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Consultant (Disaster risk reduction expert)

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Addis Ababa (UNISDR Addis Ababa)

United Nations Core Values: - Integrity - Professionalism - Respect for diversity

Vacancy notice number: ISDR/C/26/2010


The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) was created by the UN in 2000 with the specific mandate to raise awareness about the need to reduce the risk of disaster. The UNISDR aims to promote disaster risk reduction as an integral component of sustainable development, with the goal of reducing human, social, economic and environmental losses due to natural hazards and related technological and environmental disasters. It builds on partnerships within and outside the UN towards the goals of reducing the loss of lives, socio-economic setbacks and the environmental damages caused by natural hazards.

Governments around the world have committed to take action to reduce disaster risk, and have adopted a guideline to reduce vulnerabilities to natural hazards, the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015. Its thrusts are: to make disaster risk reduction (DRR) a priority; know the risks and take action; build understanding and awareness; reduce risk; and get prepared and ready to act.

The work of UNISDR supports those objectives, by helping obtain commitment from public authorities to implement disaster reduction policies and actions; stimulating partnerships across disciplines and sectors to expand risk reduction networks; advocate, support public education about risk and risk reduction and stimulate the increase of scientific knowledge about risk and disaster impacts.

The implementation of the ISDR is supported by a secretariat lead by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction. The secretariat 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. This assignment is funded by the World Bank Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery
(GFDRR) as a part of its cooperation with UNISDR to strengthen institutional and technical capacities of African Union Commission, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other regional and sub-regional organizations on disaster risk reduction in Africa.

To minimize negative impacts of natural hazards on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa, the African Union and 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 (AfDB), 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 African Union Summit, endorsed by the First African Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2005, and adopted by the Eight Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union in 2006, provides the operational framework for disaster risk reduction interventions in the region. In April 2010, extension of the Programme of Action until 2015 by incorporating emerging issues and new challenges and opportunities was adopted at the Second African Ministerial Conference on DRR held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Organizational setting and reporting relationships:

Under the overall guidance of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture; the Consultant will be supervised by the Head of Division for Environment and Natural Resources in close coordination with the Head of UNISDR Regional Office for Africa.

The duties outlined below will be performed in line with the agreed work-plan for the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction of the World Bank for 2010 and the four strategic objectives of the UNISDR 2010-2011 work plan.

Duties and responsibilities:

1. Provide support to the AUC in implementing the Africa Regional Strategy and the Programme of Action for DRR in line with the HFA, and the recommendations of the Declaration of the Second African Ministerial Conference on DRR held in Nairobi in April 2010. Provide support to mainstreaming of DRR into relevant programmes and agendas of the AUC and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) with strong linkage with Climate Change Adaptation.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Facilitate compilation of DRR related activities, information sharing, exchange of experience and practices on DRR through establishment of regional knowledge networks with the Member States 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.
5. Assist in promoting economic indicators and cost benefits of disaster reduction both through UNISDR, the AUC, International Financial Institutions and other partner organizations to target audiences (e.g. governments and reinsurance industries)
6. Assist mapping, capacity assessment and publication 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
7. 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 and fund raising with donors.
8. 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.
9. Organize and prepare written reports and outputs, e.g. reports, analyzing and monitoring progress of the Africa Strategy and Programme of Action; draft background papers, analysis, sections of reports and studies, inputs to publications.
10. Perform any other tasks and missions proposed by the AUC and UNISDR Africa.

Key deliverables/expected results:

1. Report on the implementation of the Africa Regional Strategy and the Programme of Action for DRR in line with the HFA, and the recommendations of the Declaration of the Second African Ministerial Conference on DRR held in Nairobi in April 2010.
2. Reports on the substantive backstopping about negotiations, consultations and conferences, in particular regarding the Africa Working Group and Africa Advisory Group Consultations, Regional Platform Consultations as well as Ministerial Conferences on DRR.
3. 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.
4. Compilation a 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).
5. At least one project proposal prepared to enhance the implementation of the Africa Regional Strategy for DRR and the Programme of Action.
6. 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, 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.


Fluency in written and spoken English is required. Working knowledge of French is an added

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  • Additional location info Addis Ababa
  • Closing Date 6 Sep 2010

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