Senior Political Affairs Officer (Elections), P5

UN Department of Political Affairs and Peace-building
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Apr 14

Position description

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs in New York. The incumbent reports to the Deputy Director.


Within delegated authority, the Senior Political Affairs (Electoral) Officer will be responsible for the following duties:

In Headquarters:

  • Formulates political affairs strategies in the electoral field and adequate responses to Member States’ requests for electoral assistance; develops a vision or direction for work and creates the conditions to allow this direction to be implemented.
  • Plans and coordinates programmes and activities requiring interdepartmental and/or interagency involvement and participates in the set up of large electoral operations.
  • Prepares briefing notes and talking points for the Secretary General, Senior Advisors, Under Secretary General/Assistant Secretary General for meetings with Heads of State, foreign ministers and other high-level interested parties.
  • Advises Special Representatives/Envoys of the Secretary-General, Heads of Offices, Senior UN Officials, in the course of election-related good offices missions
  • Designs and effects electoral initiatives; advises on and participates in the negotiation to establish electoral operations, and develops guidelines, terms of reference and operational plans and time frames for new operations.
  • Conducts and directs research, initiates and carries out in-depth analysis and studies on diverse and sensitive international issues especially with regards to electoral processes.
  • Follows up on current electoral trends and political and security problems related to geographical assignment.
  • Proposes plan of action for immediate and long range solutions to electoral problems in general and in specific geographical areas; identifies emerging issues pertaining to the mandates of the unit or division; analyses implications and makes recommendations on possible strategies and measures to improve the work of the Electoral Assistance Division.
  • Designs and develops significant policy and program changes to address evolving needs of Member States in the electoral field.
  • 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 Division; coordinates and oversees work of colleagues and unit.
  • Develops and maintains relations with officials at the highest levels of governments and advises them on issues and policies of mutual concern.
  • Acts as a senior trainer in courses.
  • Designs and formulates technical assistance projects in support of electoral management bodies.
  • Oversees the periodic updating of the Single UN Roster of Electoral Experts
  • Advises, supports and helps coordinate the conduct of elections as required.
  • Follow-up on discussions in the ACABQ and the Fifth Committee pertaining to the budget of electoral components of UN peace operations
  • Leads electoral needs assessment missions in complex countries to assess government requests for electoral assistance.
  • Performs other related duties as required.

In the field:

  • Leads electoral needs assessment missions in complex countries to assess government requests for electoral assistance.
  • Designs and formulates technical assistance projects in support of electoral management bodies.
  • Acts as Head of mission of large UN electoral operations as required.
  • Manages, coordinates, organizes the conduct of elections as required.
  • Performs other related duties as required.


  • Professionalism: Knowledge of unit’s strategic direction and ability to transform it into a results-oriented work programme. Ability to evaluate international political problems. Ability to work in the field providing electoral assistance. Knowledge of all aspects of electoral processes and their technical and political implications. Ability to manage and coordinate multileveled projects. 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; remains calm in stressful situations.
  • 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.
  • Accountability: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours 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 his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.

Managerial Competencies

  • 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.
  • Managing Performance: 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.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) degree in political science, international relations, 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 at national and international levels in advisory and managerial positions in electoral assistance, political science, international relations, law, development management, conflict resolution or related area is required.
  • A minimum of seven years of experience in supervising, implementing and advising senior officials on electoral processes is required.
  • Experience in managing a team of different backgrounds is required.
  • Experience in serving inter-governmental bodies with the United Nations or another international organization is desirable


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in both English and French is required.

Application instructions

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