Director, Political Affairs, D2

United Nations

New York, United States

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support. The Director, Political Affairs/Deputy Head of Peacebuilding Support Office reports directly to the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support. The position is located in New York which is classified as a “H” family duty station.

Established in 2005, the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) helps to sustain peace in conflict-affected countries by garnering international support for nationally owned and led peacebuilding efforts. The office assists and supports the Peacebuilding Commission, administers the Peacebuilding Fund, and supports the Secretary General's efforts to coordinate the UN System in its peacebuilding efforts.


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

  • Leads PBSO’s senior management team, and manages the performance and administration of the office as a whole and its operations, including performance management of PBSO senior personnel, effective implementation of PBSO’s personnel and reform strategy and strengthening of organizational results, and oversees PBSO’s efficient administration.
  • Acts on behalf of the ASG on policy and operational matters and provides strategic leadership, guidance and management to PBSO’s work in support of the Peacebuilding Commission and the UN system with regard to the development of peacebuilding strategies and policies and the development of PBSO’s organization and capacities.
  • Supports the ASG by overseeing the formulation of policy proposals on peacebuilding issues and proposing policy directives and plans of action for immediate and long range solutions to peacebuilding challenges conceptually and with regard to specific countries, identifies emerging issues in peacebuilding, analyzes implications and makes recommendations on possible strategies and measures.
  • Leads and manages the effort to develop peacebuilding strategies in support of the deliberations of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and UN leadership in the field, including the development, refinement and monitoring of PBC instruments of engagement, synergies to the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) and wider international efforts; monitors stabilization efforts and broader recovery processes in countries emerging from conflict; and advises on issues for the attention of the UN’s Senior Management Group, and Senior Representatives of Permanent Missions to the United Nations.
  • Develops and provides strategic policy advice to PBC stakeholders and relevant countries on PBC engagement and peacebuilding strategies, and assesses the progress on implementation of country peacebuilding plans.
  • Ensures programmatic and policy coordination and synergistic engagement with UN entities, including Departments, Funds, Agencies and Programmes, Principal Organs including the Security Council and the General Assembly, and represents PBSO in senior coordination fora and strategic planning exercises.
  • Maintains, in close coordination with the ASG, regular contact with senior mission leadership (SRSGs and D/SRSGs), UN Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams on peacebuilding efforts.
  • Leads, in particular, efforts to develop the partnership and collaboration with external partners and stakeholders, particularly those in Africa, such as the African Bank for Development, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), etc.
  • Coordinates and oversees the preparation of reports for presentation to inter-governmental bodies such as the PBC, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budget Questions, the Committee for Programme Coordination, the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly and other policy-making organs, as appropriate.
  • Reports to inter-governmental bodies on budget/programme performance or on programmatic/substantive issues, as appropriate, particularly those presented in bi-annual and/or annual reports.
  • In close conjunction with the Special Assistant to the ASG and PBSO’s Administrative Management Officer, undertakes or oversees programmatic/administrative tasks, as necessary, 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 (e-Performance), interviews of candidates for job openings and evaluation of candidates.
  • Chairs meetings and seminars on substantive and policy issues, represents the Organization at international, regional, inter-agency and other meetings, seminars and conferences; provides programmatic/substantive expertise on relevant issues and engages in programmatic/substantive and organizational discussions with representatives of other institutions.
  • Represents the ASG in relevant inter-governmental bodies and inter-Secretariat coordinating bodies and deputizes for the ASG as necessary.
  • Performs other related duties as requested by the senior management of the Organization.


  • Professionalism: Knowledge on the development of policy and strategy on peacebuilding and related issues, with broad geographical remit; Ability to produce reports and papers on technical and policy issues and ability to review and edit the work of others; Knowledge of United Nations policies, management, administrative, budgetary and staffing systems, procedures and regulations; Ability to communicate complex concepts orally and in writing and to prepare written reports that are clear, concise and meaningful; proven ability to defend and explain difficult issues with respect to key decisions and positions to staff, senior officials and members of inter-governmental bodies; ability to tailor language, tone, style and format to match the audience; demonstrated openness in sharing information and keeping people informed. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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. 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: Mature judgment and initiative; imagination; resourcefulness. Energy and proven ability to provide strategic direction and ensure an effective work structure to maximize productivity and achieve goals. 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 degree) in political sciences, international relations, social sciences, finance, business administration, management 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

At least fifteen years of progressively responsible international experience in the areas of peacebuilding, post-conflict and crisis transition, governance and/or programmatic activities and management is required. A minimum of five years of experience working in post-conflict and/or transition countries with peacebuilding activities is required. Experience representing an organization or institution at senior levels is required. Experience and expertise on Sub-Saharan Africa is desirable. Experience in results-based management is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.

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