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Programme Specialist (Science)

Paris (France)

  • Organization: UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • Location: Paris (France)
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Project and Programme Management
  • Closing Date: 2021-10-06

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Post Number : SC 394

Grade : P-4

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) : 06-OCT-2021


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


Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General, Natural Sciences (ADG/SC), guidance from  the Director of the Division and Secretary of the Man and the Biosphere programme (MAB), and direct supervision from the Chief of Section, Research and Policy Ecology and Biodiversity, the incumbent will deliver scientific support of Natural Sciences Sector programmes, projects, systems, scientific assessments and work plans, meeting the needs of Member States as regards the MAB programme research agenda, MAB strategy and Lima Action Plan.

S/he will design, monitor and follow up programme and research activities on the assigned thematic responsibilities along the line of  the C4/C5, and MAB strategic priorities and 2030 development agenda, and Lima Action Plan and other relevant related international agendas.

The incumbent  will deliver visible and high-quality expected results on assigned thematic areas to Member States. S/he will design the relevant strategies, policies, objectives, and deliverables and define priorities and pursue extrabudgetary resources. The incumbent will ensure the implementation of work plans and the achievement of related outcomes described in UNESCO’s medium-term strategy and in the MAB implementation strategy. More specifically, the incumbent will:

Long Description
  • ​​​​​​Design, develop, coordinate, implement and monitor programme and project activities related to the MAB research on aspects of biodiversity and climate change.
  • Coordinate the UN Decade for ecosystem restoration thematic group. 
  • Assist Member States in the Arab region in needs identification, provide advice on cooperation between regional and international centres, and the preparation of studies, collection, analysis and dissemination of information and support new biosphere reserve nominations and assure their monitoring with respect to the periodic review process.
  • Develop a MAB Task Force on Quality Economies in Biosphere Reserves and implement the Biosphere Reserve Quality Labelling Scheme for goods and services.
  • Develop, coordinate and manage international and national capacity building activities such as professional and university level training courses related to sustainability science and related technologies and provide expert technical support and assistance to the Member States on analysis, sector plan development and sector management for areas within the Natural Sciences Sector
  • Implement the Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation and the Michel Batisse Award. 
  • Strengthen regional and scientific MAB networks, their activity and performance of relevant institutions for improved services and knowledge sharing, increased partnerships, joint programming and integration to regional and international infrastructures. 
  • Maintain relations with professional, scientific and UN organizations and create and support scientific network related to ecological processes and climate change.
  • Initiate, coordinate and mobilize and raise extrabudgetary resources, to support regular programme activities and implement, monitor related projects and programmes in line with approved objectives and deliverables.
COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial) Accountability (C) Innovation (C) Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C) Results focus (C) Teamwork (C) Building partnerships (M) Planning and organizing (C) Making quality decisions (M) Leading and empowering others (M) - For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework. REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS


  • Advanced university degree (Master's or equivalent) in ecological and/or environmental sciences or a related field within the natural sciences.

Work Experience

  • ​​​​​​A minimum of 7 years of relevant professional experience in the areas of Environmental Sciences research and education, of which preferably 3 years acquired at the international level.
  • Proven capacity to organize and carry out research and training at international level and in project formulation, implementation and evaluation.
  • Track record of relevant scientific publications related to ecology and earth sciences.
  • Demonstrated professional experience in proposal writing, resource mobilization and partnership building.

Skills and competencies

  • Good conceptual, analytical, research and organizational skills.
  • Strong analytical, negotiating, communication and advocacy skills.
  • Ability to carry out quality research and produce papers related to ecological and climate change.
  • Excellent drafting skills with ability to produce high quality reports and papers on scientific, technical, and strategic issues.
  • High level of autonomy.
  • Proven ability to plan and organize training courses, projects and workshops on sustainability science and related technologies.
  • Demonstrated capacity to provide guidance and to motivate a multicultural team with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Ability to communicate (written and oral) and negotiate effectively and persuasively with various stakeholders, within and outside the organization and through various channels including the web and social media.


  • Excellent knowledge (written and spoken) of English.


  • Ph.D. or equivalent degree in the field of environmental and/or earth sciences.

Work Experience

  • Experience within a United Nations agency or programme or within an international organization.
  • Experience in the planning and organization of training sessions and international scientific and technical workshops and seminars focusing on ecological processes and envirnomental sciences.

Skills and competencies

  • Ability to work effectively in a complex and changing environment.
  • Ability to work in close partnership with a wide range of national, regional and international scientific organizations, professional organization especially related to hydrological processes, climate change and adaptation.
  • Good knowledge of UNESCO – MAB Programme and knowledge of UNESCO's work and programmes in the area of Natural Sciences.


  • Good knowledge (written and spoken) of French.
  • Knowledge of another official UNESCO language (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or 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.


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 applies a zero tolerance policy against all forms of harassment.

UNESCO is committed to achieve and sustain 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. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities, as well as nationals from non-and under-represented Member States (last update here) 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.

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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