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Chief of Section for the Man and Biosphere Programme (Research and Policy)

Paris (France)

  • Organization: UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • Location: Paris (France)
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Legal - Broad
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2019-12-15

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Post Number : SC 129

Grade : P-5

Parent Sector : Natural Sciences Sector (SC)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Natural Sciences

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 08-DEC-2019

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


Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences (ADG/SC) and the direct supervision of the Director of the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences, the incumbent as Chief of Section for UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) Research and Policy: Ecology and Biodiversity, will be responsible for defining and driving Section priorities and translating those into programmatic and thematic strategies designing programmes and activities; leading staff in the achievement of priorities; locating and engaging resources; maintaining and pursuing partnerships; and identifying and promoting cross-sectional, -divisional and -programmatic work assigned to the section.

The incumbent will support the Director in providing technical assistance and policy advice for the implementation and expansion of Ecological Sciences and Biodiversity consersation in relation to Climate Change and will carry out the strategic analysis and evaluation of the existing international cooperation in the Ecological sciences and develop innovative approaches in stregthening North-South and South-South cooperation and networking in the  fields of Ecological sciences, capacity building, education, outreach and policy advise with special emphasis on biodiversity preservation and their contribution to sustainable development. The incumbent will lead multidisciplinary teams for the achievement of priorities, ensure fund-raising, maintaining and pursuing strategic partnerships and promoting programmatic work in order to deliver a comprehensive sciences and environmental strategy. He/she will  implement the recommendation of the Man and Biosphere (MAB) Governing Body, the International Co-ordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB-ICC).

The Section aims to consolidate and expand the implementation of the Lima Action Plan (LAP) for UNESCO’s MAB Programme through awareness raising, production of knowledge and reinforcement of capacity and skills and improvement of the networking framework. It aims to advance UNESCO MAB’s long-term ecological research programme and policy dialogue in Member States and in UNESCO’s thematic networks focusing on the relationship of humans with nature, in specific ecological zones such as drylands, mountains, islands and coastal zones, urban systems and forests as well as freshwater ecosystems, and  using, in particular, UNESCO’s Workd Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), as site-specific examples of integrated biodiversity protection, mitigation and adaption to climate change and promoting sustainable development.

The incumbent works within the frameworks of UNESCO’s Medium Term Strategy (C/4s), the approved Programme and Budget (C/5), the global and regional development science plans and the SDGs.

Long Description

In particular, the incumbent will:

  • Provide intellectual leadership and guidance to the Section to ensure delivery of the expected results stated in the C/4, C/5 for ecology and biodiversity, in accordance with the recommendations of the MAB/ICC and the LAP. Define  strategies, policies, objectives and priorities of the Section in order to deliver the implementation of work plans and the achievement of related outcomes of MAB activities for ecological sciences and policy advice on biodiversity issues and to contribute to the achievement of SDGs.
  • Lead the organization of intergovernmental meetings and activities of the MAB-ICC and enhance active participation of countries for the establishment of biosphere reserves and lead the implementation of the related projects.
  • Facilitate dialogues across expertise and throughout networks, discussing emerging trends, application of best practices, systemic approaches and innovative pathways to achieve SDGs; and co-operate with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and other appropriate in-house units to promote the use of UNESCO sites and biosphere reserve designations.  
  • Establish and pursue alliances on cross organizational and sectional issues and develop working frameworks and systemic approaches to increase capacity and seek for potential donors with projects plans, network and advise to create synergies; provide leadership in the development of concept notes and policy positions. Create new networks covering sub-tropical and temperate ecosystems particularly within the context of climate change and sustainable development.
  • Develop resources mobilization  and supervise the entire funding process, including developing and writing proposals strategy and  improve the financing of MAB Networks and strengthen the financial support to the MAB Programme. Identify key partnerships to obtain funding and increase visibility for the programme and  particularly with emerging economies and with the private sector.
COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial) Communication (C) Accountability (C) Innovation (C) Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C) Planning and organizing (C) Results focus (C) Teamwork (C) Building partnerships (M) Driving and managing change (M) Leading and empowering others (M) Making quality decisions (M) Managing performance (M) Strategic thinking (M) - For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework. REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS


  • Advanced University degree (Master or equivalent) in the field of Ecological and/or Environmental Sciences. 

Work Experience

  • A minimum of ten (10) years of progressively responsible and relevant professional experience in international cooperation in Environmental Sciences research, education and outreach.
  • Relevant professional experience acquired at the international level.
  • Relevant professional experience in networking and building partnerships, advocacy, resource mobilization.
  • Working Experience in an international and multicultural environment, preferably with international scientific organizations.
  • Proven capacity to organize and carry out research and training at international level and in project conceptualization, formulation, implementation and evaluation.
  • Managerial experience.

Skills and competencies

  • Knowledge of, and commitment to, UNESCO’s mandate, vision, strategic direction and priorities.
  • Demonstrated strategic planning and management abilities, including capacity to administer extensive programmes, human and financial resources.
  • Capacity to provide intellectual leadership to guide staff, as well as ability to build trust, manage, lead and motivate a diversified body of staff in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively and to build and maintain partnerships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated skills in science communication and advocacy.
  • Ability in planning and setting up training courses.


  • Excellent knowledge of either English or French and good knowledge of the other language.


  • PhD or equivalent degree in Environmental Sciences.
  • Other degrees or training in disciplines relevant to the post.

Work Experience

  • University research/teaching experience and/or service in developing countries.
  • Experience within government in the environmental sector.
  • Working experience within intergovernmental organizations.
  • Field experience in a UNESCO field office or other relevant field operation.
  • Experience within the United Nations system.

Skills and competencies

  • Sound judgment and decision-making skills.


  • Knowledge of other official UN languages (Arab, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish).

UNESCO’s salaries consist of a basic salary and other benefits which may include if applicable: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, medical insurance, pension plan etc.

For more information in benefits and entitlements, please consult ICSC website and UNESCO's career website.


Evaluation of qualified applicants may include an assessment exercise and a competency-based interview.



UNESCO applies a zero tolerance policy against all forms of harassment

UNESCO is committed to promoting geographical distribution (last update) and gender equality within its Secretariat. Therefore, women candidates are strongly encouraged to apply, as well as nationals from non- and under-represented Member States. Persons with disabilities are also encouraged to apply. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

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

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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