Data Protection Officer

  • Location:
  • Salary:
    negotiable / YEAR
  • Job type:
  • Posted:
    2 months ago
  • Category:
    Peace and Security, Research and Data
  • Deadline:




Staff Member / Affiliate Type



Temporary > Temporary Assignment/ Appointment

Hardship Level

H (no hardship)

Family Type


Residential location (if applicable)

Target Start Date


Target End Date


Job Posting End Date

March 7, 2024

Standard Job Description

Data Protection Officer

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

The UNHCR Data Transformation Strategy 2020-2025 envisions that UNHCR becomes a trusted leader on data and information related to people forced to flee and stateless persons, thereby enabling actions to protect and to empower persons of concern. The strategy envisages data and information management functions in UNHCR carried out in a complementary and inter-linked manner between headquarters divisions and services, regional bureaux, country operations and key external partners, including persons of concern.

Global Data Service translates UNHCR’s data vision and strategy into implementation across the organization, through direct and indirect service delivery, coordination and collaboration, and advocacy to and with internal and external UNHCR stakeholders.

The Data Protection Officer positions are headquarters positions that provide UNHCR regional bureaux, country offices, as well as other sections and divisions in headquarters with expertise, oversight and guidance on data protection standards, and questions related to the collection, storage, access to and use of personal data.

The Data Protection Officer reports to the Chief Data Protection and Privacy Officer or the Senior Data Protection Officer and is relied upon by the Data Protection Office to provide timely and effective data protection guidance to headquarters divisions and services, regional bureaux, country operations and key external partners, including people forced to flee and stateless persons. To achieve this, the incumbent will need to build and maintain effective partnerships with other sections and divisions within headquarters including the Legal Affairs Service (LAS) and the Chief Information Security Officer, as well as with UNHCR’s regional bureaux and country operations. He/She may directly supervise staff in the professional and general service categories.

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 competencies and UNHCR’s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.


  • Guide and recommend actions to UNHCR’s Personal Data Controllers and Data Protection Focal points in regional bureaux and country operations, and counterparts in states, partners and other relevant stakeholders, on a wide range of data protection issues, in accordance with UNHCR personal data protection and privacy framework.
  • Provide expert advice to country operations in monitoring the development of domestic data protection legal frameworks that may impact UNHCR operations and contribute to the development of situation- or country-specific guidance.
  • Advise and guide sections and divisions of headquarters on data protection requirements, in particular in the context of implementing enterprise systems (e.g. proGres, BIMS, etc.) and innovation projects with potential implications for the protection of data of people forced to flee and stateless persons.
  • Draft legal positions on data protection matters, in collaboration with Legal Affairs Service (LAS).
  • Develop advisories, formal opinions and interpretations on personal data protection and privacy.
  • Undertake expert review and clearance of data sharing arrangements.
  • Examine incidences of non-compliance with UNHCR’s personal data protection and privacy framework and relay these to the appropriate oversight mechanism(s).
  • Consolidate and promote best practices across UNHCR by sharing these examples in data protection groups, training fora.
  • Develop and provide training to UNHCR staff and partners on UNHCR’s data protection frameworks, as well as its Operational Guidelines.
  • Maintain inventories of information provided by Data Controllers and Data Protection Focal Points, including Data Transfer Agreements, specific instances of data sharing with third parties, Data Protection Impact Assessments, data breach notifications, and complaints by data subjects.
  • Draft internal and external reports with concluding observations on the Organization’s compliance with its personal data protection and privacy framework.
  • Stay updated on data protection trends, laws, and industry standards.
  • Foster a positive and inclusive work environment and create an environment of trust, respect, and open communication.
  • Support the identification and management of risks and seek to seize opportunities impacting objectives in the area of responsibility. Ensure decision making in risk based in the functional area of work. Raise risks, issues and concerns to a supervisor or to relevant functional colleague(s).
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

Education & Professional Work Experience

Years of Experience / Degree Level

For P3/NOC – 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree

Field(s) of Education

Law; Human Rights; International Law;

Political Science; Social Science; or other relevant field.

Certificates and/or Licenses

ECPC-HA Professional DPO in Humanitarian Action

Certified Information Privacy Practitioner (CIPP)

Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM)

(Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Relevant Job Experience


Experience working on data protection and/or privacy issues in the humanitarian or other sectors. Demonstrated experience with data sharing scenarios and agreements, data protection impact assessments, and development of data protection guidance. Experience in the process of embedding data protection requirements into development of systems or processes. Experience in presenting/discussing data protection matters in data protection conferences/forums. Field experience. Experience in planning, programming, strategic planning, project development, budgeting and resource mobilization. Demonstrated experience in leadership position(s) in the context of partnership building and consensual decision-making. Experience in working with partners, including host and donor governments, humanitarian, and development partners.


Experience with and solid understanding of new technologies, including the use of mass communication (SMS) services, cash-based interventions, cloud technologies, and data analytics/big data. Familiarity with the main EDPB/EDPS Guidelines and Opinions on the territorial scope of the GDPR and other matters relevant to UNHCR. Familiarity with the ongoing discussions at CoE level, on CoE 108+ and IOs. Experience in process re-engineering (process redesign, process transformation, or change management) and technical expertise in registration, identity or biometric management systems. Experience with the national and international statistical systems.

Functional Skills*

* LE-Legal advisory for operations and divisions related to data protection;

* LE-Assessment and application of principles of data protection law;

LE-Data protection implications assessment for policies and operations;

LE-Data protection laws and mechanisms at the national or regional level (e.g. EU GDPR);

LE-Drafting & development of data protection policies & guidelines based on best practices;

MG-Policy Compliance Monitoring;

DM-Data security management

(Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential)

Language Requirements

For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.

For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language.

For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English.

Competency Requirements

All jobs at UNHCR require six core competencies and may also require managerial competencies and/or cross-functional competencies. The six core competencies are listed below.

Core Competencies



Organizational Awareness

Teamwork & Collaboration

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Client & Result Orientation

Managerial Competencies

Empowering and Building Trust

Judgement and Decision Making


Managing Resources

Strategic Planning and Vision

Cross-Functional Competencies

Analytical Thinking

Stakeholder Management

Policy Development and Research

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.

This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates.

Desired Candidate Profile

Desired candidate would have demonstrated experience working on data protection issues in humanitarian, government or business sphere and should hold at least one relevant certification in data protection including data sharing arrangements, data protection impact assessments, and development of data protection related guidance. Past engagement in processes of embedding data protection requirements into development of systems and processes is an advantage. They should be able to work collaboratively with the rest of the Data Protection Office to achieve shared goals and contribute to the inclusive working environment. Knowledge of UNHCR data protection framework and experience of implementation will be an advantage as well experience with UNHCR systems and technical knowledge in the area of information security. Should be willing to move to Copenhagen, Denmark. Knowledge of French, Spanish or Arabic will be an advantage.

Functional Clearance

This position doesn’t require a functional clearance

Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level)



Desired languages



Additional Qualifications


CL-Cluster Information Management Tools, Resources and Approaches, CO-Drafting and Documentation, DM-Database Design & Development, DM-Data Collection and Analysis, DM-Data collection methodologies, DM-Data governance, quality assurance and preservation, DM-Data Interoperability, DM-Data Management, DM-Data science methodologies, DM-Development of and revision of data standards, DM-Population census and econometrics, DM-Protection Data Management Systems, DM-Qualitative data analysis, DM-Quantitative data analysis, IT-Computer Literacy, IT-IT Refugee Systems & Applications, PG-Needs Assessment and Response Analysis, PG-Programme Management (programme cycles and reporting standards), PR-Individual Case Management, PR-Protection-related guidelines, standards and indicators, RG-Civil Registry Systems Analysis, UN-UN/UNHCR Inter-agency Policies, Standards, Programmes, and Partnerships


Bachelor of Arts (BA): Human Rights, Bachelor of Arts (BA): International Law, Bachelor of Arts (BA): Law, Bachelor of Arts (BA): Political Science, Bachelor of Arts (BA): Social Science


Data Management – Other, Emergency Registration – Other, Evaluation Training – Other, Global Learning Programme – Other, HCR Leadership for Humanitarians – UNHCR, HCR Management Learning Program – UNHCR, HCR Risk Management Basics & ERM Program – UNHCR, Interagency Coord Learning Program – Other, International Protection – Other, JIPS Profiling Coord Training – Other, Needs Assessment e-Learning – Other, Protection Information Management Training – Other

Work Experience

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Other information

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