Special Assistant, Political Affairs, P5

UN Department of Political Affairs and Peace-building
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Feb 06

Position description

Org. Setting and Reporting

This post is in the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support in the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) in the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA). The Special Assistant will report to the Assistant Secretary-General who reports to the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.


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

  • Coordinates and supervises work of the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) to ensure management of Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO).
  • Formulates strategy and advises the ASG in dealing with Member States and promote relationships with external partners.
  • Provides support and advice to the ASG on PBSO workplans, including preparation, monitoring and ensuring their compliance.
  • Advises and supports the ASG on its staffing, administrative and budgetary matters.
  • Liaises with the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and other counterparts and offices in the peace and security pillar, the UN development system, the human rights pillar, and humanitarian actors.
  • Develops and maintains contacts with Permanent Representatives, United Nations intergovernmental bodies, other Departments of the Secretariat, United Nations Programmes, Funds and Specialized Agencies, representatives of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), media and academic institutions.
  • Prepares or clears drafts of statements and speeches for the ASG, monitors progress of preparation and submit for final clearance.
  • Drafts correspondence for and on behalf of the ASG, including confidential correspondence to Governments and Permanent Missions.
  • Receives and reviews confidential communications from governments and other external partners on behalf of the ASG, and draft replies as appropriate.
  • Ensures assignment of work to appropriate Branches of PBSO.
  • Receives official communications addressed to the ASG, review and action as appropriate.
  • Receives all communications prepared for the signature of the ASG, review them for substance as well as style and clear them for the ASG's signature.
  • Manages the ASG's front office, serving as point of referral on requests for appointments with the ASG and on problems which require the ASG's attention.
  • Ensures prompt and efficient communication and coordination with other units within the PBSO, and with other Departments within the Secretariat and beyond.
  • Actively contributes to the development of solutions.
  • Coordinates interdepartmental meetings, including the weekly/monthly meeting chaired by the ASG, preparing the agenda and coordinates follow-up action as appropriate.



  • Knowledge of the UN system's policies and procedures.
  • Analytical skills and ability to identify problems and propose solutions.
  • Strong drafting skills for all genres (letters, speeches, talking points, notes for the file, etc); conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results.
  • Shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide leadership and take responsibility for incorporating gender and diversity perspectives into substantive work.
  • Commitment to the goal of achieving gender balance in staffing.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority.
  • Makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member.
  • Accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills.
  • Monitors progress against milestones and deadlines.
  • Regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff.
  • Encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative.
  • Actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; appraises performance fairly.


  • 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 improvement.
  • Does not accept the status quo.
  • Shows the courage to take unpopular stands.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide leadership and take responsibility for incorporating gender and diversity perspectives into substantive work.
  • Commitment to the goal of achieving gender balance in staffing.


  • 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 qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in programme management, political science, international relations, law, development management, conflict resolution or related area is required.
  • Experience as a Special Assistant or Executive Assistant to a Senior Official is required.
  • Experience in humanitarian, post conflict situations and/or in peacebuilding operations within the United Nations system including UN funds, programmes and agencies, other international or regional organizations or NGOs, is desirable.
  • Experience in liaising with Permanent Missions to the UN or local actors in a field office is desirable.


  • English and French are the two working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of a second official UN language is highly desirable.

Application instructions

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