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JPO in Political Affairs


United Nations – UN-Secretariat

Junior Professional Officer Program (JPO) – TERMS OF REFERENCE

I. General Information

Title:                                                  JPO in Political Affairs

Sector of Assignment:                    Disarmament Affairs

Organization/Office:                        UNODA - United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs

Country and Duty Station:             Geneva, Switzerland

Duration of assignment:                 2 years with possibility of extension for another year. 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! Internships/scholarships can be counted at 50% if they were full time and are regarded as relevant professional experience. Remuneration is not the determining factor. We only count internships after the Bachelor's degree.

II. Supervision

Title of Supervisor: Political Affairs Officer

Content and methodology of supervision: Establishment of a Work Plan: During the first month of the assignment, the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) will work jointly with his/her direct supervisor to finalize an agreed upon work plan. The final work plan will be discussed and mutually agreed to by the JPO and his/her supervisor.

Evaluation: The United Nations Performance Evaluation System (e-performance) will serve as a primary platform to evaluate the JPO’s performance.

III. Duties, Responsibilities and Output Expectations

This position with considerable responsibilities and steep learning opportunities combines an expected deepening of knowledge on the disarmament machinery, especially the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), with sharpening policy development skills in an inter-agency context, project-management and a sustained exposure to key elements of disarmament negotiations.

Under the supervision of the Political Affairs Officer, the incumbent will, as required:

  • Provide substantive support to the CCW Implementation Support Unit (ISU), as well as to the Conference on Disarmament Secretariat and Conference Support Branch to ensure the continuation of the work on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).
  • Follow the debates in the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and other meetings organized by the Branch, in particular the Conference on Disarmament.
  • Support the preparation, implementation and reporting requirements related to the activities undertaken as part of the implementation of European Union Council Decisions in support of Geneva-based conventions, including the Biological Wepons Convention (BWC).
  • Assist the Director in supporting the initiatives of Member States to promote, strengthen and consolidate multilaterally negotiated principles and agreements or to create new multilateral norms in the framework of the CCW.
  • Assist the CCW ISU and Conference on Disarmament Secretariat and Conference Support Branch in discharging the Secretary-General’s responsibilities under the CCW, in particular regarding the universalization of the CCW.
  • Assist the CCW ISU and Conference on Disarmament Secretariat and Conference Support Branch in planning and organizing all meetings organized in the framework of the CCW, including taking care of all relevant aspects of conference management, assist with preparing related official documentation and taking notes and producing substantive summaries of the meetings.
  • Monitor and undertake research of relevant current and emerging political developments and governmental disarmament initiatives in the framework of the CCW and the BWC and analyze information contained in communications and publications from different sources.
  • Provide substantive support to the Director, e.g., by preparing briefing notes and background papers, presentations, talking points, correspondence, note taking etc., and organizing internal team meetings, etc.
  • Provide substantive, procedural and logistical support to officeholders of CCW meetings as requested.
  • Support the Coordinator of the CCW Sponsorship Programme, including the organization of Sponsorship Programme Committee meetings, liaising with Permanent Missions as well as other partners on selected delegates and experts, preparing all related correspondence.
  • Coordinate and/or prepare written outputs, e.g. draft background papers, sections of reports, correspondence, responses/inputs to requests and questions from offices within the Organization, Member States and oversight bodies related to CCW and the BWC.
  • Liaise with UN Member States, other UN entities, civil society, academia and the media for the organization of CCW meetings.
  • Undertake outreach to students and the public on CCW, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control as required.
  • Maintain and further develop the CCW website, including the updating of databases on national reports, and provide CCW inputs to the UNODA Geneva Twitter account.
  • Assist in developing and disseminating a communication strategy to raise awareness of UN Member States of the work of the CCW and other bodies
  • Drafting the messaging and briefing materials for senior UN Officials, including the Secretary-General and the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.

IV. Qualifications and Experience

Education: Master’s degree in public administration, political science, international relations, law, development, or other related area.

Work experience: Minimum two years work experience in political sciences, international relations, public administration, international law or related field. In particular experience with drafting short analyses, background notes, talking points etc. Experience in supporting UN Member States, especially on meetings and conferences related to disarmament or international peace and security, is highly desirable. 

Languages: English and French are the official working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of any other official UN language is an asset.

Other skills: Good to advanced knowledge of relevant computer applications such as Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint. Good to advance knowledge of the use of social media. Experience in drafting and editing official documents is desirable.

UN competencies:

  •  Professionalism: Ability to plan, execute and monitor public communication campaigns, e.g. campaign management, market research, message targeting, impact evaluation. Ability to draft and compile a variety of written communication products in a clear, concise style. 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.

V. Learning Elements

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

  • Acquire an in-depth understanding of the workings of the United Nations and substantive knowledge of the CCW and the BWC, as well as of the work of the Organization in the field of disarmament.
  • Develop political understanding of the complex issues related to disarmament and non-proliferation and acquire in-depth knowledge of the relevant existing instruments as well as the political and legal norms for the creation of such instruments.
  • Monitor and report on developments related to a wide range of disarmament and non-proliferation issues.
  • Prepare substantive and background material for meetings and to write assessment reports on a plethora of germane issues.
  • Work effectively in an inter-agency context and in a diverse working environment.

VI. Background Information

The Conference on Disarmament Secretariat and Conference Support Branch, located in Geneva, is headed by a Director, who also serves concurrently as the Deputy Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament.

The core functions of the Conference on Disarmament Secretariat and Conference Support Branch are as follows:

  • Providing substantive, secretariat, organizational and administrative support to the Conference on Disarmament and its subsidiary bodies, as well as to the Implementation Support Units of the Biological Weapons Convention and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and other treaties such as the Anti-Personnel Landmine Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions for which the Branch provides secretarial support;
  • Preparing periodic political assessments on issues under negotiation, and other relevant developments;
  • Facilitating full implementation and universalization of multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements through receiving and compiling reports submitted pursuant to such agreements, and organizing outreach activities;
  • Providing substantive, secretariat, organizational and administrative support to review conferences and other meetings of States parties to multilateral arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation agreements and to treaty-making conferences, expert groups and other disarmament meetings under the responsibility of the Branch;

The CCW Implementation Support Unit is the substantive secretariat of the Convention and is funded by the States parties to the Convention. It consists of a Director and one staff and its main functions are, as follows:

  • Provide administrative support to and prepare documentation for meetings agreed by the meetings of the High Contracting Parties to the CCW, Amended Protocol II and Protocol V;
  • Facilitate communications among High Contracting Parties and, upon request, with international organizations;
  • Serve as a focal point for submission of information by and to the High Contracting Parties related to the Convention and its annexed Protocols; develop and maintain the CCW website and the CCW databases as directed by the annual Meetings of the High Contracting Parties;
  • Support the High Contracting Parties, on request, in the implementation of the CCW and its Protocols and assist the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the discharge of his/her responsibilities pursuant to Article 11 (2) of Protocol V, Article 14 (4) of Amended Protocol II and the CCW Compliance mechanism;
  • Contribute to the promotion of the universalization of the CCW and its annexed Protocols and support the High Contracting Parties in the implementation of the CCW Plan of Action for the Universalization of the CCW and its Protocols and the CCW Sponsorship Programme;

The BWC Implementation Support Unit provides Secretariat and substantive support to the implementation of the BWC. EU Council Decision 2019/97 works on promoting the universalization of the BWC, supporting the national implementation efforts of States Parties, encouraging discussions on the implications of science and technology developments on the BWC, and assisting in the development of prevention, preparedness and response strategies, amongst others.

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