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Unit Head (Standards and Scientific Advice on Food and Nutrition)

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: P-6, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Nutrition
    • Managerial positions
    • Food Security, Livestock and Livelihoods
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date: 2020-02-01

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The Department is addressing the burden of disease from physical, chemical and microbial hazards in food and unhealthy diets, maternal and child malnutrition, overweight and obesity. The Department aims to ensure universal access to safe, sufficient nutritious food and effective nutrition actions, through setting science-based international food standards, promoting nutrition action in health systems, fostering sustainable food production and consumption, improving food environments and empowering consumers in all situations, monitoring nutrition status, and managing food safety events at the international level, closely working with Member States, UN partner agencies and non-State actors.


Generic duties
- Coordinates and provides senior technical leadership in establishing new approaches, evidence-based policies and strategies, surveillance, and capacity building initiatives for implementation across Regional and Country Office programmes in the respective area of work.
- Provides senior level health technical expertise and advice to the Director and Senior Management in the area of international standards and scientific advice on food and nutrition on the development and establishment of new health strategies and policies for implementation into and/or the monitoring and evaluation of national and global policies.
- Ensures effective coordination, management, and accountability of the programme area in delivering its objectives through efficient managing a diverse team of technical experts, financial resources and effective work plan coordination to optimize the programme's deliverables in line with the mandate of the Organization.
- Ensures the coordination and management of the monitoring and evaluation and reporting of the Department's area of work of key performance indicators and global reporting requirements and mechanisms to optimize performance of Department deliverables.
- Serves as the scientific/technical reference among UN Agencies and the peer community on the international standards and scientific advice on food and nutrition.
- Builds technical partnerships with other UN Agencies, Donors, research institutions and other stakeholders in the international standard setting and provision of scientific advice on food and nutrition to position the technical area of work and implementation into respective policies.
- Represent the programme area of work in global fora and capacity building activities.
- Performs all other related duties as assigned.

Specific duties
- Acts as the WHO's technical lead on issues related to the Codex Alimentarius Commission in coordination with the Legal Office and other technical Departments.
- Ensures quality and integrity of scientific advice WHO provides to Codex and Member States, including through updating of risk assessment and evidence evaluation methodologies.
- Oversees the WHO/FAO Project and Fund for Enhanced Participation of Developing and In-Transition Economies in Codex (Codex Trust Fund).



Essential\: A PhD in toxicology, food or nutrition science related to the functions of the position.
Desirable\: Additional training in public health, microbiology, risk analysis, or epidemiology.


Essential\: A minimum of 15 years of professional experience in the management of developing scientific advice on food safety and nutrition at the national and/or international level with a focus on the conduct of food related health risk assessments, including experience providing senior level advice and guidance to Senior Management/Decision makers, managing human and financial resources, as well as experience in the area of developing and establishing policies and strategies. Demonstrated experience at the international level.
Desirable\: Experience in international food standard setting within the context of the Codex Alimentarius Commission highly desirable. Experience in working in or with developing countries in the area of food safety and nutrition. Experience in resource mobilization including development of funding proposals.


- Strong skills in the area of developing and establishing polices and strategies.
- Excellent skills and ability in managing diverse teams and financial resources.
- Strong understanding and skills in mobilizing resources.
- Ability to engage, build consensus and communicate effectively and diplomatically with Member States, partners and media. Commitment to collaborate effectively with other key partners in the Health Subject area.
- Globally-respected level of technical expertise and knowledge in international standards and scientific advice on food and nutrition.
- Proven leadership skills in the planning and coordination of multidisciplinary public health programmes, which may include the implementation of a public health/disease control programmes.
- Globally-respected level of technical expertise and knowledge in foodborne risks and diseases as well as the evolving risk analysis paradigm with a special focus on health risk assessment models.
- Globally-respected level of technical expertise and knowledge in the methods to evaluate chemical and microbiological contamination in food, as well as the integration of exposure and hazard characterization to produce final risk characterization estimations.

WHO Competencies

Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
Ensuring the effective use of resources
Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond
Creating an empowering and motivating environment

Use of Language Skills

Essential\: Expert knowledge of English.
Desirable\: Intermediate knowledge of French.


WHO salaries for staff in the Professional category are calculated in US dollars. The remuneration for the above position comprises an annual base salary starting at USD 99,595 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable), a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station, and currently amounts to USD 6274 per month for the duty station indicated above. Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.


  • This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level
  • Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
  • A written test may be used as a form of screening.
  • In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link\: http\:// Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
  • Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual.
  • Staff members in other duty stations are encouraged to apply.
  • WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
  • WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
  • WHO has a mobility policy which can be found at the following link\: http\:// Candidates appointed to an international post with WHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.
  • Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Member States are particularly encouraged.
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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