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Communications Associate

Tokyo (Japan)

  • Organization: UNU - United Nations University
  • Location: Tokyo (Japan)
  • Grade: PSA - Personnel Service Agreement - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Communication and Public Information
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
  • Closing Date: 2021-06-17

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About United Nations University

The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in policy-oriented research, capacity development and dissemination of knowledge in furthering the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The mission of UNU is to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations and its Member States. 

For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on human survival, conflict prevention, sustainable development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 12 countries, UNU's work spans the 17 Sustainable Development Goals' full breadth, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change. UNU maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies and leading universities and research institutions across the globe.

For more information, please visit

United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)

UNU-IAS is a UNU institute based at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo. The mission of UNU-IAS is to serve the international community through policy-relevant research and capacity development focused on sustainability, including its social, economic, and environmental dimensions. UNU-IAS builds on a strong tradition of UNU research and capacity development in Japan, undertaken in collaboration with a global network of professionals and scholars, particularly in Africa and Asia. For more information please visit

Biodiversity and Society (BDS)

BDS is an Academic Programme of UNU-IAS, which implements activities to promote Socio-Ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes (SEPLS) by enhancing academic excellence. Based on the research outputs, the programme contributes to biodiversity-related global discussions such as the negotiation for Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). It also conducts capacity development based on accumulated experience and knowledge on SEPLS, such as promoting other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) and assisting Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to promote landscape approaches through the process of revision and implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) to contribute to the GBF and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It also provides operational support for the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI) as its secretariat, in a fair participatory manner and through a multi-stakeholder engagement process


The Communications Associate will promote UNU-IAS and its activities to raise visibility. The associate will play a key role in implementing the communications strategy of UNU-IAS through promoting activities and outputs under the Academic Programme Biodiversity & Society (BDS), enhancing synergy between the programme and the UNU-IAS Communications unit. 

Working under the general supervision of the UNU-IAS Director, and the direct supervision of the Head of the BDS programme and the Head of UNU-IAS Communications, the Communications Associate will:

  • serve as a liaison between UNU-IAS Communications and the Academic Programme BDS, as the communications focal point for BDS

  • enhance the visibility of UNU-IAS and its activities, applying expertise on biodiversity and sustainability through communications initiatives and products;  

  • promote key activities and outputs through media outreach and communications campaigns, and by producing publications and promotional materials such as newsletters, brochures, annual reports, and event posters;

  • assist in organising international events, including those of the BDS programme; 

  • manage and maintain website content, as well as content on social media and other digital channels, ensuring coherence, quality, and consistent branding;

  • support the implementation of the new UNU website platform and visual identity;

  • develop relationships and networks to enhance outreach; and

  • perform any other duties as may be assigned or required by the Programme/Unit Heads.

Required Qualifications and Experience 

  • a master’s degree or equivalent qualification in communications, sustainable development, biodiversity, environmental science, social sciences, or a related field. Equivalent experience in combination with a Bachelor’s degree will be considered

  • a minimum of 2 years’ relevant working experience in an international setting

  • exemplary writing, editing, and communications skills in English, and preferably also in Japanese, with experience tailoring content for different audiences, including the general public

  • strong knowledge of communications theory and practice, social media platforms and best practices

  • familiarity with the UN system and current issues related to sustainability

  • fluency in English is required, and strong Japanese language ability is preferred. Ability in other official UN languages is an advantage.

  • excellent computer skills and web literacy are essential. Experience using Wordpress, HTML, and/or the Adobe suite of creative products would be a strong advantage

  • a demonstrated ability to manage a variable workload, and work in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity  

Duration of contract

This is a full-time employment on a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) with UNU-IAS. Initial appointment will be for 1 year, with the possibility of renewal subject to satisfactory work performance, with the combined duration of appointments not exceeding 4 years. The mandatory age of retirement for PSA is 65 years.

Expected start date 

1 August 2021 (negotiable) 

Application procedure

Interested applicants should submit their applications, and all required documents listed below online through Impactpool:

  • a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position;
  • a curriculum vitae and a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form downloadable from the UNU website. Please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organizations;
  • a brief resume in Japanese;
  • an indication of the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2021/UNU/IAS/PSA/CA/51).
  • Please note that applications received after the closing date will not be considered.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview, background checks and references.

Special notice

UNU does not sponsor a working visa for this position.

PSA holders do no hold international civil servant status nor are they considered a “staff member” as defined in the UN Staff Rules and Regulations.

PSA holders may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University. The Rector reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below that advertised.

PSA holders are required to enroll in Japan’s national social health care and pension insurance systems.

UNU is not liable for any taxes that may be levied on the remuneration you receive under this contract. Payment of any such taxes remains the sole responsibility of PSA holders.

UNU is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities to apply and become part of the organization. Applications from developing countries, and from women are strongly encouraged. Eligible internal applicants are encouraged to apply.

UNU has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNU, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.

Information about UNU rosters

UNU reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNU at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

Scam warning

UNU does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you receive a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web.


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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