United Nations Secretariat

Principal Political Affairs Officer

United Nations Secretariat

Job Description

Under the overall guidance of and reporting to the Director of the Western Africa Division, DPPA-DPO, the Principal Political Affairs Officer will head the Mali Integrated Ooperational Team (IOT). The incumbent will lead and manage the IOT and its staff and assist senior management in the Department of Peace Operations and in the Department of Operational Support in the integrated planning and management of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The Principal Political Affairs Officer will be responsible for recommending priorities, ensuring the resolution of operational issues and monitoring the implementation of relevant plans for MINUSMA.

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was established by Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013 to support political processes in that country and carry out a number of security-related tasks. The Mission was requested to support the parties in the implementation of the 2015 Peace Agreement, while assisting the Malian authorities in stabilizing the country. By unanimously adopting resolution 2480 of 28 June 2019, the Council further decided that the Mission focus on supporting the Government in developing and implementing a comprehensive politically-led strategy to protect civilians; reduce intercommunal violence; and re-establish State presence, State authority and basic social services in central Mali. MINUSMA was also requested to provide support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force, in line with resolution 2391 (2017) and 2480 (2019).


The Principal Political Affairs Officer will have the following main responsibilities:

-Responsible for executive direction of MINUSMA, monitoring the development and progress in one of the most difficult and highly active operations, involving a diversity of interests and numerous parties in situations requiring innovative approaches.

-Identifies and responds to political and operational challenges, problems, and incidents in Mali.

-Provides direction and advice to officials in Headquarters and the field on actions, policy, political and operational issues related to Mali.

-Represents the Secretary-General, Under-Secretary-General (USG) and Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) to resolve issues, problems, and questions, during any phase of the operations, and establishes operational commitments of the Secretariat.

- Monitors and oversees the implementation of operations, ensuring Coordination of activities, directing colleagues, confronting and resolving obstacles to meet objectives established by the Security Council.

-Advises on and participates in planning peacekeeping operations, including the Design, difficulties and implications of proposed operational models, in consideration of the numerous dimensions to the circumstances. Drafts planning documents, ensuring the integration of all relevant inputs of all and ensuring due consideration of the issues/ concerns of multiple and sometimes divergent constituencies.

-Formulates policies and courses of action for the Secretariat to be followed in the design and management of peacekeeping operations; implements systems and methods for the effective and timely coordination and delivery of operations.

-Serves as the original source of information, at the request for the Spokesperson, for media contact, clearance of articles, speeches at seminars and lectures by senior UN officials on Mali/MINUSMA.

-Coordinates and oversees the work of Mali IOT colleagues. Oversees preparation of strategic political and planning documents for the Security Council, identifying statements of principles, conditions of the parties and responses to such conditions, and ensuring the input of relevant parties. Leads fact-finding assignments in the field.

-Develops guidelines and terms of reference, operational plans and timeframes for new operations, ensuring the input of and coordination with all relevant parties; and resolving issues with the parties, contributors, members of the Security Council, etc. Assists with and advises on the formulation of policies and courses of action to be followed in deploying and managing peacekeeping operations to advance mandate implementation.

-Participates in meetings and provides expertise on Mali/MINUSMA. Represents the Division at meetings as required.

-Undertakes and/or oversees the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Mali IOT, including preparation of budgets, reporting on budget/programme performance, evaluation of staff performance, recruitment processes, taking due account of geographical and gender balance, as well as preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting.

-Acts as Officer-in-Charge of the Western Africa Division upon the Director’s request.

-Performs other duties as required.


-Professionalism: Knowledge of the work of the United Nations, in particular its peacekeeping activities; demonstrates political acumen, in-depth knowledge of peacekeeping or other relevant operational activities; Knowledge of planning and managing multicomponent operations; ability to work effectively under pressure meeting strict deadlines; Ability to identify and analyze key issues and conduct independent research and Analysis, to formulate options, draw conclusions and make effective recommendations; Ability to direct the expeditious preparation of substantive and effective proposals, policy papers and reports and to review and edit the work of others; ability to apply UN rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations. 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.

-Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

-Planning & 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.

-Leadership: Serves as a role model that other people want to follow: empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; drives for change and improvements; does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.

-Judgement/Decision-making: Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information; checks assumptions against facts; determines that the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.


Advanced university degree (Masters degree or equivalent) in political or social sciences, international relations, law, history, economics, public Administration or business administration or related field. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of fifteen years of progressively responsible experience in political science, international relations, law, disarmament, security, development management, Conflict Resolution or related area is required.
A minimum of 10 years of international experience is required.
Two years of experience in United Nations peacekeeping in the field or other field experience is required.
Experience working on political issues relating to Africa is desirable.
Experience in the integrated planning of multi-dimensional operations is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency in English and French is required.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.

Special Notice

• This position is temporarily available until 20 June 2021. If the selected candidate is a staff member from the United Nations Secretariat, the selection will be administered as a temporary assignment.

• While this temporary assignment may provide the successful applicant with an opportunity to gain new work experience, the selection for this position is for a limited period and has no bearing on the future incumbency of the post.

• An impeccable record for integrity and professional ethical standards is essential. Staff members appointed to the current position are required to submit a financial disclosure statement upon assignment or appointment and annually thereafter.

• Subject to the funding source of the position, the eligibility for this temporary job opening may be limited to candidates based at the duty station.

• This temporary job opening may be limited to “internal candidates,” who have been recruited through a competitive examination administered according to staff rule 4.16 or staff selection process including the review of a central review body established according to staff rule 4.15.

• Staff members of the United Nations common system organizations who will reach the mandatory age of separation or retirement within the duration of the current temporary need period are not eligible to apply.Submitting an application or selection for the current temporary job opening does not delay or increase the mandatory age of separation.

• Retirees above the mandatory age of separation who wish to be considered for the current temporary job opening must indicate the reason for their last separation as "retirement." Such retirees shall not be employed by the Organization, unless (a) the operational requirements of the Organization cannot be met by staff members who are qualified and available to perform the required functions; and (b) the proposed employment would not adversely affect the Career Development or redeployment opportunities of other staff members and represents both a cost-effective and operationally sound solution to meet the needs of the service.

United Nations Considerations

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, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, 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. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

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 internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira 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.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee


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