UNOCHA - Humanitarian Affairs Officer

Tags: international relations UNDP English translation language Environment
  • Added Date: Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Syria remains one of the world's most complex humanitarian emergencies. OCHA is looking for an experienced humanitarian affairs officer to support its coordination work. The incumbent supports the implementation of OCHAโ€™s mandate focusing on the following sets of activities: a) improving inter-agency humanitarian preparedness and response; b) improving access to areas in need; and c) strengthening coordination with humanitarian actors. For this purpose, OCHA works with humanitarian partners in the country.

This position is located in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Damascus, Syria. The Humanitarian Affairs Officer reports to the Head of Coordination.

Under the guidance of the Head of the Office, Deputy Head of Office and the direct supervision of the Head of Coordination, the incumbent is expected to perform the following tasks:

  • Support the overall implementation of the office work plan;
  • Conduct field visits with the aim to improve the humanitarian response;
  • Support the preparation of coordination meetings led by OCHA (both secretariat and logistical), as well as other internal and external meetings as required. This includes arranging meetings, workshops, conferences, taking minutes, draft inputs and writing summary reports. Attend regular coordination meetings and participate in working groups, meetings, conferences, consultations with other agencies and partners on humanitarian and emergency relief-related matters as appropriate;
  • Assist in the establishment and maintenance of contacts with other UN agencies, NGOs, other humanitarian actors and relevant government counter parts;
  • Assist in the coordination of delivery of humanitarian/emergency assistance for complex emergency/disaster situations; support in the identification of humanitarian needs and unmet requirements of affected areas;
  • Assist in the implementation of Emergency Response Preparedness (ERP) exercises, including liaising with sectors and field offices on the development of related contingency and providing technical support as required;
  • Ensure that support is provided to sector/technical working groups and task forces as required, and facilitate exchanges on cross-cutting issues;
  • Contribute to the preparation of various written reports, documents and communications, highlighting relevant operational factors affecting the humanitarian situation and response efforts e.g. Flash Updates, SitReps, Humanitarian Snapshots and Dashboards, and Emergency Response Plans, etc;
  • Support field missions of OCHA staff, donors and other visitors and conduct briefings visitors on the overall humanitarian situation as well as the activities of OCHA and other humanitarian agencies;
  • Support advocacy efforts concerning humanitarian issues based on analysis of needs; support and participate in assessments, lessons learned and evaluations;
  • Support translation of documents;
  • Perform other duties as required.

Work implies frequent interaction with the following:

  • UN agencies
  • International and national humanitarian actors
  • Relevant government authorities

Impact of Results:

The key impact is a timely and coordinated humanitarian response which responds to assessed needs, identifies gaps and addresses these in a coherent manner.

ย ย ย ย ย  ย ย Professionalism:

  • Proven analytical skills: ability to conduct independent research and analysis, identify issues, and recommend appropriate solutions. Very good knowledge of the program of assignment, including the cultural, political and economic dimensions. Ability to relate humanitarian affairs issues and perspectives, including gender, social-economic issues, Strong negotiation skills: ability to lead and gain assistance of others in a team endeavor, and to articulate coherent arguments to reach agreement. Ability to work under extreme pressure, on occasion in a highly stressful environment. Very good knowledge of institutional mandates, policies and guidelines pertaining to humanitarian affairs and sound knowledge of the institutions of the UN system.

Judgment and Decision-making:

  • Apply sound judgment to resolve a range of issues/ problems.ย 

Planning and Organizing:

  • Proven ability to plan and organize, establish priorities, manage and monitor work plans, coordinate competing demands, and work to tight deadlines.ย 

Technological Awareness:

  • Solid computer skills, including proficiency in word processing, spreadsheet applications, and relevant software packages, including e-mail.


  • Proven ability to write in a clear and concise manner and to communicate effectively, including ability to prepare reports and conduct presentations, articulating options concisely, conveying maximum information, making and defending recommendations.


  • Strong interpersonal skills, including ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries; ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with people in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.ย ย 


  • Masterโ€™s degree or equivalent in Economics, Social Sciences, International Relations, Political Sciences or related field.
  • First level university degree in Economics, Social Sciences, International Relations, Political Sciences or related field combined with 2 years of experience may be considered in lieu of advanced university degree.

Experience: ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย 

  • One year of relevant experience at the national or international level in management of natural disasters, humanitarian emergencies, emergency preparedness, crisis/emergency relief management, rehabilitation and development. Experience in the region would be an asset. Knowledge about the UN and humanitarian coordination structures would be an advantage. Experience in the usage of computers and office software packages.

Language Requirements:

  • Proficiency in both oral and written English and Arabic.

Female candidates are encouraged to apply.


Important applicant information

All posts in the GS categories are subject to local recruitment.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.ย  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

Workforce diversity

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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Contract Duration: 1 Year with possibility for extension

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