• Special Assistant, Political Affairs at United Nations Environment Programme

  • Posted on: 9 August, 2017 Deadline: Not Specified
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    The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization to promote international co-operation. A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was established on 24 October 1945

    Special Assistant, Political Affairs


    Special Notice

    Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

    The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

    Extension of the appointment is subject to extension of the mandate and/or the availability of the funds.

    Organizational Setting and Reporting

    This position is located in the Executive Office of the UN Environment Headquarters in Nairobi. Nairobi is classified as a hardship B duty station and a family duty station. The incumbent reports directly to the UN Environment Chief of Staff assisting the Executive Director.


    Within delegated authority, the incumbent will be responsible for the following duties

    Support and advise the Executive Director through

    (i) Coordination and strategic prioritization of all communications addressed to the Executive Director.

    (ii) In consultation with UN Environment Senior Management, monitor, identify and bring to the attention of the Executive Director emerging political, policy and managerial issues.

    Maintain liaison and serve as primary contact for smooth communication between the Executive Director/Executive Office and UN Environment Divisions, Regional Directors, and Country heads of office.

    (i) Manage the Executive Director’s day-to-day commitments and serves as point of referral for a number of regions/countries and thematic policy areas, including Africa and the nexus between the environment, peace and security matters.

    (ii) Ensure prompt and efficient communication and coordination between the Executive Director and UN Environment Divisions and Offices.

    (iii) Work with the Divisions and relevant staff, draft correspondence for and on behalf of the Executive Director, including confidential correspondence.

    Support the Executive Director’s meetings

    (i) Assist in planning for and participating in meetings of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) and the Committee of Permanent Representatives.

    (ii) Ensure that the Executive Director is effectively able to participate in (and lead, when appropriate) meetings with the UN Environment Senior Management and other internal bodies as necessary.

    (iii) Ensure that the Executive Director has relevant briefing material for meetings with senior managers, colleagues, members of the Nairobi diplomatic community, and visiting government, United Nations, Inter-Governmental Organizations and Non-Governmental Organization officials.

    Support the Executive Director to maintain close contact with government delegations, particularly in Africa, senior officials of the United Nations and its system organizations

    (i) Facilitate effective communication and contacts.

    (ii) Bring to the attention of the Executive Director issues relevant to UN Environment’s bilateral relations with governments and inter-agency cooperation.

    (iii) Identify, analyze and monitor political developments, trends and emerging issues that could affect the work of UN Environment.

    • Assess implications and make recommendations to senior management on possible policies, strategies and other measures to address issues of concern and to advance mandated objectives.
    • Support the Executive Director in the performance of his functions, including the provision of policy advice on issues relevant to Africa, other regions and thematic focused areas as appropriate.
    • Support the Executive Director’s travels and missions:

    (i) Coordinate the preparation of extensive briefing materials and mission files, ensuring the materials from other offices are submitted in a timely manner and are of high quality.

    (ii) Finalize all speeches and statements to be delivered by the Executive Director, in close consultation with the submitting office.

    (iii) Guide the Executive Director’s Administrative Assistant on all logistical preparations for mission travel, in cooperation with relevant substantive colleagues (particularly in regional and out-posted offices) and external interlocutors.

    (iv) Assist in follow-up actions arising from missions, including the finalization of mission reports and dissemination of relevant information to colleagues in other parts of UN Environment.

    • Support the development and implementation of the biannual UN Environment Programme of Work, relevant national, sub-regional and regional strategies and plans and devise innovative mechanisms to enhance UN Environment’s responsiveness to country and regional needs.
    • Support the coordination of UN Environment’s engagement and commitments in relevant United Nations system-wide processes and initiatives.
    • Perform any other duties as assigned by the Executive Director or Chief of Staff, and the Deputy Executive Director at the Executive Office.


    • Professionalism: Ability to coordinate the development of policy options, undertake background research, and draft analytical papers and documents on cross-cutting issues related to UN Environment. Ability to organize meetings and forums on topical, substantive cross-cutting issues. Ability to act as a focal point on thematic policy matters of relevance to UN Environment. 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;
    • Integrity: Demonstrates the values of the United Nations in daily activities and behaviours; acts without consideration of personal gain; resists undue political pressure in decision-making; does not abuse power or authority; stands by decisions that are in the Organization’s interest, even if they are unpopular; takes prompt action in cases of unprofessional or unethical behaviour.
    • Respect for Diversity: Works effectively with people from all backgrounds; treats all people with dignity and respect; treats men and women equally; shows respect for and understanding of diverse points of view and demonstrates this understanding in daily work and decision-making; examines own biases and behaviours to avoid stereotypical responses; does not discriminate against any individual or group.
    • 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.
    • 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.


    • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in political science, social science, international relations, international economics, law, public administration or other related field.
    • A first level university degree with a combination of two additional years of relevant work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

    Work Experience


    • A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible experience in international political affairs, sustainable development, environmental management, international relations or related areas.
    • Experience working at national and international levels.
    • Experience supporting high-level senior officials.


    • Experience working in a Front Office of a senior official.

    Method of Application

    Interested and qualified? Go to United Nations career website on careers.un.org to apply

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