Director, Political Affairs, D2

UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs-Department of Peace Operations-Shared Structure
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Nov 22

Position description

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO) in the Western Africa Division. The Director reports directly to the Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Africa, and through her, to the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and to the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations.


Within delegated authority, the Director will be responsible for the following:

  • Directs and manages the work of the Division; formulates and implement the substantive work programme of the Division under his/her supervision, determining priorities, and allocating resources for the completion of outputs and their timely delivery;
  • Oversees the management of activities undertaken by the Division, including the formulation and implementation of its annual workplan ensuring that programmed activities are carried out in a timely fashion, and co-ordinates work in the different areas both within the Division and Department, and with other organizations of the United Nations System, donors and agencies, as appropriate;
  • Contributes to the formulation of the departments' overall strategies and policies by participating in various committees, preparing documents on policy issues, and acting, as required, in an advisory capacity to the USGs/ASG; contributes to the overall management of the Departments' activities and operations;
  • Follows political, security and other developments in the countries of the region to provide early warning of tensions and potential conflicts, in support of the Secretary-General's responsibilities in the maintenance of international peace and security;
  • Exercises overall management of timely provision of political analyses, briefing notes, background papers and talking points to the Secretary-General and the Under-Secretary-General and of reports to the General Assembly and Security Council, and other policymaking organs, as appropriate;
  • Provides experienced counsel and support to Special Representatives, Heads of Mission, Coordinators or Envoys of the Secretary-General. Maintains regular contacts with field missions (both peacekeeping and special political missions) and engages in monitoring and support to those missions;
  • Provides senior assistance, analysis, advice and recommendations for possible actions to the ASG and the relevant USGs on preventative diplomacy and peacemaking, as well as peacekeeping, in relation to political and security developments in Western Africa and relevant regional and subregional organizations;
  • Coordinates and maintains regular contacts with Member States, regional and sub-regional organisations, other relevant Departments and offices of the UN secretariat, and UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes on issues under the purview of the Division. Leads, related inter-agency task forces and working groups;
  • Reports to intergovernmental bodies on budget/programme performance or on programmatic/substantive issues, as appropriate, particularly those presented in biannual and/or annual reports;
  • Co-ordinates and oversees the preparation of reports for presentation to intergovernmental bodies such as the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budget Questions, Committee for Programme Coordination, Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly and other policy-making organs, as appropriate;
  • Ensures that the outputs produced by the Division maintain high-quality standards and that reports are clear, objective and based on comprehensive data. Ensures that all outputs produced by the Division meet required standards before completion to ensure they comply with the relevant mandates;
  • Undertakes or oversees the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Division, including preparation of budgets, assigning and monitoring of performance parameters and critical indicators, reporting on budget/programme performance, preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting, evaluation of staff performance, interviews of candidates for job openings and evaluation of candidates;
  • Oversees the recruitment of staff for Division taking due account geographical and gender balance and other institutional values;
  • Ensures that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; manages, guides, develops and trains staff under his/her supervision; fosters teamwork and communication among staff in the Division and across organizational boundaries;
  • Chairs meetings, seminars, etc., on substantive-related issues; represents the Organization at international, regional, inter-agency meetings, seminars and conference; provides programmatic/substantive expertise on an issue, or holds programmatic/substantive and organizational discussions with representatives of other institutions;
  • Perform other related duties as requested by the senior management of the Organization.


  • Professionalism: Knowledge of West Africa and relevant regional and subregional organizations. Shows ability to conduct political and conflict analysis and to produce reports and papers on technical issues and political developments. Shows ability to apply UN rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations. 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. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work;
  • 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;
  • Communication: 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;
  • 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;
  • Judgement/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; makes tough decisions when necessary.


  • Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in international relations, international law, politics, social sciences or related area. 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

  • Over fifteen years of progressively responsible experience in international political affairs or related area, preferably in an international organization, is required;
  • Three years of field experience in Africa, particularly in Western Africa, is required;
  • Experience in preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and/or peacekeeping is required;
  • Managerial experience at the senior level is required;
  • Experience in managing or supporting complex field missions is desirable;
  • Experience working in or on conflict or post-conflict settings is desirable.


  • English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post advertised, fluency (both oral and written) in English and French is required. Knowledge of another official UN language is an advantage.

Application instructions

Please be sure to indicate that you saw this position on