A woman in a yellow suit gestures as she talks while a man, faded in the background, listens.

The Resident Coordinator

Photo: © UN
The Resident Coordinator

The UN Resident Coordinator (RC) is the highest-ranking representative of the UN Development System at the country level. RCs lead UN Country Teams and coordinate UN support to countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda.

The Resident Coordinator is the designated representative of – and reports to – the UN Secretary-General.

Check out the key statistics on Resident Coordinators and the distribution of Resident Coordinators' nationalities.

What do Resident Coordinators do?

The key duties and responsibilities of Resident Coordinators include:

  • Representing the United Nations at the highest levels of state and, together with the relevant agency representatives, fostering engagement with the government, civil society, bilateral and multilateral partners, academia and the private sector, in order for the UN development system to help address the country’s needs, priorities and challenges to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);

  • Coordinating operational activities for development of the UN in support of the country’s efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda;

  • Promoting and advocating for the fundamental values, standards and principles of the UN Charter, including respect for and protection of human rights and gender equality and advocacy on the SDG commitment to leave no one behind in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and reaching the furthest behind first; 

  • Leading the UN country team (UNCT) in consultations with the host Government to define and agree on the UN’s strategic response to the government’s priorities;

  • Leading and supporting the UNCT in developing, implementing, monitoring, and reporting on the UN Cooperation Framework, in full consultation with the government, and through engagement with diverse partners;

  • Advocating for and supporting the work of UNCT members, including Non-Resident Agencies (NRAs), in reaching their agency-specific goals;

  • Leading and coordinating the response efforts of United Nations and relevant humanitarian actors in cases where international humanitarian assistance is required and a separate Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) or lead agency is not designated;

  • Facilitating the integration of the UNCT’s work with UN peacekeeping or political missions in conflict and post-conflict settings, so as to fully contribute to building resilience, prevention and peace, and to transition planning and management;

  • Managing and providing strategic guidance and oversight to the Resident Coordinator Office.

For the full list of duties and responsibilities of Resident Coordinators, check out the RC Job Description.

A man in a blue shirt and grey vest hands over an orange coloured bag to a woman in a red dress and headscarf in front of a Yurt in Mongolia
Caption: The UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia, Tapan Mishra (left), on a field visit to Bayan-Ulgii, one of the western-most provinces in the country.
Photo: © UN

What is the profile of Resident Coordinators?

All Resident Coordinators should demonstrate the following:

  • Values: inclusion, integrity, humility and humanity.

  • Foundational attributes: passion, courage, emotional intelligence, openness to learning, creativity, flexibility, resilience and accountability.

  • Knowledge: wide range of knowledge across the development, humanitarian, human rights and security domains.

  • ​​​Competencies: capacity to analyse complex environments and identify pathways for impact (systems thinking), build trust and facilitate collective action (co-creation), drive results (focusing on impact), foster innovation and lead change (driving transformational change).

For additional information, check out the RC Leadership Profile.

Poeple are sitting next to each other, They are wearing mask and the RC, wearing a black jacket, in the third person from the right.
Caption: The UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand, Gita Sabharwal (3rd from right), talks to migrants in Tak province on the impact of COVID-19.
Photo: © UNSDG/Build back better: UN Thailand’s COVID-19 strategy

How to become a Resident Coordinator?

The trajectory to become a Resident Coordinator comprises the following milestones:

  • The RC/HC Talent Pipeline: This is a pool of high calibre candidates who demonstrate strong potential for RC or RC/HC functions. Pipeline members are offered opportunities to develop their knowledge, competencies, and experience across the pillars of the UN’s work. Once they are deemed ready and meet the eligibility requirements, they are encouraged to apply for the Resident Coordinator Assessment Centre (RCAC -- see below). Placement in the RC/HC Talent Pipeline does not guarantee an invitation to the RCAC. 

  • The Resident Coordinator Assessment Centre (RCAC): This is a three-day simulation that assesses candidates’ readiness to become an RC. Candidates who pass the RCAC are placed in the RC Pool.

  • The RC Pool: This is the pool of candidates who have successfully passed the RCAC and who are therefore eligible to apply for RC and RC/HC posts. Placement in the RC Pool does not guarantee selection for an RC position. 

  • The RC Selection Process: RC job openings are regularly advertised on the UN Careers Portal. Only RC Pool members are eligible to apply.

For additional information, check out the FAQ on Becoming a Resident Coordinator