Director, Social Development Division

Org. Setting and Reporting

The mandate of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is to promote sustainable and inclusive development and regional connectivity in the Asian and Pacific region. ESCAP’s role as a regional development arm of the United Nations Secretariat is to support its membership with policy oriented research and analysis, normative support and technical assistance and capacity building, to respond to the development priorities and changing needs of the Asian and Pacific region.

Under the overall leadership of the Executive Secretary of ESCAP, the incumbent reports directly to the Deputy Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development of ESCAP.


Under the overall leadership of the Executive Secretary of ESCAP and the direct supervision of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development of ESCAP, the Director of Social Development Division will be responsible for the following functions:

  • Leads, supervises and carries out the strategic direction of the Division under his/her responsibility derived from the commitments agreed upon through relevant United Nations inter-governmental processes, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and regional mandates, with the aim to promote change at the policy and institutional levels particularly those involved in the formulation, implementation and management of social development policies and programmes.
  • Co-ordinates and oversees the preparation for intergovernmental bodies and other policy-making organs, including the development of high quality reports and presentations, as appropriate. Improves, rationalizes and streamlines existing methods of work with a view to enhancing the effective functioning of intergovernmental and expert bodies, including the work of the Committee for Social Development. Reports to intergovernmental bodies on budget/programme performance or on programmatic/ substantive issues, as appropriate, particularly those presented in biannual and/or annual reports
  • Prepares the work programme of the Division, determining priorities, and allocating resources for the completion of outputs and their timely delivery. Implements the work programme of the Division; oversees the management of activities undertaken by the Division; ensures that programmed activities are carried out in a timely fashion.
  • Oversees the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Division, including preparation of budgets, reporting on budget/programme performance, evaluation of staff performance, interviews of candidates for job openings, evaluation of candidates and preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting. Recruits staff, taking due account of geographical and gender balance and other institutional values; manages, guides, develops and trains staff under his/her supervision. Fosters teamwork and communication among staff in the Division and across organizational boundaries.
  • Ensures that the research and publications produced by the Division maintain high-quality standards; that reports are clear, objective and based on comprehensive data. Ensures, through substantive reviews, that all outputs produced by the Sections under his/her supervision meet required standards before completion to ensure they comply with the relevant mandates. Promotes and produces knowledge products with focus on the conduct of applied research, analysis and the dissemination of knowledge products on social development that provide policy options and strategies as a basis for evidence-based decision-making by Governments.
  • Provides advisory services, training activities and technical assistance to developing countries, including those in special situations, to build national capacity, including through sharing of policy options, experiences and good practices in the context of the transfer of knowledge and skills on a range of social development issues and through South-South cooperation.
  • Represents the Division at international, regional or national meetings. and provides programmatic/substantive expertise on an issue Leads and supervises the organization of meetings, seminars, etc. on substantive issues. Manages the substantive preparation and organization of such meetings or seminars.
  • Co-ordinates with all relevant ESCAP Divisions, agencies and bodies of the United Nations system working on areas related to the Division’s programme of work to promote synergies between the ongoing activities and work, make the linkages between global and national actions and maximize impact of work in the region.
  • Performs other related duties as required.

Core Competencies:

Professionalism: Knowledge of social development, research and policy, particularly related to social protection, population dynamics especially ageing, inequality, migration, gender and women’s economic empowerment; ability to analyze and evaluate critical matters pertaining to a broad spectrum of social development issues and provide policy advice and recommendations. Demonstrated ability in overseeing and delivering programmes on: policy advocacy, research and analysis; normative support and regional dialogue and; technical support, advisory services and capacity building. Knowledge of working with inter-governmental forums related to social development issues. Ability to produce reports and papers on technical issues for policy audiences and to review and edit the work of others. Ability to work across sectors and with colleagues in other parts of the organisation. Ability to apply UN rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations. 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.

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.

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.

Managerial Competencies:

Leadership: Serves as a role model that other people want to follow: empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; drives for change and improvements; does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.

Managing Performance: Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; appraises performance fairly.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in sociology, economics, social sciences, public policy, demography, public administration, or related field. A recognized first-level university degree in the above fields in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of fifteen years of progressively responsible experience in the field of socio-economic development, research and policy related to social protection, population dynamics especially ageing, inequality, migration, gender and women’s economic empowerment or related field. Demonstrated experience in establishing and maintaining professional networks required. Experience in leading and managing sizable and diverse work units is required. Experience in working with and developing reports for inter-governmental fora desirable. Research and analysis in the above fields as demonstrated through authored peer-reviewed publications is desirable. Relevant professional experience in the Asia and the Pacific region as demonstrated by living and working in the region outside of home country highly desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.


Qualified applicants may be evaluated through a competency-based interview and/or other assessment methods.

Special Notice

Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

For this position, applicants from the following Member States, which are unrepresented or underrepresented in the UN Secretariat as of 30 June 2018, are strongly encouraged to apply: Afghanistan, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Belarus, Belize, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Central African Republic, China, Comoros, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Mozambique, Nauru, Norway, Oman, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Vanuatu, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, or crimes other than minor traffic offences, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee


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