Senior Advisor Private Sector, P5, UNISDR, Geneva

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

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) is a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder platform to enable societies to increase their resilience to natural, technological and environmental disasters and to reduce associated environmental, human, economic and social losses. A range of United Nations organizations and international partners participate in cooperation with Governments and civil society organizations. In adopting ISDR, the United Nations General Assembly (Res/54/219) endorsed the establishment of an institutional framework for its implementation including an inter-agency secretariat (UNISDR secretariat). The main functions of the UNISDR secretariat are policy coordination, advocacy and information management, at the international and regional levels, to ensure synergy between disaster reduction strategies and those in the socio-economic and humanitarian fields.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) works closely with private sector entities to make both short- and long-term investments across all industry sectors and society more risk-sensitive and resilient. Our partners are businesses that invest human, technical and financial resources to build the resilience of nations and communities, using core business arrangements, philanthropy and corporate social responsibility to support communities, local and national governments as well as international organizations in safeguarding lives and livelihoods from physical hazards.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction spells out clearly the importance of private investment by collaborating with private sector in reducing disaster risk and ensuring sustainable development. Reducing disaster risk and losses in businesses is an explicit part of the outcome that the Framework aims to achieve over the next 15 years (Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, A/CONF.224/CRP.1: page 6). In particular, the Framework states that “Addressing the underlying disaster risk factors through disaster risk-informed public and private investments are more cost-effective than primary reliance on post-disaster response and recovery, and contribute to sustainable development” (page 9).

The expanded scope of the Sendai Framework, now including environmental, technological and biological hazards and risk, makes comprehensive engagement with the private sector pivotal to successful implementation. Under a number of Priorities for action of the Framework, the promotion of and support to “collaboration among public and private stakeholders to enhance the resilience of business to disasters” is highlighted (page 17). UNISDR therefore will continue to work with many different actors in the private sector, including large corporations, small and medium-sized businesses, infrastructure, supply chain, tourism, the financial sector, insurance and reinsurance markets and private foundations, to support them in their role as defined in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (see page 21).¨

UNISDR has developed a number of mechanisms for private sector engagement including the Private Sector Partnership (PSP), Private Sector Advisroy Group (PSAG) and the initiative for Risk Sensitive Investment (R!SE). UNISDR is currently in the process of closely aligning these different vehicles coherently in terms of concept, implementation and management. Through this alignment and under the leadership of the Senior Advisor, private sector actors will be presented with and offered a coherent set of options for engagement with UNISDR and the wider UN system with clear focal points and accountability structures.

Functional responsibilities:

Organizational Setting and Reporting Relationships:

This position is located in the Headquarters of UNISDR in Geneva and reports to the Chief of the Risk Knowledge Section. The Senior Advisor will lead the organisation’s engagement with the private sector, including strategic planning, team management, oversight over programme and project management and monitoring and evaluation, policy development and other activities in an assigned functional area.


Within delegated authority, the Senior Advisor will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Takes the lead to develop, implement and evaluate UNISDR’s strategy for engagement with the private sector.

  • Manages all outreach activities for UNISDR’s private sector programme in agreement with the Head of Section and aligned to UNISDR’s strategic goals and objectives.

  • Directs the private sector team in external relations, communications, programme and project development, implementation, monitoring and assessment

  • Oversees the budget of the private sector engagement programme and directs reporting into UNISDR’s results-based monitoring and reporting system.

  • Manages the strategic and day-to-day engagement with the UNOPS Trust Fund established to support the implementation of projects in cooperation with the private sector; is responsible for developing agreements, monitoring and reporting in relation to the UNOPS Trust Fund; advises UNISDR senior management of strategic direction and project selection for the Trust Fund.

  • Leads resource mobilization efforts within the private sector in close cooperation with UNISDR’s Resource Mobilisation Unit.

  • Leads his/her team in undertaking relevant studies, survey initiatives, data collection instruments and reviews; analyzes and interprets responses, identifies problems/issues and prepares conclusions.

  • Supervises preparation of various written outputs, e.g. background papers, analysis, substantial sections of reports and studies, inputs to publications, etc.

  • Directs substantive support to consultative and other meetings, conferences, etc., to include proposing agenda topics, identifying participants, preparation of documents and presentations, etc.

  • Manages outreach activities; designs and conducts training workshops, seminars, etc., makes presentations on assigned topics/activities.

  • As required, leads field missions, including provision of guidance to external consultants, government officials and other parties and drafting mission summaries, etc.

  • Serves as an effective spokesperson and establishes collaboration and partnerships with business leaders, academic experts and key officials at all levels inside and outside the organization.

  • Ensures effective utilization, supervision and development of staff; guides, evaluates and mentors staff in his/her team.

  • Represents UNISDR at expert conferences, high-level meetings, public events, and technical workshops.

  • May perform other duties as required.

Work implies frequent interaction with the following:

Close cooperation with senior management of UNISDR and other work programme and project leads. Regular interaction with senior counterparts in businesses, insurance industry, investors, regulators, scientists, UN funds and programmes, and representatives and officials in national governments, international organization.

Results expected:

Develops, implements, monitors and evaluates strategies, programmes and projects for UNISDR’s private sector engagement. Provides direction and leadership, and sound and innovative advice to the organization on the role of private investment and business in disaster risk management to ensure timely and cost-effective delivery of results that ensure the best interests of the organization and private sector partners of UNISDR. Delivers thorough, well-reasoned contributions, e.g., policy recommendations, complex papers, analysis, substantive sections of reports and studies, publications, etc. Implements corrective action with respect to operational issues.


Professionalism: In-depth knowledge of disaster risk reduction practices and applications, especially in the area of business risk, public-private partnerships, familiarity with and experience in the development of business continuity planning, risk-sensitive investment, business risk management and supply chain resilience, practical experience in the private sector, both at country or HQ level; good research, analytical and problem-solving skills, including ability to identify and participate in the resolution of issues/problems; ability to apply good judgment in the context of assignments give; ability to plan own work and manage conflicting priorities. A results based approach and attitude.

Communications: Excellent communication (spoken and written) skills, including the ability to present engagingly to a variety of audiences, draft/edit a variety of written reports, studies and other communications and to articulate ideas in a clear, concise style. Excellent analytical, spoken and writing skills in English; including ability to defend and explain difficult issues and positions to staff including business, senior officials in the UN and national governments. Excellent skills in working with and providing training for national counterparts

Planning & Organizing: Develops clear goals for UNISDR’s private sector engagement that are consistent with the organisation’s strategic framework; 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 for the whole team as necessary; uses time efficiently.

Creativity: Actively seeks to improve UNSIDR’s relationship with private sector partners and develop innovative approaches to collaboration and 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.

Teamwork: Good interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and working relations in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity, including gender balance.

Education/Experience/Language requirements:

Education: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in Business Administration, Management, Risk Management, Economics or a 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 ten years of progressively responsible experience in project or programme management, administration or related area. Experience of working in the private sector or closely with private sector entities; knowledge of national planning processes and investment systems; familiarity with the UN system. Familiarity with disaster risk reduction, UNISDR and its partners and the Sendai Framework for Action.

Language: Fluency in English (oral and written) is required; knowledge of French or Spanish is desirable. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.

Other: Experience of managing large and complex programmes; experience of budgeting, implementing and monitoring projects and programmes; experience of leading global teams with staff located in different locations.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: Fixed Term

Contract level: P5

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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