Chief of Section (Science)

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Paris, France 🇫🇷

Post Number : SC 470

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

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 13-AUG-2021 (EXTENDED)

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 the IHP Programme, specifically on Eco-hydrology, water quality and water education, 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 the 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 outlined in UNESCO’s Medium-term Strategy (C/4), the approved Programme and Budget (C/5) and in the IHP strategic plan. More specifically, 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 implementation plan and IHP Council and Bureau decisions and design relevant strategies, policies, objectives and deliverables.
  • Direct and design the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of work plans and regular and extra-budgetary initiatives and activities, ensuring the continuous optimization of resources.
  • Oversee and manage events within in the section; 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.
  • Undertake the role of focal point for the following IHP activities: Category I and II water-related Centres and UNESCO water-related Chairs; UN-Water and other UN agencies; IHP Water Family; Outreach and communication strategy of IHP.
  • Promote the IHP, the section and its programmes to internal and external networks, including 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)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’s or equivalent) in one of the fields of fresh water sciences or environmental sciences with a specialization in water.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible and relevant professional work experience in the field of water resources or hydrology.
  • Relevant experience acquired at the international level.
  • Working experience with water-related specialized agencies of the UN system and/or Professional NGOs and/or international organizations for technical cooperation.
  • Experience in eco-hydrology, water quality and water education.
  • Experience in water resource development and management.
  • Experience in resource and partnership mobilization.
  • Demonstrated experience in leading and managing human and financial resources.
  • Proven experience of large scale programme design at national, regional or international levels.

 Skills and competencies 

  • Knowledge of and 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.
  • Excellent 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 building and maintaining partnership development.
  • 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.



  • Ph.D. or equivalent degree in the field of Natural Sciences, Hydrology and/or engineering.

Work Experience

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


  • Familiarity with the work and general functioning of international organizations and/or the United Nations system.


  • Good knowledge of French (written and spoken).
  • Knowledge of other UNESCO official 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 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 promoting geographical distribution (last update) and gender equality within its Secretariat. Therefore, women candidates are strongly encouraged to apply, as well as nationals from non- and under-represented Member States. Persons with disabilities are also encouraged to apply. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.