Humanitarian Affairs Officer
United Nations 233 reviews - New York, NY

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This position is located in one of the sections of the Coordination and Response Division, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The Humanitarian Affairs Officer reports to the Chief of Section.


Within delegated authority, the incumbent will serve as a Desk Officer for a set of countries in the assigned regions. The incumbent will be responsible for the following duties:

  • In close liaison with OCHA country and regional offices; monitors, analyzes and reports on humanitarian developments, disaster relief/management or emergency situations in assigned country/area.
  • Advises and supports OCHA field offices in the coordination of the common humanitarian programme cycle (needs assessment and analysis, joint planning, fundraising and resource allocation and monitoring and evaluation).
  • Facilitates the organization of analyses and advocacy on humanitarian, emergency relief and related issues; organizes follow-up work, including interagency technical review meetings to support policy development work, advocacy and decision-making on important issues.
  • Participates in large, complex projects, to include disaster response/preparedness or other missions; assists in the coordination of international humanitarian/emergency assistance for complex emergency/disaster situations and in ensuring the necessary support; drafts situation reports to the international community, apprising of situation to date and specifying unmet requirements of stricken countries.
  • Partners with other humanitarian agencies to plan and evaluate humanitarian and emergency assistance programmes and help ensure that latest findings, lessons learned, policy guidelines, etc. are incorporated into these activities, including gender-related considerations.
  • Assists in the production of appeals for international assistance; ensures the proper use and spending of donor contributions channeled through OCHA.
  • Liases and assists in partnership-building with government officials, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, diplomatic missions, regional organizations, media, etc.
  • Builds and maintains relationships with a wide group of operational humanitarian partners to advance humanitarian action.
  • Ensures a broad range of substantive and administrative liaison support to OCHA field and/or regional offices on policy issues, strategic planning, work and cost planning, annual reporting, staffing, resource mobilization, advocacy and contingency planning.
  • Maintains and overview of country- and/or regional-level coordination structures and advises appropriate OCHA offices and Humanitarian Coordinators on maintaining effective coordination within the humanitarian community in accordance with the standards and frameworks of the Humanitarian Reform.
  • Advises the field in the provision of OCHA services and tools, and coordinates with relevant OCHA branches and sections to ensure timely and adequate field support; facilitates OCHA internal working groups focusing on specific countries/regions.
  • Undertakes and provides support to technical assistance and other field missions, e.g. participates in field trips to undertake in-depth reviews of specific country coordination mechanisms.
  • Prepares or contributes to the preparation of various written reports, documents and communications, e.g. drafts sections of studies, background papers, policy guidelines, parliamentary documents, briefings, case studies, presentations, correspondence, etc.
  • Serves as the primary focal point on specific topics or policy-related issues; keeps abreast of latest developments, liaises with other humanitarian organizations, donors, etc., ensures appropriate monitoring and reporting mechanisms; provides information and advice on a range of related issues.
  • Reviews and provides advice on policy issues related to safeguarding humanitarian principles and ensuring the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance.
  • Organizes and participates, on behalf of the Section, in work groups, meetings, conferences, consultations with other agencies and partners on humanitarian and emergency relief-related matters.
  • Provides guidance to, and may supervise, new/junior staff.
  • Performs other duties as required by the Chief of Section.

  • Professionalism: Knowledge of a range of humanitarian assistance, emergency relief and related human rights issues, including approaches and techniques to address difficult problems. Ability to analyze and articulate the humanitarian dimension of issues which require a coordinated UN response. Ability to conduct research, including ability to evaluate and integrate information from a variety of sources in assigned country/area. Ability to work under extreme pressure, on occasion in a highly stressful environment; ability to provide guidance to new/junior staff. Demonstrates professional competence; 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.
  • Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
  • Planning& 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.

An Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in political science, social science, public administration, international studies, economics, engineering, earth sciences or a related field is required.

A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in humanitarian affairs, emergency preparedness, crisis/emergency relief management, rehabilitation, development, programme management or other related area. Experience working in the context of natural disaster response and/or complex emergencies is required. Professional field experience in complex emergency situations or natural disaster settings is desirable.

Qualifying years of experience are calculated following the receipt of the first level university degree recognised by the United Nations.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in English (both oral and written) is required. Knowledge of another UN official language is highly desirable.

Assessment Method

Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.

Special Notice

Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

Funding for this position is available for at least one year with possibility of extension.

United Nations Considerations

The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. (Charter of the United Nations - Chapter 3, article 8). The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

No Fee


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