Senior Political Affairs Officer
United Nations 233 reviews - New York, NY

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This post is located in the Middle East and West Asia Division (MEWAD) of the Department of Political Affairs (DPA). The incumbent reports to the Director, through the Deputy Director, MEWAD.


Within delegated authority, the Senior Political Affairs Officer will be responsible for the following duties:
• Provides political and operational support to the Joint Special Representative of the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian crisis in carrying out good offices aimed at bringing an end to the violence and promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.
• Plans and implements the operational activities related to the work of the division/department; oversees efforts to backstop the office of the Joint Special Representative, including programming and budget processes - this involves close coordination with a number of departments, as well as specialised agencies, programmes and funds of the United Nations system; incorporates an integrated approach that includes a rights-based dimension, conflict prevention sensitivity, and a gender perspective into the policy, planning and operational activities of the unit.
• Formulates policy advice and recommendations; develops vision for work; proposes policy directives and plan of action for immediate and long term solution as well as implements relevant substantive and operational activities and oversees research and analysis on Syria.
• Supports the efforts of the Joint Special Representative in engaging with all relevant stakeholders within and outside of Syria as well as regional and international actors, including by accompanying him in trips as needed.
• Develops and maintains relations with senior government officials and advises them on issues and policies of mutual concern.
• Prepares briefing notes and talking points for the Secretary-General, Senior Advisers, Under-Secretary-General/Assistant Secretary-General.
• Assists the Joint Special Representative in fulfilling reporting obligations to the UN legislative bodies, the Secretary-General and relevant Departments of the Secretariat.
• Leads and directs a work team; plans and allocates work assignments; coaches, mentors, and evaluates staff; participates in recruitment and selection of new staff and in the development of training programs.
• Acts as coordinator for complex coordination and support missions; ensures coordination between the Office of the Joint Special Representative and the Inter Agency Task Force on Syria with MEWAD.
• Manages, coordinates, organizes and supervises research on a variety of political issues in Syria and the region.
• Represents division/office/mission at round tables, seminars and conferences.
• Responds to/prepares responses to comments, statements, queries of parties and manages operations involving several components, including civilian, military and humanitarian operations.
• Formulates the programme of work, budget and medium-term plan of the unit and participates in the overall approval of the programme of work, and administrative matters concerning the Section/Division or mission; coordinates and oversees work of colleagues and unit.
• Performs other related duties as required.


• PROFESSIONALISM: Knowledge and understanding of the political situation and other issues in Syria and the region; proven ability for policy analysis and policy formulation with regard to specific international and regional situations; ability to work under pressure and short deadlines; impartiality; knowledge of the work of intergovernmental bodies, the work of the United Nations and its related bodies concerned with political, economic, social and related matters; ability to manage and coordinate activities in the field, and within the UN Secretariat . Shows pride in work and in achievements; 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; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; ability to prepare written reports that are clear, concise, and meaningful; ability to defend positions on difficult issues and shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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; does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands. 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.

• VISION: Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks; clearly communicates links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals; generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction; conveys enthusiasm about future possibilities.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) degree in political science, international relations, international economics, law, public administration, or related field. A first-level university degree in combination with two years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in political science, international relations, law, disarmament, security, development management, conflict resolution or related area. 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 position fluency in English and Arabic (both oral and written) is required.

Assessment Method

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

Special Notice

This position is funded for ONE YEAR. Any further extension of the appointment is subject to the extension of the mandate and/or the availability of the funds.

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.

Staff members of the United Nations Secretariat must fulfill the lateral move requirements to be eligible to apply for this vacancy. Staff members are requested to indicate all qualifying lateral moves in their Personal History Profile (PHP) and cover note.

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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