Programme Specialist

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Kingston, , JM


Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences (SC) and the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the direct supervision of the Director of the Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean, the incumbent works in collaboration with Natural and Ocean Sciences Specialists in the Regional Office for science (Montevideo, Uruguay) and the IOCARIBE Office (Cartagena, Colombia) to implement SC and support IOC activities in the Caribbean region. The incumbent is in charge of the implementation of the international and regional agendas and plans with focus on UNESCO programme areas, such as Water Sciences, Ecological and Earth Sciences, Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Climate Action and Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness, and Science, Technology and Innovation policy and cooperation, as well as STEM education, and Capacity Building in the Basic and Engineering Sciences through the development of research, networks, educational and training activities. 
The incumbent will work within the frameworks of UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy, the approved Programme and Budget (C/5) and global development agenda such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 agenda for sustainable development,  the  Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway

The incumbent shall in particular: 

  • Strengthen collaborative relationships with National Commissions and Member States, promoting Science for Sustainable Development within the framework of the Natural Science programmes and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission activities of the interest of Small island and Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean 
  • Conceptualize, design, plan, develop, coordinate, implement and monitor work plans for major areas of the Natural Sciences Sector’ Strategies and priorities and Contribute to resource mobilization. Carry out project management and coordinate and supervise staff of the Natural Sciences team for the Caribbean SIDS.
  • Develop and implement programme activites promoting research and assist Caribbean Member States in needs identification, provide advice on cooperation between regional and international centres, and the preparation of studies, assessment, collection, analysis and dissemination of information and peer reviews.
  • Develop, coordinate and manage international and national capacity building activities such as professional and university level training courses related to science for sustainable development and related technologies. Provide expert assistance and technical support to Caribbean Member States 
  • Lead inter-sectoral collaboration as well as quality assurance exercises for activities within assigned subject matter. Advocate UNESCO’s position/involvement and establish relevant guidelines. 
  • Advise and support the Governments in the identification, formulation and implementation of Natural Sciences and IOC initiatives in coordination with the IOCARIBE Office, and contribute to enhancing regional governance and cooperation with the purpose of strengthening and expanding related agendas and project
  • Ensure that areas of UNESCO’s programmes feature adequately in the One UN, Common Country Analysis/United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (CCA / UNSDCF) programmes of Caribbean SIDS, by providing technical guidance, contributing to the drafting, review and evaluation of relevant documents, suggesting and facilitating the link to diverse donors, and promoting the implementation mechanisms and partnerships.
  • Strengthen networks, their activity and performance of relevant regional institutions for improved services and knowledge sharing, increased partnerships, joint programming and integration to regional and international infrastructures. 
  • Mobilize and coordinate national, regional and international partners working on the Natural Sciences Sector and IOC strategic issues in order to support member states in the region. Establish, maintain and enhance strong and strategic working relationships with the national/local authorities, cultural institutions, relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. 
  • Build and enhance partnerships with UN Agencies, donors, development banks, international and regional organizations, international institutions and the private sector in order to design and implement Science programmes and projects, including in emergency response and preparedness.

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)
For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.



  • Advanced University degree (Master’s or equivalent) in the field of natural sciences, civil/environmental engineering. 

Work Experience

  • A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible and relevant professional experience in the field of science.
  • A minimum of three years of experience acquired at the international level.
  • Proven experience in planning, developing, implementing, managing, coordinating and evaluating science programmes.
  • Proven experience in managing large-scale projects related to science.
  • Experience in fund raising and resource mobilization.

Skills and competencies

  • Demonstrated ability to translate strategy into priorities and actions, develop and implement strategic projects and initiatives within science programmes.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills; ability to identify key strategic issues, objectives, opportunities and risks.
  • Demonstrated ability to build, develop, and maintain partnerships, and to coordinate, negotiate and deal with partners and networks for UNESCO science programmes.
  • Proven capacity to produce high-quality analytical reports.
  • Knowledge of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills; ability to communicate effectively and persuasively.
  • Ability to work in a team and to maintain effective working relationships.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage, lead and motivate staff in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Ability to take initiative and to manage priorities effectively; to work under pressure, with capacity for accuracy, paying close attention to detail and quality of work.


  • Excellent knowledge of English.



  • Advanced University degree (PhD) related to the field of natural sciences, civil/environmental engineering.

Work Experience

  • Experience in the organization and coordination of international workshops, meetings and events.
  • Work experience with Small Island Developing States.

Skills and competencies

  • Good knowledge of UNESCO’s rules and regulations.
  • Solid knowledge of the UNESCO Science and IOC programmes and policies. 
  • Knowledge of the Small Island Developing States programme.
  • Strong diplomatic skills.


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

For more information in benefits and entitlements, please consult ICSC website.


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.





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development