Risk Knowledge Economist, P4, UNISDR, Geneva

DATORE: United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) - LUOGO: Switzerland (Geneva) - SCADENZA BANDO: 20 Oct 2015

Organizational Setting and Reporting Relationships: This position will be located in the Risk Knowledge Section of the UNISDR secretariat at Headquarters and will report to the Chief of the Risk Knowledge Section. The focus of this job is to lead the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes, operations and other activities referring to the core functions of the Risk Knowledge Section, in the context of the Strategic Framework 2025 and Work Programme 2012-2015 of the UNISDR secretariat, namely:

  • Monitoring progress by regions and countries against the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) using the on-line SFDRR Monitor tool

  • Developing a credible information base on patterns and trends in disaster risk through global risk modeling and analysis

  • Building and institutionalizing methodologies and systems for accounting for disaster loss and impact, for tracking investments in disaster risk reduction and for designing cost-effective risk management strategies

  • Identifying key opportunities and challenges for advancing disaster risk reduction and influencing policy at all levels through the publication of biennial Global Assessment Reports on Disaster Risk Reduction.

  • Providing substantive policy advice and briefs in support of the coordination and advocacy activities of the UNISDR secretariat.

Functional responsibilities:

Responsibilities: Within delegated authority, the Economist will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Assist national governments in designing, establishing and enforcing integrated disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) measures in their public investment and planning systems so that new infrastructure built by countries do not constitute new risks, in line with the SFDRR mandate of preventing new risks and reducing existing ones.

  • Define and coordinate the provision of UNISDR support to the development of methods and tools to track investment in disaster risk reduction by national governments, including at the sector and territorial level. In particular, develop conceptual models to measure public investment in risk reduction and suggest financial planning, budgeting, administrative and other mechanisms to implement these models in the context of different institutional and legislative systems.

  • Coordinate and participate in the processes of capacity building for national governments in the different tools that will be needed for countries in the processes of optimizing, increasing and justifying their risk reduction investment portfolio including but not limited to cost/benefit analysis (CBA), catastrophe models, budget tracking and other tools deemed necessary.

  • Organize the provision of policy advice to governments and regional organizations on the design of optimized and cost-effective investment strategies in disaster risk management, including investments in disaster risk reduction, risk sharing, through insurance, capital markets and other means and social protection. In coordination with UNISDR regional offices and other partners such as development banks and the insurance sector, initiate and support outreach activities to governments, including training workshops, seminars, etc.

  • Coordinate and provide capacity building on econometric and systems analysis designed to measure the direct and indirect impact of disasters in regional economies and their urban centers, including impacts on economic growth and productivity, employment and welfare, equality and gender, poverty, health and education. Design research methods and tools to identify the factors and variables that explain vulnerability to hazard and resilience to disaster impacts, including the impact on the private sector.

  • Draft analytical reports for publication, including sections of the UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR), and National Reports that comprise the risk profile of a country and the set of tools, strategies and recommendations given to countries in the process of building national DRR plans and strategies.

  • Develop mechanisms to monitor public investments in disaster risk reduction, including through the on-line SFDRR Monitor. Advise the development of on-line statistical and visualization tools to display results.

  • Organise policy research and development on key disaster risk reduction issues, challenges and opportunities for the UNISDR secretariat; assesses issues and trends on the basis of published literature and evidence; drafts substantive policy advice and briefs; makes presentations to conferences, workshops, seminars and training events

  • Provide substantive guidance and support to the communications and outreach work of UNISDR.

  • Provide substantive backstopping to resource mobilization activities, in support of the key processes of the Risk Knowledge Section in particular and of UNISDR secretariat in general, with bilateral and multilateral donors, foundations and others, and for cost-sharing arrangements with partners, to support programme execution and implementation.

  • Coordinate the preparation of strategic and programme plans and budgets; prepares programme and project documents; ensures that activities are monitored and evaluated and that progress reports and prepared in a timely fashion.

  • Perform other duties as required by the Head of the Risk Knowledge Section

Work implies frequent interaction with the following:

Senior officers in UNISDR secretariat, UN funds, programmes and other UN specialized agencies. Representatives and officials in national governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society organizations as well as in scientific, technical and academic organizations working on disaster risk reduction.

Results expected:

Facilitates the adoption of methods to track public investment in disaster risk reduction by national governments, including through public investment planning systems. Produces policy recommendations, analytical papers, substantive sections of the GAR and other reports and studies, in particular economic analysis of disaster impacts, vulnerability and resilience. Supports the identification and adoption of cost-effective risk management strategies by governments. Generates sustainable partnerships and strategies to ensure the timely and cost-effective delivery of results.


  • Professionalism: Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches of disaster risk reduction, in particular with respect to risk identification, loss accounting and public investment in risk management. Ability to identify issues, analyze and participate in the resolution of issues/problems. Ability to conduct data collection using various methods. Conceptual analytical and evaluative skills to conduct independent research and analysis, including familiarity with and experience in the use of various research sources, including electronic sources on the internet, intranet and other databases. Ability to apply judgment in the context of assignments given, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities. 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.

  • 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

  • Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

  • 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

  • Creativity: Actively seeks to improve programmes or services; offers new and different options to solve problems or meet client needs; promotes and persuades others to consider new ideas; takes calculated risks on new and unusual ideas; thinks “outside the box”; takes an interest in new ideas and new ways of doing things; is not bound by current thinking or traditional approaches.

Education/Experience/Language requirements:

Education: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in Economics or closely related field. A first-level university degree in combination with at least two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Experience: A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible experience in economic analysis, with particular emphasis on public finance and the economics of disaster risk reduction.

Language: Fluency in English (both oral and written) is essential and in another working language of the UN Secretariat desirable. Knowledge of a third UN official language is an advantage.

Other: In depth knowledge of the economics of disaster risk reduction, as demonstrated through publications. Experience with national government or with a relevant technical assistance project in at least one developing region. Understanding of the international policy framework and institutional architecture of disaster risk reduction. Wide network of disaster risk reduction researchers and practitioners, particularly in the economics field. Familiarity with methodologies and information systems for loss accounting and risk assessment.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: Fixed Term

Contract level: P4

Contract duration: 1 year initially, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and funding availability

Additional considerations:

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time (CET)

  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.

  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.

  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post

  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns.

Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

No Fee




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