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Special Assistant, Political Affairs, P4

Support and advise the Executive Director through:

  • Coordination of strategic prioritisation of all communications addressed to the Executive Director, reviews and comments on them, suggests courses of action and if appropriate, assigns them directly for action to a Division/Regional Office and monitors progress of preparation.
  • Review of documents reflecting UN-Habitat policies for substance and style, submits for final clearance to the Executive Director.
  • In consultation with UN-Habitat Senior Management, monitors, identifies and brings to the attention of the Executive Director and Chief of Staff in the office of Executive Director, emerging policy and managerial issues.
  • Identify issues requiring attention and/or intervention by the Executive Office and coordinates and develops recommendations for action in coordination with Chief of Staff in the office of Executive Director, relevant managers and staff. Follows upon decisions taken.
  • Oversight and coordination of background briefing material for the Executive Director.

Maintains liaison with Divisions and serves as the contact point between the Executive Director, Executive Office, Senior Management and UN-Habitat Regional and Liaison Offices.

  • Liaise with senior management on missions/travel and ensures adequate feedback to senior management on the outcome of the official missions and follows-up as appropriate.
  • Liaise closely with the Deputy Executive Director, Chief of Staff and the Executive Office team, keeping abreast of key developments on strategic issues.
  • Manage the Executive Director’s day-to-day commitments, serves as point of referral on requests for appointments with the Executive Director and on problems which require the Executive Director’s attention.
  • Ensure prompt and efficient communication and coordination between the Executive Director and UN-Habitat Divisions and Offices.
  • Together with the Chief of Staff, reviews communications prepared for signature by the Executive Director for substance and style and clears them for the Executive Director’s signature.
  • Working with the Divisions and relevant staff, drafts correspondence for and on behalf of the Executive Director, including confidential correspondence.

Supports the Executive Director’s meetings:

  • Assist the Executive Director in planning for and participating in meetings of the UN-Habitat Assembly (UNHA), the Executive Board and the Committee of Permanent Representatives, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Group UNSDG and the Chief Executives Board.
  • Ensure that the Executive Director is effectively able to participate in (and lead, when appropriate) meetings with the UN-Habitat Senior Management Team, Executive Committee, and other internal bodies as necessary.
  • Ensure that the Executive Director has relevant briefing material for meetings with senior managers ,colleagues, members of the diplomatic community, and visiting government, UN, Intergovernmental Organization (IGO) and Non Governmental Organization (NGO) officials.
  • Support the Executive Director during these meetings.
  • Maintain meeting records and ensure necessary follow-up action is undertaken in a timely manner.

Supports the Executive Director to maintain close contact with governments, delegations, senior officials of the UN, UN system organizations:

  • Facilitate effective communication and contacts between the Executive Director and these bodies/organizations.
  • Bring to the attention of the Executive Director and Chief of Staff, Executive Office issues relevant to UN-Habitat’s bilateral relations with governments and inter-agency cooperation.
  • Receive and reviews confidential communications from governments and drafts correspondence for and on behalf of the Executive Director, including confidential correspondence to governments and Permanent Missions.
  • Identify, analyzes and monitors political developments, particularly in the regional context, as well as trends and emerging issues that could affect the work of UN-Habitat.
  • 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/her functions, including the provision of policy advice on issues as appropriate.

Supports the Executive Director’s missions:

  • Coordinate the preparation of extensive briefing materials and mission files for the Executive Director, ensuring the materials from other offices are submitted in a timely manner and are of high quality.
  • In collaboration with the Spokesperson, finalise all speeches and statements to be delivered by the Executive Director, in close consultation with the submitting office.
  • Guide the Executive Director’s Administrative Assistant on all logistical preparations for mission travel, in cooperation with relevant substantive colleagues (particularly in regional/outposted offices) and external interlocutors.
  • Assist in follow-up actions arising from missions, including the finalization of the Executive Director’s mission reports and dissemination of relevant information to colleagues in other parts of UN-Habitat.
  • Support the development and implementation of UN-Habitat Programme of Work, relevant national ,sub-regional and regional strategies and plans and devises innovative mechanisms to enhance UN-Habitat’s responsiveness to country/regional needs.
  • Support the coordination of UN-habitat’s engagement and commitments in relevant UN System-wide processes and initiatives including the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR), the Chief Executive Board (CEB), United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) processes, and Development and Aid Effectiveness.
  • Maintain liaison with and provide consolidated UN-Habitat inputs into relevant UNSDG Task Teams and Working Groups to strengthen UN-habitat’s leadership role in mainstreaming sustainable urbanization; guide the identification and integration of relevant Sustainable Development Goals priorities, policies and plans into UN-Habitat’s programming and country level processes at strategic and operational level.
  • Collect and analyze data to identify trends or patterns and provide insights through graphs, charts, tables and reports using data visualization methods to enable data-driven planning, decision-making, presentation and reporting.
  • Perform any other duties as assigned by the Executive Director and the Chief of Staff.


  • PROFESSIONALISM: Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to political systems, institutions, and processes. Ability to identify issues, analyze and participate in the resolution of issues/problems. Ability to assist with data collection using various methods. Conceptual analytical and evaluative skills to conduct independent research and analysis, including familiarity with and experience in the use of various research sources, including electronic sources on the internet, intranet and other databases. Ability to apply judgment in the context of assignments given, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities. Ability to analyze and interpret data in support of decision-making and convey resulting information to management . 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.
  • PLANNING AND 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.
  • 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 in business administration, management, law, economics, Urban Planning and Design, Engineering, Architecture or a related field is required.
  • A first-level university degree in combination with two (2) additional years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
  • Successful completion of both degree and non-degree programs in data analytics, business analytics or data science programs is desirable.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of seven (7) years of progressively responsible work experience in human settlements related project or programme management and/or development, executive administration, support and advisory, or a related area is required.
  • Experience in international and multilateral relations is required.
  • Experience in managing a front office is desirable.
  • Experience in the sustainable urban development, urban policy or related area is desirable.
  • Experience within the United Nations common system or a similar international organisation is desirable.
  • Experience in urban design and visualization of concepts is desirable.
  • Two (2) years or more of experience in data analytics or related area is desirable.


  • English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official United Nations language is desirable.
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