Special Assistant to CEO, Defeat NCD Partnership

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 13 February 2019

Job Description

The Defeat-NCD Partnership was established in January 2018 to help tackle the most significant global health problem of the age: premature death, sickness, disability, and the associated social and economic impacts of selected non-communicable diseases (NCDs). These are projected to cost tens of billions of dollars with the most adverse consequences falling upon the poorer countries and communities.

The Defeat-NCD Partnership is hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and forms part of its growing portfolio of global health related Partnerships such as Stop TB, Roll Back Malaria, Scaling up Nutrition, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

Our vision is that of a world in which there is universal health coverage for NCDs. This is a direct contribution to the transformational 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to which all nations subscribe.

Our mission is to enable and assist the approximately 100 lower-income and lesser-developed countries to scale-up sustained action against NCDs so that they can progress SDG 3 on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages and, more specifically, to achieve target 3.4 to reduce, by one-third, premature mortality from NCDs by 2030. Our initial focus is on diabetes and hypertension with expansion to other NCDs in due course probably starting with the early detection and treatment of cervical and breast cancer.

Defeat-NCD is a ‘public-private-people’ Partnership that is an autonomous inclusive programme of the United Nations system. Our membership and governance include governments, multilateral agencies, civil society, academia, philanthropic foundations, and the business sector. We subscribe to the ethical principles of the United Nations Global Compact. We follow the technical norms and guidance issued by the World Health Organization. Our operating procedures derive from United Nations rules but are designed to be fast and responsive. We work in a complementary and coordinated way with other health and development actors at all levels.

The secretariat of the Defeat-NCD Partnership is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

Functional Responsibilities

The incumbent is dedicated to supporting the Chief Executive Officer, and will work in close collaboration with the Deputy Chief Executive Officer (as the supervisor of all the Front Office personnel) and other personnel of the Front Office. The Special Assistant will perform the following functions:

Political and public health analysis, technical advice, and reporting

  • Identify, analyze and monitor political and public health developments and emerging issues with respect to the implementation of the Partnership’s mandate;
  • Asses implications and make recommendations on possible policies, strategies and other measures to address issues of concern and to advance mandated objectives;
  • Support the development of the annual work plan, and assist the Chief Executive Officer in monitoring, and communicating the results achieved against the planned goals of the Defeat-NCD Partnership, through drafting of timely and high-quality reports to members of the Governance mechanism as required.

Monitor, evaluate and report on implementation

  • Coordinate/draft summary and analytical reports including, but not limited to, situation reports, briefing notes, and input for reports of the Chief Executive Officer;
  • Support the development of the annual work plan, and assist the Chief Executive Officer in monitoring, and communicating the results achieved against the planned goals of the Defeat-NCD Partnership, through drafting of timely and high-quality reports to members of the Governance mechanism as required.


  • Assist in formulating and managing the implementation of the Defeat-NCD Partnership’s programme of work, including support to planning and budgetary processes;

Coordination and Facilitation

  • Provide substantive and practical support to the Defeat-NCD Partnership governance mechanism to ensure that the Chief Executive Officer is able to best serve the Defeat-NCD Partnership and respond to specific requests. Coordinate and follow up to return key governance decision points in timely manner in implementing the Partnerships Mandate;
  • Advise the Chief Executive Officer on all matters requiring his personal attention. Assist in formulating options to how those matters might be handled, and ensure appropriate follow-up, as directed;
  • Develop and maintain collaborative relationships with the Defeat-NCD Partnership Secretariat team, external collaborative partners, the broader UN family, donors and other national and international partners on coordination and policy matters;
  • Organize and manage the Chief Executive Officer’s meetings and Mission events, prepare written summaries and conduct follow-up activities as appropriate;
  • Coordinate/draft correspondence for the Chief Executive Officer’s signature.
  • Undertake high quality research and analysis on specific assigned topics in relation to the key elements of the Defeat-NCD Partnership;
  • Collaborate with the Administrative Assistants in the Front Office to ensure core workflow and outputs on a timely basis, enabling the Chief Executive Officer to execute his/her management and other responsibilities and is prepared for all meetings – proactively prepare briefing materials, pre-briefing, talking points, speeches, and other materials for all meetings. Ensure that all follow-up from meetings and interactions is communicated to relevant personnel and authorities and is logged and concluded. Support equally core workflows within the Defeat-NCD Partnership secretariat and provide guidance when needed;
  • Attend all meetings as required to ensure that the Front Office is able to function effectively. Communicate decisions and follow up actions to Defeat-NCD personnel on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer and represent the Chief Executive Officer on a specific basis;
  • Travel with the Chief Executive Officer, as directed. Prepare and manage the travel calendar for the Chief Executive Officer and ensure that all trips are fully planned and optimized in all respects, including travel arrangements, itinerary, meetings secured, briefing materials, pre-briefing, talking points, speeches and other materials. While travelling ensure that the Chief Executive Officer is on top of his/her workload, liaise with the secretariat and others to ensure that the workflow continues., and ensure that decisions made, contacts made, and discussions held are recorded and communicated in a timely manner;
  • Finalize notes and minutes upon return from the official mission and distribute as agreed, preparing a mission report on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer.
  • Perform other relevant duties as requested by the Defeat-NCD Partnership Chief Executive Officer.
Education/Experience/Language requirements

a. Education

  • A master’s or bachelor’s degree in Medicine is required.

b. Work Experience

  • A minimum 5 years with master’s degree or 7 years with bachelor’s degree of relevant experience in medicine, public health and/or humanitarian sectors is required. Of which a minimum of 2 years’ experience within the United Nations and/ or other International Organisations, and/ or community-based organizations is required.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite applications required.
  • High quality drafting and interpersonal skills are essential.
  • Able to establish a high level of trust and confidentiality internally, and credibility externally.
  • Proactive and ability to anticipate the needs of the Chief Executive while working autonomously in a fast paced environment that requires high flexibility and a commitment to results.
  • Experience in operating across multiple time zones and with distributed teams.

c. Languages

  • Fluency in oral and written English is required.
  • Working knowledge of another United Nations official languages would be an asset (UN languages are English, French, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic).
Functional competencies
  • Ability to give analysis on public health challenges and opportunities for effective Defeat-NCD Partnership country programming.
  • Knowledge and M&E Concepts, Principles and Policies and the ability to apply in strategic and/or practical situations.
  • Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships .
  • Ability to prepare quality briefs and/or speeches .
  • Ability to capture, develop, share and effectively use information and knowledge.
  • Ability to manage programmes and projects with a strategy aimed at improved performance and demonstrable results.
  • Ability to scan and synthesize divers sets of information to arrive at strategic priorities and positioning recommendations.
  • Demonstrated excellent research and analytical skills that can be applied to gather data and generate knowledge relevant to decision-making functions.
  • Excellent e- skills, including the ability to use modern office technology and related software. Practical knowledge of word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software is required. Excellent application of software packages as databases and Power Point Presentations. Ability to do internet research, compile information and find solutions on line to information gaps is essential. Familiarity and appreciation of social media.

About the Organization

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

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