Programme Specialist


Post Number : PAX 013

Grade : P-4

Parent Sector : Priority Africa and External Relations Sector (PAX)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: External Relations

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years, renewable  (Expected entry on duty on 01/01/2024)

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 19-JUNE-2023


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




The Priority Africa Coordination Division, within the Sector for Priority Africa and External Relations, is the focal point for UNESCO's relations with African Member States, the African Union, African Regional Economic Communities, and bilateral and multilateral partners implementing programs for Africa. It ensures the coordination and monitoring of actions for the benefit of Africa, in particular through the implementation of the Operational Strategy for Priority Africa 2022-2029, adopted at the 41st session of the General Conference of UNESCO, in November 2021, with the ambition of contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the African Union's Agenda 2063 "The Africa We Want" in the areas of competence of UNESCO.


Under the authority of the Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations (ADG/PAX), and the direct supervision of the Director of the Division for Coordination of Priority Africa (PAX/AFR), the Programme Specialist will contribute to the implementation of Priority Africa and its operational strategy 2022-2029. In particular, the incumbent will provide advice of a political and strategic nature to the management bodies, Programme Sectors and Field Offices on Priority Africa; participate in the development and implementation of the strategy for social mobilization of technical, institutional and non-institutional partners to support the operational strategy, plan and contribute to awareness-raising actions for Priority Africa aimed at giving greater visibility to the impact of UNESCO's action on the continent. The incumbent will work in close coordination with the Sectors and Central Services at Headquarters and in the Field.

Long Description

More specifically, the incumbent will:

  • Support the Programme Sectors and Field Offices in the implementation of the operational strategy for Priority Africa 2022-2029 by ensuring effective coordination between the different entities.
  • Regularly monitor and analyze the trends that emerge in the implementation of the operational strategy; identify the obstacles likely to slow down or hinder the implementation of the flagship programs of the operational strategy, and propose solutions to the problems identified, both technically and politically.
  • Advise ADG/PAX in the development of situational analysis documents for the implementation of the operational strategy, draft position papers, briefing notes, guidance, evaluation, etc.
  • Participate to strategic planning processes regarding Priority Africa in UNESCO Programme Sectors in general, in close coordination with the Bureau of Strategic Planning (BSP).
  • Develop and implement a social mobilization strategy for institutional and non-institutional technical partners to support the operational strategy for Priority Africa and the implementation of its flagship programmes.
  • Advocate with regional and international partners, in particular by promoting reflection on key concepts related to UNESCO's mandate and regional priorities that may have an impact on the implementation of the operational strategy.
  • Promote dialogue with strategic partners, institutional and non-institutional, on the problems identified in the context of the implementation of the operational strategy for Priority Africa and provide contributions on ways to solve them.
  • Plan awareness-raising actions aimed at increasing the visibility and impact of UNESCO's action in favor of Priority Africa with Member States (Permanent Delegations, National Commissions, etc.).
  • Coordinate the preparation and organization of information meetings with the Africa Group as well as the Group of Friends of Priority Africa by carrying out a relevant analysis of geopolitical issues, in order to support decision-making on policies and modalities cooperation with the Member States concerned and African regional organizations.
  • Provide advice on general relations and cooperation with Member States, regional organizations, as well as National Commissions and UNESCO Field Offices, in coordination with relevant entities at Headquarters and in the Field.

Long Description

  • Prepare, in liaison with the Unit for Relations with Member States and African Partnerships, speeches, documents and information and summary notes concerning UNESCO's strategy for Priority Africa intended for the general direction.
  • Develop, in conjunction with the Contextual Analysis and Foresight Unit, forward-looking reflection documents on new and emerging issues and challenges in terms of development and transformation in Africa.
  • Regularly collect and analyze information and data relating to the socio-political evolution of the continent in relation to UNESCO's fields of competence taking into account the objectives of the African Union's Agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development 2030.
  • Ensure integration of development issues in Africa into UNESCO's programmes.


COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Communication (C)
Accountability (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Innovation (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Professionalism (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 (equivalent to Master’s level) in the field of International Relations, Political Sciences, Social Sciences or in other related areas.


Work Experience

  • A minimum of seven (7) years of progressively responsible relevant experience in the field of diplomacy, international relations, of which preferably three (3) years acquired at the international level.
  • Proven experience in programmes/projects design, implementation and evaluation.
  • Demonstrated experience in advocacy, resource mobilization and partnerships.

Long Description

Skills & Competencies

  • Knowledge of the mandate, vision, strategic direction and priorities of the Organization and the Operational Strategy for UNESCO Priority Africa 2022-2029.
  • Excellent knowledge of geopolitical issues and of economic, social, and cultural development in Africa.
  • Strong strategic and analytical writing skills and demonstrated ability to provide high-level advice.
  • Leadership and expertise, including the ability to manage and motivate staff and teams and maintain effective working relationships in a multicultural environment and with respect for diversity.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with national and international authorities, academic and non-governmental institutions, intergovernmental organizations, including through networking.
  • Excellent coordination and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to participate effectively in high-level negotiations with internal and external partners.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.



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




  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in African studies or in a field with a focus on Africa.


Work Experience

  • Experience in the field of cooperation with African Member States or African Inter-governmental / Non-governmental Organizations (IGOs/NGOs).
  • Experience in political outreach, facilitation, analysis, advice and reporting.
  • Experience in resource mobilization and partnerships.


Skills & Competencies

  • Good knowledge and understanding of current international affairs.
  • Familiarity with the work and general functioning of international organizations or the United Nations system, and knowledge of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the African Union Agenda 2063.
  • Sound judgement and decision-making skills.



  • Knowledge of other official UNESCO languages (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.

The approximate annual starting salary for this post is 119 468 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.