Legal Adviser and Director - Office of International Standards and Legal Affairs

UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Paris, Ile-de-France (FR)
Competitive salary
16 May 2018
29 May 2018
Post Number : LA-001
Analyst, Legal, Risk / Compliance
Public Sector
Contract Type
Contract / Interim

Domain: Law
Post Number: LA-001
Grade: D-2
Organizational Unit: Office of Intl Standards and Legal Affairs
Primary Location: FR-Paris
Recruitment open to: Internal and external candidates
Type of contract: Fixed Term
Salary: 169 749 USD  
Deadline (Midnight Paris Time): June 15, 2018

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

Overview of the Functions of the Post
The Office of International Standards and Legal Affairs reports directly to the Director-General. The Office’s mission is to protect the Organization’s interests by concentrating its efforts along two main lines: ensuring compliance with the Organization’s rules, regulations and procedures; and, pursuing improvements in the legal safety of activities carried out by the Organization.

The work of the Legal Adviser/Director of the Office of International Standards and Legal Affairs (LA) is of an advisory and managerial nature. It requires in-depth analysis of legal issues and provision of authoritative, reliable and judicious legal advice on complex and highly varied questions of international and national law. It includes managerial responsibility for a vital area of the Organization's programmes, the direction and provision of leadership to staff in various organizational units dealing with the analysis of administrative, substantive, procedural and other intricate problems that are of critical concern to the Organization, and contribution to the overall policy and objectives of the Organization.

Under the authority of the Director-General, the incumbent will be responsible for the direction and management of the overall Office. In particular, the incumbent will provide organizational leadership and strategic guidance to the Office in the preparation, coordination and supervision of the activities and management related to the financial and human resources of the Office.

Specifically, the incumbent will:

  • Be responsible for providing legal advice on all legal issues arising from the Organization’s activities;
  • Advise the Secretariat on legal issues pertaining to the regulatory, statutory and standard-setting activities of the Organization;
  • Be required to provide legal advice, at their request, to the General Conference and the Executive Board of UNESCO;
  • Advise on the elaboration, adoption and revision of international standard-setting instruments, and on the implementation of the procedures for the application of these instruments;
  • Advise on the application, interpretation and amendment of the Constitution and other statutory and legislative texts of the Organization;
  • Direct the preparation and review of briefs for representing the Organization in proceedings before courts of law, administrative tribunals and any other judicial or quasi-judicial bodies;
  • Represent the Director-General on the committees of the governing bodies of UNESCO relating to legal matters;
  • Be responsible for the management of LA and ensure the direction of the activities of the Office and its cooperation with the other units of the Organization.

A successful candidate will be required to demonstrate the following competencies:

Core Competencies

  • Accountability
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Innovation
  • Results focus
  • Planning and organizing
  • Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement

Managerial Competencies

  • Driving and managing change
  • Strategic thinking
  • Making quality decisions
  • Building partnerships
  • Leading and empowering others
  • Managing performance

For detailed information please consult the UNESCO competency Framework.

Required Qualifications:

  • Advanced university degree in the field of law, with a specialization in public international law.

Work Experience

  • Extensive professional experience in the legal field at the national level and/or experience in another organization within the United Nations system, in posts of high responsibility.
  • Extensive and relevant professional experience in senior leadership/executive positions.


  • Knowledge of, and commitment to, the Organization’s mandate, vision, strategic direction and priorities.
  • In-depth knowledge of legal practice and procedures in international organizations.
  • Leadership capacity, high sense of objectivity, strong analytical capabilities, professional integrity and diplomacy.
  • Sound knowledge of general management practices and techniques.
  • Ability to exercise intellectual authority, as well as provide and manage advisory services.
  • Demonstrated strategic planning and management abilities.
  • Demonstrated ability to direct change processes at the management level within large institutions of national or international scope.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to manage relationships at all levels of the Organization.
  • Excellent communication skills with strong representational abilities.


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

Desirable Qualifications:

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

Work Experience

  • A proven record of operating at the senior management level.
  • Demonstrated experience of management at the international level.
  • Experience in conducting complex negotiations diplomatically and tactfully.
  • Professional experience gained in multicultural working environments would be an asset.
  • Experience in guiding staff and motivating teams in a multicultural environment tactfully and in observance of diversity, as well as in performing supervisory and monitoring duties and ensuring training and staff development.
  • Experience within the United Nations system and/or in a specialized institution or other international organ would be an asset.


  • Ability to interact with a wide range of high-level partners and demonstrated partnership development.
  • Understanding of UNESCO’s strategic direction and familiarity with the substance of UNESCO’s scope would be an asset.
  • Skills in administration and the management of financial and human resources.


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

Benefits and Entitlements
UNESCO’s salaries are calculated in US dollars. They consist of a basic salary and a post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates. Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, home travel, education grant for dependent children, pension plan and medical insurance. More details can be found on the ICSC Website. Please note UNESCO is a non-smoking Organization.

A written examination may be used in the evaluation of candidates.

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. 

For more information on how to apply, please click the apply button.