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Head, Agriculture Team

Vacancy #:   6279
Unit:   Agriculture Team
Organisation:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   Headquarters, Gland, Switzerland
Reporting to:   Deputy Director General - Programme
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   M1
Expected start date:   01 May 2023
Type of contract:   Max-term (24 months with possibility of renewal)
Closing date:   30 June 2023 (extended)
The Agriculture programme of work is centered around: sectoral engagement and technical support with regulatory bodies and public financing mechanisms; engagement and action with farmer organisations and Indigenous Peoples groups; transforming multinational supply chains at company level and in productive landscapes; and, developing tools and knowledge products for effective deployment in the agricultural sector, for which the Head will ensure is supported by a sustainable project portfolio.

The Agriculture Team works in close collaboration with IUCN’s Enterprise and Investment Team and Business Engagement Unit, and across IUCN’s programmatic centres (such as the multi-lateral finance team), regional offices, members and commissions to ensure an aligned thematic programme of activities.
The Head, Agriculture Team is responsible for developing and delivering a coherent and impactful programme of work on sustainable agriculture that generates knowledge, tools and approaches across the sector, from engagement with farmers through to global policy, that are integrated into IUCN programme delivery and, by extension, proactively drives sectoral transformational processes. This will be delivered primarily through the influencing policy and driving real change through private sector and public partnerships at the corporate, sectoral, supply chain and regulatory levels.

In doing so the Head will work in close collaboration with IUCN’s Enterprise and Investment Team and Business Engagement Unit, and across IUCN’s programmatic centres (such as the multi-lateral finance team), regional offices, members and commissions to ensure an aligned thematic programme of activities. Furthermore, the Head will drive the efforts to mobilize knowledge, data, resources, partners, and networks to broaden the scope and impact of IUCNs work around sustainable agriculture.

In delivering and growing the project portfolio the Head will have responsibility for ensuring efficient and effective planning, budgeting and financial management of projects and the team, that achieve full cost recovery, and generate surplus revenues that supports the overall management of the Centre, whilst allowing for innovative investment in portfolio growth and income. In doing so this position will also be responsible for the recruitment, management and supervision of all staff to carry out their assigned duties, and to develop the team and individual staff in order they reach their potential through mentorship and support.


1.Programme development, coordination and reporting
• Act as IUCN’s lead programmatic focal point on technical issues related to Agriculture, ensuring a coherent and consistent approach on key policy issues, concepts, knowledge, and programmatically aligned projects, whilst providing authoritative advice to the Union, its Members and external audiences.
• Develop and consistently review an overall strategy for the team to deliver the IUCN Programme and Vision 2030 through leading the development and implementation of a coherent and consistent programme of work centered around key IUCNs business lines on Agriculture.
• Contribute to the Centre for Economy and Finance’s leadership and business plan ensuring the design of projects and partnerships are robust and deliver against the IUCN programme with respect to corporate, sectoral, supply chain and regulatory private sector engagement.
• Ensure quality reporting systems are in place to monitor progress according to the IUCN Programme Results Framework for relevant programme areas.

2. Specific thematic functions and roles of the Agriculture Team
• Lead the development and provision of technical assistance and capacity building that contribute to sectoral transformation as part of IUCN’s collaborative efforts across the agricultural sector.
• Ensure the team is equipped with appropriate conservation and agriculture knowledge products and tools that responds to demands whilst and transforming sectoral global policy and food production systems.
• Lead the integration, as appropriate, of knowledge generation, publications and policy / economic analysis into programmatic workstreams as foundational assets for the provision of technical advice and policy influence.
• Build partnerships to ensure policy influencing strategies through to on-the-ground actions are underpinned by a robust multistakeholder approach including Indigenous Peoples Organisations, local, national and regional farmer organisations, multinational agriculture companies and governments.

3. Policy, knowledge and communications
• Serve as IUCN Secretariat technical representative, as agreed with the Director for Centre for Economy and Finance, on agriculture related committees and bodies, both internally and externally, whilst ensuring these are underpinned by sufficient cost recovery mechanisms.
• Support the development of IUCN’s policy engagement in relevant arenas, in coordination with the International Policy Unit, and with the input of relevant Commission experts.
• Working alongside the Centre for Science and Data ensure that knowledge and learning across the programme portfolio are communicated internally across programme units and externally.
• Coordinate the monitoring of implementation and reporting on the resolutions and recommendations of the World Conservation Congress that are the responsibility of the team.
• Represent IUCN and the Director General on thematic policy and communications functions as required.

4. Resource mobilization and portfolio development
• Develop a project pipeline aligned to IUCNs programmatic priorities through:
o Large scale projects based on, and funded through, corporate and sectoral partnerships;
o Income from private sector actors through targeted service provision based on the generation and application of specific knowledge and / or tools.
• Ensure the application of IUCN Project Guidelines and Standards and Project Appraisal and Approval procedures.

5. Planning, budgeting and financial management
• Prepare annual work plans and budgets.
• Undertake procurement in accordance with IUCN Delegation of Authority.
• Monitor programme implementation and expenditure for all projects in the programme unit portfolio.
• Ensure that all technical and financial reports are prepared in accordance with contracts.
• Ensure the complementarity and efficiency of projects in the portfolio, meeting the timelines for delivery of technical and financial reports.
• Allocate staff capacity to deliver the projects and programme objectives and ensure strategic growth of the staff complement and its sustainability.

6. Supervision and development of staff
• Plan and recruit staff capacity to deliver the programme and projects.
• Supervise and coordinate the leads for each thematic programme area in the team.
• Support and develop the relevant staff to perform their functions individually and collectively.
• Build capacity of staff to develop fundable projects that support and expand their work.
• Ensure application of Conditions of Service and other HR policies.


1. Enthusiastic commitment and vision, characterized by:
• A commitment to nature conservation and sustainable use.
• Ability to provide inspiration and strategic direction.

2. Leadership abilities and experience, maturity and management skills, characterized by:
• Unimpeachable integrity as evidenced by behaviour, communication style and way of handling ambiguous or difficult situations.
• Demonstrated ability to manage and lead the work of the Secretariat with diverse skills, personalities, and backgrounds.
• Proven ability to effectively delegate, empower and motivate staff and others.
• Experience developing teams and individuals and effectively leading improvement and change.
• Clear commitment to fostering a culture of high performance and accountability, demonstrated in the ability to manage by results, differentiate performance and assertively give feedback and take decisive action when necessary.
• Demonstrated ability to both plan and take action, keeping the staff focused on priorities.
• Demonstrated experience in the selection, coaching and appraisal of staff.
• Demonstrated experience building teams diverse in gender, nationality and background to achieve business results.

3. Senior management experience, characterized by:
• A well-developed sense of managerial self-awareness with an ability to proactively manage individual strengths and weaknesses (including one’s own) and understand how these influence the team’s performance.
• Demonstrated experience and achievements in organizational, financial and personnel management, and in decision-making.
• A commitment to embrace and co-own institutional change processes
• Proven experience in maintaining and nurturing expert networks with demonstrated ability to handle politically and culturally sensitive issues.
• Maintain a positive work environment that facilitates collaboration and information sharing and is conducive to attracting, retaining, and motivating diverse talent.

4. Professional competencies, characterized by:
• Good understanding of world affairs and experience with the workings of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and governmental and non-governmental institutions.
• Recognition among peers in terms of leadership and understanding of social science related issues
• Ability and commitment to act in accordance with the core values of integrity, respect for diversity and professionalism as spelled out in IUCN’s Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics.

5. Sound judgment and decision making, characterized by:
• Experience in identifying key issues in a complex situation, and consulting, gathering, and analysing relevant information before proposing and implementing decisive actions or recommendations.
• Well-organized and logical in thought and action.
• Ability to anticipate, assess and manage risk.

The above job description contains the main duties and responsibilities for this position. However, in a small organization such as IUCN, staff members are expected to show flexibility in their approach to work and be willing to undertake other tasks that are reasonably allocated to them but which are not part of their regular job description. Where any task becomes a regular part of an employee's responsibilities, the job description will be changed in consultation with the employee and the Human Resources Management Group.
  • Customise for the particular position: At least 15 years of experience of designing, leading and managing initiatives, programmes and projects aimed at the transforming the agriculture sector with an emphasis on the delivery of local and global societal and environmental benefits.

• Management of programmes and projects in a developing country context and / or within the private sector is a distinct advantage.

• At least 15 years of experience of proven capacity and skills in leading and managing diverse, multi-stakeholder partnerships and networks involving e.g. government agencies, NGOs, international organizations, development agencies, and scientific and technical bodies.

• At least 15 years of proven experience in managing a large team of professionals, including through a decentralized global network.

• Demonstrated capacity to successfully design projects according to the latest project appraisal standards. Previous working experience of the GEF or other multilateral funding mechanism would be an additional asset.

• Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English, including ability to communicate complex issues to a wide range of audiences. A second language (French, Spanish) is highly desirable.

• Ability to travel frequently
The gross annual salary for this position is between CHF 134'355 and CHF 167'944, subject to deductions for social security contributions and second-pillar pension, and before tax. While this is an indicative amount effective as of the current date, changes may occur as per IUCN's compensation practices without prior notice. The same applies to other organisations hosted by IUCN.

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.