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Adviser and Head, Good Offices Section

Location: Pall Mall, London SW1
Closing date: 5 July 2021

£88,447 p.a. + benefits

The Commonwealth Secretariat seeks to appoint an Adviser and Head of the Good Offices Section in our Governance and Peace (GPD) Directorate. The Governance and Peace Directorate (GPD) is the lead directorate in the Secretariat’s high-profile programme for the promotion of democracy and good governance in the Commonwealth.  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 division works closely with the Secretary-General, providing advice and support on all political issues, and particularly in her Good Offices role. The work is often of great sensitivity and to demanding time-frames.

The Good Offices Section coordinates activities undertaken by the Commonwealth Secretariat to implement the Secretary-General’s ‘Good Offices for Peace’ work which is aimed primarily at enhancing peace and democracy through conflict prevention and political dispute mitigation and resolution.

Reporting to the Secretary General through the Senior Director, the post-holder leads the Division’s support for the Secretary-General’s ‘Good Offices for Peace’ work. This principally entails identifying, organising and supporting the deployment of high-level envoys on behalf of the Secretary-General, while enhancing peace and democracy through conflict prevention and political dispute mitigation and resolution. The post-holder provides expert technical advice on dispute resolution. The post-holder also either organises and manages or contributes to the provision of relevant capacity-building in member states.

The job requires sound political judgement and sensitivity, effective diplomatic, negotiating and management skills; and when required, working long hours and under pressure in challenging situations.

The Good Offices Section currently draws on the wider resources of the Political office in carrying out its role.

Responsibilities of the Adviser and Head of the Good Offices Section includes (but is not limited to):

•          Managing the Good Offices Section, ensuring that its agreed contributions to the Secretariat’s strategic outcomes are achieved on time and within budget, and that Section staff are motivated and achieving performance expectations; 

•          Provides advice to the Senior Director and Secretary-General on situations in which the Secretary-General’s Good Offices may be introduced in order to mitigate political tension and promote the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values;

•          Coordinates the organisation of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), ensuring in particular that all Secretariat inputs to CMAG deliberations are comprehensive, intersectional, and properly coordinated; CMAG members receive appropriate briefings on time; and, post-meeting reporting and follow-up action is advanced in timely and coordinated fashion;

•          Contributes to the ongoing development and understanding of contemporary Secretariat practices in conflict and dispute mitigation, prevention and resolution. This includes preparing speeches, policy papers and briefing materials for the Secretary-General and other senior Secretariat staff as necessary;

•          Adhere to the Gender Equality values of the Commonwealth as enshrined in the Charter and Secretariat’s Gender Equality Policy; and

•          Perform any other duties that may be required from time to time.

Please refer to the Job Description for full details of the responsibilities of this position. 

To be considered, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Attained a post graduate degree or other advanced qualification in a relevant subject such as law, political science or international relations;
  • A doctoral degree in a relevant area is an added advantage;
  • At least ten years’ experience in at a senior level in preventive diplomacy and political negotiation;
  • Experience of working/consulting in political or diplomatic environments is an added advantage;
  • Experience in research, publishing, and speech writing on issues related to preventive diplomacy and political negotiation;
  • Experience in an international context in managing and leading a diverse team involved in sensitive issues such as conflict prevention, resolution and post-conflict capacity-building;
  • Significant policy formulation experience in an international context will be an added advantage;
  • International media interview appearances will be an added advantage.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 member governments and provides guidance on policy making, technical assistance and advisory services to Commonwealth member countries.  We support governments to help achieve sustainable, inclusive and equitable development.

To join us, you must be a citizen of a Commonwealth country.

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