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Special Assistant to the Secretary General

Vacancy #:   6485
Unit:   Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Organisation:   The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar)
Location:   Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands, Gland, Switzerland
Reporting to:   Secretary General
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   P2
Expected start date:   01 November 2023
Type of contract:   Max-term (24 months)
Closing date:   12 July 2023
The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and of wetland biodiversity and services. It is the first of the modern global multilateral environmental agreements and remains the only one devoted to a specific critical ecosystem.

The Convention Secretariat has its headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, where the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provides some administrative services for the Convention.

The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and of wetland biodiversity and services. It was the first of the modern global multilateral environmental agreements and remains the only one devoted to a specific critical ecosystem.

The Convention Secretariat has its headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, where the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provides some administrative services to the Convention’s Contracting Parties for the operations and implementation of the Convention.

As part of the Secretary General’s Office, the Special Assistant to the Secretary General (SG), will be a dynamic and highly motivated professional providing effective support to the SG daily and ensuring the SG’s operational effectiveness. The Special Assistant will assist the SG in all aspects of her duties and will interact with a wide range of people within and outside the Convention on Wetlands community, across Standing Committee (SC), Contracting Parties, Agencies, International Organisation Partners (IOPs), the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) and Programme on communication, capacity building, education, participation and awareness (CEPA) States as well as with the many internal and external partners. The position requires excellent judgement, discretion, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving capability. This should be ideally underpinned with an analytical mind, clear writing skills and ability to distil discussions, and convention understanding. The Special Assistant will report to SG.
The Special Assistant’s responsibilities will include, but not be limited to the following:

Workflow management
• Support the SG in managing core workflow and outputs on a timely basis, ensuring that the SG can execute her/his management and other responsibilities and is prepared for all meetings.
• Ensure that all follow-up from meetings and interactions is communicated to relevant staff and authorities and is logged and concluded.
SG Positioning
• Liaise with the UN Agencies, SC, IOPs, Contracting Parties, Executive Officers, Staff, and contact to ensure that the SG can best serve the Convention on Wetlands and respond to specific requests;
• Work closely with SG and provide Strategic Guidance on linkages to other MEAs and Treaties.
• Maintain a close working relationship with the Communications Manager to ensure that the SG can fully execute her role in communications;
• Undertake and effectively organise all manner of events related to the work of the Secretary General (meetings, working lunches and dinners; retreats; high-level meetings; receptions, etc.) including logistics, documentation, briefings etc.
• Prepare briefing materials, presentations and documents as required for the Secretary General (SG)’s meetings, travels, events, and activities, including notes, minutes, and written records to document office meetings and discussions;
• Review and log all incoming correspondence and route for action/advice to the Secretariat staff, as necessary;
• Support management of emails and other forms of correspondence and communications; maintain a tracking system to ensure timely action on delegated items;
• Review correspondence and internal/external documents prior to SG’s approval and signature;
• Draft communications as assigned and ensure compliance with established protocols and procedures;
• In collaboration with the HR Officer, execute the internal communication strategy, including developing key messages for internal communication initiatives and planning internal events to encourage collaboration and team work.
• Travel with the Secretary General, as appropriate. As part of the SGO participate pro-actively in the preparation of the travel calendar for the SG and ensure that all trips are fully planned and optimized in all respects, including travel arrangements, itinerary, meetings secured, briefing materials, pre-briefing, speeches, and other materials. While travelling ensure that the SG is on top of her/his workload and liaise with the office and others to ensure that the workflow continues. While travelling ensure that decisions made, contacts, made and discussions held are communicated in a timely manner;
• Follow up on notes, minutes, and mission reports, upon return from the duty trip according to practice on behalf of the SG.

Interact and lead “from behind” with a variety of partners inside and beyond the Convention on Wetlands

• The Special Assistant will frequently interact with staff at all levels within the Secretariat, in Gland, and with partners including government officials, United Nations (UN) organizations, agencies, and partners in the private sector, civil society, etc.
• Anticipate, mitigate, and rapidly respond to urgent matters and emergency situations affecting SG’s tasks and activities.
• During COPs, Standing Committee, or any other meetings, accompany the SG on missions and provide support to the SG by overseeing his / her engagement (in meetings, schedule, review of documents, preparatory calls, etc) and follow-up actions;
• Undertake ad hoc assignments at the request of the SG.

The above job description contains the main duties and responsibilities for this position. However, in the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands staff members are expected to undertake other tasks that are reasonable 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.
  • Education
• Master’s degree in International Relations, Public Relations, Communications, Public Administration or any other relevant discipline
• Previous experience working in the front office of a senior public official and/or a C-Level Officer, or as a Senior Assistant to a C-Level Officers
• Certification in project management is a plus

• Experience
• Minimum of 10 years of experience in similar role supporting high-level executives or senior officials
• Minimum of 10years of experience in project Management in an international and multilateral environment
• Experience in reviewing and editing the work of others
• Experience in preparing written reports, that clear, concise and meaningful

• Skills
• Fluency in English with strong written and verbal communication skills is required. Knowledge and ability to work in another language – French or Spanish - highly desirable.
• Excellent organisational and time management skills, with the ability to multitask and prioritize effectively, foresee risks and allow for contingencies when planning.
• Proven ability to provide seasoned advice on a broad range of projects, organisational and administrative areas to facilitate decision-making, problem solving and smooth workflow
• Remains calm in stressful situations.
• Effective communication skills, both oral and written, ability to defend and explain difficult issues with respect to key decisions and positions to staff; to listen to other, correctly interpret messages and responds appropriately; and to tailor language, tone, style and format to match audience.
• Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
• Awareness and understanding of cultural diversity and gender issues and commitment to incorporate these in their work and in the relations with the Convention on Wetland’s constituency.
• Commitment to nature conservation and sustainable development.
The gross annual salary for this position is between CHF 100'355 and CHF 125'444. 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/

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