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Disaster Risk Reduction Expert Consultancy Vacancy with United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)

Post Title & Level: Consultant – Disaster Risk Reduction Expert

Duty station:
 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 6 months (with possible extension)

Vacancy Notice number:

Deadline for applications:
 04 April 2010

Date of entry:
 To be confirmed

United Nations Core Values:
  • Integrity

  • Professionalism
  • Respect for diversity

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) is a multi-disciplinary and multistakeholder platform to enable societies to increase their resilience to natural, technological and environmental disasters and to reduce associated environmental, human and economic and social risk and losses.

A range of United Nations organizations and international partners participate in cooperation with Governments and civil society organizations.

The implementation of the ISDR is supported by a secretariat led by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction. The secretariat’s main functions 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.

In January 2005, the World Conference on Disaster Reduction adopted the Hyogo Declaration and the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.

The Hyogo Framework constitutes the essential guide for implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and represents the key policy framework for reducing risk and to strengthen community resilience. The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction established by the UN General Assembly in 2006, the main global policy forum for disaster risk reduction, and is complemented by a system of regional, thematic and national platforms, which
bring together all relevant stakeholders.

To minimize negative impacts of natural hazards on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa, the African Union and the Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) are emphasizing integration of disaster risk reduction and management into the sub-regional poverty reduction, security, and sustainable development agenda to help create safer and resilient communities in social, economic and environmental terms.

Consequently, to expand and strengthen actions at all levels to reduce disaster risks and build the resilience of nations and communities to disasters, the African Union and the Secretariat of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), with the support of UNISDR and in partnership with UNDP, UNEP and African Development Bank (ADB), led a process of regional actions to strengthen national capacities for DRR in Africa, beginning with the development of the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The strategy aims to contribute to the attainment of sustainable development and poverty eradication by facilitating the integration of disaster risk reduction into development. The Programme of Action for the Implementation of the Africa Strategy 2006-2010 which was developed in compliance with a request by the 2004 Africa Union Summit, endorsed by the 2005 African Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction, and adopted by the Eight Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (2006), provides the operational framework for disaster risk reduction interventions in the region.

The extension and enforcement of the Programme of Action to cover the period until 2015 was discussed and agreed at the 2nd Regional Platform Consultative Meeting for DRR in May 2009, and formal adoption of the extended Programme by African Ministers in charge of DRR is awaited in 2010.

Organizational Setting and Reporting Relationships:

Under the overall authority of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), the guidance of the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture and direct supervision of and reporting to the Head of Division for Environment and Natural Resources, and in coordination with the Head of UNISDR Regional Office for Africa, the DRR Advisor shall provide overall support to the AUC in the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Implementation of the Africa Regional Strategy on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015.

The responsibilities, duties and tasks described below will be fulfilled in line with the agreed workplan for the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction of the World Bank for 2010. Strong linkage should be also sought between the tasks under this TOR and UNISDR’s four Strategic Objectives for its work planning for 2010-2011:
  1. Concretise strategic linkages between DRR and climate change adaptation;
  2. Catalyse partnerships for increased investment in DRR;
  3. Increase commitment to and accountability for safer schools and hospitals;
  4. Strengthen the UNISDR secretariat. This position is located at the Headquarters of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Duties and Responsibilities
  1. Provide liaison between the AUC and the UNISDR in Nairobi.
  2. Promote mainstreaming of DRR into relevant programmes and agendas of the AUC.
  3. Provide support to the AUC in implementing the Africa Regional Strategy and the Programme of Action for DRR in line with the HFA and on behalf of the ISDR secretariat.
  4. Support fund raising activities, approach donor community and draft project proposals.
  5. Support the implementation of the regional deliverables of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).
  6. Prepare project proposals for the implementation of priority objectives of the Africa Programme of Action for DRR including, as relevant, preparation of policy documents and proposals for ministerial consideration.
  7. Provide substantive backstopping to, among others, negotiations, consultative and other meetings and conferences, in particular facilitate the Africa Working Group and Africa Advisory Group Consultations, Regional Platform Consultations as well as Ministerial Conferences on DRR.
  8. Facilitate the country DRR initiatives and national programmes and strengthen national platforms as required in cooperation with relevant sub-regional organizations in coordination with the UNISDR Regional Office for Africa.
  9. In liaison with International Financial Institutions, support activities related to cost-benefit and other economic indicators and/or aspects of DRR strategies and policies.
  10. Assist in promoting economic indicators and cost benefits of disaster reduction both through UNISDR, the AUC and partner organizations to target audiences (e.g. governments and reinsurance industries)
  11. Facilitate capacity building on DRR at regional, sub-regional and national levels. of regional and national resource centres and academic institutions for the collection and analysis of regional data on hazards, vulnerabilities and disaster risk reduction measures including progress in implementing the Africa Strategy and Programme of Action in line with HFA
  12. Facilitate information sharing, exchange of experience and practices on DRR through establishment of regional knowledge networks for exchange of good practices and experiences through Africa regional forums, platform and the Global Platform and information to promote knowledge exchange on DRR among the Member States of the African Union.
  13. Support the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to develop policies, programmes and project proposals in DRR in particular for reducing droughts and floods through regional cooperation
  14. Strengthen or establish where necessary strong links with international, regional and subregional organizations and support inter-governmental and interagency processes to establish effective working relationships with international, regional and sub-regional organizations working in disaster preparedness, humanitarian and disaster relief,
  15. Organize and prepare written reports and outputs, e.g. reports, analysing and monitoring progress of the Africa Strategy and Programme of Action; draft background papers, analysis, sections of reports and studies, inputs to publications.
  16. Lead and/or participate in field missions, including provision of guidance to external consultants, government officials and other parties and drafting mission summaries.
  17. Perform any other related work proposed by the AUC and UNISDR Africa.
  18. Conduct mapping and capacity assessment of selected existing major training centres and regional and sub-regional specialized institutions working on DRR and climate change under the aegis of the AUC
  19. After the above-mentioned mapping and assessment, produce a detailed analytical report as to which centres exist and which areas of training are offered as well as a small publication/brochure for dissemination for summarizing these key results.
  20. Ensure inclusion of DRR activities in the 2010-2011 programmes and projects of AUC with specific focus on linking climate change and DRR.
  21. In consultation with the AUC and major regional partners including the Economic Commission for Africa to explore possible areas for promoting DRR with major climate change initiatives (such as ClimDev programme) for Africa.
Results expected:
  1. Inclusion of DRR activities in the related 2010-2011 programmes and projects of AU and AUC with specific focus on linking climate change and DRR.
  2. Specific conference documents produced for the 2nd Ministerial Conference on DRR.
  3. Report on the mapping of and capacity assessments of existing major training centres that can offer capacity-building programmes on DRR and climate change, as well as mapping and capacity assessment of specialized institutions in the Africa Region in consultation with Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
  4. Substantive monthly progress report (A4, MS Word format in English by 20th of every month) to be submitted to the head of UNISDR Africa Regional Office with a copy to the Head of Division for Environment and Natural Resources of the AUC describing specific achievements within this assignment.
  • Professionalism – Strong background, knowledge and understanding of the concepts, principles and approaches to disaster risk reduction; proven project management skills and ability to lead a project to completion.
  • Client Orientation – Ability to identify and analyze clients’ needs and develop appropriate services to meet business requirements.
  • Communications – Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately
  • Planning and Organizing – Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required
  • Teamwork – Strong interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships and working relations with people in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment.
  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in disaster risk management, development, public policy or a related field. A first- level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
Work experience
  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in project or programme management, administration or related area.
  • English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this assignment, fluency in written and spoken English is required. Working knowledge of French is an added advantage.
Please email the following documents to the ISDR secretariat at isdr.vacancies @
  1. Cover letter, explaining why you consider yourself qualified and motivated for this particular assignment.
  2. Completed personal history profile form ( this form can be downloaded from the UNISDR website)
It would be appreciated your stating your full name and the ISDR vacancy notice number (ISDR/C/08/2010) as the subject in your e-mail of application.

Please note that applications received after the deadline will not be accepted.

Applicants will be contacted only if they are under serious consideration.

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