Staff representation of member states is important knowledge for any applicant interested in a career at UNESCO. For some nationals, this means better chances when applying for a career position. Exclusively for our members, we provide a complete list of country representation and guide you through the quota process.
In this article, we review geographic quota in UNESCO. The cover photo shows the organization's Headquarters building in Paris. Similar to other United Nations agencies like ILO, FAO and the UN Secretariat, also UNESCO utilizes a strict quota system. The main difference between them is how they report the quota. UNESCO is reporting, over-representation, representation in balance, under-representation, and non-representation. The other two are not publicly reporting what countries are in balance.
When applying to an organization that is using geographic quota for staffing, it is imperative that you know how your country is represented. In this article, we will not go into details how the quota is calculated. If you are curious you can take a look at the FAO and UN Secretariat articles.
However, worth saying is that UNESCO also base their quota calculation on the member states core contribution to regular budget and the population; the ratio is the same as for FAO (70/30).
As an applicant, it is good to know how UNESCO works to maintain a balance between member state's representations. They are following three principles:
1) to recruit externally to attract applicants from under-represented countries,
2) focus on young professionals from seriously under-represented countries, and
3) as far as possible non-appointment of candidates from over-represented countries, or countries which are likely to become so (countries in balance).
Remember that geographic quota applies only to core staff positions! Quota does not apply to project posts, consultancies, temporary or local positions.
Table of over-represented, in-balance, under-represented, and Non-represented countries in UNESCO.
Do you have dual Nationalities?
If you have two or more Nationalities and one is in the column of either non-represented or under-represented, you can select to use the one that is non-represented or under-represented when applying. However, keep in mind that it may impact future applications (non-, under-, in balance, and over-representation changes from one year to another). Be aware that some UN recruitment system audits the Nationality field, so if you as an applicant change Nationality of obvious applicant strategic purposes, these organizations may refuse to accept your application.
What does it mean if my country is over-represented?
If your country is in balance or over-represented we recommend that you for the moment look for professional jobs in other UN organizations than UNESCO. Even if you have a great profile and all the requirements your chances are quite small.
If you are under or even better non represented, you should take any possibility you can to apply for professional jobs that you are eligible for (meet all requirements).