Chief of Branch, Strategic Communications, D1

Chief of Branch, Strategic Communications, D1

UNOCHA - United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

New York, United States

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Office of the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, which is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response efforts. OCHA's mission is to mobilize and coordinate effective and principles humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies; advocate the rights of people in need; promote preparedness and prevention and facilitate sustainable solutions.

The Strategic Communications Branch (SCB) is responsible for OCHA's public communications, including media relations, public campaigns and communication products. This position is based in New York and will report directly to the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG / ERC).


Within the delegated authority, the Chief of the Strategic Communications Branch will be responsible for:

  • Leads, supervises and carries out the work programme of the Branch under his/her responsibility. Co-ordinates the work carried out by different work units under the Branch and by other agencies and bodies of the United Nations system; provides programmatic/substantive reviews of the drafts prepared by others. Designs and implements the organization's communications strategy based on enhanced partnerships with key internal and external constituencies, including field operations. Leads the development and implementation of a strategic communications plan to support humanitarian activities;
  • Co-ordinates and oversees the preparation of reports for presentation to intergovernmental bodies such as the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budget Questions, Committee for Programme Coordination, Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly and other policy-making organs, as appropriate. Drives the strategic vision of OCHA on communications in support of priorities of the Secretary-General and the ERC. Ensures consistency of OCHA's public position by managing messaging across media and digital platforms including, OCHAnet, ReliefWeb, Twitter, Medium and Facebook and other accounts and by closely integrating all related activities;
  • Reports to intergovernmental bodies on budget/programme performance or on programmatic/ substantive issues, as appropriate, particularly those presented in biannual and/or annual reports. Coordinates corporate communications efforts of the different divisions, branches and field offices with a view to enhancing the corporate brand of the organization vis-à-vis the public and partners; Builds strategic partnerships to maximize OCHA's communications impact, consolidating and building upon outreach efforts; Manages OCHA's proactive relations with global media and OCHA's social media strategy;
  • Ensures that the outputs produced by the Branch maintain high-quality standards; that reports are clear, objective and based on comprehensive data. Ensures that all outputs produced by the Sections under his/her supervision meet required standards before completion to ensure they comply with the relevant mandates; Supports the ERC in developing effective internal communications within OCHA, including in support of a stronger, more corporate and collaborative culture across the whole of the OCHA global network;
  • Prepares work programme of the Branch, determining priorities, and allocating resources for the completion of outputs and their timely delivery;
  • Undertakes or oversees the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Branch, including preparation of budgets, reporting on budget/programme performance, evaluation of staff performance (PAS), interviews of candidates for job openings, evaluation of candidates and preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting;
  • Recruits staff, taking due account of geographical balance, gender balance and other institutional values. Directs and manages SCB's financial resources; Establishes clear priorities for the branch and ensure section and individual goals and work plans are aligned with the corporate Strategic Framework. Promotes greater collaboration and linkages between OCHA HQ and field offices;
  • Manages, guides, develops and trains staff under his/her supervision. Leads the development of a comprehensive training and advancement strategy for communications staff and leadership, within available resources across the organization (field and HQ) in close collaboration with appropriate departments; Provides oversight and quality assurance of communications products and services produced by the organization;
  • Fosters teamwork and communication among staff in the Branch and across organizational boundaries. Provides strategic leadership, vision and managerial direction to the Branch. Foster a conducive working environment and provide clear strategic leadership and direction, ensuring a well-motivated team. Through the Branch management team, ensures coherence of delivery. Guides, mentors and coaches staff as required. Ensures that functions and capacities within SCB are aligned to promote an effective communications function which supports corporate and operational organizational priorities;
  • Leads and supervises the organization of meetings, seminars, etc. on substantive issues. Manages the substantive preparation and organization of such meetings or seminars. Ensures consistency of OCHA's public position by managing messaging across media and digital platforms including, OCHAnet, ReliefWeb, Twitter, Medium and Facebook and other accounts and by closely integrating all related activities;
  • Participates in international, regional or national meetings and provides programmatic/substantive expertise on an issue, or holds programmatic/substantive and organizational discussions with representatives of other institutions. Supports and advises the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC), and the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator (DERC) in their public communications role. Collaborates closely with the communications departments of Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) partners and provide leadership for the Humanitarian Communication Network;
  • Represents the Branch at international, regional or national meetings. Identifies cutting edge and innovative communication tools and processes and mainstreams their use in OCHA. Leads and ensures the quality of the annual World Humanitarian Day campaign, ensuring global reach with tangible benefits for OCHA and the humanitarian sector;
  • Performs other related duties as requested by the senior management of the Organization.


  • PROFESSIONALISM: Knowledge of the substantive field of work in general and of specific areas being supervised. Ability to produce reports and papers on technical issues and to review and edit the work of others. Ability to apply UN rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations. 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;
  • 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;
  • CREATIVITY: Actively seeks to improve programmes or services; offers new and different options to solve problems or meet client needs; promotes and persuades others to consider new ideas; takes calculated risks on new and unusual ideas; thinks "outside the box"; takes an interest in new ideas and new ways of doing things; is not bound by current thinking or traditional approaches;
  • 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;
  • MANAGING PERFORMANCE: Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; appraises performance fairly.


  • Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent degree) in journalism, communications, political or social sciences or related area is required. 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

  • A minimum of fifteen years of progressively responsible experience in public information, communications, advocacy, journalism, international relations, public administration or related field is required;
  • Experience in managing large and diverse teams is required;
  • Experience in public speaking is required;
  • Experience advising senior leaders on strategic communications activities is desirable;
  • Experience in leading change management of a diverse team is desirable;
  • Experience with contemporary media technologies such as social media platforms, web-based and interactive media mechanisms or similar, for use in the field of public affairs is desirable;
  • Experience in humanitarian affairs and a field operations, 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 desirable.

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EuroJobsites is a 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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