Deputy Executive Director

  • Location
    Nairobi, Kenya
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Posted
    Apr 12

Position description

The Deputy Executive Director reposes to and supports Executive Director in advancing the United Nations system reform and providing the necessal institutional and system changes within UN-Habitat, in accordance with General Assembly mandates to support Member States' efforts to meet the challenges of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the complementary New Urban Agenda, while ensuring national leadership and ownership.

In requesting nominations for this position, UN-Habitat is seeking an individual with

  • Ability to conceptualize, inspire, and convey strategic vision from the spectrum of development experience;
  • Capacity for reform to deliver the New Urban Agenda;
  • Demonstrated skills in respecting diversity, consultation and participation;
  • Demonstrated diplomatic, cultural sensitivity and negotiating skills;
  • Strong partnering, people management, and resource mobilisation skills;
  • Ability to provide information, tools and resources to support work achievement;
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and organize work with a clear and deliberate focus, ensuring commitments are easily identified and progress is widely communicated;
  • Demonstrated ability to develop supportive team enviromnents that empower and encourage individuals to demonstrate initiative;
  • Strong interpersonal, communication and presentation skills;
  • High commitment to the values and guiding principles of the United Nations and familiarity with the United Nations system, including peacekeeping, human rights, humanitarian and development settings and challenges.

Functions/Key Results Expected

The Deputy Executive Director, who is accountable to the Executive Director and acts as Officer-in-Charge during the Executive Director's absence from headquarters, supports leadership of organisational reform and manages the day-to-day operation of UN-Habitat, ensuring that its activities support the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Her/his functions may include:

  • Assisting the Executive Director in leading and managing an innovative, dynamic, diverse and high-performing organization that respects diversity, ethics and integrity, incorporates the gender perspective in all areas of the work programme, and has a strong focus on results;
  • Shaping the programmatic direction of UN-Habitat by guiding the work of the three Divisions (Programmes, External Relations, Management and Operations), ensuring that UN-Habitat's operations are optimally aligned to overall UN and organizational goals;
  • Providing strategic guidance to UN-Habitat's policy development, budget planning, resource mobilization, and supervising the work of the independent evaluation section;
  • Ensuring an integrated approach to managing the operations of UN-Habitat; identifying strategic opportunities for integration, synergy, and cost savings to optimize the value-for-money of the organization;
  • Assisting the Executive Director in fostering relations with Governments and prolnoting partnerships with other United Nations bodies, national, subnational and local govermnent and development stakeholders, regional and international organisations, as well as the private sector, academia and civil society for high impact sustainable urbanization and human settlements development support to countries;
  • Leading resource mobilisation and advising the Executive Director on budget negotiations with Member States and key contributors;
  • Ensuring effective systems of delegation of authority within the organization and overseeing internal risk management and UN-Habitat's responsiveness to internal and external audits;
  • Carrying out special assigmnents, as requested by the Executive Director.



  • Expert knowledge in organizational management; proven ability to lead and oversee work on technical issues; ability to guide the work of others. Well demonstrated negotiating, diplomatic, and partnering skills.

Planning and organizing:

  • Proven ability to plan and organize work, requiring an in-depth understanding of its strategic direction and ability to integrate the work of the Branch/Service/Division into the Organization's work programme.


  • Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours agency and system-wide 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 her/his own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.


  • Excellent comnmnication skills, both oral and written; ability to defend and explain difficult issues with respect to key decisions and positions to staff, senior officials and members of intergovernmental bodies; proven ability to communicate complex concepts orally; ability to prepare written reports that are clear, concise and meaningful. Ability to maintain effective relationships with outside collaborators and other contacts, including representatives of Member States and the public.


  • Excellent interpersonal skills; demonstrated ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment and to maintain effective working relations with people of different national and cultural backgrounds, including diverse gender identity and sexual orientation. Proven ability to lead and gain assistance of others in a team endeavour.

Managerial Competencies


  • Mature judgment and initiative, imagination and resourcefuhless, energy and tact; proven ability to provide strategic direction, to plan and establish priorities, and to ensure an effective work structure to maximize productivity and achieve goals.


  • Proven track record of effective and collaborative leadership, excellent management and technical skills, and ability to delegate appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority. Proven record of building, managing and working in teams and creating an enabling work environment, including the ability to effectively lead, supervise, mentor, develop and evaluate staff and design training/skills enhancement initiatives to ensure effective transfer of knowledge/skills. Demonstrated flexibility in leadership by performing and/or overseeing change initiatives including the analysis of complex human resources, budgetary, financial or administrative management policy and programmatic issues.

Building trust:

  • Reputation for dealing honestly and openly with issues and staff; recognized and highly respected by peers, clients and staff.


  • Ability to identify key strategic issues, opportunities and risks; clearly communicate links between the Organization's strategy and the work unit's goals. Establish/identify and communicate broad and compelling organizational direction.

Managing Performance:

  • Ability to lead and supervise staff. Ability to coach, mentor and develop staff. Capacity to motivate staff and encourage good performance, to co-ordinate and monitor the work of others.

Recruitment Qualifications


  • Advanced University degree (Masters or equivalent) in development-related disciplines, public or business administration, or relevant related area. A combination of relevant academic qualifications and extensive experience may be accepted in lieu of advanced university degree.


  • At least 20 years of experience in senior leadership positions, preferably in economic and social affairs, urban development or a related field with a particular focus on management in large, multicultural institutions, such as international organizations, governments or non-govermnental organizations. Programme and project plalming and analysis, and budgeting skills are essential. Proven track record of excellent management and technical leadership skills.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in oral and written English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.

Other Desirable, Knowledge and Skills:

  • Knowledge of intergovernmental processes and protocols. Good understanding of the field of human settlements in all its aspects and the related global agenda in this area. Knowledge of UN policies, procedures and operations. Knowledge of principles and practices related to organizational development and change management.

Application instructions

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