Working with UN - General Information

Working as UN Staff

The world looks to the United Nations for solutions to complex problems everywhere; from ending conflict and alleviating poverty, to combating climate change and defending human rights. The issues on agenda of UN are manifold and diverse as are the careers they offer. Among the staff of UN, you will find members who monitor elections, disarm child soldiers, coordinate relief in humanitarian crises and provide administrative as well as logistical support to carry out complex mandates. These are just a few examples amongst many other equally critical and necessary functions.

The wide array of jobs means that you may change functions, departments, geographic locations, and even organizations or fields of work throughout your career in the Organization.

The diversity of people, some 39,700 staff (as of 31 December 2016) from 193 Member States, means that you will find yourself working in multi-cultural teams with people from all backgrounds and cultures who have wide perspectives, experiences, expectations as well as approaches.

Gender

UN global workforce is made up of:

  • 35% women
  • 65% men


The United Nations strongly encourages women to apply for available positions.

Locations

The 39,700 staff members of the United Nations serve at different locations around the world:

  • Field Operations: 50%
  • Regional Commissions: 6%
  • Tribunals: 2%
  • Other Locations: 11%
  • Headquarters: 31%


As an international civil servant, you are expected to uphold the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity in all matters affecting your work and status. Integrity includes probity, impartiality, fairness, honesty and truthfulness.

UN Work

The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 and committed to maintaining international peace and security; developing friendly relations among nations; promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.

Due to its unique international character, and the powers vested in its founding Charter, the Organization takes action on a wide range of issues, and provides a forum for its 193 Member States to express their views, through the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and other bodies and committees.

The work of the United Nations touches every corner of the globe and focuses on a broad range of fundamental issues, like sustainable development, protection of the environment and refugees, disaster relief and mitigation, counter terrorism, as well as disarmament and non-proliferation.

In September 2015, world leaders gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a new universal standard for development that will ensure no one is left behind.

17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent the cornerstone of the historic, transformational Agenda. Building on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs aim to go further to end all forms of poverty. Universal and indivisible, the SDGs call for action by all countries—developed, developing and middle-income—to promote prosperity while protecting the planet over the next fifteen years.

The SDGs officially came into force on 1 January 2016. Governments, businesses and civil society have started mobilizing efforts to achieve the goals, by aligning their priorities with the SDGs and adopting plans to achieve them.The 17 Goals are:

  • Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Goal 3: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Goal 4: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development



Action on the SDGs represents the best path forward to create prosperity and improve people’s well-being while protecting the environment and addressing climate change.

The UN family of Organizations

The United Nations family of organizations consists of the United Nations Secretariat, the Funds and Programmes such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the specialized agencies such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as other related organizations.

The Funds and Programmes are subsidiary bodies of the General Assembly. The specialized agencies are linked to the United Nations through special agreements and report to the Economic and Social Council and/or the General Assembly.

United Nations Secretariat

The Secretariat - a global staff complement working in duty stations around the world - carries out the diverse day-to-day work of the Organization. It services the other principal organs of the United Nations and administers the programmes and policies laid down by them. At its head is the Secretary-General, who is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council for five-years, with the option of one renewable term. The duties carried out by the Secretariat are as varied as the problems dealt with by the United Nations. These range from administering peacekeeping operations to mediating international disputes; from surveying socio-economic trends as well as problems to preparing studies on human rights and sustainable development. Secretariat staff members also inform the world's media about the work of the Organization; organize international conferences on issues of worldwide concern; and interpret speeches as well as translate documents into the Organization's six official languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.