Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. This position is financed from an unpredictable funding source. Recruitment, selection or extension of appointment against this position will be subject to availability of funds and budgetary approval. There is no expectancy, legal or otherwise, of renewal or conversion to any other type of appointment in the Secretariat of the United Nations
Organizational Setting and Reporting Relationships: The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. The position is located in the Legal Office, UN-Habitat, and shall report to the Head of the Legal Office.
Responsibilities: Under the direct supervision and guidance of the Head of the Legal Office, the Legal Officer will be responsible for the following duties:
- Advise and handle complex legal and policy issues on a wide range of areas relating to human settlements, housing, water sanitation and infrastructure projects, including a multiple range of issues involving international, public, private and administrative law in the delivery of UN-Habitat’s mandate;
- Conduct extensive legal research and analysis and prepare studies, comparative studies, briefs, reports and correspondence relating on a wide range of legal issues. sustainable human settlements, the core focus areas of UN-Habitat’s work and the framework for the New Urban Agenda;
- Undertake extensive review of legal documents, instruments, or other materials relating to sustainable human settlements, the core focus areas of UN-Habitat’s work and the framework for the New Urban Agenda;
- Prepare or assist in the preparation of drafts of background documents, papers, studies, reports, legislative texts and commentaries, teaching materials relating to UN-Habitat’s work, its internal policies and procedures;
- Prepare or assist in drafting of legal opinions/advise on a wide range of legal issues involving human settlement projects, issues and activities incidental to the implementation of UN-Habitat’s mandate;
- Prepare, review or assist in the negotiation and preparation of agreements and contracts with governments, NGOs and other public and private entities;
- Assist senior colleagues and managers in servicing diplomatic conferences, commissions, committees, task forces, expert groups and other bodies, including preparation of background materials, summaries of issues and views of delegations, meeting reports, etc.;
- Represent the Organization in written and oral proceedings before the United Nations Dispute Tribunal, other arbitral and administrative tribunals on matters relating to staff disputes;
- Represent the Organization in other dispute settlement bodies as well as provide advice on matters relating to UN-Habitat’s relation with the Host Country;
- Review, advise on and draft legal briefs, submissions and pleadings before the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeal Tribunal;
- Provide legal and training and supervise newly recruited personnel in the Legal Office;
- Carry out the necessary administrative duties for maintaining the Legal Office’s databases (electronic and online), posting and retrieving of legal materials;
- Perform other duties as assigned by the Head of the Legal Office and senior managers.
Work implies frequent interaction with the following:
Legal Officers at OLA and other UN Legal Offices, UN-Habitat staff members at Headquarters and throughout the organization, Partners, officials in national and local governments, diplomatic missions, staff members of UN common system organizations, funds and programmes, other international organizations, public and private sector entities and individuals, etc.
Results Expected: Provision of timely and sound legal services and representation, and, in accordance with applicable policies, rules and practices, protects the interests of the organization and minimizes its liabilities; Provision of independent, accurate and comprehensive research and analysis; Delivers carefully conceived studies, recommendations, as well as well-written legal opinions and briefs; Contributes to successful negotiation and resolution of agreements and other legal instruments; and diligently represent the Organization before the UNDT and other dispute resolution bodies.
- Professionalism: Knowledge and ability to apply, legal principles, concepts and procedures on a range of legal issues, particularly relating to human settlements, housing and other issues necessary for the implementation of UN-Habitat’s mandate; Knowledge of international law and arbitration principles and the necessary legal framework for the implementation of UN-Habitat’s mandate; Knowledge of the jurisprudence of the UN Dispute Tribunal, the UN Appeals Tribunal, the UN Administrative Tribunal and/or a comparable body; Ability to interpret and apply legislative instruments, the UN Conventions on Privileges and Immunities, the UN Financial Regulations and Rules and the Rules and procedures of the UN and provide clear and concise legal opinions; Ability to draft legal documents, briefs and apply good legal judgment in the context of assignments given and handle confidential material with discretion, and analyze and research a range of complex legal issues within tight deadlines - Shows pride in work and in achievements; Demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; Is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; Shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations; Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.
- Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
- Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.
- Planning& Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; 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 as necessary; uses time efficiently.
- Accountability: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules; supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.
- Creativity: Actively seeks to improve programmes or 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.
- Client Orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.
- Commitment to Continuous Learning: Keeps abreast of new developments in own occupation/profession; actively seeks to develop oneself professionally and personally; contributes to the learning of colleagues and subordinates; shows willingness to learn from others; seeks feedback to learn and improve.
- Technological Awareness: Keeps abreast of available technology; understands applicability and limitation of technology to the work of the office; actively seeks to apply technology to appropriate tasks; shows willingness to learn new technology.
Education: Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) with specialization in international relations and law. A first-level law university degree in combination with two (2) additional years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
Experience: A minimum of five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in international law and practice, administrative law and legal issues relating to human settlements, housing, land and sustainable urban development is required. Experience with the United Nations' or other similar organization's staff regulations and rules, policies, procedures and operations is desirable.
Language: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations. For this post, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of another official UN language is an advantage.