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Programme Officer, Africa, P4

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

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United Nations Core Values:

Integrity ● Professionalism ● Respect for diversity

Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS mission is to serve people in need by expanding the ability of the United Nations, governments and other partners to manage projects, infrastructure and procurement in a sustainable and efficient manner.

Within these three core areas of expertise, UNOPS provides its partners with advisory, implementation and transactional services, with projects ranging from building schools and hospitals, to procuring goods and services and training local personnel. UNOPS works closely with governments and communities to ensure increased economic, social and environmental sustainability for the projects we support, with a focus on developing national capacity.

Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, our vision is to advance sustainable implementation practices in development, humanitarian and peacebuilding contexts, always satisfying or surpassing partner expectations.

We employ more than 6,000 personnel and on behalf of our partners create thousands more work opportunities in local communities. Through our headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark and a network of offices, we oversee activities in more than 80 countries.

Background Information - Job-specific

Created in December 1999, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk 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 socio-economic and humanitarian fields. Led by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNISDR has over 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 PreventionWeb, 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.

Organizational Setting and Reporting Relationships:

This position is located in the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Regional Office for Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya reporting to the Head of Office for Africa.

Functional Responsibilities

Within delegated authority, the incumbent will be responsible for the following:

  • Policy and Partnership-building
  • Coordinate policy development issues for UNISDR Regional Office in Africa including the review and analysis of trends especially in relation to the implementation of the Africa Regional Strategy for DRR and the AU’s Programme of Action for DRR as it evolves into a post-2015 framework for DRR in Africa.
  • In line with disaster risk reduction and climate change initiatives, policy development and implementation, initiate and coordinate efforts among Africa’s climate forecasters and other partners including WMO and ensure follow-up action.
  • Develop, implement and evaluate assigned programmes/projects; review relevant documents and reports; identify problems and issues to be addressed; initiate corrective action; liaise with relevant parties; ensure follow-up actions.
  • Provide technical assistance on DRR to ECCAS, ECOWAS and SADC regions, including policy proposals for the development on disaster risk reduction for African Ministerial Conferences’ consideration.
  • Support Regional Economic Communities to develop a common strategy for disaster risk reduction by promoting mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction into relevant development programmes of Regional Economic Communities with partners like UNDP, IFRC and others.
  • Provide substantive backstopping to consultative and other meetings, conferences and thematic platforms (risk assessment, climate change, environment, recovery) by proposing agenda items, identifying participants, preparing documents and presentations.

Programme Management

  • Coordinate activities related to budget funding (programme/project preparation and submissions, progress reports, financial statements, etc.) and prepare related documents/reports (pledging, work programme, programme budget, etc).
  • Provide substantive backstopping to the organization of, Ministerial conferences, Regional Platform meetings, consultative and other meetings and Parliamentarian related foras to ensure consideration and references to disaster risk reduction as part of the agenda, support the identification of participants, the preparation of relevant working documents and presentations. This is to include (a) meetings of the Ministers responsible for disaster risk reduction in both West and Central Africa, (b) establishment and development of national platforms for disaster risk reduction.
  • Lead the establishment and strengthening of a national and regional monitoring and reporting mechanism on the implementation of the Africa Regional Strategy for DRR using the HFA Monitor and Disaster Loss Databases as well as other relevant data.
  • Facilitate information-sharing, exchange of experience and practices on DRR through regional knowledge networks and leadership fora for exchange of good practices and experiences through Africa regional forums and the Global Information Platform to promote knowledge exchange on DRR member countries of ECCAS and ECOWAS.
  • Coordinate activities related to budget funding (programme/project preparation and submissions progress reports, financial statements) and prepare related documents/reports including follow-up on pledges, programme budgets in line with UNISDR Regional Office for Africa’s biennial work programme and other programme funding as appropriate.

Research and Analysis

  • Research, analyze and present information gathered from diverse sources.
  • Facilitate capacity building of key sub-regional organizations e.g. ECCAS, ECOWAS and SADC as well as national resource centres and academic institutions through the systematic collection and analysis of regional data on hazards, vulnerabilities and disaster risk reduction measures including progress in implementing the post 2015 framework on DRR.
  • Organize and prepare written outputs including background papers and concept notes; control the quality of publications.
  • Lead and/or participate in field missions, including provision of guidance to external consultants, government officials and other parties and drafting mission summaries, etc.
  • Facilitate knowledge-sharing and awareness of technical resources among climate change adaptation practitioners.
  • Perform other duties as required.

Work implies frequent interaction with the following:

Staff at all levels, within UNISDR, partners in the field, UNOG, UNDP and OCHA counterparts and the disaster risk reduction community as well as national counterparts, Disaster Risk Reduction in all Regional Economic Communities. Representatives of other UN agencies and other UN specialized agencies; member state personnel with responsibility for disaster risk reduction; non-governmental organization representatives; and representatives and officials in national governments, international and regional organizations, International Financial institutions and research institutes.

Results Expected:

Play a lead role in identifying significant issues and problems to be addressed. Develop well-reasoned, innovative suggestions and approaches to deal with complex policy/technical issues. Provide effective leadership and management of major projects and work teams and timely delivery of outputs on cost planning, budgets and human resources, in accordance with overall objectives and policies. Serve as an effective spokesperson internally and externally and form strong partnerships with relevant parties to help meet the organization’s objectives with respect to overall policy initiatives and coordination of disaster risk reduction.


Specific competencies for this position include:

Professionalism: Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to particular sector, functional area or other specialized field. Ability to identify issues, analyze and participate in the resolution of issues/problems. Ability to conduct data collection using various methods. Conceptual analytical and evaluative skills to conduct independent research and analysis, including familiarity with and experience in the use of various research sources, including electronic sources on the internet, intranet and other databases. Ability to apply judgment in the context of assignments given, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

Planning and Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.

Client Orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.

Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

Accountability: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules; supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.

Education/Experience/Language requirements

Education: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in business administration, development, geography, urban planning, environment, political affairs, international or public relations, or a related field. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Experience: A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible experience in project or programme management, administration or related area. Background/familiarity with disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and/or sustainable development is required. UN experience, including field work experience desirable.

Language: Fluency in both written and spoken English is required. Proficiency in French an advantage.

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