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UNHCR-Senior Settlement Planning Officer-P4-Tehran, Iran

Tehran, Iran
TORs [Senior Settlement Planning Officer- P4] support mission – Teheran, Iran
Mission location
Teheran, Iran
 3 months with possible extension
Operational Context
The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the ten largest refugee hosting countries in the world, having welcomed Afghans and Iraqis for more than four decades. There are an estimated 3-3.5 million Afghans living in Iran, including 780,000 refugees (Amayesh card-holders), some 2.1 million undocumented Afghans and another 600,000 and passport/visa-holders, along withsome 20,000 Iraqi refugees. Refugees live in both urban areas (96%) and settlements (4%).

Afghanistan is currently witnessing the highest number of conflict-related causalities on record, with on average 500-600 security incidents per week. The situation continues to deteriorate largely due to the imminent completion of international troop withdrawal. Armed groups are contesting and/or gaining control over larger parts of the country. Government control of territory has reached its lowest level since 2001. Sectarian violence aggravates the stark reality: some 18.4 million people – nearly half of the population – require humanitarian assistance to survive, including 2.9 million conflict-induced IDPs and 13.2 million facing extreme food insecurity.
There have been reports of some 330,000 displaced by conflict in Afghanistan, as of end of July 2021. The irregular entry of Afghans into Iran has reportedly increased from 2,500 persons a day to over 5,000 per day, with increasing numbers of irregular arrivals in Turkey. Given the rapidly developing situation in the neighboring Afghanistan, UNHCR is stepping up its preparedness activities to strengthen its ability to deliver a timely response to any urgent humanitarian and protection needs in Iran as and when they occur.
In light of the above and in accordance with the Policy on Emergency Preparedness and Response (UNHCR/HCP/2017/1) a Level 2 emergency was declared for Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkey on 14 July 2021. As part of the L2 activation, UNHCR in Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkey will step up advocacy and advance preparedness with respective governments to ensure persons of concern have access to asylum and humanitarian assistance, while stepping-up its operational response in support of refugees and search for durable solutions.
Linked with the above, as a mandated agency UNHCR is leading and overseeing the implementation of a scenario-based Contingency Planning for the explained situation in coordination with 17 participating agencies purposed to complement Government-led efforts in terms of preparedness and response.  UNHCR in Iran has established a Refugee Coordination Emergency Group comprised of heads of UN agencies and select I/NGOs, seven working groups and three sub-groups to lead and coordinate the response. The contingency plan is also being reviewed, in collaboration with 17 other participating agencies (UN and INGOs) in preparation for a potential Refugee Response Plan. UNHCR has further stepped-up its engagement with the government on contingency planning, including carrying out joint assessments to six potential refugee sites in the provinces located near the eastern border areas, discussing encampment policy and preference for a hybrid approach, and advocating for an accessible and fair asylum system for new arrivals. UNHCR has also stressed the need for inclusive planning with key ministries and operational actors.
Aim of the Mission
The Senior Settlement Planning Officer shall lead the settlement planning activities of UNHCR and also ensure strong cross sectoral synergies with other sectors and protection. The incumbent shall act as a focal point for maintaining effective coordination with established shelter/NFI sector working group. In addition, s/he is responsible for the strategic management and monitoring of the implementation of settlement planning activities, and for collaboration with Administration, Finance and Programme on all programmatic issues within the Area of Responsibility (AoR). S/he shall be working closely with other sections on settlement and general infrastructure related activities and provides functional technical guidance to her/his team as well as to technical experts in relevant field locations (in this case in Mashad and Karman AOR ) and may require to participate in interagency missions to the designated new sites.
The Senior Settlement Planning Officer provides specialized support in designing and developing sustainable settlements to host people of concern (POC) to UNHCR. The incumbent will therefore be expected to analyze a variety of settlement options urban, rural, formal or informal ensuring that spatial allocation of lands is decided in support of the protection, access to basic services, livelihoods, and socio-cultural life of displaced people as well as for the host community. The incumbent will also take responsibility and represent UNHCR in negotiations with national and local government authorities regarding land acquisition and site development works.
Under the supervision of the Senior Inter agency Coordinato, the Senior Settlement Planning Officer will perform a variety of functions related to the management and coordination of humanitarian settlement and infrastructure activities in the various settlement typologies, and the engagement of refugees in governance structures. This will be done within the context of UNHCR’s Global Strategy for Sustainable Settlement, Shelter and infrastructure. This position will supervise a Shelter/NFI officer and WASH officer and provide them with technical supervision. Be the main technical counterpart for UNHCR in any assessment mission, site development and linked strategic decision supervising a range of technical staff international ( Shelter/NFI Officer and WASH officer) and national technical staff based in Teheran, Karman and Mashaad. The function should closely coordinate with the Programme and Supply unit in the course of design and implementation and technical specification and costing for the partnership agreement and any commercial contracts.
The Senior Settlement Planning Officer (SSPO) will ensure that management of multi-sectorial assistance and services in refugee sites are handled effectively and efficiently among all the stakeholders, through a strong collaboration with the Field unit and relevant field staff. The incumbent will take lead in the inter-agency coordination structures set up for settlement planning and land related issues within the Area of Responsibility (AoR).
The SSPO should maintain regular communication with the shelter and settlement team in HQ for technical advice, information, communication and access to updated global tools and resources.
All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial
  • Successfully complete multi agency and multi stakeholder assessment and consultation within UNHCR and externally with Government, UN agencies, key partners to provide technical recommendation for establishment of settlements/expansion of current settlements /transit points or other alternate solutions for short or mid term
  • Help design and plan the new sites or expansion of existing sites as per UNHCR standards in coordination with the Government counterparts and line ministries.
  • Initiate in close coordination with Programme unit for inclusion of the key elements and its costing into the partnership agreement with the Government or develop the technical specification for the Request for Quotation to initiate direct contractual arrangements with commercial supplier(in consultation with the Supply unit)  as the situation develops and modalities of implementation are clearer.

Under the supervision of the Senior Emergency Coordinator , the deployee will:
Technical Guidance
  • Ensure the assessment and selection of potential sites is done in accordance with the Master Plan approach to settlement planning taking into consideration protection concerns, national legislation, environmental considerations, appropriate density, and access to basic services including water, hydrological concerns, socio/economic issues, and cultural inclusion and HLP matters.
  • Ensure that settlement layouts respond to natural topography and drainage patterns of the site to reduce construction and maintenance costs.
  • Engage with the relevant technical, programme and supply colleagues in close coordination with implementing and other concerned parties to develop implementation modalities and work plans for the settlement plans. Work with Programme and ensure that technical guidance and inputs are provided in the process of Implementation Partner Selection and review of PPAs of all sector related partners and partners with construction related activities in their budget.
  • Provide technically sound advice and guidance in Preparedness through the development of contingency plans for population movements. Develop and update agreed response strategies (MPAs and APAs) for refugee sites, including transition/exit strategy for site consolidation and closures.
  • Identify training needs of settlement planners in the Government and affiliated partners. Ensure support in capacity building is delivered where found to be necessary.
  • In close consultation with partners, ensure that assessments are carried out, concrete initiatives and specific strategies developed to make sure that residential areas, key services and infrastructure are not susceptible to the risk of natural hazards such as flash floods and landslides.
  • Reaffirm UNHCR’s commitment to promoting the integration of agreed priority cross-cutting issues (e.g. age, environment, gender, and human rights) in sector/inter-sector needs assessments, analysis, planning and monitoring.
  • Ensure that safe and equitable access to basic services is provided for both the displaced and host communities while making particular emphasis on meaningful inclusion of the site community groups (women, youth, elderly and persons with specific needs) in decision-making processes including through governance structures and sectorial focal points.
Coordination and Leadership
  • Provide strong leadership in ensuring that UNHCR’s country operation is technically sound in the field of settlement planning so as to best meet the needs of POC.
  • Liaise with Government, line ministries and relevant authorities and counterparts to ensure strong coordination and partnership. Ensure that settlement plans are aligned with regional, national land use plans and planned developments.
  • Represent UNHCR and lead in the process of site selection and land negotiations with the national government, local government, local community leaders and the landlords. In doing this, ensure that the risk of conflict linked to land tenure is addressed and mitigated while continuing to pursue actions that increase the security of tenure for displaced populations.
  • Ensure the development and implementation of Settlement plans in a consultative process with Senior Management, relevant technical colleagues, implementing partners, and other relevant stakeholders. Maintain, support or complement existing coordination mechanisms.
  • Coordinate the development of Settlement Master Plans in alignment with the UNHCR guiding principles of the Master Plan Approach to Settlement Planning. Ensure periodic updates on the Masterplan taking note of the expansion and densification of the settlement and develop plans for any settlement extensions.
  • Work together with implementing and operational partners to ensure the use of common standards and tools for information collection and data management, including in needs assessments and monitoring.
  • Advocate for the mobilization of resources, where applicable. Identify core advocacy concerns for the sector and contribute key messages to the broader multi-sectoral advocacy initiatives including coordinated inputs into donor proposals and multi-agency appeals.
  • Maintain collaboration and coordination with all functional units in UNHCR and relevant technical actors in the feasibility and technical assessments, planning and development of sites, including protection, environment, Health, Education, water and sanitation.
  • In coordination with relevant focal persons and technical colleagues, ensure appropriate assessments and mapping exercises such as environmental impact assessment, useable land area assessment, mapping of services, mapping of host communities, livelihood assessments, etc. are completed in order to inform the overall planning process.
  • Ensure a rights-based approach in physical planning/ master plan, support to active participation of communities and promote community-based approaches in the planning and implementation of activities. 
  • Promote and ensure the accountability to affected populations and the identification of durable solutions that also promote peaceful co/existence with the host communities. Monitor adequate reporting and information sharing, both within the settlement planning stakeholders and with other sectors through inter-sector communication channels. Follow up on the reporting and monitoring through the provision of 4W, SIP and site monitoring information.
  • Identify and maintain existing linkages between the shelter and settlement team with other actors and sectors.
  • Maintain a strong collaboration with the Shelter and Settlements Section in HQ.
  • Liaising closely with Risk management, utilise adequate Project Management tools and ensure monitoring of settlement and infrastructure works so these are implemented according to plans and completed within designated timelines and budget, and ensure that this information is captured in the global monitoring and evaluation framework.
  • Perform other related duties as required.
Years of Experience / Degree Level
For P4/NOD - 9 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 8 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 7 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree

Field(s) of Education
Architecture;                                    Urban Planning;                              Civil / Structural Engineering;          
or other relevant field.
(Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Certificates and/or Licenses
GLDC managed Autodesk Software eLearning training is considered desirable
(Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Relevant Job Experience
Solid managerial and technical ability to guide a specialist team in emergency and/or protracted situations. Previous similar job experience in the humanitarian settlement planning / infrastructure field, including 5 years in an international technical managerial role. Knowledge of technical drawing software, GIS tools and an ability to produce technical plans, BQ’s, specifications and conduct training.
Advanced awareness of several technical sectors. Appropriate work experience in Shelter, Settlements and Infrastructure in a Humanitarian Context. Ability to use AutoCAD software and GIS technology would be an asset.

Functional Skills
CO-Cross-cultural communication
PR-Camp Coordination and Camp Management
IT-Computer Literacy
LE-Refugee Law/Policy
PG-UNHCR's Programmes
TR-Capacity Building
SP-Site/Physical Planning
SP-AutoCAD software
Personal Characteristics
All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination, and abuse of power.
As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise.
Adopt a professional, analytical and neutral approach to issues and respect diversity.Coordination and negotiationskills to carry broad based consultation with stakeholders including government counterparts independently
Leadership and team management skills to lead convincingly towards the desired goal in a multi-cultural setting
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