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Regional Plastics Manager- ESARO

Vacancy #:   6727
Unit:   ESARO - Coastal and Ocean Programme
Organisation:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, Nairobi, Kenya
Reporting to:   Regional Head, Coastal and Ocean Resilience (COR)
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   SP
Expected start date:   01 March 2024
Type of contract:   Fixed-term (24 months)
Closing date:   14 February 2024


The IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) operates in twenty-four countries in the Horn of Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, and the Western Indian Ocean. The ESARO region is extremely rich in biodiversity with high number of endemic species and the largest remaining populations of iconic wildlife left on the continent. ESARO’s Programme focuses on biodiversity conservation through a diverse portfolio of projects and programmatic initiatives ranging from activities at the level of individual protected areas to shaping regional policy on biodiversity conservation. ESARO defines and delivers on its programmatic priorities in collaboration with IUCN members, commissions, and other strategic partners.

The Coastal and Ocean Resilience (COR) Programme is responsible for marine and coastal issues, including biodiversity conservation, development and management of marine protected areas, other effective conservation measures (OECMs) and their networks, blue economy, ecosystem and fisheries management, High Seas, blue carbon, marine spatial planning, marine pollution, integrated management and governance of coastal areas, adaptation to climate change and disasters risks reduction.

In order to accelerate and scale up efforts in the region towards coastal and ocean resilience, IUCN has been coordinating efforts, together with countries and partners, in developing the Great Blue Wall initiative. The Great Blue Wall is a Western Indian Ocean (WIO)-born, Africa-driven roadmap to achieve a nature positive world by 2030. It aims at unlocking unprecedented nature-based recovery efforts through the establishment of a transformational movement. Its goal is to dramatically accelerate and upscale ocean conservation actions while enhancing socio-ecological resilience and the development of a regenerative blue economy by catalyzing political leadership and financial support. This will be achieved by spearheading the establishment of a connected network of nature-people positive seascapes (or regenerative seascapes). This network of seascapes will be connected by a living blue wall that will act as a regional ecological corridor formed by conserved and restored critical blue ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrasses, and corals. While the Great Blue Wall will act as a wall against climate change impacts and biodiversity loss, it will also shelter coastal communities and create the enabling conditions and necessary mechanisms to empower local stakeholders to become stewards of the ocean while accelerating the development of a regenerative blue economy. The Great Blue Wall is an action-focused and action-driven regional response to three interconnected crises, i.e. Biodiversity - Climate – Socioeconomic with three clear objectives to be achieved by 2030:
Effectively and equitably conserve at least 30% of the ocean by 2030;
Conserve and restore critical blue ecosystems to achieve net-gain by 2030;
Unlock the development of a regenerative blue economy that directly benefits coastal communities while also delivering conservation outcomes.

To guide its development, implementation and in order to achieve its goals, the COR programme is based on the premises of IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa’s Blue Resilience Programme Framework, composed of three key pillars and one cross-cutting: Blue Planet, Blue Nature, Blue People and Blue Partnerships. The Blue Resilience Framework aims at structuring IUCN’s interventions in the region and build resilience at ocean and seascape level and can be described as follows:

Three key pillars:
Blue Planet: As the world embarks on an ambitious journey of conservation and protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030, it is of paramount importance to ensure that such target is not only achieved on paper but importantly on the ground by empowering local stakeholders to become stewards and managers of the ocean. This pillar therefore focuses on this effort by supporting the establishment of relevant governance frameworks at seascape level as well as the necessary enabling policy frameworks at national, regional and international levels. It also focuses on increasing the effectiveness and equity of area-based conservation measures.
Blue Nature: Like any living organism, a seascape has its own critical features (or “organs”) that need to be protected and restored (or “healed”) if the rest of the seascape is to stay healthy. This pillar therefore focuses on securing the integrity of critical ecosystems by accelerating and upscaling the restoration and conservation of critical blue ecosystems by driving the implementation at scale of Nature-based Solutions.
Blue People: For a large-scale seascape to thrive and be effectively managed, it is of paramount importance that stakeholders directly benefit from these areas and from ocean conservation efforts. To achieve the scale of impact required, it is crucial that economic activities are not only sustainable and produce socio-economic benefits but also contribute to the regeneration of the ocean. This pillar therefore focuses on unlocking the potential of our blue natural capital by supporting the development of a regenerative blue economy.

Blue Partnerships: Because overcoming today’s challenges will require all parties to join forces, and for conservation efforts to be sustainable and impactful at scale, innovative and ambitious partnerships will be a critical piece of the solution. Setting-up such type of partnerships is IUCN’s DNA. Areas of work include innovative finance, technology and communication as well as broader ecosystem of partners, coalition building as well as knowledge and experience sharing.

The Regional Plastics Manager will manage IUCN Coastal and Ocean Resilience programme activities in the region that advance sector engagement with role players in the plastics and related sectors, including actors in government, industry, business and civil society and oversees the regional and national implementation of solutions and actions to address plastic pollution upstream, midstream and downstream across a range of countries.

This position reports directly to the Regional Head, Coastal and Ocean Resilience programme. He/she will serve as a member of the Regional COR Team that helps set strategic directions and define priorities for IUCN’s broader engagement on Marine and Coastal issues at the regional level and, accordingly, works with the other members of the team in strategic planning; monitoring and evaluation; and learning, innovation, and knowledge generation at the overall Programme level.

Implementation and portfolio management;
Lead responsibility in implementation of the “IslandPlas: Advancing Circular Solutions to Plastic Pollution in African Islands” project across a range of Island areas in Eastern and Western Africa, in close collaboration with regional IUCN teams in the two regions;
Coordinate alignment of IUCN’s regional plastics work with other global and regional initiatives, including EPPIC, UNEP GPML, Nairobi Convention, BRS Conventions and with regional intergovernmental, private sector and civil society mechanisms and processes;
Spearhead the day-to-day coordination of project implementation and activities delivery across countries to ensure the highest quality of outputs and outcomes in line with project workplans and budgets;
Participate in the development of relevant programme KPIs and ensure that adequate measures are in place for their monitoring and reporting;
Support the regional COR team on technical reporting and on the development of a ‘Plastic Best Practices’ annual report.

Strategic and Technical leadership;
Provide leadership, strategic guidance and direction in strengthening the plastics sector constituency across the Eastern and Southern Africa region in support of a regenerative and sustainable Blue Economy, including liaising with external partners and organizations in the plastics and interconnected space;
Advise on emerging opportunities in the plastics sector that demonstrate potential at national and local levels to change the investment and action landscape in the WIO to address plastic pollution;
In collaboration with the IUCN Ocean team, identify and implement strategic initiatives to support the integration of best practices and learnings to global and regional platforms in support of agenda-setting and action to empower country-readiness to implement the global Plastics Treaty;
Act as a driving force for innovation to position IUCN as a leading organization in the region in addressing plastics pollution through a holistic, lifecycle approach in alignment with global goals and targets such as SDG 14, 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and the Global Biodiversity Framework;
Ensure that IUCN’s work in the region is of high technical quality, based on good science and drawing upon state-of-the-art thinking and knowledge;
Unlock synergies and collaboration with other regional and national ocean and terrestrial areas of work to support the innovative implementation of source-to-sea approaches in addressing plastics pollution.

External engagement and communication:
In consultation with the Regional Head, Coastal and Ocean Resilience ensure that IUCN is adequately represented in relevant international, regional and country fora and facilitate discussions in plastics to position IUCN as a reference in the Eastern and Southern Africa region;
Lead responsibility in identification and establishing and sustaining relationships, synergies and partnerships with relevant institutions and platforms in the region and internationally;
Provide evidence-based support and facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogues on emerging issues and policy debates to address plastic pollution in the African continent, including through participation in regional fora and processes such as the INC process towards a global Plastics Treaty, AMCEN, regional working groups on marine plastics, Nairobi and Abidjan Conventions, among others;
Lead coherent and consistent communication of lessons learnt to key decision-makers and other stakeholders within the region and globally as appropriate, including via the web, print and media;
In collaboration with Regional Head, Coastal and Ocean Resilience identify and manage potential risks associated with IUCN’s public positions in the region and design strategies to mitigate the identified risks;
Act as a focal point for facilitating and supporting the involvement of IUCN Commissions, Members and other members of the Secretariat in the development and implementation of integrated programmatic activities to address plastic pollution.

Programme Development and Resource Mobilization:
As appropriate contribute in fundraising activities, including through development of concepts and projects documents;
Contribute to establishing, maintaining and nurturing good relationships with donors, funding agencies and other technical partners so as to ensure the financial viability of the plastics area of work in the COR programme;
Spearhead the development of a pipeline of bankable projects addressing plastic pollution in the coastal and marine conservation realm, including on actions across the plastics value chain that contribute towards a regenerative blue economy for coastal communities;
Undertake research and synthesize briefs on the growing body of work in plastic pollution.

Monitoring and Evaluation;
Contribute to the development of the COR Programme Monitoring and Evaluation Framework by providing leadership on identification and mitigation of key risks and barriers to effectively addressing plastic pollution in the Western Indian Ocean region;
Responsible for the coordination of programme monitoring and evaluation in the plastics area of work and related projects;
In collaboration with the Regional Head, Coastal and Ocean Resilience, ensure IUCN’s work is accountable to donors and other stakeholders through the establishment and management of effective accountability mechanisms and processes;
Provide leadership to use data for programme decision-making, for the implementation of management actions based on the findings of monitoring, and to ensure that feedback from stakeholders inform programme development;
Contribute to progress tracking and programme reporting processes and requirements.

Other responsibilities:
Perform other duties as may be assigned from time to time.
  • Position requirements:

An advanced university degree preferably in relevant disciplines, such as, Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Management, Sustainability Studies, Policy and Environmental law, or related fields;
Professional certification in circular economy, waste management, environmental design, sustainable material management or in other relevant areas will be an added advantage.
Computer literacy in relation to office applications (word processing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint) use of internet and online communication tools;

Work Experience;
We are looking for an outstanding, hands-on, highly motivated, autonomous, innovative, solution oriented, results driven and resourceful individual with at least 8 to 10 years of proven experience;
Sound expertise in programme/project development, research, implementation, and/or management of environmental projects or related fields;
Strong expertise and experience in marine plastics-related projects/programs, which include recycling, and plastic pollution prevention; working on relevant regulations and policies related to waste management; Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) frameworks for reducing plastic pollution; implementation of solutions to address single-use, unnecessary and other plastics of concern.
Good understanding of plastic life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies; waste characterization techniques; and waste management infrastructure;
Experience in producing high-quality documents (technical task-based Terms of References, guidance notes, editing technical documents, manuals, etc.);
Experience in working with normative bodies, government, non-government actors, private sector, municipalities, academia, and local communities and community-led initiatives;
Experience in managing stakeholder relations, ideally in an international organization or related setting;
Ability to design and roll-out innovative solutions to address marine plastic pollution at a city or local level.
Regional experience in the African continent or the Western Indian Ocean region.
Prior experience developing, supporting, or managing multi-donor-supported projects.
Familiarity with IUCN’s prior work and tools and guidelines on plastic pollution;
Network development and alliance building towards building strategic relationships, with demonstrated ability to build consensus in cross-cultural situations;
Ability to interact effectively with and directly support or identify experts required to support diverse aspects in the plastics area of work;
Experience with result-based portfolio and project cycle management, monitoring and evaluation methodologies and principles and facilitation skills;
Strong interpersonal, management and supervisory skills and experience, with a minimum of 2 years’ in managing teams;
Demonstrates strong leadership and people-management experience including supervision of staff, consultants and coordination and effective management of virtual team settings;
Demonstrated ability to work under pressure managing competing demands and complex situations and deliver satisfactory and timely results;
Must be a strong team player with proven communication and diplomacy skills and ability to work effectively with multicultural and multidisciplinary teams displaying sensitivity and respect for diversity;
Must be a proactive individual who is able to energize and motivate teams;
Committed to continuous learning and proactive and mature attitude towards self-development;

Language requirement;
Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English is essential, with ability to communicate in French and/or Portuguese is an added advantage;

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 organization’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.

Functional competencies;
Adheres to IUCN core values of Transparency, Inclusiveness, Professionalism and Accountability;
Strong interpersonal, management and supervisory skills and experience, with a minimum of 2 years’ in managing teams;
Ability to manage complex situations and lead the establishment of blue finance and innovation programme portfolios and network and alliance building;
Be willing to undertake frequent travel and interact with different stakeholders from diverse cultures.

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 some 15,000 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.