Head of Office, Political Affairs, P5

UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan
  • Location
    Kandahar, Afghanistan
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Jan 20

Position description

This position is located in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The Head of Office, Political Affairs will be based in Kandahar and will report to the Chief of Staff. Herat is classified as an “E” hardship duty station and a non-family duty station.


Within delegated authority, the incumbent will be responsible for the following duties:


  • Lead, direct and coordinate the personnel and activities of all civilian Mission components in the Area of Responsibility, in line with the mandate and strategic guidance provided by Mission Headquarters, as well as applicable principles, rules and regulations;
  • Ensure the operational functioning of the Field Office, in collaboration with the Mission Support and Security components;
  • In consultation with substantive components at Mission Headquarters, direct the activities of the local substantive teams, which may work in the following thematic areas: political affairs, electoral affairs, peacebuilding and public information;
  • Formulate a comprehensive programme of work for the Field Office, determining priorities and activities that are in accordance with the mandate, UNAMA's strategic plan, Mission leadership's strategic guidance, and the Mission’s budget, and which promote coherence and integration across the substantive units; monitor and report on performance against targets/indicators, including for mandated reporting to the General Assembly, such as the budget performance report;
  • Work closely with the Agencies, Funds and Programmes in the Area of Responsibility to ensure that the ‘UN, working as One’ is properly implemented;
  • Through delegated authority, act as Area Security Coordinator, responsible for implementing the UN security management framework, designed to ensure the protection of all UN staff and assets;
  • Supervise, mentor, and evaluate staff, participate in the selection of new staff.

Analysis, Advice and Reporting

  • Identify, analyze and monitor local developments and emerging issues with respect to Mission priorities;
  • Assess implications and make recommendations to Mission leadership and partners on possible strategies, policies and other measures to address issues of concern and to advance mandated objectives and UN principles and values; monitor, evaluate and report on outcomes;
  • Ensure regular, timely and high-quality reporting to Mission leadership on pertinent developments and issues. Manage the preparation of summary and analytical reports, including situation reports, briefing notes, notes to file and draft code cables;
  • Oversee the preparation of contextual information materials, such as background notes and profiles;
  • Ensure an effective system of information management designed to guarantee accessibility and utility of information for Field Office personnel and UNAMA Headquarters.

Planning, Coordination and Facilitation

  • Develop and maintain productive relationships with local authorities, political and community leaders, civil society actors, the UN family and other national and international partners on coordination and policy matters;
  • Perform other duties as required.


  • PROFESSIONALISM: Shows ability to complete in-depth studies and reach conclusions on possible causes and solutions to political problems in specific areas and/or countries. Shows ability to relate to various issues and perspectives on political, social, economic, and humanitarian programmes in affected countries and areas. Strong communication and analytical skills, political acumen and a demonstrated ability to build and maintain effective networks; 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; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; and 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;
  • 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; and uses time efficiently;
  • 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; and shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings;
  • JUDGEMENT AND DECISION-MAKING: Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information; checks assumptions against facts; determines the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; and makes tough decisions when necessary;
  • 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; and demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.


Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent degree) in political science, international relations, social science, economics, law, public administration, or a related field. 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 10 years of progressively responsible experience in political, civil or humanitarian affairs, conflict resolution, human rights, programme management, or a related field is required;
  • Extensive experience in outreach, facilitation, analysis, advice and reporting is required;
  • Experience supporting good offices efforts to advance mandate implementation and/or enable humanitarian access is required;
  • Experience engaging non-state armed groups is desirable. Management experience in an international environment, including management and coordination of multidisciplinary teams, is required;
  • Experience working in an international organization or non-governmental organization in a conflict or post-conflict setting is required;
  • Experience working on or in Afghanistan and/or the region is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations. For this post advertised, fluency in spoken and written English is required. Knowledge of a language spoken in Afghanistan and/or the region is desirable.

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