Deputy Executive Director, Assistant Secretary General

New York, United States

About UNFPA  

UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, works in partnership with governments, the UN system, communities, NGOs, foundations and the private sector to raise awareness and mobilize the support and resources needed to achieve its mission to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled in development and humanitarian settings.

UNFPA is a field-based and -focused organization, operating in 155 countries and territories, and employs 4,500 personnel globally. UNFPA mobilizes more than $1 billion a year to support programmes that protect the health and rights of women and girls.

The inter-related areas of UNFPA work are sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, adolescent and youth empowerment, and population data for development. The organization’s work is guided by the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and its Programme of Action and subsequent reviews, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women, and Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNFPA Strategic direction

UNFPA's Strategic Plan 2018-2021 is the first of three strategic plans leading to the target date of 2030 to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and leave no one behind. The goal of the strategic plan is to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health, realize reproductive rights, and reduce maternal mortality to accelerate progress on the agenda of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, to improve the lives of women, adolescents and youth, enabled by population dynamics, human rights and gender equality.

The plan highlights three transformative results to be achieved, with partners, by 2030: an end to preventable maternal deaths, an end to unmet need for family planning, and an end to gender-based violence and harmful practices. All based on a foundation of high-quality population data, which is critical to help end the invisibility of those left furthest behind.

UNFPA's strategic plan is aligned with the UN General Assembly resolution on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system. As agreed in the 2018-2021 strategic plan, UNFPA will harness its collaborative advantage, in compliance with respective mandates and in collaboration with UN partners, to enhance cooperation and collaboration with humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding efforts, in accordance with national plans, needs and priorities, and national ownership.UNFPA strategic direction contributes to the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals and UN Reform.

You can find further details on their website https://www.unfpa.org/.

Deputy Executive Director Role Profile

Level: ASG

Full/Part time: Full time

Fixed term/Temporary: Fixed Term Appointment

Rotational/Non-Rotational: Non-Rotational


The Deputy Executive Director for Management (DED-M) together with the Deputy Executive Director for Programme (DED-P) are the most senior members of UNFPA's leadership team, working under the leadership of and in close collaboration with the UNFPA Executive Director. In support of UNFPA’s mandate and programmes, the DED-M strategically leads the organization to achieve operational excellence in all core management and operational functions. The portfolio includes the following functions, Financial and Human Resources management, Information Technology Solutions, Procurement, Security, Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH), and organizational Change and Culture initiatives.

The DED-M holds the rank of United Nations Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) and leads a team comprising three Directors at the D-2/D-1 level and four Offices headed by D-1/P-5 Chiefs. The DED-M proactively engages in UNFPA’s strategic direction to implement Agenda 2030 and the achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

UNFPA is committed to, and proactively and substantively supports, the UN Secretary-General’s reform agenda to improve the delivery of mandates in the areas of Sustainable Development, Management, Peace and Security. The DED-M provides strategic leadership and advice to the Executive Director and, as applicable, leads UNFPA’s internal activities to ensure alignment with the reform streams, S/he represents the Organization in inter-agency and other relevant stakeholder fora.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Deputy Executive Director will have the following key responsibilities:

  • Strategy: Proactively identify and contribute to defining UNFPA’s global strategic and operational priorities; ensuring management and operational priorities are consistent with program priorities and needs.
  • Execution: Ensure operational effectiveness and accountability for results (i.e. that all organizational resources (human and financial) are optimally deployed to support programme delivery, monitoring and reporting. This includes;
    • guiding, overseeing and developing best practice accountability frameworks and systems;
    • providing strategic leadership to the organization’s  Financial and Human Resources management, Information Technology, Procurement, Security and Organizational change and culture initiatives;
    • Leading the work on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (PSEA);
    • Ensuring management action in response to observations and recommendations by evaluation and independent oversight and other stakeholder bodies; and
    • Tracking UNFPA’s performance relative to goals, and reporting performance to the Executive Director, Executive Committee and Executive Board.
  • Team leadership: Ensure organization-wide teamwork, clarity in roles, accountability, and decision-making; hold managers accountable for superior delivery.
  • Collaboration within the UN system and beyond: Credibly represent the organization in senior, high-level United Nations, international, inter-agency and/or intergovernmental fora including the Executive Board, the United Nations Sustainable Development Group and the High Level Committee on Management.



In support of UNFPA’s mandate and programmes, priorities include:

  • Finance: Ensure effective and efficient use of the organization's resources and stewardship of its assets, from the development of strategic integrated budgets through to statutory financial reporting in accordance with International Public Sector Accounting Standard;
  • Human Resources: In line with the new UN Leadership Framework, develop and implement a People strategy that supports a culture of innovation and provides a healthy, safe and respectful working environment while promoting greater accountability, efficiency and responsiveness to the UNFPA mandate;
  • Information Technology Solutions: Successful completion of the information systems/business transformation project, which includes an Enterprise Resource Planning system, processes and reporting at all levels to support a more agile organization;
  • Procurement: As Chief Procurement Officer, exercise overall corporate oversight in respect of the UNFPA procurement function in all of its locations. Position the UNFPA procurement and supply chain management function strategically and ensure it contributes effectively to enhanced programme results;
  • Security Coordination: Oversight of security and crisis management throughout the organization.
  • Change Management: Ensure substantive and operational coherence of the various institutional transformation initiatives and processes within UNFPA;
  • PSEAH: Serve as UNFPA senior focal point for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment (PSEAH). Ensure a coordinated and comprehensive engagement across the organization on a global level, as well as external coordination for interagency collaboration on PSEAH related issues;   

In addition to the above, this role may require the incumbent to take on any other duties, including representation, as assigned by the Executive Director.



This position offers a global leadership role in one of the world’s leading development organizations, and offers a truly unique and exciting opportunity for internationally-experienced executives who have excelled in the international, private and/or public organizations. The role demands stature and senior-executive level presence, built on a successful track record in managing financial and corporate services at an international level, in a multicultural, field-based, highly complex, dynamic and rapidly evolving and progressive organization.

He/she should have experience building and managing relationships with UN agencies, governments and international funding institutions and aid organizations. Candidates should have a good knowledge of the international development system and/or experience working for large, service delivery-based aid agencies. Candidates will have successfully managed a significant budget and operations plan, and a multi-disciplinary team of experts across a variety of job functions and geographical locations. Candidates require demonstrated communication, advocacy and outreach skills, experience in designing and leading organizational transformation. reform, development and change. Resource mobilization experience is highly desirable.

Given the representative role of the Deputy Executive Director to external stakeholders, candidates will be expected to demonstrate interest in and/or knowledge and experience of UNFPA’s mandate areas. Experience in field and humanitarian settings and knowledge of and experience in the UN system is desirable.


Qualifications and Experience

  • An advanced University Degree in Business or Public Administration/Management
  • 15 years of relevant professional experience in increasingly responsible roles of which at least 7 years in senior leadership roles.
  • Excellent knowledge of English required; working knowledge of other UN official languages, French and/or Spanish, is highly desirable.


Required Competencies

Candidates will have the stature and authority to influence at all levels. They will demonstrate conceptual and analytical skills to understand the big picture, assimilate information from a variety of sources, and translate this into practical and prioritized action and planning. They will be strategically-minded and service- and results-driven with exceptional strength in team leadership and relationship building; development and implementation of policies, processes and systems; as well as building and maintaining support services, resources and infrastructure. They will combine process skills and discipline with flexibility and adaptability.

Strategic Orientation (Analytical & Strategic Thinking, Fostering Innovation & Empowerment):

  • Defines, in close collaboration with the Executive Director, the strategic direction of the organization.
  • Asks questions which open up new and innovative ways of seeing the organization and the way it works.
  • Promotes better understanding of UNFPA strategic agenda with global partners and builds consensus on major initiatives.


Results Orientation (Results Orientation/Commitment to Excellence, Appropriate & Transparent Decision-Making, Ensuring Operational Effectiveness & Accountability for Results):

  • Drives systematically and uncompromisingly for higher performance.
  • Creates innovative ways of working to enable higher levels of performance are possible, using analysis and benchmarking.
  • Works smarter, learns from experience throughout the organization, builds learning and knowledge sharing into the system.
  • Ensures accountability for results in a demanding Risk-based framework (RBF) framework


Collaboration & Influencing (Commitment to the Organization and its Mandate, Working in Teams, Communicating Information & Ideas, Self-Management/Emotional Intelligence, Global Leadership & Advocacy for ICPD Goals, Organizational Leadership & Direction):

  • Facilitates collaboration among others, bringing people together across all levels of the organization to achieve results and share best practices; remains accessible to various stakeholders and shows a willingness to become directly and personally involved; creates consensus and communicates coherently the vision and strategic direction to internal and external audiences, showing them how objectives align.

Internally: Promotes alignment between the values of the UN/UNFPA and staff behavior. Influences the UNFPA Executive Committee to adopt change strategies, and gains cooperation through sensitivity to the political and organizational culture.

Externally: Leads partnerships with implementing partners, NGOs, other UN agencies, private sector entities and philanthropic foundations; applies systemic thinking, balances conflicting demands (UN system, partners, governments, civil society and UNFPA); maintains internal and external networks (partners, colleagues, interest groups). Outreach on innovation to the private sector and other actors.

Leadership & Organizational Development (Performance Management, Developing People/Coaching & Mentoring, Knowledge Sharing & Continuous Learning):

  • Empowers teams to perform, to identify and solve problems while providing the necessary support; holds teams accountable for meeting collective goals; and resolves conflicts constructively.
  • Systematically works to build team capabilities; sets specific goals for individuals in order to build capability of the organization; seeks to understand systematic retention challenges and addresses them.
  • Upholds and communicates the vision and values of UNFPA; and creates a supportive and enabling environment in which the vision and strategic direction can be achieved.

Change Leadership:

  • Articulates a vision for change and champions the transformation process.
  • Advocates change or different ways of working; engaging others by explaining their role in the change process; and ideally mobilizes others within the organization to facilitate change processes.


Customer & Service Focus (Client Orientation):

  • Continually takes action to add value to “internal customers?, continually improving delivery, sharing ideas and information, identifying best practices and implementing them.
  • Commits to the provision of quality service to clients and assesses effectiveness
  • Leverages a network of senior level contacts and decision-makers to pursue and implement innovative approaches to meeting clients’ needs


Integrity & Values (Integrity, Cultural Sensitivity/Valuing Diversity):

  • Creates organizational precedents and acts as a role model, setting an example for the highest standards of integrity for all staff through his/her personal behavior.
  • Ensures an organizational environment that respects diversity, gender equality and cultural sensitivity and fosters openness to diverse perspectives. This position advocates within, and on behalf of, UNFPA for an absolute zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment.


Terms of Appointment

UNFPA Work Environment

UNFPA works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. For its plans to become reality, it seeks to find exceptional people who are ‘best in class’ in their field and who share the organization’s passion and commitment to work together and to make a difference to the lives of others.

Human rights screening

UNFPA seeks to employ staff members that uphold the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with UNFPA if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. Individuals who are either nominated by Member States or who seek to serve with the United Nations in any individual capacity will be required, if short-listed, to complete a self attestation stating that they have not committed, been convicted of, nor prosecuted for, any criminal offence and have not been involved, by act or omission, in the commission of any violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.

Conflicts of interest

UNFPA seeks to employ staff members that will uphold the organization’s ethical standards. Senior leaders in particular, have the responsibility to serve as role models in upholding these standards.  Individuals who are either nominated by Member States or who seek to serve with the United Nations in any individual capacity will be required, if short-listed, to complete the pre-appointment declaration of interests for senior positions to identify possible conflicts of interest that may arise and to proactively prevent and manage, as much as possible and in a timely manner, situations in which personal interests may conflict or appear to conflict with the interests of the United Nations, should the individual be appointed to this position.


How to Apply

If you wish to be considered for this position, please forward a copy of your CV and a supporting letter in Microsoft Word format, along with any relevant documentation to  Sidney Moss at [email protected] or use the Application Form below on or before 28 February 2020. All information will be in the strictest confidence as we pride ourselves on our professional service.  We will revert to you as soon as feasible when we have reviewed your application.

SRI Executive is exclusively retained by the UNFPA to undertake this assignment.

Application form