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Request from
Secretariat of the International Strategy of Disaster Reduction (ISDR), Geneva,
INT-162-08-P078-01-V (revised Oct 2008)
General Information
Date Required:
Associate Expert
1 year (with possible extension for another year)
As soon as possible
United Nations Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International
Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)
UN Headquarters, New York
Duty station:
Title of Supervisor: Liaison Officer
Content and methodology of the supervision: The Liaison Officer, who reports
directly to the Director of the ISDR Secretariat, will supervise the Associate Expert. The
Associate Expert will be expected to assist with all the activities of the ISDR Secretariat,
as instructed by the supervisor and in collaboration with other ISDR staff based in
different ISDR offices and units all around the world. He/She will be provided with the
opportunity to familiarise with the UN's administrative procedures as well as the entire
substantive part of the work related to disaster reduction.
He/She will be expected to become familiar with the scientific, technical, social,
economic and developmental aspects of disaster reduction to contribute to the efficient
implementation of ISDR, including the follow up to the World Conference on Disaster
Reduction and preparations for the mid-term review of the Hyogo Framework for Action.
Duties, responsibilities and output expectations
Within the ISDR Secretariat, the Associate Expert will be expected to contribute to the
implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, through the following functions in
the New York based ISDR Liaison Office:
A. Provide substantive and analytical support to the Liaison Officer for different
activities carried out in the context of the UN General Assembly, Commission for
Sustainable Development, MDGs, and ECOSOC.
B. Provide substantive support to workshops, consultations and other meetings or
conferences organized by ISDR secretariat, including preparation of agendas,
invitations, identifying participants, preparation of documents, and presentations, etc.
C. Represent ISDR in inter-agency meetings related disasters, risk reduction, sustainable
development, as well as Millenium Development Goals.
D. Research, analyze and present information gathered from diverse sources.
E. Prepare various written outputs, e.g. draft background papers, analysis, sections of
reports and studies, inputs to publications, etc.
F. Undertake any other professional duties consistent with the experience and
professional standing of the Associate Expert, as may be requested by the Director of
the UN/ISDR Secretariat.
Qualifications: Advanced university degree in international relations, social, economic
or development studies, or equivalent degree with relevance to disaster reduction.
Fluency in English is required, while knowledge of another UN language is desirable.
UN competencies: Proven ability to plan and organise information, as well as proven
analytical and problem-solving skills. Ability to conduct independent research, identify
issues, formulate options to make recommendations are essential. Good communication
skills, speaks and writes clearly and effectively. Works collaboratively with colleagues
to achieve goals. Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments.
Independent judgement. Actively seeks to develop oneself professionally and personally.
Work experience: Knowledge of and professional experience related to disaster
reduction issues, such as development, environmental, engineering, social studies or
international relations. A minimum of two years working experience is encouraged.
Learning Elements
By the completion of his/her first year of assignment, it is expected that the Associate
Expert has a broad base understanding of disaster reduction within the UN system and
beyond, the UN's administrative procedures, knowledge of and contacts with a wide
range of constituents related to disaster reduction, as well as skills in drafting and
synthesising materials and producing reliable, succinct reports. It is also hoped the
Associate Expert will develop a commitment to promoting disaster reduction and that
he/she feels they are making a contribution to the cause.
After the assignment the Associate Expert will be able to:
Better understand how disaster reduction is dealt with in the UN system and beyond.
Prepare information and briefs in according to UN standards. To monitor progress and
prepare summary reports on disaster reduction initiatives, according to established
criteria. Communicate with Member states, other UN agencies and other ISDR partners.
Background Information
The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction was adopted by the UN General
Assembly in resolution 54/219 as the successor to the International Decade for Natural
Disaster Reduction.
The General Assembly established the Inter-Agency Task Force and the Inter-Agency
Secretariat as the two main instruments for the promotion of the Strategy. The Interagency Task Force was further upgraded to a Global Platform for Disaster Risk
Reduction (in 2007), chaired by the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs
and which serves as the main global forum for disaster risk reduction, open for
representatives from Governments, UN agencies, regional institutions and the civil
society. The Secretariat of the ISDR, which, in keeping with the provisions of the UN
General Assembly resolution 54/219 is a distinct entity under the direct authority of the
Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, serves as the focal point within the
UN system for the coordination of strategies and programmes for disaster reduction. The
mandate of the ISDR was strengthened by GA resolution 56/195, 11 December of 2001
as well as by the Hyogo Framework for Action and the subsequent GA resolution in
The mission of the UN/ISDR secretariat is to catalyze, facilitate and mobilize the
commitment and resources of national, regional and international stakeholders of the
ISDR to build the resilience of nations and communities to disasters through
implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action. In seeking to implement this
mandate, the secretariat’s three main objectives are: (1) to ensure and enhance
coordination and coherent action among ISDR system partners to support the
implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (2) to achieve greater recognition of
and commitment to disaster risk reduction and the Hyogo Framework among policy and
decision makers world-wide, guided by technically sound policies and practices (3) to
ensure that information and knowledge on risk status, progress and guidance to
implement Hyogo Framework are available at country, regional and global levels.
The ISDR Secretariat works in close collaboration with governments, national platforms,
sub-regional and regional institutions, various UN agencies, the scientific community, the
private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders in the ISDR community.
The secretariat headquarters is located in Geneva, where the Director’s office oversees
units for policy development, advocacy and partnerships, information management,
global progress reporting, inter-agency programming and monitoring, donor relations and
administration. Regional outreach offices are located in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The New York Liaison Office is a small set up, currently composed of a Liaison Officer
and a JPO. The main functions of this office include support to the USG/ASG for
Humanitarian Affairs in their leadership role as the high level ISDR representatives,
follow up and support to the inter-governmental processes such as the ECOSOC, General
Assembly and Commission for Sustainable Development, support to the inter-agency
processes, including mainstreaming disaster risk reduction to the UN system through
UNDG and HLCP, as well as advocacy and partnership building.