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Junior Professional Officer Programme at the United Nations

If you are a professional graduate with the potential, eagerness, and enthusiasm to join the United Nations, the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Programme (formerly known as the Associate Experts Programme) may be the suitable route.

The principal purpose of the JPO Programme is to help the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to provide young professionals a chance to get hands-on experience in multilateral international collaboration at the United Nations.

The JPO Programme conscripts Junior Professional Officers (formerly known as Associate Experts) for the UN Secretariat. JPOs are recruited under bilateral arrangements between the UN and donor countries. JPOs are generally residents of donor countries, nevertheless, some donors also finance nationals of developing countries. Nominees are young professionals, usually with an advanced university degree and a minimum of two years of professional background. JPO positions are generally on the P1 or P2 level.

The number of supported positions varies yearly and by donor country. Initially, JPOs are granted a one-year assignment which may be extended, with the agreement of the donor country, and on the basis of good implementation. There is no expectation of being chosen for a regular staff position; JPOs may apply for such positions as any other external nominee and go through the standard competitive selection process of the UN.

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The UN JPO Programme, organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), recruits and administers JPOs for:

  • United Nations Secretariat (Headquarters and Field offices, including Peacekeeping Operations and Special Political Missions)
  • Secretariat of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB)
  • Join Inspection Unit (JIU)
  • Regional Commissions (ECA, ECE, ESCWA, ECLAC, ESCAP)
  • Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • International Court of Justice and United Nations Tribunals
  • United Nations Secretariat of the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD),
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)
  • United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
  • UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia (UNRCCA)
  • United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
  • United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC)

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The other overall goal of the Junior Professional Officers (JPO) Programme is to improve the development and capacity development work of the United Nations and other partaking Agencies. The JPO Programme seeks to meet the following objectives:

  • For developing countries and donors, it means another form of development aid through the United Nations System. It also provides extensive possibilities for on-the-job training in multilateral capacity building for young graduates and enables donors to contribute multilateral capacity growth personnel to developing countries where they have no authorized representation. It can also support specific goals in advancing and promoting priority areas in priority countries;
  • For the United Nations Secretariat and the other Programmes/Funds involved, the JPO Programme illustrates a substantial chance for mobilizing additional capacity development resources from some donors. It serves to advance capacity development and professional staffing capacity and gives immediate access to human resources with recognized talent, up-to-date general or specialized knowledge, and academic credentials. It also allows the agencies to discharge more effectively their advanced and complicated responsibilities;
  • For the JPOs themselves, it provides possibilities for participation in the capacity development activities of the United Nations system as well as, in most cases, immediate exposure to the growth processes and interaction in developing countries. It enables them to acquire work experience in the international sphere and offers chances for an international career.

As a JPO you are recruited under bilateral agreements between the United Nations and donor countries.

The following countries are currently partaking in the UN JPO Programme:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kuwait
  • Luxembourg
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Qatar
  • Russian Federation
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Republic of Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

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The number of supported positions varies yearly and by donor country. Initially, you are granted a one-year appointment which may be developed, with the agreement of the donor country, and on the basis of reasonable implementation. There is no expectation of being chosen for a regular staff position, but as a JPO you may apply for such positions as any other external candidate.

The following disciplines are some of those deemed by donor countries for the United Nations JPO Programme:

  • Political science
  • Social science
  • Law
  • Human Rights
  • Programme Management
  • Public Administration
  • Economic Affairs
  • Environmental Affairs
  • Gender Affairs

Other specialties may be needed by specialized Agencies of the United Nations System and sponsored by the donors under their programmes.

More details on the programme and appropriate links with donor countries can be found on the UN JPO Programme website.

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