INTERNSHIP: Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission


Duty Station: Headquarters

Type of contract : Internship

Duration of contract : 1 to 6 months

Recruitment open to : External Candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 31 December 2024



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



The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC/UNESCO) is the United Nations body responsible for supporting global ocean science and services. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together to protect the health of our shared ocean by coordinating programmes in areas such as ocean observations, tsunami warnings and marine spatial planning. IOC/UNESCO has been mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to coordinate implementation of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Areas of activity covered by IOC/UNESCO include (not exhaustive):

  • Ocean science with a focus on issues including ocean acidification, blue carbon, harmful algal blooms, and marine pollution
  • Ocean observations 
  • Ocean data, information and knowledge management 
  • Capacity development
  • Sustainable ocean planning and marine spatial planning
  • Engagement with United Nations programmes, frameworks and initiatives related to the ocean
  • Strengthening of the science – policy – society interface
  • Large marine ecosystems 
  • Ocean literacy and education 
  • Ocean science communications


The Intern will have the opportunity to learn and support the overall work of the Sector’s mission.
Activities will vary depending on the requirements of the assignment. Specific Terms of Reference and learning objectives will form part of the contract.
The work entrusted to interns falls under one or more of the following categories as per the requirements/needs of each team.

Programme and Project Support:

  • Collect, organize and analyze data
  • Contribute to the production/preparation of documents, working papers, and conceptual framework/concept notes 
  • Assist in the development of technical support in the development of new interventions or projects.

Research and Knowledge Management: 

  • Undertake specific research and reviews to produce well defined aspects or segments of work products, including publications, documents and project proposals.
  • Contribute to the preparation of knowledge and communication products, materials for advocacy and outreach, related to area of work.
  • Participate in meetings and seminars.

Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement: 

  • Analyze and compile background data for potential partnerships and resource mobilisation initiatives.
  • Support engagement of stakeholders and partners in IOC activities e.g. through the Ocean Decade Network 
  • Support to facilitation of scientific and non-scientific working groups and partner networks 

Operations Support:

  • Provide administrative and logistical support in the planning and organization of meetings, events, workshops, and conferences in coordination with other staff.
  • Support the preparation of specific budgets, financial and accounting documents, and project documentation and evaluation.
  • Support the management of data and contacts related to the Ocean Decade and the ecosystem of endorsed Ocean Decade Actions. 
  • Support processing of requests for endorsement of Decade Actions. 

Communications Support:

  • Support to drafting, preparation and dissemination of communications assets


It is expected that the assignment will provide the intern with the opportunity to develop skills in some of the following areas, depending on the needs of the team during the time of the internship: 

  • Understand the approach to developing and managing diverse projects related to ocean and coastal issues. 
  • Understand multilateral processes. 
  • Build skills in data analyses and management. 
  • Build skills in partnership development and management. 
  • Gain insight into development and implementation of ocean science communication and information projects 
  • Understand the context of global, regional and national policy related to the ocean including role of international organizations through their work in setting standards, facilitating knowledge exchange, providing policy advice, enhancing human and institutional capacities and facilitating cooperation.
  • Understanding international project management through learning-by-doing approaches.
  • Acquiring and strengthening skills in research, writing and communication.
  • Developing soft skills such as stakeholder management, problem-solving skills, interpersonal skills and work ethic.

The intern will also gain an understanding of the overall work of UNESCO and be given an opportunity to develop soft skills of the UNESCO Competency Framework, in particular teamwork, flexibility, communication and client-focus.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Accountability (C)
Communication (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Professionalism (C)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.



You must be at least 20 years old to apply.

Academic qualifications:

At the time of your application to the internship programme:

You are currently enrolled in a graduate programme (Master’s degree, PhD, or equivalent, second university degree or higher).
You have recently graduated with a Master’s degree or PhD (or second degree as defined above), 12 months prior to the start of the internship.

Please note that candidates who have completed their full-time bachelor's degree but are not enrolled in a graduate programme are not eligible to apply.

Applicants in secretarial/assistant or technical/professional assignments must be enrolled in a secretarial school or in a specialized technical/professional institution, and must have reached the last year of their studies, or have recently graduated (within the last 12 months) from their school or institution.  


You should have an excellent command, both written and spoken, of English or French. A working knowledge of the other language (English or French) is an asset, and may be required for internships in secretarial and assistantship assignments at the Headquarters.

Computer skills: You must have an excellent knowledge of computer systems and office-related software.

Team player:

You should be able to work well in a team and adapt to an international working environment.

Communication skills:

You should possess strong interpersonal and communication skills.



  • Studies in the field of water science, hydrology, ecological science, earth sciences, basic sciences and engineering and/or in another related field of natural sciences.


UNESCO does not remunerate interns. There is no compensation, financial or otherwise for internship assignments. 

Interns are entitled to 2.5 days of leave per month during their internship.


The UNESCO Internships Programme is open in January and July each year. Candidates shall apply to the vacancy that matches their personal expertise and domain. Candidates who successfully applied to the vacancy will stay in the intern talent pool and will be further assessed and selected by relevant hiring managers.  The candidature will be valid for 6 months. Candidates who have been selected will be contacted directly by the relevant hiring manager. Those who were not selected for an internship in the current cycle will need to reapply to the internship programme when the new internship vacancies are released.


  • Have your motivation letter and résumé ready before filling out the application form. You only have one hour to finish the process.
  • Make sure your contact details will be valid in next 6 months. 
  • You can only use either English or French in applying.
  • Please provide an unofficial French or English translation of your documents if they are not in these languages.
  • UNESCO does not remunerate interns. There is no compensation, financial or otherwise for internship assignments.
  • Even if you are eligible, there is no guarantee of placement. We receive more applications from qualified candidates than we can place.
  • Your application will be further accessed by UNESCO managers around the world and will stay in our internship portal for a period of six months.
  • We do not respond to each and every candidate. If selected, you will be directly contacted by the manager. If you do not receive any update within six months, it means that your application has not been successful.