Location: London, UK
Duration: Three years
Closing Date: 21 Aug 2011
The Political Affairs Division (PAD) is the lead division in the Secretariat’s high-profile programme for the promotion of democracy and good governance in the Commonwealth. The division works closely with the Secretary-General, providing him with advice and support on all political issues, and particularly in his Good Offices role. Its work ranges from monitoring and analysis of political developments and the preparation of briefings, to the organisation of election observation and the provision of technical assistance. The work is often of great sensitivity and follows demanding timetables.
PAD is also responsible for organising and servicing the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) and other meetings, such as meetings of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Harare Declaration (CMAG).
The Good Offices Section coordinates activities undertaken by the Commonwealth Secretariat to implement the good offices role of the Secretary-General for conflict prevention and post conflict peace building and assistance. The Section consists of the Head of Section and a Political Affairs Officer.
The Political Affairs Officer will contribute to the Section’s work in conflict prevention and resolution and post-conflict capacity building programmes. The post-holder will support the Secretary-General’s good offices activities and the work of the Special Envoys and prepare background papers for CHOGM and CMAG. The post involves working long hours, sometimes in difficult conditions.
1. The staff member will provide operational support to the Secretary General’s Good Offices role by:
- Preparing country/issue specific briefing materials for the Secretary-General, Special Envoys and senior officials;
- Developing strategic and tactical advice and options and recommendations on conflict prevention/ resolution and post conflict peacebuilding issues based on best practices identified from past experience;
- Monitoring and analysing developments related to conflict and peace, in particular those affecting the Commonwealth;
- Supporting the good offices engagements of the Secretary-General, Special Envoy and technical experts, including with planning and organisational and administrative arrangements;
- Participating in Good Offices related field assignments as necessary; and
- Assisting in formulating, coordinating and evaluating conflict prevention/peace building support strategies and provide timely progress reports.
2. Support the implementation of a multi-disciplinary conflict prevention strategy within the Commonwealth Secretariat by:
- Assisting in identifying opportunities for conflict prevention, including by using information contained in BTOR and COG/CET reports;
- Assisting in organising and supporting Country Review/Task Force meetings by identifying and contacting suitable participants; preparing agenda and background notes; consulting internal and external experts and preparing discussion papers for meetings; providing note taking support during the meeting; drafting outcome documents; and providing timely distribution of the outcome documents to all relevant partners; and
- Assisting in developing cross-divisional development of options for good offices and preventive engagements (country engagement strategies) and presents possible conclusions and recommendations to the Section Head for consideration.
3. Supports building Strategic Partnerships for Commonwealth Good Offices by:
- Assisting in developing a strategy to identify and strengthen Good Offices partnerships in prevention and peace-building work including with specific member states, international organisations and NGOs;
- Working with other Divisions to enhance confidence in the Commonwealth as a trusted and valued partner that provides tangible benefits in priority areas; and
- Supporting the building of partnerships with other international actors to enable the Commonwealth to share its knowledge, understanding and expertise to influence international conflict prevention/peacebuilding strategies and actions in Commonwealth countries, as well as to learn from such partners.
4. Support building institutional knowledge and capacity for conflict prevention and resolution and post conflict peacebuilding by:
- Developing a conflict prevention training strategy that addresses the substance and process of good offices to enhance the capacity of ComSec staff to conduct dialogue, facilitate discussions and manage intra-state conflict issues peacefully and effectively;
- Identifying and develop partnerships with appropriate training partners who can provide training and enhance the skills of ComSec Staff in conflict resolution, prevention and peacebuilding;
- Organising brainstorming sessions (with internal and external experts) on particular issues to promote knowledge sharing and support development of innovative good offices strategies by identifying and contacting suitable participants, identifying suitable speakers, preparing discussion papers, providing note taking support and drafting outcome documents;
- Undertaking issues/country based research, as required; and
- Developing a ComSec knowledge management strategy for Good Offices that can identify, collect and integrate the best practices available to the international community on conducting good offices and conflict resolution efforts including through the use of IT solutions.
5. Raise awareness regarding the Commonwealth and its Good Offices Role by:
- Building the capacity of the Section to function as a hub for information on ComSec good offices and prevention activities for internal and external audiences; and
- Drafting articles, organising events and conferences about ComSec’s Good Offices efforts.
6. Support Head of Section in the administrative requirements of managing the Good Offices programme implementation by:
- Preparing programme work plans and reporting on budgetary issues;
- Drafting terms of references for consultants; monitoring progress reports and delivery of output; and
- Assisting in the logistics and administrative issues of supporting good offices.
7. In addition to the above, GOS staff would also participate in other Divisional activities as possible and relevant, e.g. election observation missions and high-level consultative meetings. They would also travel with the SG, DSG and Director as warranted by circumstances. Finally, they would also perform representational functions on behalf of the Division/Secretariat as required from time to time and carries out any other duties as may be assigned from time to time.