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Paris, Ile-de-France (FR)
Commensurate with education and experience
Closing date
Nov 27, 2022

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Life Sciences, Ecology, Physical Sciences
Job Type
Organization Type
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Post Number: SC 398

Grade: D-1

Duty Station: Paris

Type of contract: Fixed Term

Duration of contract: 2 years, renewable

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time): 30-NOV-2022



The Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences includes three sections covering: 

  • MAB Research and Policy, Ecology and Biodiversity
  • MAB networking, Biosphere Reserves and Capacity Building 
  • Earth Sciences and Geoparks


The Division aims to support Member States at a national, regional and global level in advancing science and capacity for sustainable management of their natural resources and biodiversity, through its programs in Earth and Ecological Sciences towards the implementation of Agenda 2030. A special focus is given to UNESCO’s two global priorities, Africa and Gender.
The Division is responsible for the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) and the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP), their secretariats and their global networks of Biosphere Reserves and Geoparks. It also leads the house-wide coordination of UNESCO’s Strategy for sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity , towards strengthening climate change resilience and risk management in Member States. It carries out its activities in close cooperation with UNESCO-affiliated centres, UNESCO chairs and institutions inside and outside the UN-System (IPBES, Future Earth, IUCN etc.). A particular focus is given to the environmental sciences and research via the Networks of Biosphere Reserves and Geoparks. They serve as learning opportunities for sustainable use and development of natural resources, for local economic development and for conflict resolution through shared governance.
The Division is responsible for scientific research and policy, publications such as the World Maps of Biosphere Reserves and Geoparks, training materials on natural resources, and it manages international days and awards related to the Division’s programmes, funded by both public and private sector.


Long Description

Under the authority and direct supervision of the Assistant Director-General of the Natural Sciences Sector, the incumbent will be responsible for the management of the Division’s human and financial resources, administration and operations, in line with the Organization’s policies and procedures. S/he will lead the Sector’s efforts in establishing and maintaining effective relations with relevant partners inside and outside the UN System; building and entertaining fundraising strategies and productive partnerships with donors. S/he will also be responsible for the Division’s strategic planning and coordination of programmes and plans of action in the environmental and earth sciences as well as reporting to the UNESCO Governing Organs, as required. This includes the promotion of interdisciplinary research, sustainability sciences and training activities in natural resources management. S/he will provide immediate supervision to the Division’s three Chiefs of sections and ensure intellectual, strategic scientific and operational leadership in the development and execution of the relevant programme activities of the Division towards the implementation of the Agenda 2030.
In particular, the incumbent will:

  • Serve as the Secretary and supervise the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental MAB Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) to ensure effective implementation of the MAB Strategy (2015-2025) and the Lima Action Plan (2016-2025). S/he will mobilize and promote proactively the contribution of scientific research and the WNBR, as learning sites and models for sustainable development, shared governance and green economic development, responding effectively to the scientific, technological, social, environmental and economic aspects of Agenda 2030. 
  • Supervise the Secretary of the International Geosciences and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) and its Global Network of Geoparks. Provide global leadership and guidance towards relevant initiatives for demonstrating the importance of geosciences knowledge and practice in sustainable development of earth resources, in cooperation with partners within the wider UN system and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS),
  • Ensure strategic guidance and overall coordination for the implementation of the UNESCO Strategy for biodiversity and natural resource management Strengthen resilience of UNESCO-designated sites and capacity for responding to climate change and natural hazards in alignment with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • Plan, coordinate and monitor UNESCO’s programmes by strengthening interdisciplinary cooperation and promoting participatory governance of systems at national, regional and global level. 
  • Provide leadership in forging key strategic partnerships both within UNESCO and with outside partners and ensure efficient communication with UNESCO field offices, UNESCO-affiliated centres and chairs. 
  • Be responsible for developing scientific programmes, partnerships, establishing relations and maintain liaison with actual and potential donors in the framework of the UNESCO Resource Mobilization Strategy. S/he will mobilize funds for the Sector’s programme and projects.
  • Manage and guide a team of multicultural staff by creating a positive work environment and giving incentives for commitment and action to promote UNESCO ideals, goals and targets. Direct, assign tasks and provide accountability for the management of the staff of the Division and the budget allocated to the implementation of specific programmes and activities. 


COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Communication (C)

Accountability (C)

Innovation (C)

Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)

Planning and organizing (C)

Results focus (C)

Teamwork (C)

Making quality decisions (M)

Driving and managing change (M)

Building partnerships (M)

Leading and empowering others (M)

Strategic thinking (M)

Managing performance (M)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.




  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in one of the fields of ecological and environmental sciences or related field in the Natural Sciences. 


Work Experience

  • A minimum of 15 years of progressive professional experience at the appropriate management level within the United Nations system or within other international institutions, including a wide experience in environmental and or ecological sciences development issues related to UNESCO’s areas of competence, in association with national and international organizations. Experience in advocacy, resources and partnership mobilization.
  • Scientific and technological experience in the field of international relations and diplomacy, multilateral cooperation, development.
  • Broad knowledge of scientific and technological application to environmental challenges and their interconnectedness.


Skills and Competencies

  • Knowledge of, and commitment to, the Organization’s mandate, vision, strategic direction and priorities. 
  • Good knowledge of UNESCO programmes and policies and of international development policies and institutions in natural resources management and biodiversity. 
  • Demonstrated strategic planning and management abilities, including capacity to administer international environmental sciences programmes and financial resources. 
  • Leadership capacity, high sense of objectivity and professional integrity, diplomacy, tact and political astuteness. 
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively and to build relationships with diverse groups of organisations and individuals, relevant environmental scientific research institutions, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including through networking; ability to participate effectively in high-level negotiations with internal and external partners. 
  • Analytical and organizational skills, including in establishing plans and priorities, and in implementing them effectively, as well as in devising implementation plans. 
  • Proven skills in administration and the management of financial and human resources. 
  • Capacity to provide scientific and intellectual leadership to guide staff, as well as ability to build trust, manage, lead and motivate a large and diversified group of staff in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity. 
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills with strong representational abilities. 
  • Ability to communicate effectively and persuasively, both orally and in writing, in front of a broad range of constituents, as well as the news media.
  • Sound judgment and decision-making skills.
  • Ability to identify key strategic issues, objectives, opportunities and risks.


  • Excellent knowledge of English or French and working knowledge of the other language.




  • Ph.D or equivalent degree in the field of earth sciences.

Skills and Competencies

  • Good knowledge of the United Nations system.


  • Knowledge of other official languages 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.

The approximate annual salary for this post is US $ 144 606.

For more information on how to apply, please click the Apply button.



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