Intern/Assistant to the Senior Regional Advisor - Americas
Ramsar Convention Secretariat
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar)
Headquarters, Gland, Switzerland
Senior Regional Advisor for the Americas
Expected start date:
01 March 2013
Type of contract:
30 September 2009
The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Ramsar Convention is independent of the United Nations system of environmental treaties and reports only to its own Contracting Parties, or Member States. The Secretariat operations are administered by IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The Convention Secretariat, which currently comprises 21 employees, is co-located with the world headquarters of IUCN in Gland (near Geneva), Switzerland.
The Secretariat initiated a regional internship programme in 1997 which allows four interns to assist the respective Senior Regional Advisors in their day to day work within the Secretariat. The tasks will rarely involve field work. Exceptionally interns could be asked to visit projects or participate in meetings abroad. There will also be opportunities to attend international meetings held in Geneva and to become acquainted with other international agencies based there.
With an upper age limit for applicants of 30 years old, the post offers an opportunity for young graduates to become acquainted with the workings of an intergovernmental treaty dealing with the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Candidates should be prepared to provide services for a period of at least 12 months. The assignment will be subject to a two-month probationary period. The Secretariat may offer an intern an extension of up to twelve months, i.e. for a maximum period of 24 months' service.
The intern will report to the Senior Regional Advisor for the Americas.
The Ramsar Secretariat will provide for each intern:
- a return train/boat or air ticket from and to a previously-agreed point of departure, using the most economical fare available (return fare offered only up to three months after the end of the intern's tenure in the Secretariat);
- monthly remuneration, from which the rental of a Ramsar studio apartment* is deducted, as well as roughly 18% for statutory Swiss social security and unemployment schemes and for pension and internal tax. Interns “take home” a net salary of approximately CHF2,000.- per month;
- CHF290 gross per month as a contribution towards his/her premium for medical insurance coverage. Swiss health insurance is mandatory and linked to the work permit. It will be organized immediately upon arrival. International health insurance coverage is usually not accepted;
- a half-price tariff ticket on the Swiss railway system, to allow travel at reasonable cost on the excellent Swiss rail network;
- a subsidized mid-day meal in the IUCN cafeteria;
- IUCN applies for work permits (and if required an entry visa to take up employment in Switzerland);
- Working hours: 40 per week;
- Leave: 25 days per year.
*The Ramsar Secretariat rents and equips studio apartments at a short distance from the office. Notes: (1) Interns do not have the choice of living elsewhere, since they are rented on a permanent basis for the purpose of providing accommodation for interns. (2) Owing to the type of accommodation, level of salary, and Swiss health insurance and residency conditions, candidates should be aware that it is not possible for interns to bring members of their families to live with them during their internships. Of course, holiday visits are possible with a tourist visa (at the cost of interns).
SPECIFIC DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
1. Evaluating data sheets ("Ramsar Information Sheets") and preparing related documentation to accompany the designation process of Ramsar Sites and their updates;
2. Entering data in RSIS (Ramsar Sites Information Service) database for new designations and updates;
3. Evaluating/assessing project proposals for the Convention's small grants assistance programmes and monitoring projects over their cycle, maintaining contact, checking reports and results. This may also include a field visit evaluation;
4. Assisting with conservation and sustainable use issues of individual wetland sites in the respective region and particularly assisting with the procedure concerning adverse changes in the ecological character of Ramsar Sites (Art 3.2);
5. Maintaining routine contacts with governments of Ramsar member and non–member countries, as well as with national NGOs and international partner organizations and other relevant bodies in the respective region;
6. Promoting use of the mechanisms for conservation and sustainable use of wetlands that have been developed under the Convention, especially the technical guidelines related to the work on Ramsar Information Sheets, and the development of management tools;
7. Contributing to the preparation of regional meetings, annual meetings of the Ramsar Standing Committee and the triennial Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP12 will take place in Uruguay in 2015);
8. Assisting in activities related to spreading the 'Ramsar message' to governments, decision-makers, the media, the private sector, and the public at large (e.g., the World Wetlands Day initiative) and participating in other events, and possibly delivering presentations;
9. Dealing with routine administrative work, such as preparing correspondence, sending faxes, making photocopies, assisting with bulk mailings, translation;
10. Occasionally collating and analyzing information on technical and policy issues related to wetland conservation and sustainable use, as required by the Strategic Plan 2009-2015 and the work plan of the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel.
• For this internship, candidates should be nationals of the North, Central or South America or the Caribbean and have lived most of their lives in this region.
• The Ramsar Secretariat’s working languages are English, French, and Spanish. For the Americas regional internship position excellent spoken and written English and Spanish are a necessity, and French would be a definite plus.
• The principal qualities required are enthusiasm and a commitment to nature conservation and sustainable use issues.
• Interns should have a university degree (preferably a post-graduate degree) in a subject relevant to wetland conservation and wise use, such as geography, biology, hydrology, marine sciences, natural resources management, land use planning, or anthropology/sociology. Experience of field work in wetland subjects will be a clear advantage.
• Interns should also have at least one year work experience in a relevant field;
• In addition, interns should have well-developed computer skills (Word for Windows, Excel, e-mail) and be able to perform routine secretarial tasks efficiently (typing in particular).
Applicants are requested to apply online through the HR Management System, by opening the vacancy announcement and pressing the "Apply" button.
Applicants will be asked to create an account and submit their profile information. Applications will not be accepted after the closing date. The vacancy closes at midnight, Swiss time (GMT+1 / GMT+2 during Daylight Saving Time, DST).
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