Head of Office, Economic Affairs, D1

Head of Office, Economic Affairs, D1

UN DESA - United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Nagoya, Japan

Org. Setting and Reporting

The post is located at the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) in Nagoya, Japan, a Research and Training Centre of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations. The Director of UNCRD reports to the Director of the Division for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), United Nations through the Chief of the Water, Energy and Capacity Building Branch.


Within delegated authority, the incumbent will assume the overall responsibility for the substantive direction and overall management of the Centre, ensuring the implementation of the Centre’s established programme of work. More specifically, the incumbent will:

  • Formulate and implement, under the guidance of the Director, Division for Sustainable Development, the substantive work programme of the Centre, with the objective of assisting developing countries to translate the outcomes of major international summits on sustainable development into national policies. Particular thematic focus of the activities of the Centre will be the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals at regional and national level;
  • Lead the development of the work programme: Within the overall mandate of the Centre, and with an emphasis on implementing national and regional development programmes and conducting capacity building activities to assist developing countries, set out the Centre’s overall vision as well as the concrete outputs, determine priorities and optimal allocation of resources, and establish programmatic timelines and deliverables;
  • Supervise implementation: Ensure achievement of programmatic targets and timelines and adherence to budgetary provisions; oversee logistical and substantive preparations for training workshops and programmes; seek regular guidance from DSD and provide timely progress reports; and maintain communications with relevant DESA divisions as well as the Centre’s key stakeholders;
  • Manage the staff of the Centre: Evaluate staff performance (e-Performance), oversee local staff recruitment and participate in international staff recruitment; invest in staff development, provide programmatic as well as substantive guidance to UNCRD staff, foster teamwork and communication among staff, and ensure effective coordination between the work of different units;
  • Enhance the quality of all the activities and outputs of the Centre: Ensure that training programmes are responsive to needs and requests from beneficiaries; training materials are of high quality and relevance; logistical and support arrangements are provided in line with UN standards; research reports and publications are objective, fact-based, and coherent; resource persons combine high technical expertise with excellent pedagogical skills, and communications are clear and timely;
  • Fulfil mandated goals: through seeking regular and sustained guidance from the Director, DSD on capacity building needs emanating from the outcomes of sustainable development summits, including the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, and provide timely reports on programmatic, administrative, and budgetary performance;
  • Establish a strong communications profile, including through the Centre’s website, publications, annual reports and web-based and other training programmes; ensure on-going liaison with developing country partners, host country representatives, partner organizations in the United Nations System, interregional bodies, and other policy-making organs, as appropriate;
  • Fundraising: Oversee the development of fundraising proposals which will diversify the Centre’s funding base, with a particular emphasis on projects which relate to the follow up on the outcomes of major summits on sustainable development;
  • Represent the Division for Sustainable Development at international, regional or national meetings by providing substantive expertise-based inputs on issues within the mandate of the Centre;
  • Advise senior staff in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations on matters within the competence of the Centre.


  • Professionalism: Knowledge of sustainable development issues and approaches, and their implications for policy making at country level. Knowledge of the UN sustainable development agenda. Ability to deal with senior government officials on matter related to sustainable development and poverty eradication. Knowledge of analytical and capacity building skills, including in relation to policies and planning, conducting policy research, training, capacity building, expert-group meetings and networking, and ability to produce reports and review and edit work of others. Knowledge of the United Nations system; ability to apply UN rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations. Ability to oversee the management of multiple projects. Good knowledge of UN regulations, rules, policies and guidelines, as well as experience and ability to apply these in work situations. Conscientiousness in meeting commitments, observing deadlines, and achieving results efficiently. Commitment to action, pride in work and achievements, shows persistence in the face of difficult challenges, and calmness in stressful situations;
  • Planning and Organizing: Ability to develop clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identify priority activities and assignments; use time efficiently; allocate appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresee risks and allow for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; and to adjust priorities as required by changed circumstances;
  • Accountability: Ability to accept responsibility, take ownership, and honour commitments, including to operate in compliance with organizational regulations and rules; deliver outputs of agreed quality within time and cost limitations; support subordinates and provide oversight, and assume ultimate responsibility both for delegated assignments and for one’s own shortcomings, where applicable;
  • 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;
  • Judgment/Decision-making: Identifies the key issues in a complex situation; 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 a field relevant to regional development policy, such as economics or international relations, environmental policy and planning, or public administration. A Ph.D. is considered an asset. A first level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of fifteen years of progressively responsible experience in regional development, particularly in the context of sustainable development, At least 10 years experience in leading a core team undertaking relevant policy research and training with successful outputs such as publications and training manuals delivered;
  • Experience working in international organizations, including but not limited to the UN system. Knowledge/experience working with or in developing countries would be highly desirable;
  • Experience in facilitating training and conducting interactive sessions at international setting is highly desirable.


  • Fluency in English (both oral and written) is required; proficiency in Japanese is also required. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.

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