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1 Dec 2020

Head of Office for Political Affairs

Job Description

Org. Setting and Reporting

The position is located in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan UNMISS, Duty Station Bor. Bor Field Office is classified in the “E” category and as a non-family duty station. The incumbent will report to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) through the Chief of Staff.


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

  • In consultation with substantive components at Mission HQ, lead, direct and coordinate the personnel, operations and programs of all civilian Mission components in the Field Office Area of Responsibility, in line with the mandate and strategic guidance and priorities provided by the Head of Mission.
  • Lead extremely complex, challenging and highly sensitive and security operating environment involving multiple competing internal groupings, outliers, and regional actors through political advocacy.
  • Assess, analyze, and make appropriate recommendations to Mission leadership on critical security and complex political issues affecting the area of operations from both the national and sub-national perspective, proposing interventions, and devising complex strategies for delivery of mandated objectives while faced with a constantly changing operating environment.
  • Provides good office on behalf of the SRSG, as appropriate.
  • Ensures the operational functioning of the field office in collaboration with all components of the Mission (Substantive, Military, Police and Mission Support);
  • Leads, supervises and carries out the work programme of the office under his/her responsibility. Co-ordinates the work carried out by different work units under the office and by other agencies and bodies of the United Nations system in order to ensure coherence; provides programmatic/substantive reviews of the drafts prepared by others.
  • 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.
  • Co-ordinates and oversees the preparation of summary and analytical reports including situation reports, briefing notes, notes to file and draft code cables.
  • Ensures that the outputs produced by the field office maintain high-quality standards; that reports are clear, objective and based on comprehensive data. Ensures that all outputs produced by the field office under his/her supervision meet required standards before completion to ensure they comply with the relevant mandates.
  • Develop and maintain productive relationships with the local and state authorities, political and community leaders, civil society actors to the UN family and other national and international partners on coordination and policy matters. Develops and leads outreach strategies targeting the local population, in order to cultivate ties, create/expand political space, foster dialogue and develop an understanding of local perceptions and views on relevant issues, challenges and possible solutions thereto.
  • Develop and lead outreach strategies targeting the local population, in order to cultivate ties, create/expand political space, foster inter-community dialogue and conflict resolution and develop an understanding of local perceptions and views on relevant issues, challenges and possible solutions thereto; Ensure that perceptions are factored into the Mission’s own activities and contribution to policy-making and planning processes.
  • Manage and oversees the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the office, including preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting, and reporting performance, and development of quick impact projects their implementation, monitoring and evaluations,
  • Recruits staff, as necessary taking due account of geographical and gender balance,
  • Supervise, mentor, trains and evaluate civilian staff within the Field Office
  • Fosters teamwork and communication among staff in the office and across organizational boundaries. Leads and supervises the organization of meetings, seminars, etc. on substantive issues. Manages the substantive preparation and organization of such meetings or seminars.
  • Performs other relevant duties, as requested by the Chief of Staff and the SRSG.


Professionalism: Extensive knowledge of issues pertaining to South Sudan, especially in the area of peace and security, regional and global dynamics, as well as relevant local and international actors. Ability to produce reports and papers on technical issues and to review and edit the work of others. Ability to apply UN, or other large international organization, 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. 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.

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.

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.

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 that 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, political affairs law, social sciences or related area is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two qualifying years of experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of 15 years of work experience on political and peace and security matters at the international levels, including recent extensive operational and political advocacy experience in similar highly complex multi-dimensional environments is required.
  • Proven policy and management experience in conflict and post-conflict countries in the field, including diplomatic and management is also required.
  • Experience of coordinating inter-agency processes within the UN system, or other large international organization, as well as experience working with the mandates of peace and security, human rights, protection of civilians, humanitarian and development entities is required.
  • Experience working with the administrative rules and regulations of the UN Secretariat, or other large international organization, is required.


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


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.

Special Notice

This position is temporarily available for three (3) months with the possibility of extension subject to availability of funds.. If the selected candidate is a staff member from the United Nations Secretariat, the selection will be administered as a temporary assignment.

Deadline: 03 December 2020

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