JPO & AEs Programme
About the programme
Past editions

JPO & AEs programme

versione italiana

The Associate Experts and Junior Professional Officers Programme, also known as the JPO Programme, is a multilateral technical cooperation initiative sponsored by the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy. It enables Italian citizens in possession of a university degree and not over the age of 30 (33 for graduates in medicine and surgery) to gain in-field training and experience with the international organizations for a period of two years.

The purpose of the Programme is two-fold. On the one hand, it assists the international organizations in their technical cooperation activities by providing JPO services in development initiatives. On the other, it allows young people wishing to pursue an international career to acquire on-the-job professional experience, which may lead to future career development within the organizations or in the international field.

The Programme originates from a United Nations Economic and Social Council resolution adopted in 1961 which approved and encouraged the collaboration of volunteers, financed by their respective countries of origin, in implementing development cooperation initiatives and programmes.

Italy joined the scheme in the mid-seventies, and over the years has developed it into a Programme, extending its sponsorship to the Secretariat of the United Nations and relative organs and to a number of specialised agencies in the UN system and other international organizations with which the Italian Government stipulated specific agreements.

In 1984, an agreement with the Commission of the European Communities ratified the assignment of ltalian associate experts to delegations of the Commission in associate/partner countries (Africa, Caribbean , Pacific). To date, Italy has sponsored more than 1500 Associate Experts and Junior Professional Officers.

Information on the Programme, the recruitment campaign and the short-listing of candidates are dealt with directly by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA) in Rome , in collaboration with the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy.


 To be eligible for short-listing, candidates must:

  • have Italian citizenship or that of a developing country (please note that while in the past years Italy financed JPO positions for nationals of developing countries, this has not occurred in the cycle 2013/2014 due to the limited availability of posts.)
  • hold one of the following academic qualifications:
    • laurea degree (old Italian university system)
    • laurea specialistica/magistrale (new Italian university system)
    • laurea (new Italian university system) followed by a Master's degree
  • be aged not over 30 (33 for graduates in medicine), born on or after 1st January 1983 (1980 for graduates in medicine).
  • possess an excellent knowledge of English and Italian; candidates holding multiple nationalities, including the Italian, will be considered as Italian candidates and will have to prove their knowledge of the Italian language.
    Candidates from developing countries are not required to prove the knowledge of the Italian language.

The candidates holding a bachelor degree or similar must have a master degree or a maîtrise.

In evaluating the resumé and professional background of candidates, knowledge of other foreign languages, previous work experience and the possession of further academic qualifications are considered definite assets.

The level of training and experience demanded varies greatly and depends on the requests made by the international organizations. They range from generic qualifications (jurist, economist) to more specific specialisation (experts in the fields of food, environment, development, human rights, etc.).

Selection process

The preliminary assessment of candidacies for admission to the selection tests is carried out by the UN/DESA Office. This evaluation is further examined by a UN Commission, bearing in mind candidates' university qualifications, work experience and language skills, and the types of posts the international organizations have submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and for which the latter gives its approval.

At the end of this preliminary phase, shortlisted candidates are called for a final selection interview in Rome (normally between the months of June and July) with representatives of the various international organizations.

The interviews will take place only in the UN/DESA Office in Rome. No other location or option will be allowed (Skype, phone, video conference).

These organizations are responsible for the final selection of candidates.

Successful candidates may be required to serve either at the headquarters of the organizations or in their overseas offices, carrying out technical cooperation projects and programmes in developing countries. Their entry grade into the service is at the lowest level of the professional category (P2 in the case of the United Nations and the equivalent grade in other international organizations), with a one-year contract that can be renewed for a second year.

However, it must be pointed out that not only are candidates selected on a highly competitive basis, but also that recruitment is not easy to obtain when the Associate Expert or JPO contract expires.

At the end of the interview period and prior to official recruitment by the international organizations, successful candidates take part in a two-week training and guidance course at the International Training Centre ITC-ILO in Turin. This course provides an important opportunity to meet and exchange views for newly selected JPOs, who coming as they do from different academic backgrounds and having to work in different environments, are motivated by common interests and ideals.

How to apply

Applications to participate in the Programme must be made using the ad-hoc application form. A signed original of the form, along with a photocopy of the applicant's university degree certificate (including a list of examinations taken, the Italian certificates must not be translated into English) or a self-certification signed by the applicant, post degree's certificates/self-certification and a passport-sized photograph, must be received by UN/DESA at the following address:

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA)Associate Experts and Junior Professional Officers Programme
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 251
00186 Roma - Italia

We are not currently collecting applications. The information will be posted in this website as soon as available.

For further information on the JPO Programme, please contact the UN/DESA Office at the following e-mail address: JPOinfo@undesa.it or by phone calling the (+39) 06 68136320.

Warning to applicants