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Programme Specialist (Science)


Post Number : SC 029

Grade : P-3

Parent Sector : Natural Sciences Sector (SC)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Natural Sciences

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years with possibility of renewal

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 15-SEP-2022


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



Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences Sector (ADG/SC) and the direct supervision from the Chief of Section for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the incumbent, in close collaboration with relevant colleagues from all five UNESCO programme sectors in Headquarters and in Field Offices, shall play a key role in the development, implementation and coordination of the  SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, within the overarching framework of the Natural Sciences Sector programme, with particular attention to the need for novel approaches to on-the-ground practice that take into account the unique context and specific needs of SIDS.
The mission of the Section is to ensure a house-wide coordination on SIDS issues, and as such operationalize UNESCO actions to capitalize on existing/potential synergies to develop timely responses with regards to this Priority Group. The incumbent works within the frameworks of UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy (C/4), the approved Programme and Budget (C/5), the UNESCO SIDS Plan of Action and the Operational Strategy for SIDS. 
More specifically, the incumbent will perform the following tasks:

  • Contribute to the development, , coordination and implementation of the SIDS programme and related relevant projects, proposing new and innovative approaches, in addition to participating in international events and other undertakings throughout the Natural Sciences Sector in Member States that contribute to the fulfilment of the SAMOA Pathway.
  • Participate inthe preparation and delivery of training and capacity-building activities designed specifically for SIDS.
  • Play an active role in the coordination,development and follow-up of the house-wide implementation of the UNESCO SIDS Action Plan. Ensure the mobilization and coordination of UNESCO's contribution to the international SIDS review processes, as well as the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway. 
  • Contribute to the  mobilization of intersectoral collaboration around this theme via relevant mechanisms, while also contributing as team member to other relevant substantive themes for SIDS (e.g. climate change, natural disasters, science policy, coastal management, youth, etc.).
  • Coordinate a network of colleagues engaged in SIDS-related activities across the Organization and ensure their contribution to regular house-wide reporting form, and maintain an active intersectoral UNESCO SIDS website, periodic publications on UNESCO action for SIDS, as well as to provide information for the submission to UNESCO Governing bodies and relevant United Nations bodies.
  • Mobilize extrabudgetary funding for the implementation of projects, activities and events of relevance to the Section's SIDS SC programmes and priorities. Meet with donors to report on project implementation, find solutions for implementation challenges and solicit continuing or expanded support.

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.



  • Advanced university degree (Master's or equivalent) in one of the fields of Natural Sciences, Social sciences or in development studies or a related field. 

Work Experience

  • A minimum of four years of relevant professional experience in the field of Natural Sciences of which preferably 2 years acquired at international level.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop, implement and coordinate programmes/projects in the SIDS in natural sciences, social sciences or interdisciplinary fields.
  • Relevant work experience at the interface of science and policy.
  • Experience in design, coordination and monitoring of SIDS programmes at the regional or international level.
  • Experience in establishing and maintaining professional scientific networks.
  • Experience in fund-raising and other resource mobilization mechanisms and building partnerships for international science programmes.

Skills and Competencies

  • Good analytical, organizational and project management skills .
  • Knowledge of Results-Based Management tools.
  • Ability to collect, consolidate, synthesize, and analyze information from various sources.
  • Capacity to build and maintain effective working relations in a multidisciplinary and multicultural environment and with relevant institutions, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
  • Excellent project management and coordination skills, including capacity to organize international seminars and conferences for Natural Sciences.
  • Solid IT skills including knowledge of office software.


  • Excellent knowledge of English (spoken and written).


Work Experience

  • Experience with specialized agencies of the United Nations system and/or professional Non-Governmental Organisations and/or multilateral organizations in field of scientific and technical cooperation.
  • Experience and/or service in SIDS in the field of Natural sciences
  • Experience in working with multi-stakeholders/international teams for science projects.


  • Good knowledge of French (written and spoken).
  • 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.

The approximate annual starting salary for this post is 84 634 US $.

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.