UNCTAD-WTO seek executive director for International Trade Centre

11 March 2020
The selection process for a new executive director will be jointly carried out by the heads of UNCTAD and the World Trade Organization. The deadline for application is 15 April 2020.

Post Title and Level:

Executive Director
Assistant Secretary-General (ASG)

Duty Station:


Organization Unit:  

International Trade Centre (ITC)


In line with its joint mandate from the United Nations through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the World Trade Organization (WTO), The International Trade Centre (ITC) supports its parent organizations’ regulatory, research and policy strategies to help developing countries, in particular Least Developed Countries and transition economies, to be better integrated in the global economy, foster inclusive and sustainable economic development and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. To this end, the ITC focuses on implementing and delivering practical trade-related technical assistance (TRTA) projects.

ITC is headed by an Executive Director, who reports to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and leads the programme of work of the Organization. In that capacity, and in close coordination with the Secretary-General of UNCTAD and the Director-General of WTO, the Executive Director handles the overall management and administration of the International Trade Centre by:

  • Assuming strategic leadership and responsibility for all operational activities of the ITC related to priority-setting and planning the optimum use of resources, expertise and experience, and overseeing and guiding the Organization’s senior leadership in the discharge of their functions;

  • Maintaining effective working relations with Designated Officials, representatives of Member States, regional groups, host government authorities and other stakeholders within the scope of its mandate;

  • Developing effective working relationships with other United Nations departments, agencies, offices, funds and programmes on all issues relevant to the work of the Centre.

  • Developing effective working relationships with the WTO on all issues relevant to the work of the Centre

  • Maintaining strategic partnerships with other international, regional and sub-regional organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions and think tanks.

  • Supervising and overseeing the Organization in carrying out its delegated financial, personnel and general administrative responsibilities;

  • Overseeing and strengthening the day-to-day, internal management of the Organization; 



Professionalism:  demonstrated expertise international trade and development and in the management of a complex organization in an internationally diverse and multicultural environment.

Leadership:  proven leadership skills and demonstrated ability to manage and coordinate multiple different activities/operations.  Demonstrated flexibility in leadership by performing and/or overseeing the analysis of complex programme issues; empowering others to translate vision into results and create an enabling environment; anticipate and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; continuously drives for change and improvement.

Vision:  ability to identify key strategic issues, opportunities and risks and to clearly communicate links between the ITC’s strategy and its parent Organizations’ goals; ability to support and execute sound vision of internal management and oversight.

Judgement/Decision-making:  strong, reliable and mature judgement and decision-making skills with the ability to make difficult decisions under pressure; identifies the key issues in a complex situation and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; checks assumptions against facts.

Managing Performance:  ability to make timely decisions, establish priorities and coach, mentor, motivate and develop staff and encourage good performance; delegates responsibility, clarifies expectations and gives staff autonomy in important areas of their work; encourages others to set challenging goals; holds others accountable for achieving results related to their area of responsibility.

Integrity:  resists undue political pressure in decision-making; does not abuse power or authority; takes prompt action in case of unprofessional or unethical behaviour, serves as a model for ethical behaviour.

Accountability:  takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; delivers outputs for which he/she has responsibility; takes responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit.

Communication: excellent communication and negotiation skills required. Listens to others and is genuinely interested in having two-way communications; strong reputation of dealing honestly and openly with issues and staff; knowledge of modern management tools and practices and high level of information technology awareness needed to oversee appropriate utilization of information technology platforms and programmes.

Gender mainstreaming:  provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives into substantive work and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing and creating a gender sensitive working environment that pays attention to work/life issues.




Advanced university degree (Masters degree or equivalent) in international relations, international development, public administration, law, political or social sciences, or related area.


  • Extensive experience at a senior managerial level in international trade, investment and productive capacity challenges faced by businesses is required, including in developing countries;

  • Demonstrated leadership experience with strategic vision and proven skills in managing complex organizations is required;

  • Proven track record to deal with developing countries, in particular Least Developed Countries and transitioning economies.

  • Knowledge of the interlinkages and governance of ITC’s two parent organizations, i.e. UNCTAD and the WTO is required;

  • Management experience in the area of trade promotion, especially related to business/export promotion, and technical assistance to developing countries in required;

  • Substantial experience working within relevant international organizations would be desirable;

  • Knowledge of United Nations and WTO policies, procedures and operations is desirable;

  • Demonstrated experience in the implementation of workplace reform and change management is desirable;



English and French are the official working languages of the United Nations.  For this post, fluency in oral and written English or French, with a good command of the other is required. Working knowledge of another UN official language is desirable.


Human rights screening

In accordance with the policy for the nomination of candidates, the UN and WTO Secretariats wishes to outline that it is the responsibility of the nominating Government to ensure that each candidate it nominates has not been convicted of, or is not currently under investigation or being prosecuted for, any criminal offence, or any violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.  In the case of nominees who have been investigated for, charged with or prosecuted for any criminal offence but were not convicted, the nominating Government is requested to provide information regarding the investigation(s) or prosecutions concerned.  The nominating Government is also requested to certify that it is not aware of any allegations against its nominated candidates that they have been involved, by act or omission, in the commission of any acts that amount to violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.

Individuals who are either nominated by Member States or who seek to serve with the United Nations in any individual capacity will be required, if short-listed, to complete a self-attestation stating that they have not committed , been convicted of, nor prosecuted for, any criminal offence and have not been involved, by act or omission, in the commission of any violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian laws.


Conflicts of interest

All United Nations staff members are expected to uphold the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity. Senior leaders in particular, have the responsibility to serve as role models in upholding the organization’s ethical standards.  A conflict of interest occurs when, by act or omission, a staff member's personal interests interfere with the performance of his/her official duties and responsibilities, or call into question his/her integrity, independence and impartiality.  Risk for conflicts of interest may arise from a staff member's engagement in outside (non-UN) employment or occupation; outside activities, including political activities; receipt of gifts, honours, awards, favours or remuneration from external (non-UN) sources; or personal investment. In particular, no staff member shall accept any honour, decoration, favour, gift or remuneration from any Government (staff regulation 1.2 (j)).  Where a real or perceived conflict of interest does arise, senior leaders are obligated to disclose this to the organization without delay.  In order to avoid real or perceived family influence or preferential treatment and conflicts of interest that could stem from such situations, the UN Staff Rules provide that appointments “shall not be granted to anyone who is the father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister of a staff member” (staff rule 4.7 (a)).

Short-listed individuals will also be required to complete the pre-appointment declaration of interests for senior positions to identify possible conflicts of interest that may arise and to proactively prevent and manage, as much as possible and in a timely manner, situations in which personal interests may conflict or appear to conflict with the interests of the United Nations, should the individual be appointed to this position.


The deadline for application is 15 April 2020. Please send your application to both email addresses below:

[email protected]

[email protected]