Open position: Executive Secretary IOC – Deadline 21 January 2023


Under the general authority of the UNESCO Director-General and in accordance with the status of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) as a body with functional autonomy within UNESCO, the incumbent will implement the decisions of the IOC Assembly and its Executive Council as regards the organization of all aspects of the Commission’s work, including the convening of sessions and meetings of the IOC governing and subsidiary bodies, in accordance with the IOC Statutes and Rules of Procedure and the decisions of the UNESCO General Conference, and will report accordingly.

The core aspect of the job is to promote, coordinate and implement the programmes of IOC, as approved by the IOC Assembly and presented subsequently to the UNESCO General Conference, including fundraising and related financial management, while engaging the ocean science community and appropriate Member State agencies and departments.

The incumbent will coordinate and promote collaboration with international organizations concerned with the work of the Commission, and especially with those organizations of the United Nations system that are willing and prepared to contribute to the purposes and functions of the Commission and/or to seek advice and cooperation in the field of ocean and coastal area scientific research, related services and capacity-building (quote from Statutes, Article 2 para 2). A particular aspect of the job is to ensure proper links between IOC programmes and the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goal 14, UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement, Convention on Biological Diversity, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and Samoa Accelerated Modalities of Acton Framework for Small Island Developing States, and to coordinate/cooperate as required with UNESCO programme, undertaking mutually-agreed intersectoral activities within the mandate of the Commission.

The incumbent will ensure that IOC responds, as a competent intergovernmental organization, to the requirements deriving from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other international instruments relevant to marine scientific research, related services and capacity development.

The incumbent will direct the work of the staff of the IOC Secretariat; and represent, or arrange appropriate representation of IOC, at meetings of other organizations and bodies, whose work is of interest to IOC, as well as participate in such inter-secretariat bodies that may be concerned wholly or in part with the work of IOC.

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)
  • Strategic thinking (M)
  • Making quality decisions (M)
  • Managing performance (M)
  • Leading and empowering others (M)

For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.




  • Advanced university degree, preferably at doctorate level, in ocean sciences or a related field.

Work Experience

  • Extensive professional experience in senior executive positions in one or more fields covered by IOC programmes, including substantial assignments at regional and/or international level.
  • Several years of exposure to the requirements of international cooperation and proven familiarity with the work and activities of the United Nations system organizations and other international organizations in the field of ocean sciences.

Skills and Competencies

  • Demonstrated ability to direct processes of change at senior management level with large institutions of national or international scope.
  • Knowledge of trends, demands and challenges in ocean sciences and management, including in developing countries.
  • Proven leadership and managerial skills, ability to provide leadership, vision and strategic direction needed to ensure that the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission is able to carry out its mandate and achieve its objectives, ability to focus the energies and talents of the Commission’s employees and motivate them to work as a team to achieve the IOC’s objectives.
  • Excellent communication skills, ability to identify, analyze, define and communicate priorities and strategies, ability to develop effective working relationships with the IOC Officers and Member States, UNESCO Permanent Delegations, UNESCO senior management, IOC’s key stakeholders and partners, and to act as the IOC’s spokesperson in dealing with governments, media, other organizations, stakeholders and partners.
  • Ability to conduct high-level negotiations at the international level.


  • Excellent knowledge and drafting skills in one of the working languages (English or French) of the Organization and working knowledge of the second language.



  • Ph.D. in ocean sciences or a related field.

Skills and Competencies

  • Good knowledge of the United Nations system.


  • Knowledge of other official languages 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.

The approximate annual starting salary for this post is 205,568 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.

Further information can be found here.

via IOC
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