United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Humanitarian Affairs Officer

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Job Description

The role of the OCHA Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC) is to support and assist the UN Resident Coordinators, the Governments, the UN Disaster Management Teams and the Humanitarian Country Teams (where it exists), to improve the overall preparedness and response mechanisms either to act upon natural disasters or protracted crisis.

In practical terms, the office works with partners on:

• fostering existing cooperation to ensure effective preparedness as well as response to crisis.
• strengthening disaster management capacities;
• optimizing information gathering, Analysis and production of documents;
• liaising with donors and facilitating the use of funding mechanisms;
• working on early warning activities and creating advocacy campaigns in benefit of affected communities and vulnerable groups.
• Promote the implementation of IASC and OCHA guidance’s on preparedness and response
OCHA ROLAC has gradually increased activities in the Caribbean since 2017, one of the most active hurricane seasons in recent history. With 17 named storms, that season challenged the governments, sub-regional agencies, and the international community to provide an effective response. After 2017, the UN’s presence and support to disaster preparedness and response has been substantially upscaled considering the vulnerability of the Eastern Caribbean Region. Taking into account the number of UN Agencies that cover the Caribbean or Eastern Caribbean from Barbados as their main hub, the strategic presence of CDEMA’s with headquarters in Barbados, and also the number of countries and territories covered by the Barbados and OECS Multi Country Office (MCO), this office is strategically placed to be strengthened with a Humanitarian Affairs Officer to contribute to the UN’s support to Governments and regional bodies in preparedness and emergency response.

Within in the framework of the United Nations reform, the Resident Coordinator is strengthened to provide an integrated support to Member States of the UN development cooperation and humanitarian assistance in case of a disaster or emergency. Being the United Nations the international humanitarian convener for humanitarian assistance, the UN Resident Coordinator for the Eastern Caribbean MCO acts as co-chair of the Eastern/Caribbean Development Partners Group on Disaster Management, which is the regional coordinating body with CDEMA and development partners for emergency preparedness and response.

The RC has a lead role on the coordination of subregional efforts to face the impact of the crises and pandemics such as Covid-19 in the EC, coordinating the humanitarian response as well as the Health and Socio-economic responses.

Scope of Work:

The OCHA Humanitarian Affairs Officer, as part of the OCHA regional team in Latin America and the Caribbean, serves to accomplish the OCHA regional mandate, working in close collaboration to the United Nations Resident Coordinator (UNRC) and the UN Emergency Technical Team (UNETT) and the UN Sub Regional Team, the Humanitarian Country Team (if it exists), the functioning of the Eastern/ Caribbean Development Partners Group on Disaster Management as well as providing technical assistance to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency and Management Authority (CDEMA), government institutions and other regional bodies

In the perspective of this post, the HAO would work under the technical guidance of the Regional Disaster Response Advisor (RDRA - based in Panama), with have a matrix reporting line to both the UN RC for the MCO Barbados and OECS and the Regional Disaster Response Advisor (RDRA - based in Panama). The incumbent will have a jointly defined and supervised work plan.

The HOA will have the responsibility to support all regional disaster programmes and activities as required. Support the implementation of a coordinated approach to natural disasters response in the Caribbean region in line with the international and regional Guidelines. It is expected that the incumbent of this post supports the humanitarian response in countries where there is a risk of or ongoing emergency through advocacy activities, early warning, donor liaison, monitoring, information gathering and analysis and rapid response mechanisms. He/she is expected to be deployed, if requested, to any countries impacted by crisis in the region.

The HAO as part of OCHA ROLAC and as all OCHA Staff he/she may be deployed at short notice to support in response to a humanitarian emergency.

Duties and Responsibilities

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Within limits of delegated authority, the incumbent is expected to assume the following duties and responsibilities:

Outside emergency response
• Raising awareness with all partners (including in the UN system, Donors Groups, CDEMA and the Government) about the various UN tools, services and mechanisms available for emergency response and response preparedness.
• Provide support to the partners in strengthening their disaster response capacity including effective linkages with the national and regional mechanisms as well as humanitarian partners.
• Facilitate the elaboration and/or update of the Inter-agency Contingency Plan following the existing OCHA or IASC recommended methodology.
• Support the RC in his role of partnership building with regional and national humanitarian entities in the Caribbean region, especially with CEDMA as co-chair of the Eastern Caribbean Development Partners Group, by maintaining fluent technical dialogue, keeping the RC and the UNST abreast of latest institutional developments and implementation of key UN preparedness or response programmes / initiatives.
• Establish contacts with the various National Disaster Management organizations and the Eastern /Caribbean Development Partners Group on Disaster Management (E/CDPG-DM) members, and promote information sharing between coordination structures /partners.
• Work with / through CDEMA to increase awareness of international Norms and strengthen tools and services;
• Work with WHO pandemic coordination structure to facilitate links with Humanitarian Action in preparedness and response.
• Support the UN RC in having a coordinated and integrated approach of UN Agencies cooperation with CDEMA, by facilitating communication, coordination and planning of the UN’s programmatic support with CDEMA to promote a coherent UN support to the same counterpart in the spirit of the UN reform.
• Contribute to identify opportunities of collaboration between UN Agencies on preparedness and disaster risk management initiatives and/or resilience building, and also in leveraging of resources with external counterparts for joint collaboration.
• In coordination with the UNETT chair, support the strengthening of emergency preparedness and response work of the United Nations Emergency Technical Team (UNETT), e.g. ensure knowledge of international humanitarian mechanisms and capacities building through simulations/trainings, etc.
• Ensure there is a coordination forum, such as Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) to foster preparedness and response to emergencies;
• Facilitate the implementation of the clusters approach within the in- country Humanitarian Country Team (HCT);
• Ensure inclusiveness of humanitarian partners in the coordination structure including relevant NGO, red cross movement and the IFRC;
• Monitor events in the region and advise the UNST/DMT about the activation and coordination mechanisms in the country/countries that could be affected and the needs that are required;
• Promote all disaster response preparedness activities in coordination with national authorities and humanitarian partners;
• Promote the setup of a Humanitarian Information Management System for disaster and emergency situations that could be used by the UN in the country as well as by the National authority;
• Identify training needs of the UNDMT, the UN Emergency Technical Team and the Government in the field of disaster response and response preparedness.
• Facilitates the systematization and knowledge sharing of lessons learned and best practices among UN Agencies, regional and humanitarian partners.

In case of imminent danger (when the arrival of a disaster can be anticipated)

• Support the RC in the response mechanism by activating all the necessary response protocols and mechanisms, including the coordination and anticipation of surge /deployment capacities and other possible response needs. This also include assisting the activation of the UNETT and UNDMT.
• Support in the preparation of humanitarian analysis, briefs, presentations and inputs for the RC on evolution of an emergency and the humanitarian response (Pre- and during disaster).
• Facilitate the setting-up of coordination mechanisms and implementation of lines of action specified in the Inter-agency response plan;
• Facilitate information sharing with the existing coordination structures following mechanisms of alert and information dissemination already established;
• Assist in the setting-up of an Emergency Operations Room and the organization of coordination meetings with the, UNDMT and UNETT.

During disaster or emergency situations
• Apply the coordination mechanisms and lines of action defined in the Inter-agency Contingency Plan;
• Support the UN RC in the coordination of the humanitarian assistance with OCHA and UN Agencies, CDEMA, governments and regional and national humanitarian partners and others involved.
• Participate in Inter-Agency needs assessment missions at regional level through CDEMA Rapid Response Mechanism and Rapid Needs Assessments Teams (RNAT);
• Contribute in the analysis and evaluation of the request for international relief and make recommendation to the UNDMT and UNRC;
• Contribute in the elaboration of situation reports and provide inputs for other information products;
• Support the UN clusters leads to develop proposal to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) or support the elaboration in case a flash appeal is launched. Advise on monitoring tasks which will be necessary during the implementation of the projects and support its reporting;
• Advise the UNRC in the follow up of emergency funds channeled through OCHA for disaster response activities and ensure timely reporting on the use of such funds.
• Assist the RC to facilitate the proper reception and/or deployment of UNDAC missions when required.
• Assist the actions carried out during emergency are properly transitioned into activities of Early Recovery and reconstruction ensuring the nexus with development mechanisms.
• Be ready to be deployed as an OCHA staff on surge missions for durations of 3 weeks up to 3 months, elsewhere in the region and outside the region, as requested by the ROLAC Head of Office.

Line of supervision
In a matrix supervision format, the HAO will:
• work under the guidance and day to day supervision of the UN RC for Barbados and the OECS and will report on a frequently basis on progress of the defined joint work plan and receive his/her guidance as it relates to the strategic orientation and implementation.
• Work in close collaboration with the OCHA Regional Office, with direct line of supervision to the Regional Disaster Response Advisor in Panama (FRO) to identify, prioritize and help address relevant issues arising. He/She will receive technical guidance on methodology, guidelines, formats, norms or indicators used in the region from the Regional Disaster Response Advisor in Panama .


Professionalism – Ability and experience across a broad range of support functions, e.g., work programme, human resources, etc. Knowledge and application of the UN systems and Staff Regulations and Rules. High degree of commitment to ensure the proper use of the organization’s resources.

Planning and Organising – Effective organisational skills and ability to prioritise own work programme and that of more junior staff.

Commitment to continuous learning – Initiative and willingness to learn new skills and become familiar with disaster preparedness and response standards and approaches.

Technological Awareness – Solid computer skills, including proficiency and knowledge OCHAs operations, UN Rules and Regulations. Full proficiency in various MS Office applications (Excel, Word, PowerPoint) and other IT applications

Teamwork – Good interpersonal skills; ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity. Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain effective work relationships with budget/finance, Human Resource counterparts and client departments.

Communication – Ability to write in a clear and concise manner and to communicate effectively orally.

Required Skills and Experience


• Completed advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in political science, sociology, law, public Administration, international relations, Finance, economics, Geography, project or field related to disaster risk management.
• Minimum of three years of experience in management of natural disasters, humanitarian emergencies, emergency preparedness, crisis/emergency relief management, rehabilitation and development.
• Experience in the Caribbean and regional response mechanisms is a must.
• Previous experience with any UN agency on emergency response is an advantage.
• Proven analytical skills and experience on timely delivery of written reports, prepared in an accurate and concise manner
• Strong inter-personal, diplomatic and communication skills
• Computer literacy in Microsoft Office
• Ability to work with minimum supervision, with efficiency, competence and integrity with people of diverse cultural background.
• Familiarity with the UN system.
• UNDAC trained or similar is an asset

Excellent spoken and written English is required; knowledge of Spanish and French is an asset.

• He/she will be administrated through the UNDP administrative mechanisms.
• A financial authorization will be sent by OCHA ROLAC in Panama to Barbados.
• He/she will be embedded and located in the UN Resident Coordinator Office.


This post is subject to availability of funds.

Suitably qualified Nationals of Barbados, Nationals of the OECS countries, and persons who hold the CARICOM Skills certificate are invited to apply. It is mandatory that you upload a copy of your CSME certificate with your application.

Diploma of completed University degree may be requested in due course.

Applicants will be contacted only if they are under serious consideration.

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