Through USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/BHA), the United States sponsors qualified U.S. citizens for employment in the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Program.
These fully funded JPO positions strengthen the capacity of UNDRR, and further encourage U.S. citizens to become active members of the international community. After completing their JPO assignments, a number of JPOs successfully compete for positions at UNDRR and in other international and non-governmental organizations.
II. General Information
Title: Program Management Officer
Organization/Office: UNDRR/Political Affairs
Duty Station: New York, USA
Date Required: As soon as possible
Duration: One year (with possible extension for another year)
III. Duties, Responsibilities, and Output Expectations
Within delegated authority, the Program Management Officer will be responsible for the following duties:
Works with key clients to facilitate the development, implementation, and evaluation of assigned programs/projects; monitors and analyzes specific aspects of program/project development and implementation; reviews relevant documents and reports; identifies problems and issues to be addressed and recommends corrective actions; liaises with relevant parties; identifies and tracks follow-up actions.
Carries out research on selected aspects of programs, operations, and other activities to include collecting, analyzing, and presenting data and other information gathered from diverse sources concerning disaster risk reduction, climate change, and all aspects of sustainable development.
Provides substantive support for policy coordination and evaluation functions, including the review and analysis of emerging issues and trends, participation in evaluations or research activities and studies.
Contributes to the preparation of various written outputs, including draft background papers, analytical notes, sections of reports and studies, inputs to publications, etc.
Provides substantive and administrative support to, and engages in meetings of, UN governance bodies such as the General Assembly, ECOSOC, and their subsidiary bodies, as well as to consultative and other meetings, conferences, etc., to include proposing agenda topics, identifying and proposing participants, preparation of background documents, presentations, speeches, and talking points, as well as handling logistics, etc.
Supports the preparation of missions to and meetings in New York of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and the senior management of UNDRR.
Undertakes outreach activities; may represent UNDRR in interagency meetings and liaise, as appropriate, with delegates, UN officers, and other stakeholders; participates in the organization of side events, seminars, and outreach events; participates in and makes presentations on assigned topics/activities.
Performs other duties as required.
Title of Supervisor: Head of the New York Liaison Office
Content and methodology of supervision:
Establishment of a Work Plan: During the first month of the assignment, the JPO will work jointly with his/her direct supervisor to finalize an agreed upon work plan. The final work plan will be discussed and mutually agreed to by the JPO and his/her supervisor.
Evaluation: The United Nations Performance Evaluation System (e-performance) will serve as a primary platform to evaluate the JPO’s performance.
In addition to the above, the JPO will meet periodically (weekly or on mutual availability of the JPO and the supervisor) with the supervisor to keep him/her updated on their progress.
V. Qualifications and Experience
Education: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in disaster risk reduction, political science, international relations, development, social and environmental sciences, economics or a related field. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.
Work experience: A minimum of two years of progressively responsible experience in project/program management, partnerships, disaster risk reduction, climate change action, sustainable development, political affairs, or related areas. Experience working on inter-governmental and/or inter-agency processes in an international organization is desirable. Experience working in civil society organizations is desirable.
Languages: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations. For this position, fluency in English is required.
Other skills: Experience in the use of computers and proficiency in office software and packages, as well as good knowledge of and experience in handling web-based management systems.
Professionalism: Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts, and approaches relevant to disaster risk reduction, climate change, sustainable development, and intergovernmental affairs. Ability to identify issues, analyze, and participate in the resolution of issues/problems. Ability to assist with data collection using various methods. Ability 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; 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.
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.
Communication: Speaks fluently, expresses opinions, information, and key points of an argument clearly; presents information with skill and confidence; responds quickly to the needs of an audience and to their reactions and feedback; projects credibility; structures information to meet the needs and understanding of the intended audience; presents information in a well-structured and logical way.
The United Nations believes that an inclusive culture attracts the best talent and encourages all qualified applicants, regardless of gender, disability, sexual orientation, cultural, or religious backgrounds, to apply.
VI. Learning Elements
On completion of the assignment, the JPO will have/be able to:
Work at the cross-roads of disaster risk reduction, preparedness for response, climate change adaptation, and sustainable development;
Established a wide network with other UN, regional, and national public and private partners;
In-depth understanding of UN and other intergovernmental work processes in sustainable development, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and preparedness for response;
Facilitate civil society and private sector input for international processes and conferences;
Support strategy development of UN agency work programs with partners;
Undertake well researched and sound analysis of sustainable development issues, including on the implementation of the Sendai Framework, the 2030 Agenda, and the Paris Agreement;
Assist in the organization and preparation of meetings with the key partners;
Liaise and interact with colleagues and concerned parties internally and externally;
Draft inputs to reports and strategy papers (i.e. reports of the Secretary-General, policy position papers, resource mobilization, engagement/partnership strategies);
Draft work plans;
Write assessment reports;
VII. Background Information
Created in December 1999, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) is the designated focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of efforts to reduce disasters and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities of the United Nations and regional organizations and activities in both developed and less developed countries. Led by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary- General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG), UNDRR has over 100 staff located at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and in regional offices. Specifically, UNDRR guides, monitors, analyzes, and reports on progress in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, supports regional and national implementation of the Framework, and catalyzes action and increases global awareness to reduce disaster risk, working with UN Member States and a broad range of partners and stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, parliamentarians, and the science and technology community.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was adopted on March 18, 2015 at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 established a clear mandate for building resilience to disasters as a common denominator across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Disaster risk reduction is associated with at least 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals, inherent in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Agenda for Humanity. The implementation of the Sendai Framework is a critical investment that delivers a risk-informed 2030 Agenda and is effectively reducing humanitarian needs.
UNDRR is working to directly link the Sendai Framework Monitoring instrument and global and regional platforms for disaster risk reduction to monitoring and reporting on the 2030 Agenda. UNDRR is leading UN thinking on the integration and coherency between disaster risk reduction and the 2030 Agenda. UNDRR facilitates the revised UN Plan of Action for Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience; produces and disseminates risk information including development of national disaster loss data bases for risk-informed decisions; supports the development, implementation, and financing of national and local disaster risk reduction strategies; and, mobilizes partnerships that deliver co-benefits across the 2030 Agenda.
In line with the Sendai Framework, UNDRR seeks to achieve the following 4 key results, as set out in its Strategic Framework 2022-2025:
Countries use quality risk information and analysis to reduce risk and inform development decisions.
DRR governance strengthened at global, regional, national, and local levels.
Catalyze investment and action in DRR through partnership and engagement.
Support Member States and mobilize stakeholders through advocacy and knowledge sharing to make disaster risk reduction central to sustainable development.
UNDRR’s vision is anchored on the four priorities for action set out in the Sendai Framework: understanding disaster risk, strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk, investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience, and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.
Examples of activities to achieve these results include:
Integrating disaster risk reduction and the Sendai Framework into intergovernmental policy decisions at global and regional levels to guide a risk-informed approach to sustainable development, climate action, and humanitarian action at national levels;
Preparing periodic reviews on progress, in particular for the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction;
Monitoring the implementation of the Sendai Framework; generating evidence-based and practical guidance for implementation in close collaboration with Member States and through the mobilization of experts;
Reinforcing a culture of prevention among relevant stakeholders through supporting development of standards by experts and technical organizations, advocacy initiatives, and dissemination of disaster risk information, policies, and practices, as well as by providing education and training on disaster risk reduction through affiliated organizations;
Supporting countries, including through national platforms or their equivalent, in their development of national plans and monitoring trends and patterns in disaster risk, loss, and impacts;
Convening the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and supporting the organization of regional platforms for disaster risk reduction in cooperation with regional organizations.
UNDRR has five regional offices – in Asia-Pacific (Bangkok), Africa (Nairobi), Europe (Brussels), Arab States (Cairo), and the Americas and the Caribbean (Panama) – and the UNDRR Headquarters in Geneva. UNDRR also maintains a UN Headquarters liaison office in New York, a liaison office in Bonn and presences in Kobe, Suva, and Incheon.
How to apply
VIII. Application Instructions
You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
The JPO Program selection process is carried out jointly by USAID/BHA and UNDRR.
To apply please send the following to BHA.JPOCoordinator@usaid.gov:
completed UN Personal History Statement (P11) (see link below);
resume (CV) and;
cover letter to explain your interest in this position.
Please state which position you are applying for in the subject line of your email. If you wish to apply for multiple USAID/BHA-sponsored JPO positions, please complete a Personal History Statement (P11) for each position and submit these to us in separate emails with the appropriate subject heading.
Please complete the UN Personal History Statement (P11) thoroughly. The P11 provides the opportunity to include all required information in one document, including your professional work experience and references. Please attach a cover letter to explain your interest in the position and interest in working with the UN, along with a general resume. The P11 has instructions on how to complete the profile; however, please be sure to also follow the additional instructions below:
The P11 must be completed in English only. You can find the P11 form at USAID/BHA Jobs website.
You may leave the signature/date sections blank at this time. If selected for a JPO position, you will then need to submit a signed version.
Do not submit a photograph.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Application Deadline: Friday, June 17, 2022, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)