UNESCO’s Competency Framework -What you need to know?

The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched its competency framework in April 2015.

What is the UNESCO Competency Framework? The UNESCO Competency Framework provides an inventory of expected behaviors, skills, and attitudes that lead to successful performance. The UNESCO Competency Framework has three components:

Core Values that are the shared principles and beliefs that unite all staff and should guide us in our actions;

Core competencies that are a set of related knowledge, skills, and abilities that result in essential behaviors expected from those working for the Organization;

Managerial competencies that apply to staff with management responsibilities at P-4 level and above.

UNESCO uses the competency framework for a variety of functions including job profiling, recruitment, performance management, and promoting learning and career development. If you are looking to apply for a job with UNESCO, it is to your advantage to review their competency framework which is available online here:

The core values, core competencies, and managerial competencies are listed below for your convenience.


Core Values

• Commitment to the Organization • Integrity • Respect for Diversity • Professionalism

Core Competencies

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

Managerial Competencies (for Level P4 positions and above)

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


My last long-term assignment (4 years) was with UNESCO in Malawi as Team Leader on the European Union-funded Skills and Technical Education Project (STEP). We used the elements of the framework when developing job descriptions for new staff and consultants, for performance reviews of the staff, and applied it as well to plan our own professional development.

The STEP Malawi website is still operating and has a wealth of resources available.


Author: arthureshears

Passionate about writing, international development and travel

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: