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JPO in Political Affairs


I. General Information

Title:                                                  JPO in Political Affairs

Sector of Assignment:                    Research and analysis for political, socio-economic and security developments in Africa and enhance the strategic partnership with the Africa Union

Organization/Office:                         United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU)

Country and Duty Station:              Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Duration of assignment:                 2 years with possibility of extension for another year. The extension of appointment is subject to yearly review concerning priorities, availability of funds and satisfactory performance.

Please note that for participants of the JPO-Programme two years work experience are mandatory! Relevant work experience can be counted. In order to assess the eligibility of the candidates, we review the relevant experience acquired after obtaining the first university degree (usually bachelor’s degree).

II. Supervision

Title of Supervisor:

Chief of Political Affairs Section

Content and methodology of supervision:

• Induction program of one week outlining the functions of units within UNOAU;

• Coaching in the background and context of current political developments the African Union;

• Introduction to and liaison with other UN Departments, Agencies, Funds and Programmes, Member States, regional and sub-regional organizations, donors and relevant stakeholders;

• Review of reports, research papers and trend analysis on a weekly basis and as needed;

• E-Performance

III. Duties, Responsibilities and Output Expectations

The JPO will support UNOAU with the following tasks:

Political, Institutional and Operational Support:

Within delegated authority to:

  1. Maintain a high degree of situational awareness of the developments and trends in one of the sub-regions of Africa and with the AU in peace and security, including on thematic issues and cooperation and partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, through systematic exploration of information received from relevant headquarter offices and partner organizations, including problems and incidents in collaboration with relevant AU bodies, as well as negotiations with relevant parties to resolve problems and conflicts, and contribute to keeping the Office’s leadership updated;
  2. Support Mediation efforts by contributing to analyses of root causes and drivers of violent conflicts and extremism in Africa, in order to promote harmonized approaches to preventing conflicts before they occur, mitigating ongoing conflicts, and building the peace in the aftermath of conflicts;
  3. Provide high quality political analysis and reporting on strategic and planning matters related to the Office’s support to and collaboration with the AU.

Planning, Coordination and Liaison:

Within delegated authority to:

  1. Liaise regularly with the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Peace Operations, and Operational Support, as well as other UN departments, regional offices and other field presences, Agencies, Funds and Programmes, Member States, regional and sub-regional organizations, donors and relevant stakeholders, to provide support to the Office in advancing the implementation of the mandate;
  2. Liaise closely with counterparts in UN Special Political Missions and UN Peacekeeping Operations in Africa to support the Office in strengthening UN-AU partnership and harmonizing the work between the UN and the AU; 
  3. Any other tasks assigned by the supervisor.

IV. Qualifications and Experience


Master’s degree in management studies, social sciences, public administration, military studies or a related area.

Work experience:

At least two years of experience in areas such as political, social or civil affairs; or public administration is required. Experience working for or liaising with international, intergovernmental or regional organisations, such as the African Union, and experience working on issues relating to peace, security and conflict resolution is required.


Proficiency in written and oral English. Knowledge of French and/or Arabic is an advantage.

Other skills:

Developed analytical, drafting and research skills; proven knowledge of the conflicts dynamics in Africa as well as in peacekeeping operations in the area. Experience with political, social and cultural dynamics in Africa evidenced by work assignments in the region is a strong advantage.

UN competencies:

Professionalism – Demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; and remains calm in stressful situations. Excellent political analysis skills, with an ability to identify problems (political, economic and social) affecting a country or geographic area.

Communication – Ability to clearly and concisely tailor and communicate complex issues, key decisions and positions to a variety of audiences, orally and in writing; and ability to develop contacts and foster collaboration and coordination with other persons and entities on current initiatives and studies pertinent to the assigned area.

Teamwork – Excellent interpersonal skills; demonstrated ability to work effectively within a team; values other peoples’ ideas and expertise; and willing to learn from others.

Planning and organizing – Ability to work under tight deadlines and to plan, coordinate and manage own work plan.

Integrity – Maintains impartiality and demonstrates the values of the United Nations.

Respect for diversity – Demonstrated ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment and to maintain effective working relationships with people of different national and cultural backgrounds; and shows sensitivity and respect for diversity.

 V. Learning Elements

On completion of the assignment, the JPO will have/be able to

• Research and analyze information on political developments in the African Union from multiple sources;

• Draft clear and concise assessment reports;

• Identify trends, causes and effects of political events in the region;

• Work with a variety of analytical tools and methodologies;

• Work efficiently in a multi-disciplinary and international environment.

VI. Background Information

UNOAU is mandated to contribute to enhancing the strategic partnership between the United Nations and the African Union in the area of peace and security through joint UN-AU policies and approaches through all stages of conflict in Africa.

In this regard, the Office and the key Departments of the AU Commission, especially the Departments of Peace and Security and Political Affairs, have developed joint work plans, which are aimed at facilitating a more strategic partnership.

The Political Affairs Section of UNOAU is responsible for promoting such strategic partnership in order to contribute to a shared understanding of challenges confronting the continent and common approaches to addressing them. This, in turn, will facilitate the integration of sub-regional perspectives into UN-AU engagements.

The JPO will be assigned to the Political Affairs Section of UNOAU, which is currently focusing its efforts on four major areas of work:

African Governance Architecture

UNOAU works closely with institutions and structures of the AU system, including towards the operationalization of the African Governance Architecture (AGA).  In this connection, the UNOAU Political Affairs Section provides support to the AU Department of Political Affairs on, inter-alia, electoral assistance and constitutionalism, and for the development of AU guidelines for pre-election assessment missions.

African Peace and Security Architecture

UNOAU supports the AU and its Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) in their efforts to operationalize the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), in particular the decision-making AU Peace and Security Council, the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS), the Panel of the Wise, and the African Standby Force (ASF)/Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC).

Within this framework, the UNOAU Political Affairs Division leads UN efforts in Addis Ababa related to UN’s participation in consultations of the AU Peace and Security Council, as relevant. It also coordinates UN preparations for the annual meetings of the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council.

The Political Affairs Section also represents UNOAU in the meetings of the Panel of the Wise, upon request, to share analyses on mediation efforts undertaken by the AU and/or the UN, whether jointly or individually.

The participation of the Political Affairs Section in the AU-UNOAU Cluster on Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management contributes to ensuring enhanced collaboration between the UN and the AU throughout all phases of the conflict cycle.

Conflict prevention, including early warning and mediation

UNOAU’s Political Affairs Section is working towards deepening the UN-AU strategic partnership in conflict prevention and mediation. This involves joint UN-AU efforts to achieve a shared understanding of the root causes and drivers of violent conflicts in Africa, in order to promote harmonized approaches to preventing conflicts before they occur, mitigating ongoing conflicts, and building the peace in the aftermath of conflicts.

In this context, the Section has led UNOAU’s joint efforts with the AU to establish an AU-UNOAU Cluster on Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management. The Cluster comprises representatives of two Divisions of the AU Peace and Security Department (the Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division and the Crisis Management and Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development Division) and UNOAU’s Political Affairs Division.

The AU-UNOAU Cluster on Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management is aimed at providing strategic guidance to relevant UN and AU Political Affairs Officers and Experts engaged in peace and security issues, so as to ensure enhanced collaboration throughout all phases of the conflict cycle. The Cluster meets on a quarterly basis to review the implementation of joint activities, and discuss issues of common interest and the way forward. It is co-chaired by the Directors of the AU Peace and Security Department and UNOAU’s Political Affairs Section.

As part of joint efforts to contribute to enhancing common understanding of the root causes and drivers of conflict in Africa, as well as conflict prevention/management/resolution, and peacebuilding, UNOAU and the AU Commission have established joint teams on conflict prevention, management and resolution. The joint teams are part of the AU-UNOAU Cluster on Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management.

Regional Coordination Mechanisms

At the AU Commission, UNOAU works with all Regional Economic Communities (RECs) towards the tri-partite partnership among the UN, the AU and RECs/Regional Mechanisms (RMs), principally through the AU-UN Desk-to-Desk and the Joint AU-UN Task Force mechanisms. It also works with all relevant AU Departments involved in peace and security, including the Departments of Peace and Security, Political Affairs, Legal Affairs, and Social Affairs, as well as the Directorate of Gender.

The Office also liaises with the AU/RECs/RMs towards the harmonization of continental norms and practices, and is coordinating preparations for the annual meetings of the UNSC and the AUPSC.

Coordination among UN occurs through the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), as well as the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA). 

UNOAU also maintains liaison and coordinates with external partners present in Addis Ababa, including the European Union, bilateral partners and missions of member states. It participates in the mechanisms in Addis Ababa that coordinate donors and other partners, so as to ensure that UN support complements, and does not duplicate, their efforts in support of AU priorities.

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Büro Führungskräfte zu Internationalen Organisationen (BFIO)

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