Social Affairs Officer, P3

Social Affairs Officer, P3

UN DESA - United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

New York, United States

Org. Setting and Reporting

The position is located in the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (SPFII), in the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). The incumbent reports to the Chief of SPFII. The SPFII provides substantive assistance and support to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The SPFII advocates for and facilitates the implementation within the UN system of the recommendations that emerge from each annual session; promotes awareness of indigenous issues within the UN system, governments, and the broader public; and serves as a source of information and a coordination point for advocacy efforts that relate to the Permanent Forum's mandate and the ongoing issues that arise concerning indigenous peoples.


Within delegated authority, the Social Affairs Officer will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Participates in the analysis of indigenous peoples’ issues in the areas of development, environment, health, human rights, culture and education at the global regional and national levels; undertakes empirical research and analysis of trends and developments and related social policy issues relevant to the unit/departmental mandate, projects and initiatives; recommends proposals for inclusion in reports to intergovernmental bodies, member states and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;
  • Liaises with officials of governments, representatives of national, regional and global organizations, organizations of indigenous peoples, representatives of civil society, UN system organizations on selected social policy issues related to the implementation of recommendations of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;
  • Provides support for specific programmes, action plans or other initiatives to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples including the UN System Wide Action Plan on Indigenous Peoples, and provide advice on a range of related matters;
  • Provides support to the follow up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples including development of national action plans;
  • Assists in the planning, organizing and servicing of technical and ad hoc expert group meetings, including drafting background documents, summaries and reports;
  • Represents DESA/DSPD/SPFII at international and other meetings, organizes and participates in working groups, meetings, conferences, and/or consultations with other agencies and partners on social development matters, with particular emphasis on indigenous peoples issues;
  • Prepares and/or contributes to the preparation of various written reports, documents and communications, e.g; drafts reports or sections of analytical reports, studies, background papers, parliamentary documents, briefings, and correspondence and contributes to the biennial publication, “State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples”;
  • Provides support to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and intergovernmental processes dealing with indigenous issues by: preparing inputs for reports of and to the relevant bodies; following meetings of the Forum and intergovernmental bodies and preparing summary reports; preparing inputs to statements by members of the Forum, bureau and UN officials to such meetings; assisting in the organization of panels, round tables and similar activities within the Forum and intergovernmental processes;
  • Provides support to consultative processes for enhancing the participation of indigenous peoples at the United Nations;
  • Organizes training seminars and capacity development activities;
  • Prepares documentation for technical cooperation projects;
  • Contributes to the preparation of material for the approval of regional, country or sectoral technical cooperation projects;
  • Monitors, backstops and assesses the implementation of technical cooperation projects;
  • Provides guidance to, and may supervise, new/junior staff;
  • Performs other related duties as required, including a variety of administrative tasks necessary for the final delivery of the work unit’s services;
  • Undertakes on-the-job and other training activities, both internally and externally.


  • PROFESSIONALISM: Knowledge and practical application of theories and concepts related to social development and social policy. Knowledge of relevant institutional mandates, policies and guidelines as they relate to indigenous peoples and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, as well as knowledge of UN Institutions. Ability to have strong analytical capacity and the ability to identify, analyze and articulate complex issues, especially related to human rights and development. Ability to use sound judgment. Ability to conduct research, including ability to evaluate and integrate information from a variety of sources using standard methodologies and analytical techniques, draw conclusions and assess impact on the socio-economic development and policy issues related to indigenous peoples. Ability to provide guidance to new/junior staff. 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;
  • 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;
  • TEAMWORK: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in law, sociology, economics, other social science or related field is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in socio-economic development, policy analysis, sociological research or related area is required. Experience working in an international organization is desirable. Experience preparing background notes, talking points or statements for senior-level officials, is desirable. Experience in report-writing is desirable. Experience conducting research and analysis on indigenous peoples’ issues is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the UN Secretariat. For this post advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French or Spanish is desirable.

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© EuroJobsites 2018

EuroJobsites is a UK registered company number: 4694396 VAT number: GB 880 9055 04

Registered address: EuroJobsites Ltd, Unit 8, Kingsmill Business Park, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 3GZ, United Kingdom

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