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Chief of Tsunami Unit, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission


Post Number : IOC 396

Grade : P-5

Parent Sector : Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)

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) : 26-APR-2020


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



The UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Tsunami Unit (IOC/TSU) provides intergovernmental coordination for four regional end-to-end tsunami warning and mitigation systems (Pacific; Indian Ocean; Caribbean; North Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean & connected seas).


The mandate for IOC's tsunami programme is established in resolutions by the 23rd IOC Assembly (2005). The Unit has staff in Paris, Perth, Fiji, Jakarta, and Barbados. It supports coordination of the tsunami warning systems and implements projects that (i) develop capacity, enhance preparedness and awareness for tsunami and other coastal hazards; and (ii) enable observation, research and policy developments that can lead to improved early warning systems and related preparedness.


Under the overall authority of the IOC Executive Secretary, in cooperation with other IOC programme sections and units, the incumbent will have the following functions:


  • Lead, coordinate and organize the activities of the IOC’s Tsunami Programme including:
    • Managing the Unit and providing guidance to its staff, defining its priorities and agenda.
    • Developing, implementing, monitoring and organising services, scientific and technical support to the governance groups for the IOC Tsunami program, as well as other relevant projects and programmes carried out within the tsunami warning and mitigation frameworks, to include locating and pursuing resources.
    • Organising fund raising and targeted capacity development in tsunami warning systems and preparedness to enhance Member States’ abilities within a multi-hazard framework.
    • Liaising, coordinating and maintaining partnerships with relevant organisations within and outside the United Nations and representing the Unit to internal and external partners.


  • Coordinate and act as Technical Secretary for the Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) programme and the GLOSS Group of Experts.
COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)
Accountability (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Strategic thinking (M)
Managing performance (M)
Leading and empowering others (M)
Making quality decisions (M)
For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.



  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in earth or ocean sciences, or related field.


Work experience

  • Minimum of ten (10) years of progressively responsible and relevant professional experience in management and coordination of research and/or project work in the field of marine sciences.
  • Relevant experience acquired at the international level.
  • Solid experience with tsunami warning and/or coastal hazard early warning systems.
  • Experience working with the scientific community and government representatives and officials. 
  • Proven experience in managing staff and teams. 



  • Demonstrated ability to lead, manage and motivate staff and teams and to maintain effective working relationships in a multicultural environment.
  • Capacity to build and maintain effective partnerships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills with proven ability to prepare high quality documents and reports.
  • Good understanding of the work and general functioning of international organization and/or knowledge of the United Nations System.
  • Ability to manage conflicting priorities and to work under pressure.



  • Excellent / very good knowledge of English.


•    PhD in oceanography, geophysics, marine science or disaster risk reduction. 


Work experience

•    Experience with ocean/geophysical observing programs, hazard forecasting, communication and warning services.
•    Experience in disaster management, community safety awareness and/or development planning.
•    Familiarity with the UN system.

•    Knowledge of other official UNESCO languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, 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 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 strictest confidence. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts. UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.