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Regional ESMS Specialist -ESARO

Vacancy #:   5984
Unit:   ESARO - Programme Coordination
Organisation:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, Nairobi, Kenya
Reporting to:   Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Manager
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   P2
Expected start date:   15 September 2022
Type of contract:   Fixed-term (28 months)
Closing date:   23 May 2022


IUCN is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organisations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,300 Member organisations and the input of more than 16,000 experts. IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. The IUCN Secretariat has offices located all around the world and is headquartered in Gland, Switzerland.
Every four years, the IUCN membership adopts a quadrennial Programme that guides the work of the Union, especially that of the IUCN Secretariat. The Secretariat implements the IUCN Programme through a growing portfolio of over 400 projects across the world that are designed to respond to country, donor, and IUCN priorities. IUCN has put in place an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) in order to provide a systematic procedure to check IUCN projects for potential adverse environmental and social impacts and to assure that negative impacts are avoided or minimised to the extent possible while promoting positive impacts. The ESMS procedures and policies are explained in the ESMS Manual and in the ESMS standards available at www.iucn.org/esms.
Currently the application of the ESMS procedures is assumed by the global ESMS Coordinator, but delegation of some of this work is intended in order to increase the ESMS’ performance, timely delivery and operational efficiency and to ensure the review is geographically closer to the projects and its stakeholder.
To achieve these enhancements, IUCN is hiring an ESMS Specialist for the Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa, ESARO. He/she will be responsible for the application of the IUCN ESMS policy on the regional project portfolio. This position will contribute to the region’s leadership in safeguard quality assurance and will play a key role in improving IUCN’s ESMS practices and culture. It will require safeguard subject-matter expertise and experience as well as aptitude in advising and training on the need and benefits of safeguard application.

As the regional specialist for the application of the ESMS, this position is responsible for ensuring that ESMS procedures, standards and principles are applied on the regional project portfolio. This includes preparing ESMS screening reports for projects in the ESARO/Asia region including country specific and multi-country/regional projects, advising proponents on safeguard-related improvements of project design, support the preparation of ESIAs and safeguard documents and preparing ESMS clearance. It further involves providing support and supervision during project implementation to guarantee that ESMS requirements are complied with and assure quality. Where safeguard related grievance is raised, he/she will be instrumental in solving the matter proactively.

He/she will also build ESMS capacity in the region to enhance ESMS compliant project design and ensure effective implementation of the risk management strategies. This involves coaching and training of existing regional staff, project proponents and project managers (including external to IUCN) as well as supporting recruitment, onboarding and training of project ESMS officers.

This position provides safeguards expertise to support learning from ESMS application in support of further refining the system and increasing the system’s efficiency. She/he will monitor the application of safeguard tools in the region, distill lessons learned and support the global ESMS Coordinator in system development, refinements and learning.
This position will report to the Regional MEL Coordinator but will be guided technically by the global ESMS Coordinator.


Regional portfolio ESMS application;
Application of ESMS procedures on the regional project portfolio, specifically:
Environmental and social due diligence at project design stage
Screen projects on environmental and social impacts, define risk category, identify necessary impact studies and safeguard tools/plans;
Advise proponents on stakeholder engagement during project design and implementation phase;
Support proponents in contracting experts for environmental and social assessments ; where issues are less complex, carry out targeted assessments and stakeholder consultation;
Appraise the quality of final ESIA reports and environmental and social management plans ESMP) and other safeguard tools;
Ensure appropriate budgeting for ESMS activities;
Conduct final compliance check and prepare ESMS clearance of projects.

ESMS support during project implementation;
Provide ESMS training for executing agency (EA) and relevant partners at project inception;
Appraise any ESMS deliverables that are due in the inception phase;
Support the EA in monitoring safeguard tools and reporting progress on implementation and compliance with all ESMS requirements;
Contribute to annual project implementation reviews/ supervision missions and to the development of the ESMS specific aspects of the mid-term review and terminal review;
Manage ESMS project data including entries to the Project Portal to assure maintenance of ESMS records.

Grievance management and incident reporting;
Support the EA in setting-up a project-level grievance mechanism in accordance to the Grievance Mechanism Guidance Note;
Work with EA to solve grievance in line with IUCN’s three-staged grievance process;
Maintain a register of grievance and report on progress solving grievances;
Ensure timely reporting of incidents and implementation of corrective actions.

Build ESMS capacity in the region;
To enhance ESMS compliant project design and ensure effective implementation of the risk management strategies, it is essential to strengthen regional ESMS capacity. This involves:
4Train and coach regional staff and project proponents on ESMS procedures, principles and standards to ensure not only consistent application but also pro-active integration of ESMS principles into project design;
5Support the global ESMS Coordinator in the development of ESMS training materials and delivery of training sessions;
Contribute to the recruitment, hiring and on-boarding of new project ESMS officers in the region.

ESMS development, refinement and learning;
Supporting the global ESMS Coordinator in system development, refinements and learning. This involves:
Monitor ESMS implementation in the region to capture lessons learned and feed-back from the EA and project stakeholders and suggest refinement and improvements of the system;
Contribute to enhancement of institutional processes to increase effectiveness of ESMS application;
Generate lessons on the ESMS application identifying good practices and synthesizing these practices for dissemination;
Perform other duties as may be assigned from time to time.

Master degree in natural or social sciences, environmental management, policies or law, sociology, anthropology, indigenous people’s studies or comparable qualification;
Minimum of 5 years of relevant professional experience, desirably in the region, promoting rights-based approaches, improving socio-economic benefits and addressing and managing environmental and, in particular, social risks in the context of conservation or natural resource management projects;
Expert knowledge and practical experience in carrying out environmental and social assessments and the application of safeguards/performance standards (e.g. World Bank, IFC etc), in designing and implementing safeguard tools and technical and organizational solutions; familiarity with GEF and GCF and national safeguards requirements in the region; certified social and environmental impact experts will have an advantage;
Practical experience in engaging with indigenous peoples, marginalized, vulnerable or minority groups and local communities, conducting FPIC and addressing gender risks desired; familiarity with addressing risks related to environmental law enforcement an advantage;
Demonstrated capacity to work collaboratively within a diverse team, coach colleagues and design and implement training courses;
Very good inter-personal skills and high degree of cultural sensitivity;
Strong analytical skills, diligent working style and ability to quickly evaluate complex situations;
Fluency in English is a requirement and good knowledge (speaking and writing) of Portuguese is desirable.

Core Competencies;
Transparency: Able to build trust and contribute to informed and responsible decision making by carrying out the work of IUCN in a transparent manner; provides clear guidance to ensure that objectives and desired measurable results are understood by members of the team.
Inclusiveness: Understands and accepts cultural diversity, and provide a tolerant, positive and supportive working environment that fosters respect for diversity, demonstrates ability to work in a multicultural, multi ethnic environment and to maintain effective working relations with people of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds.
Professionalism: Promote the organisation’s interests, objectives and values in a diligent and professional manner.
Accountability: Takes responsibility of individual and collective actions, promotes the IUCN One Programme approach.

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). Please note that only selected applicants will be personally contacted for interviews.

Other job opportunities are published in the IUCN website: https://www.iucn.org/involved/jobs/

About IUCN

IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.

Created in 1948, IUCN is now the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of more than 1,400 Member organisations and around 16,000 experts. It is a leading provider of conservation data, assessments and analysis. Its broad membership enables IUCN to fill the role of incubator and trusted repository of best practices, tools and international standards.

IUCN provides a neutral space in which diverse stakeholders including governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, indigenous peoples organisations and others can work together to forge and implement solutions to environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development.

Working with many partners and supporters, IUCN implements a large and diverse portfolio of conservation projects worldwide. Combining the latest science with the traditional knowledge of local communities, these projects work to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems and improve people’s well-being.