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Senior Programme Specialist


Post Number : CI 138

Grade : P-4

Parent Sector : Communication and Information Sector (CI)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Communication and Information

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 05-JAN-2022


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




The Communication and Information Sector’s mission is to promote freedom of expression, media development and media literate societies, and to build knowledge societies through fostering universal access to information, innovation for sustainable development and the preservation of documentary heritage. (The role of this vacant position does not include responsibility for UNESCO's wider external communications, which is managed by the Department of Public Information).


Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information (ADG/CI), guidance from the Director for Partnerships and Operational Management and the Director of Strategies and Policies in the field of Communication and Information, and the direct supervision of the Chief for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section, the incumbent is responsible for ensuring the development, consolidation and delivery of a wide spectrum of programme and project management initiatives, from the conception to resource mobilization and project design to evaluation and reporting. S/he manages, advises and reports on regular and extra-budgetary programme design and implementation, guidelines, resources and progress, with special emphasis in the field of freedom of expression in the digital environment. S/he advocates organizational involvement and participation in mainstream section activities and may lead colleagues, including in Field Offices, on particular thematic  areas, evaluating progress and performance.


The incumbent works within the frameworks of UNESCO's Medium-Term Strategy (C/4), the approved Programme and Budget (C/5, Major Programme V), IPDC Council decisions, UN joint plans, such as the UN Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, and according to global development plans such as the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG16, including, when relevant, the implementation of international normative instruments.


In this context, the incumbent will be expected to perform the following tasks:


Long Description

Programme Design and Management:

  • Coordinate programme and project rollout and monitoring as reflected in relevant work plans.
  • Recommend programme and project approaches, plans, expansion and changes and develop, propose and advocate C/4 and C/5 thematic inclusions.
  • Integrate research and assessment results into a variety of action- and client- oriented activities and projects, with a particular focus in the area of freedom of expression in the digital environment.
  • Develop projects, programme and funding proposals, oversee agreements and contracts as well as define UNESCO's involvement and mobilize relevant resources.
  • Advocate for and encourage transversal, inter-sectional, inter-sectoral and Field Office synergies, team building, information sharing and collaboration.
  • Participate in planning and budgetary processes of the Section's activities in relation to both regular programme and extrabudgetary resources.
  • If relevant, guide the work contributions of project staff, consultants or other colleagues to facilitate the achievement of project objectives.
  • Follow the performance management guidelines in assessing supervisees’ performance.

Long Description

Policy Advice:

  • Initiate or build upon policy development in accordance with the Section's priority areas.
  • Initiate or expand research to develop policy, strategy, action materials and projects in the programme area in response to global issues and challenges, especially the challenges for freedom of expression in the digital environment.
  • Lead quality assurance exercises.
  • Represent and provide specialized advice to internal and external colleagues (including in the field), peers and stakeholders.
  • Prepare or quality check position papers, policy notes and other programme development related activities to support the strategic planning processes in the Section.
  • Advocate UNESCO's position/involvement and establish relevant guidelines.
  • Advise peers, colleagues, partners and governments on policy formulation, programmes and projects, developments and good practices, and emerging trends in the area(s) of assignment.

Long Description

Networking, Communication and Knowledge Management:

  • Represent the Section in meetings, conferences, forums and other official gatherings.
  • Organize consultations and events, with special attention to the flagship events under the Section, and ensure regular contributions and updates to online and knowledge management systems.
  • Plan, develop and implement integrated outreach strategies aimed at expanding and communicating programmes, promoting UNESCO projects and increasing visibility, resources and partnerships.
  • Prepare and implement communication strategies, advocacy plans and visibility materials to raise awareness and widely disseminate results through appropriate media and information channels.
  • Provide specialized expertise, analysis, assessment and communication elements to Field Offices, Ministries, peers and other stakeholders.
  • Implement and revise the resource mobilization strategy.


Resources Mobilization:

  • Explore alternative funding mechanisms in an increasingly competitive international and multilateral environment.
  • Collaborate with UN agencies seeking or marketing joint programmes.
  • Coordinate and follow-up on funding initiatives and reports, contribute to terms and deliverables, ensuring alignment with overall programme/project objectives.
  • Prepare financial funding proposals and strengthen partnerships with relevant public and private donors.

Assessment and Evaluation:

  • Deploy monitoring mechanisms and ensure the application of assessment tools.
  • Assess programme implementation and linkages of programme work, evaluate the impact of activities, identify problems and deficiencies, and initiate or propose corrective or alternative action.
  • Evaluate and report on progress.
  • Map current good practices, emerging trends, and professional developments and translate into relevant programmatic and project actions and reports.

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 communication, media studies, ICTs and/or knowledge society issues or other related fields such as international law, and/or social and political sciences. 


Work Experience

  • Minimum seven (7) years of progressively responsible and relevant professional experience in one or several subject areas of communication and information, including with issues related to promoting freedom of expression, safety of journalists and/or access to information and knowledge. 
  • Relevant work experience acquired at the international level.
  • Experience in promoting issues related to free, pluralistic and independent media and safety of journalists.
  • Experience in planning and managing projects/programmes in the area of communication and information.
  • Experience in fundraising and resource mobilization. 


Skills and competencies

  • Good project management skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills including the ability to participate effectively in high-level negotiations with internal and external partners.
  • Ability to build, maintain and enhance working relations with national/local authorities and relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
  • Capacity to represent the Organization competently and convincingly.
  • Proven fundraising and resource mobilization skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in cross-cultural and diversified teams and to lead and motivate staff and teams in a multicultural environment.



  • Excellent knowledge (written and spoken) of English.




Work Experience

  • Experience in the area of freedom of expression in the digital environment.
  • Experience in international cooperation programmes.
  • Experience in partnership-building with UN Agencies, the private sector, civil society and NGOs.
  • Experience in developing proposals and agreements for external funding. 
  • Experience in working with data sets and monitoring of human rights violations. 


Skills and competencies

  • Good knowledge of UNESCO’s work in the field and familiarity with the activities of the Sector for Communication and Information.
  • Knowledge of UNESCO’s programmes and approved priorities; familiarity with the work and general functioning of UNESCO and international organizations in the UN system.



  • Good knowledge (written and spoken) of French.
  • Knowledge of another official language of UNESCO (Arabic, Chinese, 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 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 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.