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Programme Assistant


Post Number : SHS 140

Grade : G-5

Parent Sector : Social and Human Sciences Sector (SHS)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Social and Human Sciences

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years, renewable

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 09-DEC-2022


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


(Only candidates who are entitled to work in France may apply to this position)



Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director General for Social and Human Sciences Sector and the direct supervision of the Chief of Inclusion, Rights and Intercultural Dialogue Section (SHS/IRD), as a team member, the Programme Assistant coordinates and performs a full range of office support, administrative and management support tasks for the smooth and efficient organization and delivery of the Section’s activities and functions. In particular, the incumbent will:

  • Track and report on programme activities; respond to enquiries.
  • Provide support in programme administration with regard to the preparation of outreach activities, partnership initiatives and special events. Track, retrieve, research files, reports, other records and past practices; gather and collate background information; verify information for relevance and accuracy; identify elements of interest; prepare draft dockets and charts; assemble documents according to standards and formats. Prepare list of participants; draft invitation letters. Process requests for translation, printing, dispatch of information documents for statutory meetings; coordinate the delivery of translation services; complete forms and process requests for reservations for webcasting, recording, transcription of debates and follow-up on progress.
  • In collaboration with team members, assess administrative support needs for meetings/events/workshops/ seminars, travel, document processing/publication production and consultants/temporary assistance, and coordinate office support services for the same.  Inform management and team members of process, procedures and timeframes to secure administrative services needed for programme/project execution. Initiate a variety of contractual documents using examples or templates; identify consultants, suppliers (from a roster), and prepare purchase requisitions in accordance with instructions; verify requests for payments against contractual obligations in the financial system; process contractual transactions and provide information on payment status and remaining obligations to the responsible officer. Prepare minutes and monitor follow-up activities.

  • Support project and programme reporting requirements; prepare paperwork, submit and prepare requests for approval of HR-related initiatives (e.g. recruitment of temporary personnel, transfer, etc.). This can also include processing visas, security cards and other documentation; preparing regular and ad hoc reports on HR movement, leave usage, for the supervisor, or on other staff resources funded via the extra-budgetary envelope. Initiate travel authorization and make travel arrangements, for team staff; provide assistance to partners and stakeholders as required. Provide guidance to staff on general office processes and procedures, automated systems, computer applications, etc.
  • Maintain/update programme and project documentation and records, research, and track background information and documentation; maintain electronic and hard-copy files/records/data sources up-to-date on budgetary data, contract, personnel and other administrative matters; update staff and equipment listings; ensure the proper creation and closure of files and the safe retention of the same. Provide general office assistance, receive, register, review and draft correspondence, emails and type a variety of reports and tables to document/transmit administrative or budgetary information; verify outgoing correspondence for completeness, accuracy and compliance with UNESCO format standards; maintain mailing lists and other contact lists. Handle routine administrative tasks.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Communication (C)
Accountability (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.




  • Completed secondary education, technical or vocational education.


Work Experience

  • At least five (5) years of work experience in secretarial and/or administrative tasks preferably in an international environment. 


Skills and competencies 

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including drafting skills in English and/or French.
  • Excellent organizational and coordination skills, with emphasis on quality, efficiency and aptitude to work under pressure.
  • Discretion, initiative and service oriented to provide quality and timely support and services.
  • Good knowledge of standard office software (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.).
  • Capacity to deal with people of different cultural backgrounds efficiently and tactfully.
  • Flexibility to adjust work schedules and priorities. Attention to detail and meticulous in correspondence.



  • Excellent knowledge (written and spoken) of English or French and good knowledge of the other language. 




  • Specialized training/certification in secretariat/administration.


Work Experience 

  • Experience in the United Nations System or other multilateral organizations and/or in the field of international relations and diplomacy, multilateral setting/cooperation and development.
  • Familiarity with UNESCO’s intergovernmental processes and procedures.


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.

The approximate annual starting salary for this post is 41 971 euros.

For full information on benefits and entitlements, please consult our Guide to Staff Benefits.


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 recalls that paramount consideration in the appointment of staff members shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence and integrity. UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. UNESCO is committed to achieving and sustaining equitable and diverse geographical distribution, as well as 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. Candidates from non- and under-represented Member States (last update here) are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals from minority groups and indigenous groups and persons with disabilities 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.