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Director, Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Paris (France)
Grade: D-1, Director and Top Executive
USD 159,106
H Hardship
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Added 1 month ago
Job Description

Post Number : SC 398

Grade : D-1

Parent Sector : Natural Sciences Sector (SC)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Natural Sciences

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 15-APR-2021

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

The Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences includes three sections covering:
– MAB Research and Policy, Ecology and Biodiversity, UNESCO Strategy for Action on Climate Change
– MAB networking, Biosphere Reserves and Capacity Building
– Earth Sciences and Geo-hazards Risk Reduction

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 Action on Climate Change and for its programme on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), towards strengthening climate change resilience and geohazard 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 United Nations system (IPBES, Future Earth, IUCN, etc.). A particular focus is given to the Networks of Biosphere Reserves and Geoparks. They serve as learning opportunities for sustainable management of natural resources, for local economic development and for conflict resolution through shared governance.


The Division is responsible for publications such as the World Maps of Biosphere Reserves and Geoparks, training material for DRR, and it manages international days and awards related to the Division’s programmes, funded by both public and private sector.

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 United Nations 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 as well as reporting to the UNESCO Governing Bodies, 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 Chiefs of sections and ensure intellectual, strategic and operational leadership in the development and execution of the relevant programme activities of the Division towards the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

In particular, the incumbent will:

  • Serve as the Secretary 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 the WNBR as learning sites and models for sustainable development, shared governance and green economic development, responding effectively to the social, environmental and economic aspects of Agenda 2030.
  • Serve as the Secretary of the International Geosciences and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) and its Global Network of Geoparks and supervise and 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 United Nations system and with relevant geological sections.
  • Ensure overall coordination for the implementation of the UNESCO Strategy for Action on Climate Change and provide strategic guidance for the development of UNESCO Programme on Geohazard Risk Reduction. 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 partnerships, developing and 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 programmes 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.


  • Advanced university degree (Masters or equivalent) in ecological and/or environmental sciences or a related field within 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 development issues related to UNESCO’s areas of competence, in association with national and international organizations.
  • Experience in advocacy, resources and partnership mobilization.
  • Experience in the field of international relations and diplomacy, multilateral cooperation, development.
  • Broad knowledge of 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.
  • Demonstrated strategic planning and management abilities, including capacity to administer extensive 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 organizations and individuals, relevant institutions, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including through networking; ability to participate effectively in high-level negotiations with United Nations 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 the management of financial and human resources.
  • Capacity to provide 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 (oral and written).


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

Work experience

  • Experience in conducting policy dialogue at government and non-government levels or public and private sectors.
  • Experience in research work and/or teaching at university or in a research institution.
  • Experience in a field duty station.

Skills and Competencies

  • Good knowledge of the United Nations system.


  • Knowledge of French.
  • Knowledge of other official United Nations languages (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 salary for this post is US $ 136 050.

More details can be found on the ICSC website.

Please note that UNESCO is a non-smoking Organization.

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.

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