Chief of Section

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Paris, France 🇫🇷

Post Number: SC 100

Grade: P-5

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): 16-JAN-2023

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


Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences (ADG/SC) and direct supervision of the Director of Division of Water Sciences and the Secretary of Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP), the incumbent, as Chief of Section will be responsible for designing, leading and coordinating the implementation of UNESCO’s work in the field of  Water Sciences and IHP Programme, specifically on groundwater, water and human settlements and water cooperation through the mobilization of the UNESCO water family and coordination with other UN agencies and partners. The incumbent will deliver to Member States visible and high-quality expected results of section associated to IHP priorities. S/he will design the relevant strategies, policies, objectives, and deliverables and define priorities and agenda for staff and Section and locate and pursue resources.  The incumbent will ensure the implementation of work plans and the achievement of related outcomes described in UNESCO’s Medium-term Strategy (C/4), the approved Programme and Budget (C/5) and in the IHP-IX strategic plan and related operational implementation plan.  In particular, the incumbent will:

  • Provide intellectual leadership and guidance to the Section to ensure delivery of the expected results stated in the C/4, C/5 and, the IHP-IX implementation plan and IHP Council and Bureau decisions and design relevant strategies, policies, objectives and deliverables.
  • Direct and design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of work plans and regular and extra budgetary initiatives and activities, ensuring the continuous optimization of resources.
  • Oversee and manage activities and events in IHP; coordinate publications and dissemination of guidelines and other policy and capacity development materials, documents and other technical products and information.
  • Facilitate dialogue across expertise and throughout networks, discussing emerging trends, application of best practices and exchanging ideas between decision-makers and experts on fresh water systems to contribute to the on-demand knowledge, support, advice and guidance on policy development and implementation.
  • Building on a finance strategy, seek extrabudgetary funding to complement available UNESCO regular budget resources and supervise the entire funding process, including developing and writing proposals.
  • Play as focal point for the following IHP activities: World Hydrogeological Map (WHYMAP), Groundwater Resources Assessment under the Pressures of Humanity and Climate Change (GRAPHIC), Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management (ISARM), and team leader for the following IHP-IX working groups: groundwater and human settlements, IWRM under global change and Governance based on science for mitigation, adaptation and resilience
  • Promote the IHP, the Section and its programmes to internal and external networks, such as universities, agencies, organizations and ministries; provide advice to create synergies, strengthen and identify key partnerships for increased visibility for the programme.
  • Establish and pursue alliances on cross–organizational and –sectional issues and develop working frameworks and systemic approaches to increase capacity.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Communication (C)

Accountability (C)

Innovation (C)

Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)

Planning and organizing (C)

Results focus (C)

Teamwork (C)

Professionalism (C)

Building partnerships (M)

Driving and managing change (M)

Leading and empowering others (M)

Making quality decisions (M)

Managing performance (M)

Strategic thinking (M)

For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.



  • Advanced university degree (Master or equivalent) in one of the fields of fresh water sciences or environmental sciences with specialization in hydrogeology and water resources.

Work Experience

  • Minimum of ten (10) years of progressively responsible and relevant professional work experience in the field of water resources or hydrogeology, of which preferably 5 years acquired at international level.
  • Experience in technical cooperation with water-related specialized agencies of the UN system, Professional NGOs and/or international organizations.
  • Experience in groundwater, in water resources development and management including in human settlements.
  • Experience in resources and partnerships mobilization as well as management of budget.
  • Proven experience of large scale programme design at national, regional or international levels.
  • Proven experience in leading, managing and motivating teams and staff.

 Skills and competencies

  • Commitment to the Organization’s mandate, vision, strategic direction and priorities.
  • Institutional leadership capacity, high sense of objectivity and professional integrity, diplomacy, tact and political astuteness
  • Proven skills in administration and the management of financial and human resources.
  • Demonstrated strategic planning and management abilities, including capacity to administer extensive programmes, financial resources and exercise appropriate supervision and control.
  • Organizational skills, including in establishing plans and priorities, and in implementing them effectively, as well as in devising implementation plans.
  • Ability to interact with a wide range of high-level partners, as well as demonstrated partnership development and fundraising experience.
  • Confirmed ability in planning and setting up training courses.
  • Demonstrated skills in science communication and advocacy.
  • Capacity to provide intellectual leadership to guide staff, as well as ability to build trust, manage, lead and motivate a large and diversified body of staff in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity, exercise supervision and control, as well as ensure continuous training and development of staff.
  • 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.


  • Excellent knowledge of English (written and spoken) and working language in French (written and spoken).



  • Advanced University degree (Ph.D. or equivalent degree) in the field of hydrogeology, water resources engineering or natural sciences.
  • Studies in water related environmental, civil engineering, geophysics or physical geography with hydrology specialization respectively.

Work Experience

  • High level university teaching experience and/or service in developing countries.
  • Working experience within intergovernmental organizations and within government in the water sector in different regions of the world.
  • Leading or managing international water network worldwide.

Skills /Competencies

  • Sound judgment and decision-making skills.
  • Capacity to build, develop and maintain partnerships and coordinate with a range of partners.
  • Familiarity with the work and general functioning of international organizations and /or the UN system.


  • Knowledge of other official UN languages (Arab, 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.

The approximate annual starting salary for this post is 133,366.74 US $.

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.






IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development