Activity Overview

JPO Position Identification

The main criteria of the UNDP JPO Programme are as follows:

The JPO is expected to contribute to UNDP practice and priority areas (in accordance with the current UNDP Strategic Plan, these areas include Poverty Reduction, Democratic Governance, Energy and Environment, Crisis Prevention and Recovery, UN Coordination, and Management).

  • The assignment should include a strong learning element for the JPO.
  • Proper supervision should be identified and provided.
  • Duty Stations submitting a request for a JPO are requested to complete a detailed JPO Terms of Reference (TOR) and to enter the TOR into the online JPO request system. 

Requests from Duty Stations are prioritized by the OHR Human Resources Advisor of the respective Bureau.

Partner Countries have online access to the JPO request system, and have the possibility for selecting and earmarking positions online. 

The JPO Programme supports UNDP priority areas as mentioned above, which form the main basis for selecting proposals for donor funding. In addition, priority is also given to selected Duty Stations, including Duty Stations in post-crisis countries, Duty Stations in need additional capacity, and Duty Stations which have no or relatively few JPOs. 

JPO and SARC Recruitment

The key players involved into the JPO recruitment process are: Duty Stations, OHR and counterparts from partner countries. 

The JPOSC is the main focal point within UNDP for communications with UNDP Country Offices and Headquarter units on JPO posts. UNDP Country Offices and Headquarter units may communicate with their respective donor partners and will keep the JPOSC informed about their consultations with donors in such cases. 

The JPOSC will verify with the Duty Station that the Terms of Reference (TOR) are valid and confirm to the partner country, before the position is advertised.

The specific procedures and processes of the JPO recruitment cycle are reflected in the Agreements between UNDP and the donor. The following three categories of JPO/SARC recruitment apply:

  • Category 1: Recruitment and selection process fully managed by OHR/SAS/JPOSC.
  • Category 2: Recruitment and selection process jointly managed by OHR/SAS/JPOSC and the donor.
  • Category 3: Recruitment and selection process fully managed by the donor.

Administration of the benefits and entitlements

JPOs and SARCs are officials of the United Nations, covered by the Organization in several important areas:

  • As the Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations applies to JPOs/SARCs, they are protected by UNDP for their actions and communication in relation to the performance of their official duties; 
  • UNDP arranges visas and provides official travel documents (United Nations Laissez-Passer) for JPOs/SARCs to work in their respective assignments;
  • JPOs/SARCs benefit from security and/or medical emergency evacuation by UNDP;
  • As international civil servants, JPOs/SARCs are not subject to taxation on their United Nations income; 
  • JPOs/SARCs are eligible to become members of the Staff Association.

Thus, JPOs/SARCs enjoy the same salary and entitlements, including mobility and hardship allowances, as all other international professionals in the UN System governed by the UN Staff Regulations and Rules, including the entitlements related to the split shipment of personal effects. 


JPO Training and Learning

UNDP arranges a pre-departure briefing in Copenhagen for all JPOs. The objective of the briefing is to prepare the new staff member for the JPO assignment. The briefing provides an induction to the JPO Programme, the UN in the field, UNDP structure and programmes, JPO benefits and entitlements, as well as the UNDP Human Resources Strategy. 

UNDP organises for its JPOs an induction course, held at Headquarters, New York. The course focuses on strategic, macro-level issues, UN/UNDP policies and development trends, including individual meetings with key counterparts in relevant areas of their work.

Country specific induction by Country Offices complement the Headquarters based induction course. Specifically, the country briefings should provide the JPOs the opportunity to learn about the country office set-up, the country programme, the partners, as well as provide information about the local context.

Most donors have well-organized pre-departure training programmes for their JPOs, which cover a range of subjects from substantive development training, to training in intercultural communication, to language training. UNDP encourages such initiatives

UNDP organises workshops for JPOs every year. The workshops focus on a UNDP practice or priority area and provide an opportunity to bring together JPOs working in the same region or in the same thematic areas. 

JPOs and SARCs are entitled to an allocation for “Training-Related Duty Travel”, which aims at supporting the JPO learning activities during the assignment. 

JPO Career Management and Talent Pool

UNDP provides continuous career development support to JPOs and SARCs during their assignment. JPO/SARC career development is a shared responsibility between the JPO/SARC duty stations/supervisor, the JPO/SARC and OHR. Supervisors play a key role in the JPO/SARC professional growth and learning, and are informed about their role in supporting JPO/SARC career development. 

The JPOSC provides support to JPOs and SARCs who are interested in pursuing a career with the Organization as follows:

  • Career Development Counselling & Advice (Career development sessions, Career Management website , and one-to-one / remote advice sessions)
  • Learning throughout the JPO assignment (Online database of use of DTTA, JPO Workshops)
  • Networking & Mentoring (online discussion group for all current JPOs administered by the JPOSC, mentoring programme)
  • Post-JPO Networking (JPO Alumni Association (JAA), Informal groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, online discussion groups for former JPOs, online directories of current and former JPOs)
  • Job Search (advocacy towards potential internal/external employers, weekly Job Ads e-mail distributed to and by the JAA members, advice on preparation of job applications and mock interviews)

Financial management and accountability of the JPO Programme and the JPOSC

As per the agreement between UNDP and the Partner Country on the JPO Programme, the respective Partner Country shall provide UNDP with the funds necessary to enable it to meet the costs of the recruitment, appointment and service of JPOs.

The JPOSC prepares and forwards cost estimates for the duration of the assignment of each JPO/SARC to the Partner Country at the same time that the candidate´s Offer of Appointment is issued. The cost estimates reflect the costs of a one year appointment, and are shared with the Partner Country with a request for payment.

The biennial statement of the financial position of the Accounts (as of 31 December of the preceding year) is published with the audited accounts of UNDP and submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Executive Board of UNDP in accordance with UNDP Financial Regulations and Rules. 

The  JPO/SARC Programme is monitored periodically through annual client satisfaction surveys to JPOs, partner countries and partner UN Organizations, exit questionnaires to JPOs/SARCs, OHR field visits, and JPO debriefings at Headquarters.

Partnership activities of the JPO Service Centre

In addition, to administration of the UNDP JPO Programme (including UNDOCO, UN Women, UNCDF, and UNV), UNDP has signed agreements to administer part or all JPOs of partner UN Organizations.

By delegating the entitlement administration of their JPOs to the JPO Service Centre, partner UN Organizations gain time and efficiency, allowing them to focus on more strategic and crucial activities, such as resource mobilisation and donor relationship, JPO talent selection and career development.