policy on DRR. UNISDR has provided ECOWAS with technical assistance on DRR since February 2009. The Plan of Action was discussed at the ECOWAS DRR experts meeting in October 2009 to be adopted at the ministerial level in 2010. This consultancy will build on UNISDR’s earlier technical assistance to ECOWAS and its Member States. Appointment will be made initially for three months, with possible extensions depending on availability of funds and performance.

Duties and responsibilities:

  1. Under the direct supervision of the Head, UNISDR Africa Regional Office and under the guidance of the President/Executive Secretary of the ECOWAS, the appropriate Commissioner/Director and the Head of the related disaster reduction unit of the ECOWAS, the consultant shall provide overall support to the ECOWAS in the implementation of the ECOWAS’ DRR policy/strategy in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015.
  2. Facilitate incorporation of disaster risk reduction approaches in ongoing thematic/sectoral programmes of the ECOWAS focusing on major development sectors to address risk root causes.
  3. Support development, coordination and harmonization of national practices and capacities in disaster risk reduction and management in member states of the ECOWAS including EWS and integration of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation agenda’s.
  4. Assist the Regional DRR unit and members states to prepare HFA report.
  5. Contribute to organise multi-stakeholder sub-regional platforms with ECOWAS member states and partners.
  6. Undertake any other functions, duties and tasks as required by the ECOWAS and ISDR managers as defined in the DRR Expert programme of work.
  7. Develop disaster risk reduction projects.


Expected results:


  1. Inclusion of DRR activities in the annual programmes and projects of ECOWAS with specific focus on linking climate change adaptation and DRR.
  2. Support ECOWAS member state for DRR programme development.
  3. Support ECOWAs and member states for HFA reporting.
  4. Organise HFA2 consultations in the region.
  5. Substantive monthly progress report (A4, MS Word format in English by 20th of every month) to be submitted to the head of the disaster unit of ECOWAS with a copy to UNISDR Africa Office describing specific achievements within this assignment.


Professionalism: Strong background, knowledge and understanding of the concepts, principles and approaches to disaster risk reduction. Project management skills and ability to lead a project to completion.
Client Orientation: Ability to identify and analyze clients’ needs and develop appropriate services to meet business requirements.

Communication: Strong communication (spoken and written) skills Planning and Organizing: Ability to organize, plan and implement work assignments, juggle competing demands and work under pressure of frequent and tight deadlines.

Teamwork: Strong interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and working relations with people in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity


Education: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in disaster risk management, geography, natural resources management, development, public policy or related fields. A firstlevel university degree in combination of qualifying experience maybe accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work experience: A minimum of five years of progressively responsible professional experience in programme/project evaluation, disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, early warning systems, multi-hazard risk mapping, disaster preparedness, emergency and recovery or related fields.

Languages: Fluency in English and French (Oral and written) is required.

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United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Africa
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