United Nations Department of Political Affairs

The United Nations Secretariat’s Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA) plays a central role in United Nations efforts to prevent and resolve deadly conflict around the world. It monitors and assesses global political developments with an eye to detecting potential crises before they erupt and devising effective responses and provides support to the Secretary-General and his envoys, as well as to UN political missions deployed around the world to help defuse crises or promote lasting solutions to conflict.

Working for the UN Department of Political Affairs

In addition to its more than 250 professional and administrative staff at UN headquarters in New York, DPA draws from the work of political and peace-building missions under its supervision, which employ more than 4'000 national and international staff in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Sought profiles

There are two categories of personnel supporting UN DPA’s mandate:

  • Civilian Personnel

UN staff positions: A broad range of profiles are regularly sought both at headquarters and in field missions, mainly in the areas of Political Affairs, Gender Affairs, and Programme Management.
See detailed description 
Electoral Affairs specialists are recruited via the United Nations Electoral Roster which is managed by the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division. To be eligible for the United Nations Single Electoral Roster, a candidate must have several years of experience in technical electoral fields and in at least two different countries.

United Nations Volunteers: An attractive entry into UN Peacekeeping is through an assignment as a United Nations Volunteer. In some field operations, UNVs make up one third of the civilian personnel.

Secondments by Governments: For Swiss nationals, the Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding of the FDFA Human Security Division coordinates the secondments.

  • Police Personnel

Most UN police personnel in DPA-led field missions are national police officers that are seconded by their Governments. Only a few positions are filled through regular staff positions which  are published on the United Nations Careers portal. Interested police officers should periodically look at these sites to see what positions may be available.
Learn more
Information for Swiss nationals

Opportunities for students and junior professionals

  • Internships: UNDPA regularly employs interns at headquarters for a period of up to 6 months. Learn more about the UN Internship Programme.
  • Young Professionals Programme: The United Nations Secretariat’s Young Professionals Programme (YPPYoung Professionals Programme ) deploys some selected Young Professionals to UNDPA, at headquarters, regional and field level. Only nationals of participating countries may apply. Learn more
  • Junior Professional Officer positions: Young professionals may also participate in the UN Secretariat’s Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Programme, provided that they are nationals of a donor country. Switzerland is currently a donor country. Find out more about Swiss JPOJunior Professional Officer positions on the dedicated page.


New York, United States of America

Fields of activity
Human rights and peace promotion, peace-making and preventive diplomacy, electoral assistance, political analysis, preventing terrorism

Countries of operation
A list of the missions led by the Department of Political Affairs can be found here.

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