Head of Office, Humanitarian Affairs, D1

Head of Office, Humanitarian Affairs, D1

UNOCHA - United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Multiple Locations


Operating within the limits of delegated authority, and under the overall leadership of the Director of the Operations and Advocacy Division of OCHA and supporting the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, the Head of Office will discharge and be responsible for the following functions:


  • Serve as senior policy advisor to the UN RC/HC, the UN Country Team (UNCT) and the humanitarian country team on safeguarding the humanitarian principles, and initiatives to facilitate effective delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection;
  • Develop and maintain contacts with the international community in order to raise awareness and advocate for issues of humanitarian concerns;
  • Act to strengthen cooperation across humanitarian organisations on policy issues of inter-agency concern and serve as a key interlocutor with relevant Government partners;
  • Advise, promote and provide guidance to the UN RC/HC, the UNCT and the humanitarian county team on humanitarian affairs including cluster coordination, humanitarian financing, civil military coordination, humanitarian access, etc.


  • Provide strategic support to the UN RC/HC in the preparation, implementation and monitoring of a coherent and comprehensive humanitarian needs overview and work plan for the broader humanitarian response (usually expressed though an HNO/HRP), soliciting and negotiating inputs with relevant authorities, UN agencies, NGOs, etc.;
  • Consult on a regular basis with the HC, Heads of UN Agencies and Programmes, NGOs heads of mission, the government and the donor community on all appropriate aspects of the implementation and delivery of humanitarian activities, to ensure that coordination structures at local, provincial and national levels operate in a coherent and cost-effective manner, including supporting coordination reviews as appropriate;
  • Support the planning, monitoring, and evaluation of humanitarian programs, facilitating incorporation of lessons learned, policy guidelines etc. into humanitarian response activities;
  • Promote best practices in humanitarian planning, response and evaluation;
  • Facilitate inter-agency resource mobilization in support of response efforts, including through humanitarian pooled funds, the UNCERF and other relevant mechanisms for ongoing as well as new and /or emerging emergencies;
  • Develop, reinforce and maintain effective coordination mechanisms with the humanitarian county team and other key humanitarian stakeholders;
  • Establish/manage information management systems to effectively map areas of humanitarian needs and response activities in support of coordination and response efforts, including support for cross coordination analysis to inform effective decision-making;
  • Foster and reinforce linkages between field monitoring, information management, coordination efforts, operations and decision-making;
  • Facilitate implementation of relevant IASC and UN commitments across the collective humanitarian response and within the OCHA operation on PSEA, GBV and Accountability to Affected People;
  • Ensure timely and appropriate assistance to the UN RC/HC and (if applicable) the United Nations Disaster Management Teams (UNDMT) in response to disasters and emergencies;
  • Support inter-agency efforts to build in-country UN, government and civil society capacity to manage natural disaster response;
  • Provide substantive support and leadership to government institutions and local humanitarian entities to build national capacity for emergency and/or disaster management;
  • Promote dialogue, regional alliances, sharing of knowledge and resources, among national and, as appropriate, regional humanitarian actors in disaster risk reduction, disaster/emergency preparedness and response;
  • Promote and lead contingency planning processes in close cooperation with relevant entities;
  • Develop joint initiatives on disaster management with other UN and (if applicable) regional actors, including early warning mechanisms;
  • If applicable, and under the overall guidance of the relevant Deputy Director of the OAD and in partnership with other branches of OCHA, work to reinforce regional networks and mechanisms for swift, effective response to emerging humanitarian situations.


  • Serve as the OCHA Head of Office in the designated duty station, providing oversight of all programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the efficient functioning of the OCHA office and any sub-offices, and being accountable for the use of resources and for the results obtained;
  • Recruit staff, taking due account of gender and geographical balance.
  • Represent the Office at international, regional or national meetings, and lead and supervise the organization of meetings, seminars, etc. on substantive issues. Manage the substantive preparation and organization of such meetings or seminars.
  • Ensure regular and effective supervision of OCHA staff, particularly by leading, managing, developing, and training staff; foster teamwork and communication among staff; and strengthen linkages between the staff in field, regional and headquarters offices;
  • Promote OCHA’s mandate, objectives and tools in the designated area through contacts with the government, diplomatic missions, UN entities, non-governmental organizations and the media;
  • Lead, formulate, supervise and carry out the work planning and budgeting process, support resource mobilization and ensure sound financial management;
  • Ensure the Office produces timely, high-quality outputs including comprehensive work plans, concise and factual situation reports, analytical papers, comprehensive and fact-based information products; ensures that all outputs produced by the Sections under his/her supervision meet required standards before completion to ensure they comply with the relevant mandates;
  • Coordinate the work carried out by different work units under the Office and by other agencies and bodies of the United Nations system and the humanitarian community, NGOs, the government and the donor community on all appropriate aspects of the implementation and delivery of humanitarian activities, to ensure that that coordination structures at local, provincial and national levels operate in a coherent and cost-effective manner;
  • Undertake or oversee the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Office, including preparation of budgets, reporting on budget/programme performance, evaluation of staff performance (PAS), interviews of candidates for job openings, evaluation of candidates and preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting.
  • Ensure all staff have completed all mandatory trainings and certificates, and maintain a culture within the office.
  • Perform other duties as requested by the UN RC/HC, Director of OAD.


  • PROFESSIONALISM: Expert knowledge of complex, multifaceted humanitarian affairs issues with wide exposure to humanitarian and emergency relief operations; ability to advise the UN RC/HC as well as the OCHA’s senior management team on tactical approaches and techniques to address complex and sensitive humanitarian issues; conceptual and strategic analytical capacity to thoroughly analyze and evaluate critical matters pertaining to a broad spectrum of humanitarian and emergency relief issues; ability to effectively handle major policy and project development and its implementation; ability to work under pressure including in insecure environments, while maintaining productivity and effectiveness; excellent understanding of institutional mandates, policies and guidelines related to humanitarian affairs and of the institutions of the UN system and NGOs, in particular, the core humanitarian policies and the guiding humanitarian principles; knowledge of OCHA institutional mandate, its policies, and organizational procedures as well as understanding of the core UN and IASC policies and guiding principles pertaining to international humanitarian affairs; ability to examine, edit, and provide analytical inputs and intellectual guidance for the work of others; readiness to serve in hardship environment.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • LEADERSHIP: Serves as a role model that other people want to follow: empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; drives for change and improvements; where necessary, is prepared to not accept the status quo and show the courage to take an unpopular stand. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.
  • JUDGEMENT/DECISION-MAKING: Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and quickly finds the heart of the problem; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with consideration the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information and clear risk management; checks assumptions against facts; determines the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in business or public administration, finance, accounting, law, social sciences, international affairs, political science or related area. A first-level university degree in combination with an additional two (2) years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible experience in disaster relief coordination, humanitarian assistance, protection, human resources management, administration, logistics, financial management, budget or related field is required.
  • Field experience in emergency situations (complex emergencies or natural disasters) is required.
  • Experience in either coordinating relief/humanitarian response, or participating in coordination, is desirable.
  • Experience within the UN common system or other comparable international organization is desirable.
  • Previous humanitarian affairs work experience is desirable.
  • A minimum of four (4) years of relevant experience at the international level, including experience at the senior management level (e.g. P-5 and above) is desirable.


  • English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this position, fluency in English is required. Please note that fluency in French is required for French speaking duty stations.

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© EuroJobsites 2020

EuroJobsites is a registered company number: 4694396 VAT number: GB 880 9055 04

Registered address: EuroJobsites Ltd, Unit 8, Kingsmill Business Park, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 3GZ, United Kingdom

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