The UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula, speaks to Fadumo Abdow Hassan, a pregnant displaced mother of six children inside her makeshift house in Haatafo IDP camp in Baidoa, in Somalia's South West State.

The Resident Coordinator

Photo: © UN Photo/Mokhtar Mohamed
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.

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.

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

The governor of Manipur, on the left wearing a green dress, gives a document to the RC India, on the right, wearing a pink traditional clothe
Caption: Renata Dessallien, UN RC in India, meets Governor of Manipur to discuss key development challenges and opportunities in Manipur and the North-East.
Photo: © Twitter/UN in India

What is the profile of Resident Coordinators?

All Resident Coordinators should demonstrate the following:

  • Values: integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity.

  • Foundational attributes: passionate, courageous, emotionally intelligent, humble, open to learning, creative, flexible, resilient and accountable.

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

  • ​​​Competencies: capacity to analyse complex environments (Systems thinking), to quickly build trust with a wide variety of partners (Co-creation), to drive a culture of achievement and impact for the 2030 Agenda and human rights (Focus on impact) and to foster continuous innovation on the UN’s work, and create an environment that adapts to and enables transformational change (Transformational change).

You can find more detailed information on 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 will be 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 will be 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. At this moment it is not possible to apply to the RC/HC Talent Pipeline. The next call for expressions of interest will be launched in 2022.

  • 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. At this moment, it is not possible to apply to the RCAC.

  • The RC Pool: This is a pool of candidates who have successfully passed the RCAC and who are therefore eligible to apply for RC and RC/HC posts. 

  • RC Selection: RC job openings are regularly advertised on Inspira. The RC selection system is currently under review.


Check out the FAQ on Becoming a Resident Coordinator