About the JPO Programme

The JPO Programme recruits Junior Professional Officers (formerly known as Associate Experts) for the UN Secretariat. JPOs are recruited under bilateral agreements between the UN and donor countries. JPOs are generally nationals of donor countries, however some donors also finance nationals of developing countries. Candidates are young professionals, usually with an advanced university degree and minimum two years of professional experience. JPO positions are generally on the P1 or P2 level.

The number of sponsored positions varies from year to year and by donor country. Initially JPOs are granted a one-year appointment which may be extended, with the agreement of the donor country, and on the basis of good performance. There is no expectation of being selected for a regular staff position; JPOs may apply for such positions as any other external candidate and go through the regular competitive selection process of the UN.

The Capacity Development Office manages the JPO Programme for the UN Secretariat.

The main objective of the JPO Programme is to provide young professionals with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field of multilateral international cooperation through a learning experience under the supervision of specialists, and to contribute to the advancement and furtherance of their organization’s mandate, particularly with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals / 2030 Agenda.

The overall goal of the Junior Professional Officers (JPO) Programme is to enhance the development and capacity development work of the United Nations and other participating Agencies. The JPO Programme aims to meet the following objectives:

  • For developing countries and donors, it represents another form of development aid through the United Nations System. It also provides vast opportunities for on-the -job training in multilateral capacity building for the young graduates and enables donors to contribute multilateral capacity development personnel to developing countries where they have no official representation. It can as well support specific goals in promoting and advancing priority areas in priority countries;
  • For the United Nations Secretariat and the other Programmes/Funds involved, the JPO Programme represents a significant opportunity for mobilizing additional capacity development resources from some donors. It serves to increase capacity development professional staffing capacity and gives immediate access to human resources with recognized talent, up-to -date general or specialized knowledge and academic credentials. It also allows the agencies to discharge more effectively their increased and complex responsibilities;
  • For the JPOs themselves, it offers possibilities for participation in the capacity development activities of the United Nations system as well as, in most cases, immediate exposure to the development processes and interaction in developing countries. It enables them to obtain work experience in the international sphere and offers opportunities for an international career.