World Health Organization (WHO)

Regional Adviser (Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Job Description

  The Division of Country Health Programmes (CHP) assists country efforts to reduce the burden of non-communicable and Communicable Diseases and address the social, economic and environmental determinants of health, and promotes policies and actions for health through stewardship of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network. It focuses on health promotion measures; prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, including cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and Diabetes, and risks related to tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and the harmful use of alcohol; communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, and vector-borne and neglected tropical diseases; elimination and control of vaccine-preventable diseases and advocacy for increased use of vaccines; containing and controlling antimicrobial resistance; addressing existing and emerging Environmental Health risks, and supporting violence and injury prevention. A determination to ensure universal access to people-centred quality health services across the continuum of care is matched by enriching the evidence base for policy Design and interventions using social, cultural and behavioural approaches, to drive implementation of innovation at national, regional and local levels.

The WHO/Europe Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases approach will foster the achievement of NCD-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals in the WHO European Region countries through fostering innovations and strengthening national capacities, governance, multisectoral action, and partnerships in reducing major risk factors, orienting health systems towards people-centered health care and universal health coverage and ensuring access to quality NCD services across the care continuum. The “NCD Office”, an integral part of WHO/Europe's Prevention and Control of NCD approach, will coordinate countries in the development of NCD investment cases and national strategic action plans, coordinate scale-up of “best buys” implementation for country impact for NCDs, the empowerment of individuals, including for better health literacy and capacity-building through NCD flagship courses. It will evolve as a Regional hub for excellence in NCD surveillance, modelling and policy monitoring, implementation research and innovations, including digitalization and big-data approaches to addressing NCDs trends and determinants. It will also work to reduce the major risk factors for noncommunicable diseases- tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol - provide policy and strategic directions and Technical Support to countries in developing and strengthening tobacco control programmes and intensify support for WHO FCTC implementation, interventions to reduce alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity, through regulation and policy change, alongside traditional and innovative efforts to change behaviour. It will provide monitoring and surveillance and support to countries on prison health and prison health-care systems and services.


The purpose of the post in to provide strategic planning and leadership as well as authoritative advice and direction to Member States in respect to promotion of nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Lead the horizontal Coordination of the technical work across the Organization anchoring the physical activity, nutrition and Food Systems issues on their agendas for optimal integration of activities related to NCD prevention, and to mobilise partners to promote physical activity in all settings and across the life course and to reduce sedentary time which is an independent risk factor for NCDs.

Key duties: 1. Provide advice to Member States on policies, strategic directions and priorities on nutrition, physical activity and obesity and as a content expert provide leadership and direction for prevention of NCDs.

2. Develop and implement integrated multi-sectoral approaches to strengthen delivery capacities for the nutrition and obesity activities of the EPW, the European Food and Nutrition Action Plan, the Physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region and the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in the WHO European Region.

3. Represent WHO Europe and provide authoritative advice on matters related to nutrition, physical activity, obesity and prevention of NCDs in relevant meetings, liaison with international, regional and national health authorities and external partners.

4. Lead the horizontal coordination of the technical work between nutrition, obesity, physical activity and various units of the Division and across the Organization anchoring the NCD issues, including promotion of sustainable healthy diets on their agendas for optimal integration; 5. Develop tools and instruments and advise Member States in evidence-based nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention policies and plans for national NCD prevention in cooperation with the teams in GDOs, CHP, CPS and other divisions, and country offices, including the design, testing and deployment of innovative, context-based recommendations and models for integration of NCD interventions within health systems to ensure high-quality services for the prevention and control of NCDs across the care continuum.

6. Coordinate and facilitate the uptake of WHO tools, information gathering, writing, and finalization of formal technical/strategic documents and state of art scientific papers.

7. Guide the development of joint initiatives and work plans with professional societies and WHO Collaborating Centres dealing with nutrition, physical activity, obesity and related issues, aligning joint activities of EPW flagship initiatives and monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of collaboration.

8. Develop, direct and coordinate strategic initiatives related to childhood obesity including the convening and support to the member states action network on childhood obesity: Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI).

9. Take a lead role in convening regional stakeholders and establishing and managing regional partnership/s and coordination group/s to steer novel approaches in implementation of nutrition and obesity prevention initiatives, including brief interventions in primary healthcare settings and improving digital food environments.

10. Act as the WHO focal point for European Salt Action Network (ESAN), WHO European Network on Reducing marketing pressure on children and European network for the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity and other relevant networks for nutrition, physical activity and obesity.

11. Mobilize partners to promote physical activity in all settings and across the life course and to reduce sedentary time which is an independent risk factor for NCDs.

12. Identify opportunities and special areas of mutual interest with potential donors.

13. Regularly monitor and assess the performance of the technical area through evaluation and reporting.

14. Perform other duties as assigned.



Essential: Advanced university degree in public health., Desirable: Advanced degree in social sciences, law or field relevant to the position.


Essential: At least 10 years of progressively responsible professional experience in public health programmes, particularly on non-communicable diseases and/or nutrition, physical activity, obesity at national and international levels, including demonstrated practical experience in implementing or advising on key domains of nutrition and physical activity and the implementation of the international public health treaty. Proven practical experience and track record in implementing or advising on key domains of nutrition and physical activity promotion, and in supporting the implementation of evidence-based control legislation and policies, in data analyses and in intersectoral Capacity Building.

Desirable: Relevant experience in WHO, UN organizations/agencies, international institutions or NGOs. Proven experience working in partnership with UN organizations, the private sector, multinational organizations and non-governmental organizations Relevant experience in intersectoral work and resource mobilization. Proven experience working with Ministries of Health and other Ministries/Governmental Agencies/Legislative Authorities


Demonstrated knowledge of global and regional public health aspects of nutrition, physical activity, obesity and NCDsExpert level knowledge in aspects relevant to the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases.In depth knowledge of the political, social and health systems of countries in the WHO European Region.Strong diplomatic and negotiation skills.Demonstrated ability to work with minimal technical supervision. Emotional awareness; Ability to identify and harness one's emotions and apply them to tasks; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes both regulating one's own emotions when necessary and helping others to do the same. Demonstrated ability to work with minimal technical supervision. Emotional awareness; Ability to identify and harness one's emotions and apply them to tasks; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes both regulating one's own emotions when necessary and helping others to do the same.

WHO Competencies

Teamwork Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences Communication Moving forward in a changing environment Ensuring the effective use of resources Creating an empowering and motivating environment

Use of Language Skills

Essential: Expert knowledge of English.

Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of French,RussianGerman.


WHO salaries for staff in the Professional category are calculated in US dollars. The remuneration for the above position comprises an annual base salary starting at USD 89,837 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable), a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station, and currently amounts to USD 3444 per month for the duty station indicated above. Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.


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