Chief, External Communications Team

Application Deadline :26-Jun-09 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Management
Type of Contract :FTA International
Post Level :P-5 (Fixed-Term Appointment)
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :One year


Under the supervision of the Director of the Office of Communications and in close collaboration with the other two OC Section Chiefs, the Head, External Communications, is responsible for all aspects of external strategic communications. He/she leads a team of regionally-based Communications Advisors and the New York-based External Communications Team. He/she is responsible for increasing UNDP’s capacity to communicate at the Country, Regional, and HQ levels, and for helping strengthen UNDP’s positioning among key partners and target audiences. He/she is expected to have strong understanding of strategic communications approaches for effective advocacy and campaigning.
The incumbent has ongoing responsibility for delivering four main service lines:

  • Strategic Communications Services working closely with the Regional Bureaux, BDP and BCPR in establishing and implementing strategic communications initiatives.
  • Media Relations.  
  • Enhancing Communications Capacity 
  • Advocacy and Media Development.

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of key functions: Provides strategic advice to the Executive Office, the Bureaux and the Country Offices on strategic external communications opportunities and provides crisis communications support.

  • Oversees Media Relations.
  • Increases UNDP’s visibility through new and innovative partnerships with media organizations, including new media.
  • Lead and motivate a team of communications officers both at headquarters and in regional offices in strategically leveraging UNDP’s development results into pro-active communication for the media and other key-stakeholders.
  • Develops a multi-year, multi-pronged, multi-media communications strategy/work plan to position UNDP publically on key development issues.

Provides Strategic External Communications Services

  • Leads a team of Communications Officers at HQ and in regional outposts in increasing the positive visibility of UNDP’s activities worldwide amongst key stakeholders, and ensures the implementation of agreed work plans.
  • Advises the Office ExO, Regional Bureaux, BDP, BCPR, PB, HDRO and country offices across the globe on media outreach and other communications activities and tools.
  • Provides ongoing strategic direction, advice and guidance on UNDP advocacy
  • Brings to the attention of these units windows of opportunity to call attention to UNDP’s work globally, including specific media trends, news events or country office/regional programmes.
  • Supports the Director in handling crisis communications.
  • Mobilizes OC services to support key corporate communications initiatives, including regional and country office undertakings which offer global communications potential.
  • With the support of the TV Broadcast Specialist, identifies and pursues television news opportunities to showcase UNDP’s work in the field in support of the MDGs and other practice areas.

Oversees Media Relations

  • Leads the External Communications Team in all media outreach activities
  • With support of the Team, develops and implements a media relations plan and key messages for positioning UNDP.
  • Provides leadership and oversight to target key influential journalists in donor and programme countries and develops communications tools (press briefings, feature stories and op-eds) to support the strategic communications plan
  • Ensures that all media relations efforts are targeted at enhancing UNDP’s positioning in priority areas, i.e. MDGs and the practices
  • Provides leadership and strategic advice to Regional Communications Advisers/Specialists based in the regions and NY-based focal points in developing and implementing tailored media strategies

Leads the enhancement of UNDP’s Strategic Communications

  • In consultation with the network of Regional Communications Specialists and HQ-based regional focal points, identifies communications training needs of communications and programme personnel and works with OC’s Communications Services Team, and concerned units to ensure that these needs are met.
  • Through the fostering of new partnerships with media, private sector and enterprises and other organizations, works to increase the visibility of UNDP activities and advocacy. 

Media Development and Advocacy

  • In consultation with BDP and HDRO, develops a comprehensive communications strategy/workplan to position UNDP and achieve advocacy on key development issues.
  • Works closely with Regional Advisors and CO to identify opportunities for UNDP-led media development seminars and projects in programme countries.


Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards
  • Advocates and promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism

Functional Competencies:

  • Shows general knowledge of and strong commitment to UNDP key practice areas and the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Conceptualizes, elaborates and implements communications strategies and manages high-level partnerships.
  • Demonstrates thorough knowledge and experience in strategic communications and media relations
  • Shares knowledge and experience and contributes to development of Communications as a competency within Management Practice Area. 

Management and Leadership competencies:

  • Focuses on impact and result for the client
  • Interacts effectively with all levels of the organization, including the Administrator and Senior Management at HQ and in the regions
  • Effectively manages teams and creates an enabling work environment
  • Demonstrates conflict resolution skills
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude
  • Builds strong relationships with clients and external actors
  • Demonstrates exceptional ability to remain calm, in control and good humored even under pressure and tight deadlines
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities
  • Responds positively to critical feedback and differing points of view
  • Solicits feedback about the impact of his/her own behavior.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Master’s degree in communications, journalism, social science, international relations or a development-related field.


  • A minimum of 10 years of professional experience in media relations or journalism.
  • Strong knowledge of international media, including television and print, a must.
  • Extensive international-level experience including experience working in the field as communications professional highly desirable. Prior experience working with the United Nations and in developing countries an asset.


  • Fluency in English mandatory. Working knowledge of a second UN language a strong asset

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