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Programme Specialist (Social and Human Sciences)


Post Number : SHS 386

Grade : P-4

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 with possibility of extension subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funds

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 04-DEC-2021


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



Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences Sector (ADG/SHS), and direct supervision of the Chief of Sport Section, the incumbent is responsible for managing the development and delivery of the Fit for Life Flagship and Quality Physical Education workstreams, ensuring integration with the work of the Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS) and the International Sports Ministers Conference (MINEPS), as well as coherence with the Kazan Action Plan that fosters the convergence of sport policies with the Sustainable Development frameworks. The incumbent will also support the development of strategic partnerships which support the increased visibility and impact of the Sport Section including with UNESCO’s Global Observatory on Women and Sport and the Development Bank Coalition.

Within the framework of these workstreams the incumbent will be responsible for managing a wide range of programme and project management activities including strategic planning, conceptual design, communication, outreach and reporting. S/he will also negotiate and maintain multi-stakeholder engagement in both workstreams and be responsible for managing a team to support activity implementation. She/he will also advise and report on regular and extra-budgetary programme design, guidelines, resources and progress, as well as advocate organizational involvement and participation in mainstream social and human sciences activities and initiatives.

The incumbent will work within the frameworks of UNESCO’s Medium Term Strategy (C/4s), the approved Programme and Budget (C/5) and global development plans, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Long Description

In particular, the incumbent will:

  • Contribute to and participate in the strategic planning of the activities of the Sport Section, with particular attention to the development of meaningful youth and gender equality dimensions.
  • Identify and execute strategic partnerships, external and in-house, which boost the visibility of the Sport Section and which consolidate and extend UNESCO’s mandate in sport.
  • Conceive, implement and account for resource mobilization; develop projects, programme and funding proposals, and oversee agreements and contracts.
  • Initiate policy development, in accordance with priority areas, as well as lead the development of related guidelines, trainings and toolkits which support the development of quality and inclusive sport policy and practice.
  • Coordinate and manage programme and project rollout and monitoring as reflected in work plans.
  • Lead the development of strategic research projects and related activities which advance the evidence base in sport, physical education and integrated praxis and which reinforce South-South and South-North knowledge exchange.
  • Develop and coordinate flagship publications, events and projects with international impact.

Long Description

  • Lead the design and execution of the Fit for Life Flagship, and related workstreams including Quality Physical Education, ensuring the continuous optimization of resources and engagement of a broad cross-section of partners at international, national and local levels.
  • Oversee recruitment, supervise and motivate staff, consultants and interns who report directly to the incumbent, including structuring their engagement and identifying opportunities for their development.
  • Provide support to field offices in institutional capacity building activities, as well as technical advice and backstopping in the area of sport and quality physical education.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Communication (C)
Accountability (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Building partnerships (M)
Driving and managing change (M)
Leading and empowering others (M)
Making quality decisions (M)
Managing performance (M)
Strategic thinking (M)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.



  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in the field of Social and Human Sciences, Political Science, International Relations or a related discipline.

Work Experience

  • Minimum of 7 years of progressively responsible professional experience in the area of social and human sciences, and specifically within the field of sport and quality physical education, including sport values education, with a minimum of 4 years at international level.
  • Experience in designing, implementing, and coordinating projects, strategies, activities and participatory processes related to sport and quality physical education which involve stakeholders at policy and at practice levels, particularly where it relates to youth engagement and gender equality, in institutional and in academic settings.
  • Experience in conducting research linking evidence with policies.
  • Experience in managing and motivating teams, developing strategic partnerships and mobilizing resources or activities managed.

Long Description

Skills and competencies

  • Technical expertise in sport and physical education, with strong analytical skills.
  • Knowledge of development issues, as well as of multilateral settings and mechanisms.
  • Excellent project management skills.
  • Excellent coordination, organizational and interpersonal skills.
  • Proven ability in programme management and coordination, particularly in the provision of leadership in the development of national policy frameworks, policy-oriented research projects and the development of multi-participatory implementation methodologies.
  • Capacity to build and maintain effective working relations with international partners and national authorities, relevant institutions, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including through networking.
  • Ability to participate effectively in high-level negotiations with internal and external partners.
  • Excellent knowledge of fund-raising and other resource mobilization mechanisms.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to prepare and present findings and recommendations on issues clearly and concisely.
  • Ability to manage and motivate staff and teams and to maintain effective working relationships in a multicultural environment.


  • Excellent knowledge of English (spoken and written) and fair knowledge of French (spoken and written).


Work Experience

  • Professional experience in the United Nations System or other multilateral organizations and/or in the field of international relations and diplomacy, multilateral settings/cooperations and development.


  • Knowledge of another official language of UNESCO (Arabic, Chinese, Russian and/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 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 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.