Vacancy announcement

Special Assistant to the Executive Director – P3

Vacancy type Regular staff members
Duration of the contract
Deadline for submission of applications
Number of vacancies
Organizational Unit
Office of the Executive Director

In accordance with the UN rules and regulations, depending on professional background and experience, the Executive Director reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level lower than the advertised level of the post.


Under the supervision of the Executive Director the incumbent is responsible for the following duties:

1.      Coordinate strategic communications and planning with the view to supporting the activities and external representation of UNITAR and the Executive Director, by:

  • Organizing high-level meetings, speaking events and official Missions for the Executive Director;
  • Acting as focal point for substantive liaison and correspondence received by the Office of the Executive Director;
  • Drafting reports, speaking points, letters and correspondence as requested by the Executive Director;
  • Drafting and editing complex and technical texts, briefing packages and procedural notes for meetings and professional engagements of the Executive Director;
  • Undertaking research assignments as required by the Executive Director;
  • Leading on external communications for the Office of the Executive Director, including drafting press releases, social media broadcasts, reports and articles e.g. for UN newsletters, periodicals, reports and books in close collaboration with the UNITAR Communications Unit;
  • Identifying challenges, lessons learned and opportunities through monitoring and analysing current events, public opinion and the press, identifying issues and trends, and providing strategic advice where appropriate.

2.      Support resource mobilization efforts with the view to delivering on Institutional fundraising targets, by:

  • Providing proactive advice to the Executive Director on a range of issues;
  • Liaising with external stakeholders, partners and donors to follow up on decisions of the Executive Director relating to resource mobilisation, the initiation of new projects and partnerships as requested by the Executive Director;
  • Assisting the Executive Director in establishing new partnerships, contacts and relations with constituencies including with UN Member State Governments, International Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations, academia and others, maintaining a positive image of the Institute during external representation.

3.      Support Institutional processes, policies and coordination with a view to enhancing strategic planning, administration and cross-cutting programming, by:

  • Following up on decisions of the Executive Director and providing technical support as needed;
  • Engaging with UNITAR Communications Unit to support drafting and delivery of new Communications Strategy;
  • Supporting in organisation of Annual Board of Trustees meeting;
  • Coordinating biannual meetings of Friends of UNITAR;
  • Coordinating monthly Managers’ Meetings and Directors’ Meetings and ensuring the necessary follow-up;
  • Liaising with internal Directors, Managers and Staff to facilitate communication with Programmes, relating to drafting of project proposals and implementation of decisions of the Executive Director;
  • Employing high level of judgment and discretion in accomplishing professional tasks; and
  • Performing other duties as assigned

Work implies frequent interaction with the following:

  • Staff in related programmes, units, sections and offices of the Institute;
  • Civil servants of UN Member State governments, including diplomatic staff of Permanent Missions accredited to the United Nations Offices and other missions;
  • Counterparts in other international organizations, including in the United Nations System;
  • Staff in the training and professional development departments/divisions of Ministries of Foreign Affairs; and
  • Non-governmental organizations, universities, the private sector and the press/media.

In the execution of the above tasks, the incumbent may supervise consultants and interns.  


Results Expected

Provision of substantive and strategic advice and support to the Executive Director, including preparation and follow up for specific programmes and projects, meetings, events and conferences and speaking engagements. Liaison as needed with internal and external partners.


  • Professionalism: Comprehensive understanding of the work of the Institute and the function of the Office of the Executive Director; strong communication, research and analytical skills; demonstrable knowledge of current affairs and organisational issues; political awareness and ability to identify needs, opportunities and risks in an international and politically sensitive environment; excellent communication (spoken, written and presentational) skills; ability to deliver oral presentations to various audiences; capacity to effectively interact with varied constituencies; ability to build/nurture effective professional networks and relations; strong negotiation skills; ability to present workable solutions to challenges; consistency in performance, always acting in accordance with the mission and values of the United Nations and of the Institute; reliability in maintaining confidentiality, acting with integrity and showing respect for diversity; demonstrable personal commitment and capacity to present a positive image of the Institute; takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.
  • Teamwork: Strong interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain effective working relations in multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environments with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Accountability: Takes ownership of responsibilities and honors commitments; delivers outputs within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules; supports colleagues and subordinates; provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.
  • Planning & Organizing: Sound organizational skills; ability to prioritize own work programme and meet frequent and tight deadlines; capacity to supervise colleagues; demonstrates high level of judgment and discretion in accomplishing professional tasks.
  • Communications: Excellent communication (spoken, written and presentational) skills; ability to communicate ideas clearly and professionalism; ability to professionally draft a variety of written correspondence and formal documentation. 


Minimum requirements

A minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience in an international environment.  Experience within the UN System is an asset

Desired requirements

Advanced University degree in public policy, international development, science or other related field(s). Relevant combination of education and experience in lieu accepted.  A minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience in an international environment.  Experience within the UN System is an asset.

Fluency in either English or French is essential. Knowledge of other UN language(s) is an asset.

Special Notice

UNITAR is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Qualified women, individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups, and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality.

English and French are the two working languages of UNITAR. Priority will be given to the applicants from the under-represented regions at UNITAR. There will be a probation period of 3 months.

UNITAR staff members are subject to the authority of the UNITAR Executive Director and their appointments are limited to service with the Institute.


According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, or crimes other than minor traffic offences, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. UNITAR is a non-smoking environment.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable Staff Regulations and Rules and UNITAR administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

No Fee


How to apply

All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible after the vacancy has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the vacancy announcement.

A letter of motivation as well as the P11 form are to be sent at:

UN staff members must submit copies of their latest Performance Appraisal System (PAS) report at the time of application.