Programme Policy Officer (Operational Support and Surge)

WFP - World Food Programme

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Application deadline in 2 days: Monday 10 May 2021

WFP seeks candidates of the highest integrity and professionalism who share our humanitarian principles

Selection of staff is made on a competitive basis, and we are committed to promoting diversity and gender balance

Terms of Reference:

The Emergency Preparedness and Support Response Division (EME) supports WFP’s Regional Bureaus (RBs), Country Offices (COs) and partners to prepare and respond to current and future emergencies in a rapidly changing humanitarian environment. The division contributes to WFPs strategic goal of achieving Zero Hunger by 2030 through ensuring the organization is ready for the future. EME provides a field focused, service oriented, steering and convening role focusing on forward looking preparedness and readiness analysis and actions and support to emergencies to ensure a swift, coordinated and integrated response to sudden and slow onset emergencies.

This is primarily done through a combination of preparedness activities, which are designed to:

  • Reinforce WFP’s ability to identify and monitor risks,
  • Conduct informed early warning and analysis,
  • Steer and support the operational readiness of the organization
  • Provide surge capacity by deploying in support of COs or RBs
  • Provide a common operational picture.

EME is committed to enhancing WFP’s staff capacity, as well as that of partners, including other UN agencies, NGOs and national governments. This is achieved through joint initiatives, including trainings and simulations, as well as strategic-level partnerships designed to enhance the operational capacities of all those involved.

EME has a lead role to ensure integration and collaboration of HQ and RB units/divisions/entities with a view to achieving optimal preparedness and response at the field level. A no-regrets approach is pursued, to mitigate the impact of an expected threat or risk before it occurs. The Operational Support & Surge Branch is responsible for supporting COs and RBs in identifying integrated early actions in case of emerging contextual risks to enhance WFPs preparedness and response and effectively serve beneficiaries.

The Operational Support & Surge Branch (OSS) supports any field requests at the onset of and during an emergency, including deployment. The Branch is organized by regional desks, providing support to the WFP regional bureaus through their Emergency Preparedness and Response units. Each desk is held by a senior Programme Officer, supported by a junior one.


  1. In close collaboration with the Desk Officers, provide technical advice, guidance, recommendations and support to Country Offices and Regional Bureaus before, during and after an emergency using a variety of different methods, procedures and alternatives.

    1. In response to a shock/trigger, support the coordination of rapid response and help to convene technical experts from relevant HQ divisions/functional areas;
    2. Provide support and advice for readiness measures, anticipatory actions and early response implementation against the identified crisis/shock;
    3. Provide COs with adequate levels of readiness and support for immediate/fast onset identified emerging shocks.
  2. Deploy to support COs/RBs to enhance anticipatory actions, readiness and emergency response (surge and operation support);

  3. As a desk officer, act as a "one stop" liaison point between COs/RBs and HQ, and contribute to the broader strategic goals of the EME division. Support EME management in providing strategic direction to matters concerning the COs/RBs by:

    1. Responding to CO/RB requests for information and support in liaising with EME and other HQ divisions;
    2. Preparing briefing kits, talking points, and other material to support decision making and advocacy for the COs/RBs;
    3. Co-ordinating within EME through weekly regional desk calls, and with other divisions through Weekly Analytical and Coordination meetings;
    4. Providing support to corporate emergencies by preparing and supporting Operational Task Force and Senior Task Force meetings;
    5. Contributing to the planning and development of corporate documents on emergencies, including strategic positioning, lessons learnt and corporate reports.
  4. Support the development of improved preparedness, anticipatory action and emergency response pilots, normative guidance, tools and trainings;

  5. Support COs/RBs in formulating strategic and operational documents;

  6. Work in close coordination with the Division Training Unit for the identification, development and improvement of specific emergency trainings;

  7. Monitor budget lines in collaboration with the Finance Officer to identify new opportunities and needs of the OSS branch;

  8. Supervise, coach and provide guidance to junior programme officers if required;

  9. AOB.



Advanced University degree in International Affairs, Economics, Nutrition/Health, Agriculture, Environmental Science, Social Sciences or other field relevant to international development assistance, or First University Degree with additional years of related work experience and/or trainings/courses.


At least 8 years of relevant, progressively responsible experience in humanitarian operations, including as a programme, project or operations manager, team leader, area manager, head of suboffice or equivalent. Strong field experience is required.

Knowledge and skills:

Excellent analytical and writing skills, as well as strong interpersonal and communication skills.


Fluency (level C) in English and intermediate knowledge (level B) of a second UN language are required. For this positions, knowledge of at least one of the following languages - Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic - is highly desirable.

Terms and Conditions

WFP offers a competitive compensation package which will be determined by the contract type and selected candidate’s qualifications and experience.

Please visit the following websites for detailed information on working with WFP. Click on: “Our work” and “Countries” to learn more about WFP’s operations.

Deadline for applications: 19 May 2021

Ref.: VA No. 142115

Qualified female applicants and qualified applicants from developing countries are especially encouraged to apply

WFP has zero tolerance for discrimination and does not discriminate on the basis of HIV/AIDS status

No appointment under any kind of contract will be offered to members of the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), FAO Finance Committee, WFP External Auditor, WFP Audit Committee, Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and other similar bodies within the United Nations system with oversight responsibilities over WFP, both during their service and within three years of ceasing that service.

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