Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer
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Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer/Head Of Office, P5 UN OCHA – United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Department/Office: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Duty Station: ADDIS ABABA
Posting Period: 04 January 2023 – 02 February 2023
Job Opening Number: 23-Humanitarian Affairs-OCHA-198643-R-Addis Ababa (X)
Staffing Exercise N/A

Org. Setting and Reporting

The position is located in the Operations and Advocacy Division (OAD), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. 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 principled 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.

This position-specific job opening is being advertised for the position of Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer/Head of Office for the OCHA Liaison Office to the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Under the overall supervison the Director of OAD, the incumbent reports to the Deputy Director of OAD.


Responsibilities of the Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer

Within delegated authority, the Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer/Head of Office will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Provides senior level technical and policy advice and support to the African Union and its member states officials, international and regional organisations on programmes and on a diverse range of policy issues related to safeguarding humanitarian principles and ensuring the effective humanitarian action in Africa and the linkages with other related areas (e.g. peace and security);
  • Serves as the designated OCHA Representative to the African Union Commission and at all AU convened meetings, functions and sessions. Relates with appropriate AU structures in performatance of designated functions and responsibilities;
  • Prepares policy position papers for review;
  • Supports the performance of the African Union’s humanitarian mandate including the operationalization of the African Humanitarian Agency and associated structures.
  • Engages, advises and supports AU processes and initiatives aimed at strengthening its engagement in principled humanitarian action, including engagement with all humanitarian actors, on humanitarian policy dialogue as well as engagmenet with AU Member States on humanitarian issues;
  • Monitors, analyzes and reports on humanitarian developments, disaster relief/management programmes or emergency situations in assigned country/area; develops and maintains a “watch list” of countries with potential for humanitarian crisis;
  • Leads and/or participates in large, complex projects, to include disaster assessment or other missions; coordinates international humanitarian/emergency assistance for complex emergency/disaster situations; ensures necessary support (e.g. staff, funding, specialized equipment, supplies, etc.); prepares situation reports to the international community, apprising of situation to date and specifying unmet requirements of stricken countries;
  • Identifies bottlenecks and gaps and develops proposals to improve response systems and mechanisms to include technical assistance in the design of specific coordination and other systems/mechanism and ensures the proper use and spending of donor contributions channeled through OCHA;
  • Assists AU member states in capacity-building for handling emergency situations; develops country-specific indicators for countries of concern in collaboration with area experts and ensures the subsequent monitoring of these indicators; recommends actions based on the analysis of pertinent information;
  • Initiates and coordinates activities related to technical cooperation and technical assistance projects in disaster response and disaster response preparedness; formulates project proposals and relevant project documents; provides technical support to field work; reviews and clears project reports for submission to governments;
  • Serves as primary liaison with UN and non UN entities in Addis Ababa including senior host government officials, donor representatives, NGO officials, the media;
  • Organises and/or chairs interagency and other regional meetings, conferences, task forces relating to UN cooperation with the African Union on humanitarian policy, helps ensure that latest findings, lessons learned, policy guidelines etc. from complex humanitarian assistance programes, are incorporated into these activities, including gender-related considerations;
  • Establishes and maintains contacts with African Union officials, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, diplomatic missions, media, etc.; ensures appropriate mechanisms to facilitate collaboration and exchange of information both in and outside the UN system, including on early warning and contingency planning, etc;
  • Serves as the primary focal point on specific topics or policy-related issues; keeps abreast of latest developments, liaises with other humanitarian organizations, donors, etc., ensures appropriate monitoring and reporting mechanisms; provides information and advice on a range of related issues including primarily humanitarian action in Africa;
  • Analyzes and assists in introducing new technologies for disaster warning/management;
  • Organizes and prepares studies on humanitarian, emergency relief and related issues; organizes follows-up work, including interagency technical review meetings to support policy development work and decision-making on important issues; and ensures the implementation of recommendations emanating from relevant studies;
  • Establishes and maintains contacts with government officials, other UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, diplomatic missions, media, etc.; ensures appropriate mechanisms to facilitate collaboration and exchange of information both in and outside the UN system, including on early warning and contingency planning, etc;
  • Organizes and participates in work groups, meetings, conferences, consultations with other agencies and partners humanitarian and emergency relief-related matters;
  • May participate in planning and preparation of unit budget and work program;
  • Provides leadership and work direction to assigned work team, and/or mentors and supervises the work of new/junior officers;
  • Performs other duties as required.


  • PROFESSIONALISM: Knowledge and understanding of humanitarian, emergency relief assistance and related humanitarian issues. Knowledge and experience in maintaining effective working relationships with a wide range of partners including from governmental, diplomatic and civil society sectors. Experience in relationship-management and building partnerships for humanitarian purposes. Experience in donor and/or external relations, and in fundraising for international humanitarian appeals and/or pooled funds. Ability to identify issues, analyze and participate in the resolution of issues/problems. Ability to develop sources for data collection. 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, work under pressure, on occasion in a highly stressful environment (e.g., civil strife, natural disasters, and human misery). 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;
  • 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;
  • 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: 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.


  • An advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in political science, social science, international studies, public administration, economics, engineering, earth sciences or a related field is required. A first-level university degree in combination with an additional two (2) years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience for the Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer

  • A minimum of ten (10) years of progressively responsible experience in humanitarian affairs, emergency preparedness, crisis/emergency relief management, rehabilitation, development, or other related area is required;
  • At least four (4) years in the past ten (10) years of international field experience (actual setting where a mission or project is being implemented) in aid operations (complex emergency or natural disaster) is desirable;
  • Experience working in the Africa Region is desirable.


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

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