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Chief Technical Advisor, Enhancing sustainability of the Transboundary Cambodia - Mekong River Delta Aquifer in Cambodia and Viet Nam

Vacancy #:   6664
Unit:   Vietnam Programme Coordination
Organisation:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   Vietnam Country Office, Hanoi, Viet Nam
  Project Coordination Office in Ho Chi Minh City with frequent travel to Phnom Penh and to sites in the transboundary Mekong Delta provinces in Cambodia and Viet Nam.
Reporting to:   Deputy Head of Lower Mekong Subregion
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   SP
Expected start date:   01 January 2024
Type of contract:   Fixed-term (24 months with possibility of renewal)
Closing date:   11 December 2023
This is a bilateral GEF IW project between Cambodia and Viet Nam focused on the improved transboundary management of the shared Cambodia-Mekong Delta Aquifer (CMDA). Key challenges include (i) rapid groundwater decline, (ii) land surface subsidence, (iii) increasing levels of arsenic and other contaminants, (iv) salinity intrusion, and (v) degrading groundwater dependent ecosystems. Climate change and upstream development are expected to deepen the vulnerability of the aquifer and dependent livelihoods and ecosystems, as future scenarios highlight accelerating threats for large parts of the population living in Cambodia and Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta.

The project objective is “to strengthen environmental sustainability and water security in the Lower Mekong Basin by investing, for the first time, on improved governance and sustainable utilization of the Cambodia-Mekong River Delta Transboundary Aquifer”. Specific Outcomes include:

• Outcome 1: Consensus among countries on key transboundary and national concerns affecting the aquifer, reached through joint fact finding, opening pathways to concerted remedial actions
• Outcome 2: Tested strategies for improved groundwater recharge, reduced extraction and mitigated ecosystem/ livelihoods trade-offs
• Outcome 3: Agreed improvements of transboundary cooperation improve aquifer transboundary governance
• Outcome 4: Commitment reached among countries on implementing priority legal, institutional and policy reforms and investments for the protection and equitable utilization of the shared aquifer and its' dependent ecosystems
• Outcome 5: Implementation of project mechanisms for monitoring, improved stakeholder consultation, gender mainstreaming, dissemination, coordination and monitoring progress enhance long-term sustainability of achievements.

Establishing transboundary groundwater management mechanisms for CMDA is paramount for sustainable development, mainly involving the conjunctive management of surface and groundwater resources enhancing synergies with biodiversity conservation (e.g. wetland management), forests and inland fisheries management, and resolving conflicts at the food, energy and environment nexus.

FAO will be the Implementing Agency and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has been selected as the Lead Executing Agency (Lead Operational Partner). The TDA process will be largely executed by UNESCO and the Mekong Region Futures Institute (MERFI) while IUCN will lead all SAP related steps, supported by other executing agencies and the Cambodia and Viet Nam National Mekong Committee (CNMC & VNMC). UNESCO WWAP will coordinate gender focused activities. The countries will execute pilot projects, which will be based on TDA results and inform the SAP formulation process.

This position is open for expatriates only.

The remuneration and benefits package for this position is established with reference to the local labour market and in line with the IUCN conditions of service for Viet Nam.
Under the guidance of the Deputy Head, Lower Mekong Sub-Region, the CTA will manage human and non-human resources to ensure the smooth delivery of the GEF International Waters (IW) Enhancing sustainability of the Transboundary Cambodia - Mekong River Delta Aquifer, which will operate in Cambodia and Viet Nam.

The project will be delivered through a Regional Project Management Unit (RPMU) based in Ho Chi Minh City and National Project Management Units (NPMU) in Hanoi and Phnom Penh. The CTA will manage the RPMU on a day-to-day basis in cooperation with two National Coordinators (NCs), and two National Project Directors (NPDs) assigned (on a part-time basis) by the two government executing agencies.

The CTA and RPMU will operate under the guidance of the Regional Project Steering Committee (RPSC), with members appointed by the two governments, and with the support of dedicated Finance and Admin Officers.


• Manage performance of all RPMU staff and supervise project implementation with the NPMUs and NCs in Cambodia and Viet Nam.
• Maintain the relationship between IUCN NCs and GDEP /DWRM to ensure efficient delivery all project activities.
• Provide technical oversight of all project activities, specifically the TDA/SAP to ensure that it meets GEF standards and integrates the latest knowledge and expertise, including from the pilot projects so that they are mutually reinforcing, provide direct technical expertise on ground water governance and ground water recharge solutions including, and design and lead training programs.
• Work closely with IUCN NCs, DWRM and GDEP to ensure all project activities follow the laws and regulations of the respective countries for such activities.
• Oversee the sub-contracting of project activities and consultancy outputs.
• Working closely with Finance Officer, support project spending that aligns with the agreed project budget, including preparation of funding calls, financial and narrative reports as set forth in IUCN’s agreement with FAO.
• Develop M&E plans following FAO guidance and regularly report on the progress of the project against annual work plans, project M&E indicators, GEF core indicators and identify issues that need urgent attention by the RPSC.
• Provide 6-monthly and annual written reports on the overall project delivery, including by country, covering issues such as project activities, outputs and outcome delivery, project budget and staffing.
• Prepare project Terminal Report for FAO.
• Maintain linkages with other related regional and national projects and identify opportunities for partnership, technical collaboration and knowledge exchange with other agencies, organizations and donors.
• Represent the project in external and internal IUCN meetings, at national, regional and international levels, as needed.
• Undertake any other tasks as may be assigned by, and mutually agreed with the line manager.
  • The CTA will have minimum of Masters in natural resources management or equivalent discipline, with PhD a distinct advantage and at least 10-15 years of relevant experience in managing transboundary aquifer and/or water resource related projects, and will have strong knowledge, qualifications and experience in groundwater dynamics, hydrology, IWRM, governance as well as climate change adaptation and resilience.

• Experience establishing and maintaining high-level government relations;

• Experience managing multi-million dollar budgets;

• Ability to work independently;

• Ability to respond flexibly and exercise judgment involving analysis and interpretation of facts and circumstances in order to identify the correct solution or course of action;

• Ability to work under pressure with tight deadlines to meet donor reporting or proposal deadlines;

• Experience of managing diverse teams essential;

• Demonstrated ability in dealing with water or related environment/development issues will be an added advantage;

• Understanding of political complexities in the Asian, previous work experience in Viet Nam and Cambodia an advantage;

• Capacity to interact effectively with, and ability to influence a wide range of people at different levels including donors, the private sector, NGOs, government officials;

• Strong presentation skills and exceptional written and spoken communication skills in English essential.

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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