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Senior Regional Advisor for Africa

Status: Appointed

Vacancy #: 164
Unit: Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Organization: The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar)
Location: Headquarters, Gland, Switzerland
Reporting to: Secretary General
Work percentage: 100%
Function group: M
Expected start date: 01 July 2010
Type of contract: Max-term (30 months)
Closing date: 09 May 2010 (extended)


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 Ramsar Convention Secretariat currently comprises 20 employees.

While the Convention on Wetlands is fully recognized by the international community as an intergovernmental agreement, its secretariat is under the special circumstance of being administered by IUCN and is co-located with the world headquarters of IUCN in Gland (near Geneva), Switzerland. However, the Ramsar Secretariat is under the authority of the Standing Committee of the Convention and ultimately of its Conference of the Parties.

Legally, Ramsar Secretariat staff are IUCN employees, and their contracts are governed by the IUCN Global Human Resources Policy, Guidelines and Procedures for Expatriates, Conditions of Service for Switzerland, and Swiss labor law. IUCN does not have the status of an intergovernmental organization under a host country agreement in Switzerland: consequently, IUCN must obtain a Swiss work permit for non-Swiss staff. IUCN and Ramsar staff do not have diplomatic immunity or international civil servant (UN) status.

The incumbent will be offered an initial 3-year contract, subject to a three-month probation period. The following benefits are provided: full accident insurance and a fixed contribution for health insurance (for the employee only, not his/her family); a salary entitlement in case of illness or accident; a family allowance if applicable. Expatriate entitlements include the possibility of an education allowance; a home leave travel allowance; and installation and repatriation costs. These entitlements are governed by the Guidelines and Procedures for Expatriates.

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.


1. The Senior Regional Advisor for Africa is the lead officer in the Ramsar Convention Secretariat responsible for advising on and supporting the strategic development and effective implementation of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on the African Continent.

2. The main responsibility of the position is to provide expert and authoritative advice and assistance to Contracting Parties in the region on policy, technical, and scientific issues related to the implementation at the national and regional levels, in the context of global issues.

3. The Senior Regional Advisor must have a global and regional understanding of wetland-related issues and must develop, maintain and present a clear understanding of the Convention's operations and priorities, and of wetland-related issues and priorities in his/her region.

4. As the official representative of the Secretary General in the Africa region, the Senior Regional Advisor is responsible for maintaining a high and professional profile with governments in the region, partners, donors and other stakeholders.

5. The Senior Regional Advisor has line management responsibility for the Intern/Assistant Advisor for Africa and works closely with subregional initiatives in the region.


• Postgraduate qualification in an aspect of natural or social science related to wetland conservation and wise use.  

• A minimum of 12 years' professional experience in environmental conservation and sustainable use / sustainable development issues, preferably related to wetland ecosystems, of which at least five years should be international experience in the relevant region.  

• Demonstrated spoken and written fluency in English and French.  

• Demonstrated capacity for innovative and strategic thinking and ability to provide leadership in dealing with complex issues.  

• Demonstrated fundraising, budgeting and programme planning ability.  

• Demonstrated ability to integrate the perspectives of the biological and social sciences and a commitment to working in interdisciplinary teams.  

• Exposure to and knowledge of major wetland conservation issues, both policy and field related.  

• Familiarity with the work of the main regional and global institutions, including NGOs, dealing with environment and development issues.  

• Well-developed computer skills and ability and willingness to perform the duties of the position in a fairly independent manner, with limited assistance from support staff.  

• Strong inter-personal skills, with demonstrated ability to understand and operate within multicultural environments, and with the range of cultures within the region.  

• Should be an African national, with extensive work and living experience, preferably in different parts of Africa.  


The gross annual salary for this position is in the range from CHF 138'080 to CHF 172'600, subject to deductions for social security contributions and second-pillar pension, and before tax.


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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About IUCN

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.

IUCN works on biodiversity, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,200 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.