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Programme Assistant to Head of Ocean Observations and Services Section


  • Organization: UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • Location: Paris
  • Grade: Administrative support - Administrative Services and Support - Generally no need for Higher Education
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Administrative support
    • Maritime
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
    • Sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources
  • Closing Date: Closed


Parent Sector : Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)

Duty Station: Paris

Classification of duty station: [[filter12]]

Standard Duration of Assignement : [[filter13]]

Job Family: Administration

Type of contract : Non Staff

Level : Level 3

Duration of contract : From 1 to 6 months

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 12-JUL-2024


UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism



The Ocean Observations and Services Section of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO coordinates the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), which is sponsored by IOC as lead sponsor, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Science Council (ISC).


The incumbent will work under the overall authority of the Executive Secretary of the IOC, and direct supervision of the Head of Section for Ocean Observations and Services. They will provide secretarial and administrative support to the section.

Long Description

General Accountabilities:

  • Draft and prepare routine correspondence, memoranda and non-substantive reports.
  • Maintain confidential and general files and manage file and reference systems.
  • Assist in the preparation of budgetary and financial reports, statistics, or projections for head of section’s use.
  • Review draft reports, verify overall accuracy and consistency and cross-check consistency of figures.
  • Provide guidance and interpretation on HR-related initiatives and administrative rules, regulations and procedures (e.g. recruitment of staff, secondments and interns).
  • Schedule and organize inter-sessional meetings, both in person and on-line.
  • In collaboration with team members, assess administrative support needs for meetings and events, travel document processing, publication production, consultants and coordinate office support services for the same.
Long Description

 Finance and Budget Accountabilities:

  • Travel: assist and provide guidance in the preparation of travel plans, processing visas, security cards and other documentation. Initiate travel authorization and make travel arrangements for team staff and relevant GOOS experts.
  • Assist and inform the supervisor on financial statuses, by using information systems and reporting.
  • Record and reconcile accounting transactions.
  • Verify and process payments and budgetary transactions.
  • Maintain specific accounts, calculate and compile financial data and prepare routine reports.
  • Monitor and control commitments and expenditures.
  • Verify contractual files and supporting documents, partner roles, responsibilities, deliverables, mandatory reporting and assurance mechanisms, funds transfer modalities and conditions for collaboration.
Long Description
  • Carry out control checks on all contracts and funds reservations to ensure proposed commitment complies with policy, procedures and administrative process details, and steps are followed.
  • Keep track of budget levels, contract end dates, and alert the supervisor to avoid potential shortfalls in funds (validating information and identifying any errors or irregularities).
  • Respond to enquiries and follow-up on funding or contractual initiatives.

Communication Accountabilities:

  • Coordinate and share relevant information with GOOS community, including in regard to meeting set up and organization.
  • Verify and keep up to date the information on the website, and, including contact lists, event details, meeting information, reports and news items.
  • Coordinate the GOOS webinar series.


Additional activities that may be required to ensure the success of the work of the team.

  • Provide back-up assistance to other Program/Project assistants in their absence.  
COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial) Accountability (C) Communication (C) Innovation (C) Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C) Planning and organizing (C) Results focus (C) Teamwork (C) Professionalism (C) - For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework. REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS


  • Completed secondary, technical or vocational school education.

 Work Experience

  • At least three (3) years of relevant work experience in programme assistance, and/or administrative support tasks or related tasks.


  • Excellent knowledge (written and spoken) of English.

 Skills and Competencies

  • Ability to take initiative and provide timely, quality support and services.
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Good IT skills with proficiency in the use of MS Office (Word, Excel, Power Point, etc.).
  • Ability to work under tight deadlines, to deal with complex and sensitive situations and flexibility to adjust work schedules.
  • Good organizational and coordination skills with the ability to take initiative, establish priorities and monitor own work plans.
  • Ability to work efficiently in a multi-cultural environment, with team spirit.

Work Experience

  • Relevant experience in similar functions within the UN system or any international organization/institution.


  • Knowledge of French.

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Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


UNESCO recalls that paramount consideration in the appointment of staff members shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence and integrity. UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. UNESCO is committed to achieving and sustaining equitable and diverse geographical distribution, as well as gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Candidates from non- and under-represented Member States (last update here) are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals from minority groups and indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.

This vacancy is now closed.