Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons vacancy search engine

Head, Assistance and Protection Branch (P-5)

Category ICA/APB

Post title Head, Assistance and Protection Branch

Grade P-5

Contract Type Fixed term

Job Summary

The Assistance and Protection Branch team is a diverse team who thrive on providing States Parties with expert advice and programmes to develop and improve their emergency response capabilities against the use, or threat of use, of chemical weapons.

As the Head, Assistance and Protection Branch, you will plan, manage, and control the work programme and priorities of the Branch.  Also, you will be responsible for supporting the States Parties in meeting their obligations under Article X (Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons) well as maintaining and promoting the International Support Network for Victims of Chemical Weapons.

The ideal candidate will lead the work of the Branch in such a way that it contributes to promoting and ensuring coordinated and synergised work planning and delivery across the division nurturing a joined up working culture and practices.

Main Responsibilities

Working under the supervision of the Director of International Cooperation and Assistance Division you will be responsible for the following:

  1. Plan, manage, and control the work programme and priorities of the Branch.


    • lead development of relevant policies, programmes and projects to provide expert advice and assist a State Party (upon request) in identifying how their programmes for the development and improvement of a protective capacity against chemical weapons could be implemented, including conducting the risk assessment and designing needs-based improvement measures.


    • performance management of staff members to ensure the quality of delivery of assistance programmes, projects, and individual objectives; planning, reviewing and advising the Director, ICA on the Branch’s budget to ensure maximum fiscal responsibility and efficacy.


    • ensuring the effective and timely implementation of capacity-building programmes, projects and other activities relating to Article X of the CWC, through efficient results-based management of the Branch’s resources and programmes (whatever the source of funding). At the same time the postholder will be required to actively promote knowledge management principles within the work of the Branch to ensure operational effectiveness transparency and adequate knowledge retention and dissemination.


    • mobilisation of necessary extra-budgetary resources and in-kind contribution from the State Parties and ensuring accurate and timely reporting both internally, and externally to donors (both Member States and other organisations) on programmes and projects funded through voluntary contributions.


    • Maintaining relations with States Parties to, inter alia, help secure extra-budgetary resources for programmatic activity, secure use of expertise, equipment and facilities for capacity-building activities, enhance offers of assistance under paragraph 7 of Article X and coordination of broader programmatic objectives.


  2. Support the States Parties in meeting their obligations under Article X.


    This includes informing States Parties of their obligations pursuant to paragraphs 4 and 7 of Article X, providing timely reminders and following up with those States Parties not in compliance. This also includes providing the necessary updates to the senior management in advance of engagements with States Parties to create the conditions for appropriate interventions by the Secretariat.


  3. Lead and promote utilisation of the Assistance and Protection Databank. (PAD)


    This includes the continued functioning and necessary improvements of the online databank (PAD) as an effective tool used for communication between States Parties and the Technical Secretariat on all matters relating to Article X. This will also include overseeing that the databank contains relevant information furnished by States Parties and other important Article X-related materials to support assistance and protection measures undertaken.


  4. Maintain capacity within the OPCW to manage a request for assistance under Article X.

    This includes developing measures to increase the Organisation's state of readiness in providing support to any requesting State Party in the event of use or threat of use of chemical weapons, in accordance with the Article X of the Convention, maintaining a broad oversight of the Secretariat’s SOPs and capabilities to respond, as well as developing a resource mobilisation strategy based on a detailed knowledge of assistance delivery options, the various offers made by States Parties, and the Voluntary Fund for Assistance. This will also include, in line with guidance from the Director-General, the training of Secretariat staff to perform tasks as members of an Assistance Coordination and Assessment Team (ACAT). These efforts should be closely coordinated internally with the Capacity Building and Contingency Planning Cell of the Inspectorate to ensure that deployed ACAT members can work seamlessly with Investigation of Alleged Use (IAU) teams or as part of a Rapid Response and Assistance Mission (RRAM), and externally with relevant international organisations.


  5. Maintain and promote the International Support Network for Victims of Chemical Weapons.


    In line with the relevant decisions of the Conference, this includes ongoing promotion of the objectives of the network within the resources provided to the attendant Trust Fund by States Parties.


  6. Assist the Director as a member of the ICA management team.


 Lead the work of the Branch in such a way that it contributes to promoting and ensuring coordinated and synergised work planning and delivery across the division nurturing a joined up working culture and practices.


Educational qualifications required for this post:

Essential: An advanced university degree in either a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subject or international relations, law or related discipline. A first level university degree in combination with additional qualifying experience (minimum 12 years) may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree. 


Essential: At least 10 years’ experience in a programme management role, where at least 3 years are spent with management and leadership responsibility. Ideally, the experience would have been gained in an international organisation, multi-stakeholder environment or multilateral institution involving:

  • Preparing strategies, formulating policies and negotiating agreements.
  • Managing the programmes in line with results-based principles.
  • Previous working experience within an international organisation would be an asset.


  • Experience of bilateral technical assistance and capacity building programmes or capacity-building in the area of emergency response and preparedness.

Skills and Abilities (key competencies):

To succeed in this role you will need the following skills and competencies:

  • Excellent and proven planning, organisational, coordination, negotiation and problem-solving skills.
  • Strong analytical and conceptual skills in analysing and interpreting operational issues, assessing assistance needs and determining priorities, formulating options, and proposing and implementing solutions.
  • Demonstrated experience developing and managing capacity-building and other assistance programs, including training, and in mobilising resources from donor states for such capacity-building programs.
  • Political awareness and developed strategic thinking skills are critical for this post.
  • Demonstrated leadership and management skills, achieve results, and learn lessons and manage knowledge; a capacity for people management, team building and staff development would be an asset.
  • Excellent inter-personal and communication skills with demonstrated ability to apply tact and accuracy and to present information clearly and logically both in writing and verbally.
  • Solid information technology skills including proficiency in Microsoft desktop packages.
  • Knowledge of Results-Based Budgeting (RBB) or similar budgeting processes.
  • Ability to ensure an effective work structure to maximise productivity and achieve Section goals; Ability to coordinate the work of others, forge collaboration with other work units, work to tight deadlines and handle multiple concurrent activities.
  • Proven ability in establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with people of different national and cultural backgrounds.

Language Requirements:

Fluency in English is essential and a good working knowledge of one or more of the other official languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish) is desirable.