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  • Organization: UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • Location: Paris
  • Grade: Senior Executive level - D-1, Director - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
  • Closing Date: Closed

Impactpool has been retained to support UNESCO in the recruitment of this position as an Executive Search Assignment


The Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences, as part of UNESCO Natural Sciences Sector, has three overall responsibilities\:

– Providing the Secretariat for UNESCO’s intergovernmental scientific programme Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves;

– Providing the Secretariat for UNESCO’s International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) as well as an interdisciplinary taskforce on disaster risk reduction;

– Coordination and technical back-stopping for all science colleagues working in Headquarters and the Field Offices in relation to the promotion of scientific research and networking in the environmental sciences\: ecology, biodiversity, earth sciences, natural hazards and disaster risk reduction.


Under the authority of the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, the incumbent will serve as Director of the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences and Secretary of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.


As Director of the Division Ecological and Earth Sciences, the incumbent will be responsible for providing intellectual, strategic and operational leadership in the development, planning and execution of the programme of the Division. This includes the promotion of interdisciplinary research and training activities in natural resources management with particular emphasis on promoting sciences for sustainable development and strategies to address climate change and the conservation of biological diversity, in conjunction with the programme sectors of the Secretariat and also external agencies working in this field.  In particular, the incumbent will be required to assist Member States in the evaluation of their needs and in planning and strengthening their research and training capacity, including mobilization of extrabudgetary resources for the implementation of operational projects on natural resources management and conservation of biological diversity.


The role of Secretary of MAB consists in leading the Programme, in conjunction with the Intergovernmental Coordinating Council in ensuring its smooth running and sound administration. It includes the responsibility for the functioning of the Secretariat of the intergovernmental MAB Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).


Moreover, as Director of the Division, the incumbent will supervise the work of the Section of Earth Sciences and Geo-hazards Risk Reduction with its International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) with a view to develop UNESCO’s international geology, geoparks, geophysics and earth observation programmes, as well as the programme and projects related to geo-hazards and disaster risk reduction (DRR). The incumbent will provide direct supervision to the Division’s three Section Chiefs, and provide ultimate accountability for the smooth running of the statutory meetings of MAB and IGGP, including the efficient implementation of the decisions of MAB’s and IGGP’s statutory bodies.


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in one of the fields of environmental and earth sciences. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience 

  • A minimum of 15 years of progressive professional experience at the appropriate management level within the United Nations system or within other international or national institutions, including a wide experience in development issues related to UNESCO’s areas of competence, in association with national and international organizations. 
  • Experience in advocacy, resources and partnership mobilization. 
  • Specialization and/or substantive experience in the area of natural sciences, especially in areas directly related to the post as well as an established scientific reputation in environmental research. Outstanding scientific record including a large number of high-quality publications.


  • Commitment to the Organization’s mandate, vision, strategic direction and priorities. 
  • Institutional leadership capacity, high sense of objectivity and professional integrity, diplomacy, tact and political astuteness. 
  • Organizational skills, including in establishing priorities in devising implementation plans, as well as in implementing them effectively.
  • Ability to interact with a wide range of high-level partners, and demonstrated partnership development and fundraising experience. 
  • Capacity to provide intellectual leadership to guide staff, as well as ability to build trust, manage, lead and motivate a large and diversified body of staff in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity, and exercise supervision and control, as well as ensure continuous training and development of staff. 
  • Ability to communicate effectively and persuasively, both orally and in writing, in front of a broad range of constituents, as well as the news media. 
  • Participate effectively in high-level negotiations.
  • Capacity to provide leadership for the mobilization of extrabudgetary resources and operational support to implement projects and activities undertaken jointly with external partners.


  • Excellent knowledge and drafting skills in one of the working languages (English or French) of the Organization. A good knowledge of the second one is strongly desirable. Training will be mandatory in order to acquire the required level of the second working language in a reasonable time-frame.


  • Ph.D. in one of the fields of the ecological and earth sciences. 
  • Other degrees or short- to medium-term training in disciplines relevant to the post.

Work Experience 

  • Experience in the field of international relations and diplomacy, multilateral cooperation, development. 
  • Experience in conducting policy dialogue at government and non-government levels or public and private sectors. 
  • Experience in research work and/or teaching at university or in a research institution. 
  • Broad knowledge of environmental problems, with field experience.


  • Good knowledge of the United Nations system.


  • Knowledge of other official UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish).
This vacancy is now closed.
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