Program Specialist

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Dakar, Senegal 🇸🇳

Post Number : 6SNSC0004RP

Grade : P-4

Parent Sector : Natural Sciences Sector (SC) 

Duty Station: Dakar

Job Family: Natural Sciences

Type of contract : Fixed Term 

Duration of contract : 2 years with possibility of renewal

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates 

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 27-MAY-2022

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


Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General, Natural Sciences (ADG/SC) and direct supervision of the Director of the UNESCO Dakar Office, the incumbent is responsible for ensuring the development, coordination and implementation and management of programme, projects and activities related to water and ecological sciences and biodiversity in the Western Africa (Sahel). S/He will coordinate and ensure the achievement of environmental (water, ecological and biodiversity) priorities and policy development within the context of UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy (CA), the approved Programme and Budget (C/5) and global development plans such as 2030 agenda and related SDGs and the 2063 Africa agenda for Western Africa (Sahel).

In line with the Man and Biosphere (MAB), Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP) strategic priorities and related follow up to the 9th World Water Forum held in Dakar, Senegal, the incumbent will deliver visible and high-quality results to Member states by defining priorities, designing relevant strategies and policies as well as mobilising partnerships and extrabudgetary resources.

In particular, the incumbent will:

  • Design, coordinate, implement and monitor programme and project activities, along in line with the C4/ C5 in West Africa (Sahel) in the areas of natural sciences focusing on water management, ecosystems and biodiversity conservation, climate change and disaster risk reduction, in cooperation with the Divisions of water sciences and ecological and earth sciences at Headquarters (HQ).
  • In collaboration with the regional hydrologist, other UNESCO programme specialists in the region and at HQ, ensure the implementation and coordination of events and other undertakings including capacity building in Western Africa (Sahel) and, strengthen the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the Africa MAB network (AfriMAB) as well as the water family network.
  • Provide advisory services to Member states on the attainment of the priorities in line with the 2030 development agenda, Sendai Framework, Paris agreement, biodiversity, other international environmental related agendas, and Dakar Declaration on 9th World Water Forum.
  • Engage with relevant joint UN exercises for the MSR Dakar office such as CCA, UNSDCF, Joint Programming, and ensure that UNESCO’s priorities are fully reflected where appropriate.
  • Mobilise relevant UNESCO science networks including category 2 centres and chairs, programme related Intergovernmental Councils such as IHP and MAB for programme implementation and delivery, especially in Ecological and Earth Sciences, water sciences and climate change.
  • Maintain relations with the African Union, AU/NEPAD, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), G5 Sahel, and UN organizations like UNDP, UNEP, UNICEF, WFP, FAO among other as well as with multilateral and bilateral development agencies, e.g. World Bank, regional funds and development banks (African Development Bank), European Commission, IGOs, NGOs in view of the implementation of joint activities for the sub-region.
  • Initiate, coordinate and mobilise and raise extrabudgetary resources to support RP activities
  • Implement and monitor related projects/programmes in line with approved objectives and deliverables.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Communication (C)Accountability (C)Innovation (C)Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)Results focus (C)Teamwork (C)Professionalism (C)Building partnerships (M)Planning and organizing (C)Making quality decisions (M)

For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.



  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in the field of environmental sciences, water sciences, ecological sciences, soil and water management or related earth sciences fields.

Work Experience

  • Minimum of 7 years of progressively relevant professional experience in the areas of hydrology, water management, ecosystems and biodiversity conservation, and climate change, of which preferably 3 years acquired at the international level.
  • Experience in water and ecological science education, training and/or research on water management, ecosystems and biodiversity conservation, vulnerability analysis, mapping, adaptation and resilience within the context of climate change.
  • Experience in Programme/project development and fundraising.
  • Experience in resource mobilization, support for programme implementation, budget management and programme reporting


  • Good conceptual, analytical, research and organisational skills.
  • Strong analytical, negotiating, communication and advocacy skills.
  • Ability to interact with a wide range of high-level partners.
  • Proven ability in planning and setting up training courses, projects, workshops on water management, ecosystems and biodiversity conservation and climate change.
  • Demonstrated professional experience with project management skill and proposal writing and resource mobilisation.
  • Excellent drafting skills: ability to produce reports and papers on scientific, technical, and strategic issues.
  • High degree of independence, as well as well‐developed capacities for teamwork in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity
  • Ability to communicate (written and oral) and negotiate effectively and persuasively with various stakeholders, within and outside the organization


  • Excellent knowledge (written and spoken) of French and good knowledge of English



  • Advanced University degree (PhD) in the field of environmental sciences including hydrology, land and water management, ecosystems, biodiversity, or related field in the earth sciences.

Work Experience

  • Experience in or with developing countries in the national or regional implementation of natural sciences programmes.
  • Experience in UN agencies/programmes and or international organizations.


  • Solid understanding of water sciences and ecological sciences;
  • Ability to work under pressure in a complex and changing environment.
  • Ability to work in close partnership with a wide range of national, regional and international scientific organisations, professional organisation
  • Good knowledge of UNESCO – IHP and MAB and knowledge of UNESCO management would be an asset.


  • Knowledge of other official UNESCO languages (Arabic, Chinese, Russian, 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.


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.