Director (Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences & Secretary of the Man and Biosphere Programme)

Paris, , FR

Domain : Natural Sciences – Ecological Science
Post Number : SC 398
Grade : D-1
Primary Location : FR-Paris
Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates
Type of contract : Fixed Term
Salary : 145 298 USD  
Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : December 28, 2017

The Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences includes three sections covering:

  • MAB Research and Policy, Ecology and Biodiversity, UNESCO Strategy for Action on Climate Change ; 
  • MAB networking, Biosphere Reserves and Capacity Building ;  
  • Earth Sciences and Geo-hazards Risk Reduction.

The Division aims to support Member States at a national, regional and global level in advancing science and capacity for sustainable management of their natural resources and biodiversity, through its programs in Earth and Ecological Sciences towards the implementation of Agenda 2030. A special focus is given to UNESCO’s two global priorities, Africa and Gender.

The Division is responsible for Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) and the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP), their secretariats and their global networks of Biosphere Reserves and Geoparks. It also leads the house-wide coordination of UNESCO’s Strategy for Action on Climate Change and for its programme on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), towards strengthening climate change resilience and geohazard risk management in Member States. It carries out its activities in close cooperation with UNESCO-affiliated centers, UNESCO chairs and institutions inside and outside the UN-System (IPBES, Future Earth, IUCN etc.). A particular focus is given to the Networks of Biosphere Reserves and Geoparks. They serve as learning opportunities for sustainable development of natural resources, for local economic development and for conflict resolution through shared governance.

 The Division is responsible for publications such as the World Maps of Biosphere Reserves and Geoparks, training material for DRR, and it manages international days and awards related to the Division’s programmes, funded by both public and private sector.

 Under the authority and direct supervision of the Assistant Director-General of the Natural Sciences Sector, the incumbent will be responsible for the management of the Division’s human and financial resources, administration and operations, in line with the Organization’s policies and procedures. S/he will lead the Sector’s efforts in establishing and maintaining effective relations with relevant partners inside and outside the UN System; building and entertaining fundraising strategies and productive partnerships with donors; s/he will also be responsible for the planning and coordination of programmes and plans of action. This includes the promotion of interdisciplinary research, sustainability sciences and training activities in natural resources management. S/he will provide immediate supervision to the Division’s three sections Chiefs and ensure intellectual, strategic and operational leadership in the development and execution of the programme activities of the Division towards the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals relevant to the Division’s main programmes.

 In particular, the incumbent will: 

  • Serve as the Secretary and supervise the Secretariat of the intergovernmental MAB Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) to ensure effective implementation of the MAB Strategy (2015-2025) and the Lima Action Plan (2016-2025. S/he will mobilize and promote proactively the contribution of the WNBR as learning sites and models for sustainable development, shared governance and green economic development, responding effectively to the social, environmental and economic aspects of Agenda 2030.  
  • Supervise the Secretary of the International Geosciences and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) and its Global Network of Geooparks. Provide global leadership and guidance towards relevant initiatives for demonstrating the importance of geosciences knowledge and practice in sustainable development of earth resources, in cooperation with partners within the wider UN system and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).
  • Ensure overall coordination for the implementation of the UNESCO Strategy for Action on Climate Change and provide strategic guidance for the development of UNESCO Programme on Geohazard Risk Reduction. Strengthen resilience of UNESCO-designated sites and capacity for responding to climate change and natural hazards in alignment with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. 
  • Plan, coordinate and monitor UNESCO’s programmes by strengthening interdisciplinary cooperation and promoting participatory governance of systems at national, regional and global level.  
  • Provide leadership in forging key strategic partnerships both within UNESCO and with outside partners and ensure efficient communication with UNESCO field offices, UNESCO-affiliated centres and chairs.  
  • Be responsible for developing partnerships, establishing relations and maintain liaison with actual (Abertis) and potential donors in the framework of the UNESCO Resource Mobilization Strategy. S/he will mobilize funds for the Sector’s programme and projects.
  • Manage and guide a team of multicultural staff by creating a positive work environment and giving incentives for commitment and action to promote UNESCO ideals, goals and targets. Direct, allocate and provide accountability for the management of the staff of the Division and the budget allocated to the implementation of specific programmes and activities. 



  • Advanced university degree (PHD) in one of the fields of ecological and environmental sciences.

Work Experience 

  • A minimum of 15 years of progressive professional experience at the appropriate management level within the United Nations system or within other international institutions, including a wide experience in development issues related to UNESCO’s areas of competence, in association with national and international organizations.
  • Experience in advocacy, resources and partnership mobilization. 
  • Experience in the field of international relations and diplomacy, multilateral cooperation, development. 
  • Broad knowledge of environmental challenges and their interconnectedness.


  • Knowledge of, and commitment to, the Organization’s mandate, vision, strategic direction and priorities.  
  • Good knowledge of UNESCO programmes and policies and of international development policies and institutions.  
  • Demonstrated strategic planning and management abilities, including capacity to administer extensive programmes and financial resources.  
  • Leadership capacity, high sense of objectivity and professional integrity, diplomacy, tact and political astuteness.  
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively and to build relationships with diverse groups of organisations and individuals relevant institutions, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including through networking; ability to participate effectively in high-level negotiations with internal and external partners.  
  • Analytical and organizational skills, including in establishing plans and priorities, and in implementing them effectively, as well as in devising implementation plans.  
  • Proven skills in administration and the management of financial and human resources.
  • 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.  
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills with strong representational abilities.
  • 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. 
  • Sound judgment and decision-making skills.
  • Ability to identify key strategic issues, objectives, opportunities and risks.


  • Excellent knowledge and drafting skills in one of the working languages (English or French) of the Organization and a good knowledge of the second language. Training will be mandatory in order to acquire the required level of the second working language in a reasonable time-frame.



  • Other degrees or short- to medium-term training in disciplines relevant to the post.

Work Experience

  • Experience in conducting policy dialogue at government and non-government levels or public and private sectors. 
  • Experience in research work and/or teaching at university or in a research institution. 
  • Experience in the field. 


  • Good knowledge of the United Nations system. 


  • Knowledge of other official United Nations languages (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish).