Senior Global Protection Cluster Coordinator, P5, Geneva At UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

Note: This is an HQ Geneva based position.

Protection risks continue unabated with over 200 million people impacted by conflicts and disasters. Conflict, violence, and systematic breaches of international humanitarian law remain the main causes of protection needs, exacerbated by climate change, socio-economic shocks and food insecurity. At the end of 2021, some 59.1 million people were internally displaced due to armed conflict, generalized violence, human rights violations and disasters, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. Against this background, the humanitarian response system continues to be challenged to act faster and more effectively, particularly in protecting the human rights of crisis-affected people.

The Global Protection Cluster, led by UNHCR, brings together UN agencies, NGOs and international organizations working on protection-related themes in humanitarian response, including those with mandates and/or expertise in human rights, child protection, gender-based violence, housing, land, and property issues and Mine Action. With its focus on protecting the human rights of crisis-affected populations, which is core to and yet transcends humanitarian action, the GPC also acts as a bridge between humanitarian, development, political, peacekeeping and security actors.

The work of the GPC covers three broad areas: i) operational support (including rapid response in emergencies; protection assessments, analysis and strategy development; programme design and delivery; protection information management; adherence to the Humanitarian Programme Cycle; innovation in humanitarian response; inter-agency collaboration); ii) providing a global platform for protection advocacy (including on promoting respect for the human rights of crisis-affected populations; linkages with the UN Secretary General’s Call to Action for Human Rights; the protection of civilians and IDP law and policy); iii) developing global policy, practices, guidance and tools in relation to protection (IASC policy on protection; protection mainstreaming; HCT protection strategies; diagnostic tool for protection clusters in collaborating with integrated missions, etc.).

The Senior Global Protection Cluster Coordinator (GPC Coordinator) heads the GPC Operations Cell and reports to the Deputy Director in the Division of International Protection (DIP). He/she works closely with the Internal Displacement Section in DIP – which provides policy and technical advice to UNHCR regional bureaux and operations on protection in situations of internal displacement, armed conflict and concurrent emergencies and complex humanitarian crises. The Senior GPC Coordinator is responsible for galvanizing support and input from partners inside and beyond the GPC in fulfilling the goals and objectives of the GPC’s Strategic Framework (2020-2024). He/she will accordingly conceptualize, promote and where necessary lead GPC initiatives, events (including thematic roundtables), research and studies that seek to strengthen protection response in humanitarian crises. Equally important is the Senior GPC Coordinator’s outreach with donors and key stakeholders aimed at mobilizing funding and support for the activities of the GPC and its partners. The Senior GPC Coordinator will also contribute to the independent review of the humanitarian response to internal displacement (2023) and to the follow-up to the independent review of the implementation of the IASC protection policy (2022). As a member of DIP’s senior management, the Senior GPC Coordinator will also generate visibility for the GPC inside UNHCR (at headquarters and in operations) and, through timely advice and expertise, seek to contribute to agency-wide efforts to strengthen UNHCR’s leadership of national protection clusters. He/she will additionally ensure sufficient awareness of and access to the GPC resources and services, including training and capacity building as well as deployments. Synergies and close collaboration with the Global Shelter Cluster and Global Camp Coordination Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster, both co-led by UNHCR, will be pursued to ensure a stronger and more strategic focus on protection.

All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR’s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.


  • Maintain close contact with national protection clusters for the purpose of ensuring (directly or through the GPC Operations Cell as well as with support from GPC partners) advice, including in relation to interpreting and applying global policies and standards; developing protection cluster strategies and contributing to HCT strategies for protection, including for the implementation of IASC benchmarks on the centrality of protection; undertaking protection assessments and analysis; putting in place effective information management; initiating and implementing a strategy for protection mainstreaming; collaborating with other clusters/sectors on protection; liaising with non-humanitarian actors.
  • Maintain effective collaboration and communication with partners and key stakeholders, in line with the GPC strategic framework as well as on protection in complex humanitarian crises (including for IDPs), mobilizing support and buy-in where necessary and appropriate for specific country-level interventions and regional/global initiatives and activities.
  • Monitor progress of the GPC in relation to its strategic framework.
  • Develop networks, including with national and local protection actors through national protection clusters, to capture trends/developments in humanitarian action (including in relation to protection risks, displacement trends, recurring dilemmas, and strengths/gaps in protection capacity at country-level).
  • Lead and coordinate the review, update and dissemination (including outreach and visibility) of relevant GPC guidance, standards and tools for protection, capturing and integrating country-level lessons learned and best practices through the GPC Ops Cell.
  • Ensure adequate understanding, visibility and access to GPC community of practice as well as guidance and tools.
  • Strive for coherence of GPC guidance, standards, tools and approaches with UNHCR’s and other protection actors’, and where needed, initiate measures to promote complementarity and understanding.
  • Develop and maintain a close dialogue with donors to mobilize funding and support for activities of the GPC and its partners (including for the capacity of the GPC Support Cell).
  • Negotiate and take initiatives with GPC and external partners on issues related to the GPC.
  • Strengthen collaboration at global-, regional- and national-level with GPC partners as well as with key stakeholders beyond the GPC (e.g. UNDP, DPKO, DPA) to stay abreast of trends and developments in relation to protection in humanitarian action and to inform work on policy development and advice.
  • In collaboration with GPC partners and key stakeholders, contribute and where appropriate lead global policy research, debates and developments on protection.
  • Promote with partners and, where appropriate, lead GPC initiatives and events, including roundtables and the GPC annual forum.
  • Lead GPC engagement in relevant fora (UN, academic, NGO) and initiatives like the 2030 Agenda and the UN Secretary General’s Call to Action for Human Rights, representing and moving forward the views and positions of the GPC community on protection in complex humanitarian crises and IDP protection.
  • Lead the development of the GPC work plan, taking steps to ensure sufficient buy-in and engagement as well as to monitor progress in activities/deliverables.
  • Ensure close collaboration with other UNHCR Global Coordinators (Shelter, CCCM), relevant Divisions within UNHCR (Emergencies, External Relations, Strategic Planning and Results, Resilience and Solutions in particular) and UNHCR Regional Bureaux.
  • Contribute to the independent review of the humanitarian response to internal displacement (2023) and to the follow-up to the independent review of the implementation of the IASC protection policy (2022).
  • Supervise and coach staff, affiliate staff, interns and secondees in the GPC Support Cell, enabling access to learning and career development opportunities.
  • Represent the Global Protection Cluster in internal (UNHCR) and external meetings on issues related to protection in situations of internal displacement, IDP protection and protection in complex humanitarian crises.
  • Contribute to UNHCR reports as required.
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

Education & Professional Work Experience

Years of Experience / Degree Level

For P5 – 12 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 11 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 10 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree

Field(s) of Education

Law, Political science, International Relations or other relevant field.

(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Certificates and/or Licenses

Not specified

Relevant Job Experience


At least 12 years of relevant professional job experience, preferably in refugee and IDP protection, human rights or international humanitarian law, including a minimum of 10 years relevant field experience.

Experience in managing and supervising teams responsible for developing and implementing protection strategies.

Knowledge of international law and ability to apply the relevant principles, and of UNHCR and other protection strategies and policies.

Knowledge of UNHCR’s standards, policies and positions related to internal displacement.

Experience working in diverse protection environments and organisations, including human rights and peacekeeping.

Experience in protection coordination in the field and with the Humanitarian Programme Cycle.

Experience of creating and implementing protection programmes and with programming in general.

Experience of working in Non-Governmental Organisations.

Experience of working in network organisations.

Excellent drafting, report writing and editing skills, including drafting of legal and policy positions.


Training and coaching experience.

Working knowledge of French, Russian, Spanish or Arabic.

Experience of coordination responsibilities at HQ.

Functional Skills

*CO-Drafting and Documentation

*LE-Draft legal settlement agreements


PG-Programme Management (programme cycles and reporting standards)

*PR-Assessment of IDPs Status, Rights, Obligation

*PR-Human Rights

*PR-Protection-related guidelines, standards and indicators

TR-Training – Virtual and face to face

(Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Language Requirements

For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.

For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language.

For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English.

Competency Requirements

All jobs at UNHCR require six core competencies and may also require managerial competencies and/or cross-functional competencies. The six core competencies are listed below.

Core Competencies



Organizational Awareness

Teamwork & Collaboration

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Client & Result Orientation

Managerial Competencies

Empowering and Building Trust

Judgement and Decision Making


Managing Resources

Strategic Planning and Vision

Cross-Functional Competencies

Analytical Thinking

Policy Development and Research

Political Awareness

All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination, and abuse of power.

As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise.

This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates.

Desired Candidate Profile

The desired candidate profile includes strong field experience in protection response and cluster coordination. He/she must be familiar with global humanitarian protection processes, be an experienced protection advocate and a good communicator.

Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):


Desired languages


Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations

The position is based in Geneva, Switzerland and can accommodate specific needs for qualified candidates. The position requires frequent international travel.

Nature of Position

The position of Senior Global Protection Cluster Coordinator is located within the Field Protection Services (FPS) of the Division of International Protection (DIP). The Position reports to the Deputy Director of DIP. The Senior Global Protection Cluster Coordinator leads the Global Protection Cluster (GPC) and manages the GPC Operations Cell. The GPC supports National Protection Clusters in more than 30 contexts. Its core rationale and objectives are to provide strategic guidance and technical support to field operations in the fulfilment of their core functions as described by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee. It comprises a network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations and UN agencies engaged in protection work in humanitarian crises including armed conflict and disaster. The GPC unites members, partners and communities working across the spectrum of protection activities, including in four specialized areas of responsibility (AORs): child protection, gender-based violence, housing land and property, and mine action. To ensure effective support to field operations, the GPC provides the following functions through the Operations Cell: a helpdesk, support missions, learning and capacity building, field coordination support, and community of practice. Besides the four AORs and the Operations Cell, the GPC comprises a Strategic Advisory Group, Task Teams and Working Groups. The Operations Cell is a diverse team composed of 15 UNHCR, donor and protection partners staff. The Senior Global Protection Cluster Coordinator is a protection advocate, a convener and a humanitarian leader. He/she must have excellent communications, interpersonal and analytical skills, have field experience and protection expertise, and, be politically savvy. He/she represents a large community of protection actors at the global level and of protection responders in country operations, in interagency forums, with donors, humanitarian leaders, state authorities and a wide range of other stakeholders. He/she should continuously keep abreast of policy, political and operational developments in a rapidly evolving humanitarian landscape.

Living and Working Conditions

The position is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Living and working conditions in Switzerland are up to the level of a highly developed country, where easy access to quality schooling, services, medical support and higher education is available. Geneva is expensive, and colleagues considering to apply for the post should make themselves fully aware of the financial package and level of prices in Geneva, particularly as they relate to housing and services. The position requires residence in Geneva and cannot be undertaken remotely.

Additional Qualifications



BA: International Relations, BA: Law, BA: Political Science


Work Experience


Accountability, Analytical thinking, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Judgement & decision making, Leadership, Managing resource, Organizational awareness, Policy research & development, Political awareness, Strategic planning & visions, Teamwork & collaboration

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Additional Information

Functional clearance

This position doesn’t require a functional clearance

How to apply


The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

Closing date of receipt of applications: 16 March 2023 (midnight Geneva time)

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