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Programme specialist (Natural sciences)

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - Headquarters

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Post Number : SC 480

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, renewable

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 08-APR-2024

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

Overview of the functions of the post

Under the overall supervision of the Assistant Director-General of the Natural Sciences’ Sector (ADG/SC), guidance and direct supervision by the Chief of the Disaster Risk Reduction Unit (SC/DRR), the incumbent will be responsible for providing thematic coordination, implementation, monitoring and support research and analysis of activities related to the eight thematic areas of DRR and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) namely, Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Early Warning Systems (EWS), The Built Environment, school safety, Nature-based Solutions, DRR in culture and UNESCO's designated sites, post-disaster response and risk governance with a multi-hazard, multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder engagement approach in accordance with the UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy (C4) and Programme and Budget (C5) priority areas as well as global agendas such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda. 

More specifically, the incumbent will: 

  • Contribute, in close partnership with Category 2 Institutes and Centres under the auspices of UNESCO, UNESCO Chairs and University Twinning and Networking Programme (UNITWIN), and field offices for the implementation and monitoring of activities (regular programme and extra-budgetary projects), along with the eight thematic areas and strategic objectives on DRR and CCA, while providing technical support in the development of tools and methodologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) application to DRR, school safety assessment, built environment standards, nature-based solutions.
  • Provide regular monitoring and prepare reports of the implemented regular programme/extra-budgetary activities under the thematic responsibilities.
  • Facilitate and support research, networking, capacity building programmes to assist Member States in the implementation of DRR and CCA projects and initiatives.
  • Provide thematic and technical support to organize scientific events, exhibition and outreach activities and processes whilst preparing meeting reports and providing editorial support.
  • Provide support for drafting, reviewing papers, synthesis reports, preparing brochures and conference flyers when necessary, and promote dissemination of products and publications to Member States and other stakeholders.
  • Support the overall coordination and monitoring of projects activities assigned to UNESCO and related to DRR.

Competencies (Core / Managerial)

Accountability (C)

Communication (C)

Innovation (C)

Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)

Planning and organizing (C)

Professionalism (C)

Results focus (C)

Teamwork (C)

For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.

Required qualifications


  • Advanced university degree (Master's or equivalent) in the relevant field of environmental sciences or a related field within the natural sciences.

Work experience

  • Minimum of 4 (four) years of progressively responsible and relevant professional experience in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) or Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), of which preferably 2 (two) years acquired at international level. 
  • Proven professional experience of scientific and technical projects in the areas of DRR or CCA
  • Proven experience working in international projects in the areas of DRR and CCA.
  • Experience in fundraising and mobilisation of financial resources.

Skills and competencies

  • Excellent drafting skills and ability to produce reports and papers on scientific, technical and strategic issues.
  • Ability to quickly understand new ideas and practices concerning DRR and CCA to explore innovative approaches such as blockchain, local knowledge, risk perception, etc.
  • Capacity for multitasking to implement multiple initiatives and projects while maintaining sustainable communication with partners.
  • Ability to provide technical and thematic contributions to scientific meetings, training courses and workshops on DRR and CCA.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to work effectively in a multicultural environment and foster team cooperation.
  • Ability to work under pressure in a complex and changing environment.
  • Ability to take initiative and manage competing priorities, with a strong focus on accuracy, attention to detail, and quality of work.
  • Good knowledge of the regional geopolitical context, challenges, and priorities.
  • Proficiency in IT skills (Excel, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, etc.).


  • Excellent knowledge of English and working knowledge of French.

Desirable qualifications


  • Advanced university degree (PhD or equivalent) in the relevant field of engineering, seismology, meteorology, hydrology, geography or related field in the area of DRR and CCA.

Work experience

  • Work experience in the national governmental entities on DRR or CCA.
  • Familiar with or experience in major funding mechanisms.
  • Relevant experience in the United Nations system or other multilateral organizations. 
  • Experience in the organization of international workshops, meetings and events.

Skills and competencies

  • Good communication skills and ability to raise visibility through different medias.
  • Ability to plan and organize training sessions and technical workshops and seminars focusing on DRR or CCA.


  • Knowledge of another official language of UNESCO (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish).

Benefits and entitlements

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 90 260 US $.

For more information in benefits and entitlements, please consult Guide to Staff Benefits.

Selection and recruitment process

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.

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