The Federation of Swiss Psychologists (FSP), the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA), and the American Psychological Association (APA) are collaborating to develop a presence for the science and profession of Psychology at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva. This is to complement the longstanding work of the APA at the UN in New York, and aims to broaden the reach of European Psychology into international organisations that exist to find solutions to the problems of society. The collaborating organisations now seek applications from psychologists to serve on a team of approximately 4-5 advocates at the UN in Geneva.
EFPA and APA are accredited nongovernmental organizations at the UN, where they hold special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). APA is also affiliated with the Department of Global Communications (DGC). APA has been active at the UN in New York since 1999.
The new team in Geneva seeks to bring psychological science and practice to bear on the work of the UN through fostering dialogue and information exchange among psychologists, UN staff, member state representatives, and NGOs to encourage the development of psychologically-informed policies and programs to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Based on the shared advocacy goals of the collaborating partners and UN initiatives, UN-Geneva representatives will utilize their own expertise and serve as a conduit to FSP, EFPA, and APA and in turn to those organisations’ members, seeking opportunities to develop substantive input to the UN through, for example, developing and disseminating position papers and fact sheets to UN staff; hosting workshops and related events at UN meetings; and disseminating information about UN priorities, resources, and activities through the collaborating organisations to the global psychology community.
UN-Geneva psychology representatives will initially focus on psychology and climate change and children’s mental health, which are priorities for both the UN and the sponsoring organizations, with the understanding that work on other topics may be requested by the Steering Group of the collaborating organisations in response to emerging situations. Work products and strategies will be framed utilizing UN terminology and strategies. UN-Geneva Representatives will be expected to show measurable outputs. These include contact with UN officials, submission of statements to UN bodies, convening of and participation in events, and the insertion of psychologically-informed language into UN documents.
It is anticipated that UN-Geneva representatives will devote on average 4 hours per week to UN advocacy; where employment requirements make it necessary, candidates will be required to provide proof of employer support. Specifically, representatives will meet once a month, initially virtually and in-person when COVID permits. They will attend events at UN agencies at least twice a month. They will meet with UN staff and civil society representatives to provide psychological input into the work of the UN as often as possible.
The first cohort of UN-Geneva representatives will serve on two different terms. Half of the first cohort of representatives will serve for one two-year term with the possibility to renew for one further two-year term by mutual agreement. The other half of the first cohort of representatives will serve for one three-year term with the possibility to renew for one further three-year term by mutual agreement. These staggered terms will ensure that knowledge can be passed on to new representatives who are selected in the future, all of whom will serve for a three-year term, with the possibility to renew for one further three-year term by mutual agreement. Where term lengths cannot be allocated by mutual agreement, the Steering Group of the collaborating organisations will make the final decision.
UN-Geneva representatives will be overseen by and report bi-monthly to a Steering Group comprised of staff and members of FSP, EFPA, and APA. The regular point of contact will be APA’s Senior International Affairs Officer who will also act as liaison with the UN New York psychology representatives for the sharing of information and resources.
UN-Geneva representatives will be reimbursed for local transportation in and around Geneva, and other reasonable local expenses related to their mandate, which must be pre-approved. Reimbursement will take place according to the technical procedures of FSP.