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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Saskia Zaugg
Zentralstrasse 115
2503 Biel
Telefon: 032 365 80 02

Associate Urban Planning Officer 100%

Geneva, nach Vereinbarung


Position Title: Associate Urban Planning Officer

Category: Junior Professional Officer, JPO

Duty Station: Geneva

Position Grade: P2


2 to 3-year assignment (one-year fixed-term appointment renewable up to 3 years subject to satisfactory performance, recommendation by respective office and partner country agreement). Extension for a third year, possibly in a different duty station, will depend on availability of financial resources and the candidate’s performance.


The Associate Urban Planning Officer will provide essential support to the shelter and settlement section in translating urban planning principles to UNHCR's reality. UNHCR's interventions seek to ensure that settlements respond to the humanitarian needs of our populations of concern while favouring medium term development-led programming including assessment of national policy and institutional arrangements, appraisal of national planning, identification of prospects for socio- economic inclusion, analytical work on economic opportunities, market analysis, financial inclusion, poverty/welfare surveys of refugee and local community households (both rural and urban).

To this end, drawing from the work of other technical areas, notably WASH, Energy & Environment, Cash and other relevant sectors, the incumbent will support in the production of practical tools to facilitate the work of field practitioners in implementing integrated area-based approaches. These tools should reflect the theories of the built environment while giving due consideration to the operational realities in which UNHCR operates. To this end, the Associate Urban Planning Officer will also offer remote support to regional bureaux and country operations, if necessary, during the assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring and lessons learned phases of shelter and settlement responses.

In addition, the incumbent will support the consolidation of existing data and tools in a bid to produce the specifications for an enhanced multi-sectoral open source spatial platform. The incumbent will play a key role in establishing the business case for this tool and mapping the linkages with all relevant stakeholders within the organisation.


The JPO will be under the direct supervision of the manager indicated under ‘Supervisor title and position number’. The supervisor will be responsible for the performance evaluation of the JPO. The manager will also ensure that the JPO is provided a thorough induction and orientation briefing, followed by on-the-job training as well as continuous guidance for training/learning opportunities throughout the assignment. In support to the manager, the JPO Unit provides the Supervisory Guidelines upon recruitment/reassignment of the JPO.



  • Practical tools which facilitate the work of field practitioners to apply the concepts of urban planning to refugee settlement design are developed
  • Appropriate data will facilitate evidence-based decision making to achieve integrated area-based responses
  • Requirements for an enhanced multi-sectoral open source spatial platform which will facilitate evidence-based decision are mapped.


  • Support the development of integrated urban spatial profiles.
  • Undertake urban analysis, using GIS and other relevant settlement planning tools.
  • Participate in technical meetings and specialized events as per the need.
  • Provide spatial planning support to UNHCR Shelter and settlements team and Country operations as required.
  • Assist in the development of content and methodology on inclusive and sustainable urban planning and development in the refugee related context.
  • Undertake other analytical activities from an Urban Planning aspect as part of an area-based multi-sectoral integrated planning approach.
  • Support desktop research and, when applicable, help spatialize data and findings for development of comprehensive settlement spatial profiles
  • Undertake technical missions if required
  • Support the team in undertaking global data analysis and subsequent data visualization whilst ensuring linkages with existing sectoral data platforms and corporate tools.
  • Support the team in establishing a business case for an enhanced multi-sectoral open source spatial platform demonstrating the key components of said platform, relevant stakeholders and all related/similar initiatives.
  • Work in close collaboration and emphasize the multi-sectoral links of Energy with Environment, Protection, Shelter and Settlement, Public Health and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
  • Assist in the development of effective communication materials for all key stakeholders and promote the sharing of information on shelter and settlement activities.
  • Ensure linkages with development partners
  • Perform other related duties as required.


  • Data analysis and representation to support decision making
  • Represent shelter and settlement team in internal meetings when requested by the supervisor


Managerial Competencies

  • Empowering and Building Trust
  • Managing Performance
  • Judgement and Decision Making

Cross-Functional Competencies

  • Analytical Thinking
  • Innovation and Creativity
  • Technological Awareness



  • University degree in Urban Planning and/or Architecture, or Landscape Architecture


  • Work experience in planning, designing/implementing shelter and settlement strategies especially in an urban context
  • Excellent analytical, conceptual, writing and communication skills essential


  • Information Management
  • GIS software


  • Data analysis; Analytical thinking; excellent drafting skills; excellent communication


Essential: English
Desirable: French, Spanish, Arabic


  • Experience in the humanitarian sector, preferably field based working in the shelter and site planning sector.
  • Knowledge of UNHCR policies and program delivery is advantageous
  • Knowledge of UNHCR standards, including standards related to protection, WASH and environment.


  • Effectively analyse large volumes of data and produce analysis and visual representation which facilitate evidence-based decision making
  • Exposure to programme management in UNHCR and specifically projects at global, regional and country level seeking to provide energy access to refugees and other of concern
  • Strategic communication, drafting and results oriented project development
  • Exposure to global policy decision making
  • Coordination skills and effectively managing competing priorities
  • Efficient and multi-sectoral monitoring
  • Humanitarian, development and private sector resource mobilization approaches
  • Communication in intercultural context
  • Develop soft skills
  • Skills in capacity building