SSRRE 2025-2026: NYHQ, Programme Group, Director, D-2, Social Policy and Social Protection

UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund

The Director Social Policy & Social Protection will provide global strategic vision, technical guidance, and thought leadership to UNICEF’s work in Social Policy and Social Protection, in support of UNICEF’s Strategic Plan and SDG targets. The Director continuously enhances UNICEF’s position as a global technical leader for children on Social Policy and Social Protection while ensuring evidence-based advocacy, analytical, programmatic, and operational leadership across all country contexts, in both humanitarian and fragile settings.

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 fulfil 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, dedication 

Eliminating child poverty, as well as ensuring access to social protection has been recognized as a critical priority of Agenda 2030. An explicit requirement to measure and monitor multidimensional child poverty is included under SDG 1.1.2, and similarly, the need accelerate progress around public spending for poverty reduction under SDG 1.a.2, and SDG 1.b.1 for which UNICEF has recently become custodian. The effective scale-up of social protection, with a specific attention to children, is now a global priority: Access to social protection is a core target of SDG 1 (Elimination of poverty), and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), as a core component to ensure that no child is left behind.  Moreover, social protection is also an accelerator for multiple Goals. Addressing the multiple and compounding deprivations experienced by children requires explicit commitments to understanding its drivers and to scale-up comprehensive strategies to address them. The full realization of the right of children to access to social protection and adequate standard for living will not only ensure that every child lives free of poverty, but also prevent those at risk or vulnerable to poverty due to exclusion and discrimination, or facing environmental and conflict related risks, from falling into poverty.  

This is why the focus on reducing child poverty, enhancing access to inclusive social protection and cash transfer in humanitarian settings, promoting efficiency, transparency and equity of financing, while strengthening capacities at subnational level, including urban, is so vital. It accelerates 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, while also supporting the equitable development of nations. 

UNICEF has clearly articulated its Social Policy and Social Protection priorities and added value towards the Sustainable Development goals in the Social Protection Strategic Framework, the Inclusive Recovery roadmap, the Urban Evaluation, the social protection commitment to the Core Commitments on Children (CCS), as most recently in Goal Area 5 of the Strategic Plan 2022-2025, “Every Child has Access to Inclusive Social Protection and Lives Free of Poverty”. 

The Director reports to the UNICEF Director of Programme.  

The Director provides global strategic vision, technical guidance, and thought leadership to UNICEF’s work in Social Policy and Social Protection, in support of UNICEF’s Strategic Plan and SDG targets. The Director continuously enhances UNICEF’s position as a global technical leader for children on Social Policy and Social Protection while ensuring evidence-based advocacy, analytical, programmatic, and operational leadership across all country contexts, in both humanitarian and fragile settings. The Director is accountable for a results-based approach to meeting goals of UNICEF’s Strategic Plan in specific areas linked to social policy and social protection. The Director also supervises the UNICEF Global Lead on children in urban settings. 

The Director leads and promotes global strategic partnerships and coalitions, with public, private, and civil society stakeholders, while providing technical leadership to expand resource mobilization efforts working closely with the Partnership Cone, and other. The Director also coordinates technical guidance and support to country and regional offices, while also promoting collaboration across sectors, anchoring critical issue hubs, as well as systematically incorporating priority multi-sectoral and cross-sectoral issues. Primary responsible for sectoral talent management, the Director serves as the key advisor to UNICEF senior management on matters related to social policy and social protection, and represent UNICEF in strategic high-level technical and decision making fora and strategic engagement with critical partners.  

How can you make a difference? 
The Director’s key functional accountabilities include: 

  1. Vision and Strategy:

  • Lead the development and coordinate implementation of Goal Area 5 of UNICEF’s Strategic Plan 

  • Lead development and coordinate implement UNICEF’s strategic vision for Social Policy and Social Protection, integrating critical components of child poverty, social protection systems, cash assistance in humanitarian situations, public finance for children and local governance which translates into the successful delivery of UNICEF’s mandate, strategies, goals and objectives.  

  • Provide strategic guidance to the Global Urban Lead, enhancing the positioning and strategic programmatic direction of Urban development for children.  

  • Further enhance UNICEF’s position as the thought and knowledge leader for children across Social Policy and Social Protection programme areas, and the Urban hub, through learning, knowledge management, generation and application of evidence to programmes at scale. 

  • Lead the revitalization of the function and develop strategies to support UNICEF’s current and future Social Policy and Social Protection programme and Urban hub requirements and direction.  

  • Provide leadership in the integration of cross-sectoral priorities and principles (human rights, gender, life cycle approach, disability, migration, risk programming), effective linkages with other Programme Areas (Education, health, nutrition, child protection and WASH), as well as cross-divisional (EMOPs, DHR, DAPM, Supply Division, PPD and PFP, Natcoms, and other) programme collaboration to align and maximize UNICEF’s support to regions and countries. 

  • Ensure that the policies and practices of relevant functional area are sufficiently comprehensive and flexible to meet its accountabilities in both developmental and humanitarian needs. 

  1. Management of people and resources:  

  • Provide leadership and direction by effectively managing the human, financial and material resources assigned to the team.   

  • Ensure accountability and fiduciary integrity in the Division’s budget execution when leading divisional strategic budget preparation exercises. 

  • Creates a unified culture to achieve common divisional goals and objectives by motivating, coaching and supporting staff of the team. 

  • Develop workforce planning, recruitment, performance management, learning and career management of staff. 

  • Manages staff performance and development through regular feedback, mentoring and career planning.  

  1. Representation & Networking: 

  • Develop and maintain strategic partnerships with counterparts in global programme partnerships, institutions/ foundations, development agencies, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and academia for the purpose of programme co-operation, knowledge sharing, policy, and/or resource mobilization. 

  • Advise UNICEF senior management in strengthening relations with key partners through effective policy dialogue and advocacy to mobilize and leverage resources for children.  

  • Develop and capitalize on new and emerging opportunities for resource mobilization especially innovative financing and partnership.   

  1. Policy Development and Advice:  

  • Ensure that Social Policy and Social protection programme priorities, including child poverty, social protection, public finance for children, local governance, and urban development remain as critical priorities for UNICEF, at global, regional and country levels, as well as with critical partnerships. 

  • Provides leadership in the development of the major policies, regulations and rules, and systems that underpin the work of the team. 

  • Serve as the chief advisor to the senior management of the organization on policy interpretations for internal activities as well as in policy dialogue for external representational activities.  

To qualify as a champion for every child you will have…

  • To qualify as a champion for every child you will have…  


    • An Advanced University Degree from an accredited institution in social sciences is required. 

    • A minimum of 15 years of professional experience that combines intellectual and managerial leadership in an international organization or corporation is required. 

    • Substantive experience in economic and social policy analysis, advocacy and technical assistance at the national and international levels and social protection. Experience with UNICEF field programmes an asset.  

    • Excellent knowledge of and familiarity with key issues in international development policy, economic and social policy and knowledge management as applicable to children’s and women’s rights.   

    • Excellent analytical, writing, public speaking and advocacy skills in social and economic policy fields.   

    • Proven competence in the management of teams oriented to the provision of technical support and analysis.   

    • Proven familiarity with the use and application of human rights-based approaches in development. 

    • Fluency in English is required.  Knowledge of another official UN language or a local language is an asset. 

    Person Profile 

    • Recognized management skills in a multicultural setting, combined with ability to achieve results through motivating people and influencing partners.  

    • Results-oriented decision-making ability with an aptitude to address operational challenges and for developing practical solutions.  

    • Innovator with risk management ability and a proven track record as a successful agent of change.  

    • Rigorous analytical and conceptual thinking.  

    • High sense of integrity, trust and confidence.  

    • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English, including the ability to set out a coherent analysis in presentations.  

    • Strong diplomatic and communication skills and the ability to develop effective working relationships with clients and counterparts at the appropriate levels.  

    • Ability to represent UNICEF in international fora. 

For every child, you demonstrate… 


    UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values  


  • Builds and maintains partnerships (level III) 

  • Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (level III) 

  • Drive to achieve results for impact (level III) 

  • Innovates and embraces change (level III) 

  • Manages ambiguity and complexity (level III) 

  • Thinks and acts strategically (level III) 

  • Works collaboratively with others (level III) 

  • Nurtures, leads and manages people (level III) 

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, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station, which will be facilitated by UNICEF, is required for IP positions. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Government employees that are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.

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