United Nations - The Nippon Foundation Thematic Fellowship:

The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through UNCLOS and ocean governance frameworks

UN-NF Programmes: Responding to the impacts of COVID-19

Information on call for applications

Please note that the in-person implementation of the 2020 Fellowship programmes has been delayed until 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There will, accordingly, be no call for applications issued for the 2021 sessions of the Fellowship programmes.

Fellowship Background and Overview

On 22 April 2004, the United Nations and The Nippon Foundation of Japan concluded a trust fund project agreement to provide capacity-building and human resource development to developing States Parties and non-Parties to UNCLOS through a Fellowship Programme. The Programme is executed by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) of the Office of Legal Affairs.

On 7 June 2017, a new partnership “United Nations-Nippon Foundation Sustainable Ocean Programme” was launched. As one of the activities of the Sustainable Ocean Programme, the Thematic Fellowship aims at increasing capacity at the national level through funded advanced training and research in specific thematic areas of ocean affairs and the law of the sea and related disciplines, including marine science in support of management frameworks, so as to provide the necessary knowledge to assist countries to formulate relevant policies, in conformity with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Professional skills will also be developed.

This year’s theme is “The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through UNCLOS and ocean governance frameworks”.

Programme Structure

Delivery of training for 12 ocean professionals to build their knowledge and capacity on a specific theme over a four months programme:

  • three months of in-person training at United Nations Headquarters; and
  • either one-month placement with relevant UN System organizations or a New York based programme of briefings and activities aimed at providing first-hand knowledge and insight into the implementation of ocean affairs frameworks and building a network of resource persons to assist them, as appropriate, in the future.

The programme will take place between the second half of August and the second half of December 2020.

Information for Applicants


Please note that there is NO COST to submit an application. The deadline for submission of applications is 3 April 2020.

PLEASE NOTE: In view of the limited timeframe for the selection process, it will not be possible to consider incomplete or late applications.

Selection criteria

Candidates must meet all the following criteria:

  • Must be between the ages of 25 and 40;
  • Must have successfully completed a first university degree, and demonstrate a capacity to undertake independent advanced academic research and study;
  • Must be Government officials or other mid-level professionals from developing States or developed States who demonstrate a solid background in ocean affairs and a need for further in-depth training in this year’s specialized thematic area.
  • Must be free of all non-Fellowship obligations during this entire period unless otherwise authorized by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs.
  • The "Nomination and Recommendation Form" must be completed by an employer who can attest to the nature of your work with respect to ocean affairs and law of the sea related activities, and indicate how an Award would directly contribute to these activities;

Women candidates are strongly invited to apply, with a view to achieving gender balance in the selection process.

Satisfaction of the above criteria must be clearly demonstrated by the candidate through the application forms.

Application package

The Fellowship application package consists of the following two forms:

  1. The Personal History Form (click to download in MS Word format)
  2. This Form must be completed by the candidate, either typewritten or word processed. Each question must be answered clearly and completely in order to ensure that the application will be processed. While completing this form, candidates should pay particular attention to sections 18, 19 and 20. If necessary, candidates may attach no more than one additional page of the same size.

  3. The Nomination and Recommendation Form (click to download in MS Word format)
  4. This form must be completed and signed by your employer and must clearly identify how the candidate will be in a position to directly affect positive change with respect to this year’s specific theme.

Once completed, both the "Nomination and Recommendation Form" and the completed "Personal History and Proposed Research/Study Programme Form" must be forwarded to DOALOS.

DOALOS reserves the right not to process incomplete and/or late submissions.

Applications should be sent to:

E-mail (Preferred): DOALOS@un.org

The United Nations - Nippon Foundation Thematic Fellowship
Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea
Office of Legal Affairs
United Nations, Room DC2-0450
New York, N.Y. 10017, U.S.A.


The decision to Award a Fellowship is made in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Technical Cooperation Agreement which establishes the Fellowship Programme, and guided by the "Fellowship Selection Criteria" applied by the United Nations System Organizations.

Twelve fellowships will be awarded per annum, ten to candidates from developing States and two to candidates from developed States respectively. Successful candidates ONLY will be notified directly by DOALOS of their Award. Other applicants will find the selection results posted on this webpage.

Please note that Awards are conditional on the fulfilment of all Fellowship requirements including, inter alia, the necessary visa(s).

Conditions for selected candidates

  1. Travel and Payment (Stipends - and allowance)
  2. Fellows will be provided with a return air-ticket in economy class for travels from their home country to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA and back to their home country.

    Travel arrangements will be made by the United Nations and in accordance with the applicable United Nations travel policies.

    Fellows will receive a stipend during their fellowship in accordance with the established United Nations rates for each host Country. These rates are updated regularly and available on the following URL: https://www.un.org/development/desa/fellowship/stipend-rates.

    For the first month, Fellows will receive their stipend at the non-academic "Max Trav" rate, and all subsequent months will be at the non-academic "Max Res" rate. Stipend paid to Fellows while outside the home country is a monthly allowance intended to cover the cost of lodging, board and other essentials such as laundry and local transport. Stipend is normally payable in the local currency of the host country. Stipend is not a salary or honorarium. It is not intended to cover the Fellows' continuing expenses at home for themselves, nor their families. Stipends will be paid for the entire duration of the Fellowship.

    Specific information regarding the travel and payment instructions will be provided to the Fellow, as early as possible, but not before visa procedures have been completed.

    Once Fellows start their Fellowship at United Nations Headquarters, they should open a local bank account. Please note that it normally takes 5-10 working days for the first stipend payment to be deposited to this account.

    Subsequent payments will be made through direct bank transfers to that bank account. If Fellows are unable to open a bank account due to local banking policies, they are requested to immediately inform DOALOS.

    As international financial transactions are strictly regulated, Fellows are strongly advised to open a local bank account and communicate their banking information to DOALOS immediately upon arrival so as to avoid delays in the transfer of subsequent stipend payments.

  3. Visas
  4. It is very important that once Fellows receive an Award, they immediately begin applying for visa(s). While the United Nations may provide Fellows with certain supporting documents in this regard, the timely securing of all necessary visa(s) “including transit visa(s)“ is the sole responsibility of the Fellows. Although the Fellows are also responsible for the costs of obtaining visa(s), it should be noted that the first month’s stipend rate is higher than the subsequent months also in order to offset such costs.

    Fellows will not be authorized to travel until they have secured the necessary visa(s).

    Fellows should understand that certain visa application processes are very lengthy and thus they should plan accordingly while considering the timing of their placements and the overall duration of the Fellowship tenure.

    Once Fellows have secured the required visa(s), they should immediately provide a copy to DOALOS so that Travel and Payment instructions can be processed.

    Fellows are asked not to take family members with them during the Fellowship. The United Nations and the host institutions will not provide any supporting documentation for visa application(s) of family members. Also note that the monthly stipend rates are sufficient to cover the normal living expenses of one person, and that no allowances of any kind will be paid for accompanying family members. Furthermore, the Fellow’s medical insurance, which is arranged by the United Nations, will not cover any family members accompanying Fellows during their tenure. Fellows should also consider that, in the course of their award, they may be required to travel under circumstances that would make it difficult or impossible for their family members to accompany them.

  5. Medical Insurance
  6. Fellows will be enrolled in a medical insurance scheme for the duration of their Fellowship programme. This coverage is provided by Cigna International Health Services BVBA, Belgium.

  7. Housing
  8. Fellows are responsible for securing their accommodations. The United Nations will not act on behalf of the Fellows, serve as guarantors, or accept any liabilities or responsibilities in this regard.

    Fellows are strongly encouraged to research local housing markets as soon as possible, and secure their accommodations as early as possible.

Prepared by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, United Nations.

Copyright © 2018 United Nations - Office of Legal Affairs
United Nations All Rights Reserved Worldwide

The use of this web site constitutes agreement with the terms and conditions of use of United Nations web sites.

United Nations Privacy Notice

Oceans and Law of the Sea Home Page

United Nations Home Page

Search Oceans and Law of the Sea site

Comments and suggestions?

Mail to DOALOS