UN Commissions

Principal Administrative Officer

UN Commissions

Job Description

This position is located in the Programme Management and Support Services Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Geneva. The Programme Management and Support Services Division is composed of the Office of the Director, the Programme Management Unit, and the Executive Office of UNECE. The Executive Office is composed of the Finance and Budget Unit, the Human Resources Unit and the Information Systems Unit. The Principal Administrative Officer serves as First Reporting Officer for the Executive Officer and the Chief of the Programme Management Unit and reports directly to the Executive Secretary of UNECE.

Under the direct supervision of, and in close collaboration with, the Executive Secretary of UNECE, the Director of the Programme Management and Support Services Division provides strategic and authoritative advice, guidance and direction to leverage the interrelated nature of programme management and programme support functions within the framework of the rules and regulations of the United Nations.


Within delegated authority, the incumbent will be responsible for the following duties: Programme Support: Serves as principal lead and advisor to the Executive Secretary on the full range of general administration, budget and financial management, human resources management, and information Systems Management matters. Oversees the development and deployment of sound policies, procedures and tools consistent with UN policy and frameworks.

(a) Oversees the delivery and related performance of all general administrative activities, including Umoja, procurement, travel, office space and property management and their related Key Performance Indicators for UNECE.

(b) Oversees the quality formulation and performance implementation of all aspects of the annual budget, including financial reporting and guidance to the Head of Entity. Leads on the Statement of Internal Control and the Delegation of Authority on behalf of the Executive Secretary.

(c) On behalf of the Executive Secretary, monitors and provides strategic oversight to the formulation and implementation of strategies in the management of all aspects of human resources, including staffing table management, staff welfare and the implementation of the UNECE geographical representation and gender balance.

(d) Advises the Executive Secretary on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems solutions and services. Identifies forward looking ICT tools and solutions in support of a more effective and efficient delivery of the UNECE programme of work.

Programme Management: Provides authoritative strategic advice to the Executive Secretary on all programme management, technical cooperation activities and the strategic planning process to ensure that appropriate linkages are established between the various aspects of the programme of work funded by the regular budget and extra-budgetary resources.

(a) Oversees and manages all aspects of the UNECE annual Proposed Programme Plan and budget, and its submission to Executive Committee of the Commission (EXCOM), and to the UN oversight and legislative bodies (ACABQ, CPC, Fifth Committee).

(b) Oversees strategic engagement with other Regional Commissions and United Nations entities in support of development system reform and the Resident Coordinator system countries within the UNECE region and actively engages with country level Resident Coordinators to ensure better alignment of technical assistance with national priorities. Oversees the UNECE contribution to new UN Sustainable Development and Cooperation Frameworks (UNSDCF) in support of the Sustainable Development 2030 Agenda.

(c) Oversees strategic guidance and direction to sub-programmes in all technical cooperation projects funded from UNDA, RPTC and extrabudgetary resources. Promotes synergies between the normative and operational work of the organization.

(d) Oversees and provides substantive input to the Senior Managers Compact between the Executive Secretary and the Secretary-General and its related accountability framework, including Enterprise Risk Management, Evaluation and Audit.

Provides programme management and administrative inputs for the preparation of various Secretariat level reports, studies, recommendations, briefings and position papers for the Executive Secretary and senior management and represents UNECE in review bodies such as the ACABQ and the Fifth Committee.

Advises the Executive Secretary on policy matters concerning the programme and Resource Management of the secretariat and identifies issues requiring administrative and management reviews of high sensitivity, urgency and complexity.

Develops and maintains relations with Permanent Missions of member Governments of the Commission, UN system organizations, specialized agencies and other organizations.

Acts as Chairperson of various standing or ad hoc inter-divisional task forces set up by the Executive Secretary to formulate policies, strategic direction and evaluate strategic options, particularly in terms of resource implications.


Professionalism: Solid knowledge of administrative policies, guidelines and applicable UN financial and administrative rules and regulations. Comprehensive knowledge of UN administrative and financial policies, procedures and operations. 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.

Accountability: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments. Delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards. Operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules. Supports 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 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.

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 improvement; 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 (Master's Degree or equivalent degree) in business administration, public administration, finance, accounting, law or in a related area is required. A first-level degree (Bachelor’s degree or equivalent) in the specified fields of studies with two additional years of relevant work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of fifteen years of progressively responsible experience in administration and programme management in either the UN Common system or other international organizations is required.

At least three years experience in handling complex administrative organizational issues at a senior international level is required.

Hands on experience with senior level administrative and financial policies, procedures and operations is required.


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


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

Special Notice

This position is initially available through 31 December 2021 and any extension beyond that date is subject to availability of funds and concurrence of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.

The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance and geographical diversity in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

At the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the recruitment and employment of staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, with due regard to geographic diversity. All employment decisions are made on the basis of qualifications and organizational needs. The United Nations is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. The United Nations recruits and employs staff regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds or disabilities. Reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities may be provided to support participation in the recruitment process when requested and indicated in the application.

Staff members appointed to the current position are required to submit a financial disclosure statement upon assignment or appointment and annually thereafter.

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.

The paramount consideration in the appointment, transfer, or promotion of staff shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. By accepting an offer of appointment, United Nations staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and assignment by him or her to any activities or offices of the United Nations in accordance with staff regulation 1.2 (c). In this context, all internationally recruited staff members shall be required to move periodically to discharge new functions within or across duty stations under conditions established by the Secretary-General.

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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