Legal Affairs Specialist, Geneva

Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund

Country: Switzerland

City: Geneva

Office: UNICEF Geneva

Grade: P-4

Closing date: Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Batch Temporary Appointment Vacancy Announcement (364 days): Legal Affairs Specialist, P-4, Office of Executive Director, Legal, Geneva and Helsinki

Job no: 547476

Position type: Temporary Appointment

Location: Switzerland Division/Equivalent: Executive Group

School/Unit: Executive Director’s Office

Department/Office: Off of Executive Director

Categories: Legal

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child,

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does in programs, in advocacy and in operations. Investing in the health, education and protection of a society’s most disadvantaged citizens addressing inequity not only will give all children the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also will lead to sustained growth and stability of countries. With a focus on equity, UNICEF aims to accelerate progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries.

The financing gap to achieve the SDGs by 2030 is estimated to be US$ 2.5 trillion per year. New sources of financing to close this gap will come from two channels - public finance and private domestic/international capital. UNICEF’s vision and ambition is that financing for development in all its facets - public and private - work together to enable significantly greater volumes of funding and financing to flow to where it will make the most difference, in order to radically accelerate results and impact for children. Public finance is the basis for financing for development, driving key programmatic priorities, while innovative financing/alternative financing is a vital tool.

In this context, UNICEF has identified strategic deployment of innovative finance for children ("IF4C") as a critical means to help leverage additional resources for UNICEF programmes and tap new sources of predictable capital at scale by creating financial structures in collaboration with various partners. If scaled up, innovative finance could also yield other important benefits, including increasing the sustainability and impact of existing resources by smoothing financial flows, boosting efficiency in terms of operations, sustainability, and environmental impact, and enhancing global brand and appeal to entirely new audiences. This major shift is aligned with the approach of the upcoming 2022-2025 Strategic Plan of UNICEF, which recognizes the importance of innovative finance to achieve results for children.

The overall objective is to influence the alignment of US$20 billion of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments towards child-aligned priorities. This includes leveraging an additional US$3 billion towards investments in UNICEF-driven Innovative Finance solutions for children over the next four years. Of this total amount, approximately US$500 million will flow through UNICEF, and help 100 million+ beneficiaries to gain access to new inclusive insurance products and risk financing instruments designed to protect the most vulnerable, especially children.

Under the supervision of the designated Senior Legal Affairs Specialist, and working closely with relevant UNICEF divisions including Finance (DFAM), Office of Innovation (OoI) and Private Sector Fundraising and Partnerships (PFP), the Legal Affairs Specialist’s role will focus on:

coordinating legal guidance and input across all IF4C projects within the organization;
participating, as appropriate, in relevant IF4C governance bodies;
providing expert guidance and advice on structuring financial products and issuing instruments, as well as partnering with asset managers;
managing external counsel; and

drafting and reviewing all related legal documentation;
The Legal Affairs Specialist’s role may also extend to other duties within the Office of the Director and Chief Legal Counsel as and when needed, as part of the team, and will not be exclusive to IF4C matters. One position is located in Geneva and the other in Helsinki, kindly indicate your preference in the cover letter.

How can you make a difference?

Acting as the lead coordinator within the Legal Office for all IF4C projects, under the oversight of the designated Senior Legal Affairs Specialist, ensuring consistency in guidance across projects, prioritization and information gathering and sharing.

Participate, as appropriate, in relevant IF4C governance bodies as the alternate representative of the Legal Office with the designated Senior Legal Affairs Specialist.

Assist in advising on the legal dimensions of establishment, structure and implementation of UNICEF-led IF4C projects, including collaborations with external partners (such as international financial institutions), asset managers, national committees and others.

Assist in advising and providing support on IF4C legal instruments, agreements, and arrangements as well as funding agreements with donors and international financial institutions.

Assist in advising on the implementation of evolving programme initiatives, strategies and operational practices, from the legal perspective, focusing on innovations to facilitate more efficient creation of partnerships.

Other duties as directed, which may include contributing to the review and design of new legal instruments, promoting knowledge of legal issues and instruments with the organization.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have...


A post-graduate university law degree is required (for example. Ll. B post-graduate; Ll.M.; J.D.) in a relevant field of law (e.g. international law, commercial law); a first-level university degree in combination with one additional year of qualifying legal experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university law degree (in UNICEF’s sole discretion).


Should be admitted to practice as a lawyer in a national or state jurisdiction (for example, US state bar).


Should have a minimum of eight (8) years‘ professional experience as a lawyer practicing in a relevant field including in a law firm, a government and/or an international organization’s legal office or as in-house counsel. Prior experience in the structured or project finance department of a top tier law firm is an asset.

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Language Requirement:

Fluency in English is required. Proficiency in another UN language is highly desirable

For every Child, you demonstrate...

Core Values






Core competencies

Nurtures, Leads and Manages People (2)

Demonstrates Self Awareness and Ethical Awareness (2)

Works Collaboratively with others (2)

Builds and Maintains Partnerships (2)

Innovates and Embraces Change (2)

Thinks and Acts Strategically (2)

Drive to achieve impactful results (2)

Manages ambiguity and complexity (2)

Functional Competencies:

Analyzing- III

Leading and Supervising

Formulating strategies and concepts - II

Relating and Networking - Il

Persuading and Influencing- Ill

Creating and Innovating - II

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.


Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Advertised: Jan 05 2022 W. Europe Standard Time Application close: Jan 19 2022 W. Europe Standard Time

Link to the job offer of the organisation: