The JPO Programme

A JPO Journey around the World

Walk in the footsteps of 5 UNDP JPOs in Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Denmark and New York Headquarters


What is it?

 Elections RDC 2006Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: UNDP.

The Junior Professional Officer Programme is administered by the JPO Service Centre (JPOSC) for the following organizations: UNDP and its affiliated funds/programmes, UNCDF, UNDOCO, UNV, UN Women, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNIDO (on occasional cases), UNITAR, UNOPS, UNRWA, UNSSC, UNU, UNWTO, UPU, and WHO. 

JPOs serve primarily in one of the country offices of the participating organizations in the developing countries. Under the supervision of a senior staff member, JPOs work with international and national staff and are involved in the identification, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the UN organizations-supported programmes.

Purposes of assignments vary and may have a country-specific, regional, sector-based or thematic focus. The UN organizations participating in the Programme make every effort to match individual's qualifications and interests with the requirements of the country office.

JPOs are offered one year fixed term contracts which are normally renewed for a second year (two years being the usual length of assignment), subject to satisfactory performance. In exceptional circumstances, several partner countries sponsor assignments of up to four years. Salaries correspond with those of entry-level UN professional staff (P1 - P2).

Who can apply?

Since JPOs are sponsored by their respective governments, not all nationalities are eligible to apply to the JPO Programme.

Please see our list of partner countries (right rail) to check if you are eligible to apply. Potential candidates with double nationality should check both nationalities and choose the most favourable one.

If you are neither a national from one of our partner countries nor a national from a developing country which appears on the list of the Nedworc Foundation (see below), you are unfortunaltely not eligible to apply for a JPO position.

What if I am a National from developing countries?

In very limited circumstances, a Partner Country may also sponsor a small number of developing country nationals. As of 1 June 2015, 8 nationals of Developing Countries were taking part in the JPO Programme (4% of all JPOs).

The Netherlands regularly fund positions open to nationals from developing countries that appear in the following list of eligible countries.

Nationals from the eligible developing countries can only submit an online application when a JPO vacancy is advertised.

What are the requirements?

Candidates for the JPO Programme are selected on a highly competitive basis. The qualifications below are required for consideration:

  • Usually be under 32 years of age;

  • Academic qualifications: Master's degree (or equivalent) in a development-related discipline;

  • A minimum of two years of paid working experience in a relevant field, preferably in a developing country

  • Language skills: written and spoken proficiency in at least two of the three working languages used by UNDP: English, French and Spanish. Fluency in Arabic, Russian or Portuguese is an asset;

  • Excellent information technology skills, including word-processing, database applications, presentation software and Internet;

  • Evidence of ability to think strategically; to express ideas clearly; to work independently and in teams; to demonstrate a sense of self-assuredness combined with cultural and gender sensitivity;

  • A strong commitment to development; an interest in adapting to varied physical and professional environments; and a desire to work with people with different language, national and cultural backgrounds;

  • Respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and the participating UN organizations Mission Statements.

Where to send my application?

  • Nationals from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and from eligible Developing Countries are requested to submit an online application when applying to a specific vacancy, which are published on our current vacancies throughout the calendar year.
  • Nationals from other sponsoring countries are requested to contact directly their respective government office. Please select a country listed on the top right of the page for more details.