Chief of Communications at United Nations Human Settlements Programme

The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. UN-Habitat helps the urban poor by transforming cities into safer and healthier places with better opportunities. It works with organizations at every level, including all spheres of government, civil society, private sector and the Habitat Agenda Partners.

The position is located in the External Relations and Partnerships Branch which is a component of the Division of External Relations, Strategy, Knowledge and Innovation (ERSKI). The External Relations and Partnerships Branch is charged with promoting strategic alliances to support achievement of the goals of adequate shelter for all, and sustainable urbanization and human settlements development. Communications and Media is one of the vehicles used to assists in advancing UN-Habitat’s image and relationships with its partners and the public at large, to build and strengthen partnerships, facilitate policy impact and developmental change, and increase delivery of programmes.

Under the direct supervision of the Director, of External Relations, Strategy, Knowledge and Innovation (ERSKI), the incumbent will be responsible for the following:


•Develop strategies to strengthen existing ties with media organizations and news outlets in keeping the media informed of UN-Habitat’s activities globally, regionally and nationally.
•Oversee the content and strategy of UN-Habitat’s social media presence.
•In coordination with the Head of Advocacy and Campaigns, the incumbent will oversee digital media campaigns to enhance public outreach and engagement activities using a range of digital media platforms and leveraging emerging technologies and trends.
•Develop and oversee the development of diverse materials (Briefings, speeches, media analysis, media guidance, talking points) for use by senior officials.

•Give direction during key events in providing communication services for events such as the UN-Habitat Assembly, the World Urban Forum ( WUF) and conferences.
•Ensure that communications services for UN-Habitat branches and regional offices are active, timely and are implemented in accordance with expected standards of the UN system and UN-Habitat;
•Lead UN-Habitat’s communications strategies and plans in key high-level global events

•Mobilize and manage resources for the Communications and Media Section
•In consultation with the Director the External Relations Branch and the Director of the ERSKI Division, establish and maintain effective and efficient resource scheduling and workflow management systems and processes for the section

•Provide overall strategic direction to the work of the section by providing appropriate strategic framing for the requirements of the section’s client. Strategic direction should be underpinned by an innovative strategy that delivers the mandate of the section at the cutting edge of associated industry practices, techniques, technologies and approaches
•Fulfill the functions of executive editor, publisher and producer accountable for the cost and quality control of the organization’s relevant communication products
•Ensure successful public communication which maintains and enhances the image of UN- Habitat
•Integrate and align communication elements in UN-Habitat’s campaigns to strengthen media coverage and reporting

•Develop and lead implementation of UN-Habitat’s communications policies, including crisis, outreach, advocacy, and political and social affairs
•Monitor quality, consistency and adherence of UN-Habitat corporate standards in disseminating information shared in the public domain and with key stakeholders
•Give guidance and required support to UN-Habitat branches (HQ level) and regional offices in developing programme or project communication strategies and communication activities
•Provide technical and policy advice on highly complex public affairs and communications issues to all divisions and offices
•Lead and direct on communication activities aimed at enhancing advocacy and outreach efforts by communicating programme results, on-going projects and messages through media interviews, press releases, open-editorial articles, websites stories and informative videos among others
•Assess the overall effectiveness of the communications strategy and public information programmes and adapt approaches and techniques as needed
•Take the lead within ERSKI in coordinating communication matters with UN-Habitat’s Regional and Liaison offices

•Develop, disseminate and encourage best internal communication practices amongst UN- Habitat staff through identification and promotion of innovative communications technologies; work with UN-Habitat’s substantive offices to conceive and oversee the preparation, of UN-Habitat’s corporate website, research on publications, UN-Habitat newsletters, periodicals, reports, strategic papers, and books; provide guidance to all UN- Habitat communications officers
•Oversee and, where necessary, manage and contribute to the development of diverse materials (briefings, speeches, questions and answers) for use by senior officials, ensuring that they contribute to core communications and advocacy strategies; oversee development of high profile multi-media communications and advocacy campaigns; set quality and production standards for information dissemination.
•Conceptualize a hub for new ways of working as the information resource to the agency to support senior management and strategic communications with an inclusive and all-of- organization approach.

•Manage and supervise UN-Habitat’s corporate communications staff; plan and allocate work assignments; coach, mentor, and evaluate staff; participate in recruitment and selection of new staff, and in the development of training programs.
•Identify opportunities for development among the communications and outreach team to build capacity to correspond to the constant change in communication methods
•Take the lead in efforts to regularly build media capacity to enable quality reporting on Sustainable Urban Development

•Lead on communication support to strengthen member states engagement
•Engage with UN Headquarters communication entities and other UN agencies to maintain regular interaction with updates on UN-Habitat’s key activities
•Create and maintain networks and partnership with national and international broadcast media, the press, governmental agencies including national; government press offices, international institutions and other key media networks

•Manage a budgetary framework for effective implementation of UN-Habitat’s communications strategy.
•Supervise and manage projects under the corporate communications portfolio by verifying compliance with established rules and guidelines for all actions well as congruence with UN policies
•Take the lead in monitoring and evaluation of communication and outreach activities to continuously improve the effectiveness of communication strategy, approach and activities
•Take responsibility for corporate communications reporting including periodic reports and such other internal reporting on its activities as may be required within UN-Habitat or by auditors and others for monitoring purposes
•In consultation with the ERSKI Director, approve financial authorizations for accounts under corporate communications

10. Perform other related duties as requested by senior management of the organization


PROFESSIONALISM: Ability to perform a broad range of administrative functions, e.g., budget/work programme, human resources, database management, etc. Ability to apply knowledge of various United Nations administrative, financial and human resources rules and regulations 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. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

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.

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.

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.

VISION: Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks; clearly communicates links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals; generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in communication, journalism, international relations, public administration or related field is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in public information, journalism, international relations, public administration or related area is required.
Five of the ten years of experience at the international level involving political judgment and successful management of public information communications is highly desirable.
Experience in raising funds under strenuous situations is desirable.
Experience with international organizations in a similar job group is an added advantage.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this position, fluency in written and oral English is required. A good working knowledge of any other UN official languages is desirable.


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

Special Notice

This is a project post. Appointment against this post is for an initial period of one year and may be subject to extension. Staff members of the United Nations Secretariat must fulfil the lateral move requirements to be eligible to apply for this vacancy. Staff members are requested to indicate all qualifying lateral moves in their Personal History Profile (PHP) and cover letter. Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

The United Nations is Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position. All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply on-line as soon as possible after the job opening has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the job opening. On-line applications will be acknowledged where an email address has been provided. If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. If the problem persists, please seek technical assistance through the Inspira “Need Help?” link

Internal Applicants – when completing the PHP, ensure ALL fields, ALL professional experience and contact information are completed and up to date. This information is the basis for the hiring manager to assess your eligibility and suitability for the position and to contact you.

Individual contractors and consultants who have worked within the UN Secretariat in the last six months, irrespective of the administering entity, are ineligible to apply for professional and higher temporary or fixed-term positions and their applications will not be considered.

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.

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