Chief, World Humanitarian Summit Secretariat

Application Deadline :10-Sep-15 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :FTA International
Post Level :D-1
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :1 year
Expected Duration of Assignment :1 year

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


Background on the WHS

The landscape of humanitarian action has changed since 1991, when a landmark resolution of the United Nations General Assembly established the international humanitarian response system as it is known today. Growth in the scope and diversity of humanitarian needs, and a more complex operating environment, have created new risks. There are also new opportunities: a wider range of actors and inter-operating networks are involved, and innovations to improve service delivery in each response. This is why preparations are under way for the first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in 2016. The United Nations Secretary-General has requested that the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) organize the Summit with a view to helping a changing humanitarian community work together better to serve people in need. It is a unique opportunity to take stock, adapt, and set a forward looking agenda for humanitarian action beyond 2016 to make humanitarian action more inclusive, global and effective – and overall, fit for the future.

The process leading up to the Summit started in early 2014 and has been as important as the Summit itself. A series of regional, technical and online consultations have been undertaken to come up with findings and recommendations that are being collected in a Synthesis Report. The recommendations in the Synthesis Report and the Secretary General’s Report on the WHS will be taken up at the Summit in May 2016. For more information on the background to the Summit please visit:

Duties and Responsibilities

Organizational Setting and Reporting Relationships:

The position of ‘D1, Chief – World Humanitarian Summit Secretariat’ will be located in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in New York. The Chief will report to the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator through the Director of the Corporate Programmes Division (CPD).


Within delegated authority, the Chief of the World Humanitarian Summit Secretariat will be responsible for the following:

Partnership outreach, coordination and consolidation: 

  • Engaging with partners, including Member States, emerging partners/donors, regional organizations, UN agencies, affected people, civil society, the private sector, to ensure input and support to the WHS consultancies and Summit. This includes building and strengthening a strategic coalition of partners to actively shape the WHS agenda and strong advocacy on the WHS goals and initiatives;
  • Take a leading role and direct the event planning and management (5000 people over two days), requiring logistic skills, attention to detail, follow up of legal and contractual arrangements, liaising with senior level and relevant Host Country representatives, associated UN Departments and external partners;
  • Communicating regularly with member states, the IASC, NGO community, other humanitarian actors and OCHA management on progress in the preparations for the Summit;
  • Keeping fully abreast of global political dynamics and issues affecting regional organizations which might impact the WHS preparations and its organization;
  • Ensuring engagement and coherence within OCHA headquarters and field offices on the WHS themes, consultation process and the Summit;
  • Overseeing the development and implementation of a robust communications and advocacy campaign to raise awareness and garner support for the WHS process at national, regional and global levels;
  • Mobilizing resources for the WHS Secretariat and the WHS process.

Leadership and Management:

  • Leading the WHS Secretariat team, including planning, prioritizing and coordinating the work carried out by the different units in the Secretariat;
  • Sharing the results of the inclusive consultative process gathering the views of a broad range of stakeholders, including affected communities, civil society, governments, regional organizations, partner organizations and the private sector, are understood and widely disseminated for consideration at the  Summit;
  • Leading and coordinating a broad based advocacy strategy on the WHS issues with political sensitivity and perceptiveness to promote WHS goals and innovative ideas among a broad array of champions and supporters;
  • Providing timely advice to the ERC/ USG, DERC/ASG, and OCHA senior management.

Policy Coordination:

  • Ensuring that the WHS agenda reflects the changing humanitarian context challenges facing the global humanitarian system, especially as outlined in the Synthesis Report;
  • Ensuring synergies with key events and discussions taking place in the lead up to the Summit including the Hyogo Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the post-2015 MDG Summit, the International Red Cross/Red Crescent conference, and the high-level meeting on Climate Change, among others are explored and developed;
  • As needed, linking with and feeding into the development of the Secretary-General’s report to the Summit, with consolidating the key findings and recommendations of the various regional, technical and online consultations.


  • Efficient and effective management of the Secretariat’s budget including preparing inputs for results-based budgeting. Overseeing the administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Secretariat, including reporting on performance, evaluation of staff performance, interviews of candidates for job openings, evaluation of candidates;
  • Recruiting staff, taking due account of geographical balance. Managing, guiding, developing and training staff under his/her supervision. Ensuring WHSS is equipped with sufficient staff capacity.

Work implies frequent interaction with the following:

  • UN Mission and Member State personnel with responsibility for humanitarian issues and non-governmental organization representatives, delegations, host country officials and other government officials and partners in universities and research institutes, etc.;
  • Other humanitarian stakeholders, including civil society and academic/humanitarian policy organizations and private sector partners;
  • Staff at all levels within OCHA both in New York, Geneva and the field;
  • UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinators;
  • Representatives of other UN humanitarian agencies and other member organizations in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee.

Expected Results:

  • Effective and efficient delivery of an inclusive and transparent process between the Global Consultation and the Summit;
  • Well-run Summit with concrete deliverables;
  • Well-managed Secretariat;
  • Effective leadership and management of project work streams, including timely outputs;
  • Effectively manages complex policy issues related to the WHS;
  • Forms strong partnerships both internally and externally to ensure that WHS objectives are achieved;
  • Comprehensive advocacy campaign and outreach on WHS goals and initiatives to key audiences and champions.


Core Competencies:

  • Promoting ethics and integrity, creating organizational precedents;
  • Building support and political acumen;
  • Building staff competence, creating an environment of creativity and innovation;
  • Building and promoting effective teams;
  • Creating and promoting enabling environment for open communication;
  • Leveraging conflict in the interests of setting standards;
  • Fair and transparent decision making; calculated risk-taking.

Functional Competencies:


  • In depth knowledge of humanitarian issues. Knowledge of the post-2015 process and other initiatives that may have an impact on the humanitarian agenda;
  • Demonstrated capacity for intellectual leadership;
  • Conceptual and strategic analytical capacity and ability evaluate critical matters pertaining to a broad spectrum of humanitarian and development  issues;
  • Knowledge of institutional mandates, policies and guidelines related to humanitarian affairs and seasoned knowledge of the institutions of the UN system;
  • Ability to negotiate and influence others to reach agreement on difficult issues;
  • Ability to work under extreme pressure;
  • 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 equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.


  • 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.

Client Orientation:

  • Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view;
  • Establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect;
  • Identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions;
  • Monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems;
  • Keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects;
  • Meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.


  • 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.


  • Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks;
  • Clearly communicates links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals;
  • Generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction;
  • Conveys enthusiasm about future possibilities.


  • 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.


  • 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.

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.

Client Orientation:

  • Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view;
  • Establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect;
  • Identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions;
  • Monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems;
  • Keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects;
  • Meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in international affairs, political science, business or public administration, finance, accounting, law, social sciences, or related are;
  • A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.


  • A minimum of fifteen years of progressively responsible experience, including at the international level, in humanitarian affairs, emergency preparedness, crisis/emergency relief management, rehabilitation, development, or other related areas;
  • Managerial experience, including in inter-organizational relief coordination in emergency situations in the field locations is an advantage;
  • Qualifying years of experience are calculated following the receipt of the first level university degree recognized by the United Nations.


  • Fluency in English (both oral and written) is required;
  • Knowledge of Arabic, French or Spanish is desirable;
  • Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.

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