Chief of Section (Earth Sciences and Geo-Hazards Risk Reduction Section)

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Paris, France
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General, Natural Sciences (ADG/SC) and the direct supervision of the Director of the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences, as Chief of the Earth Sciences and Geo-Hazards Risk Reduction Section (SC/EES/EGR) and Secretary of the International Geosciences Programme (IGCP), the incumbent will be responsible for the overall management of the International Geosciences and Geoparks Programme (IGGP), and activities and projects related to the Geo-Hazards Risk Reduction, including UNESCO designated sites of international geological and geodiversity value, the UNESCO Global Geoparks. The incumbent shall, in conjunction with the senior management, be responsible for defining priorities for the strategic planning, budgeting and coordination of the implementation and evaluation of UNESCO’s Earth Sciences programmes, projects and activities worldwide. The incumbent shall be leading staff in the achievement of priorities and relevant policy development; locating and engaging resources; maintaining and pursuing partnerships; and identifying and promoting cross-sectional, divisional and programmatic work in order to deliver the implementation of work plans. In particular, S/he will be responsible for:


Provide intellectual leadership and guidance to the SC/EES/EGR Section in order to develop, drive and ensure the delivery of the expected results stated in the C/4, C/5 on strengthening the management of geological resources and geohazards risks, reaching from climate change to the need to better manage the use of natural resources and to understand the risks posed by geological hazards. While promoting visibility of international collaboration in the Earth sciences, oversee the coordination for designated UNESCO Global Geoparks along with their associated networks and partners, in order to contribute to the achievements of related SDGs and build capacity in Member States, while focusing on the thematic areas of study to better understand how the Earth functions, facilitating better management of the Earth’s resources and their sustainable exploration, increasing economic benefits. Design relevant strategies, policies, objectives and deliverables as well as define priorities and agenda for staff of the Section and to identify and secure resources, preparing related report.

Programme Design and Management:

Direct the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of work plans and regular and extrabudgetary initiatives and activities, ensuring the continuous optimization of resources. Transform work plans into programmes and projects that strengthen the role of UNESCO and promote the international collaboration in the Earth Sciences and sustainable development in UNESCO designated UNESCO Global Geoparks and related SDGs (1, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, and 17).

Knowledge and Expertise Sharing:

Facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration in the Earth Sciences and support scientific cooperation and exchange through the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) in the fields of geohazards, hydrogeology, global change, earth resources and earth structure and strengthen national geoscience capacity contributing to the achievement of related SDGs (1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 13, and 17).

Representation and Policy Advice:

Represent the Section and its programmes at the UNESCO governing bodies and increase its visibility within UNESCO as well as to external networks, on governmental and non-governmental level, and actively network and advise to create synergies, identify and strengthen key partnerships and to obtain funding. Influence and guide the development of concept notes, policy positions, formulation and implementation.

Resource Mobilisation:

Seek and explore resource mobilization opportunties for extrabudgetary resources for relevant programmatic and thematic areas including engaging potential donors with projects plans which could attract support. Supervise the entire funding process, including developing and writing proposals, validating progress reports and ensuring the timely implementation and completion of project/programme activities. Supervise and motivate personnel. Monitor progress and development, provide regular feedback and follow-up in line with the performance management cycle. Manage budget and ensure other administrative tasks, such as oversight of documents in line with existing rules and regulations.



Advanced University degree (Master or equivalent degree) in the field of geology and/or geophysics or a related discipline. 

Work Experience

Minimum 10 years of progressively responsible relevant professional experience in international cooperation in geoscience research, education and outreach, of which at least 5 (five) years acquired at international level;
Relevant professional experience in networking and building partnerships, advocacy, and resource mobilization;
Proven capacity to organize and carry out research and training and in project conceptualization, formulation, implementation and evaluation;
Managerial experience.

Skills and competencies

Sound judgment and decision-making skills;
Confirmed ability in planning and setting up training courses;
Proven ability to prepare high quality documents and reports; established international publication record;
Demonstrated ability to lead, manage, motivate and supervise staff and teams and to maintain effective working relations in a multicultural environment;
Good IT skills including knowledge of office software.


Excellent knowledge of English or French and good knowledge of the other language.


PhD  or equivalent degree in Earth Sciences.

Work Experience

High level university research/teaching experience and/or service in developing countries.
Experience within government in the engineering sector.
Working experience in an international and multicultural environment, preferably with international scientific organizations.

Skills and competencies

Familiarity with the work and general functioning of international organizations and /or the UN system.


Knowledge of other official UNESCO languages (Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish).