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Regional Ocean Communications Officer, Nairobi

Vacancy #:   6730
Unit:   ESARO - Coastal and Ocean Programme
Organisation:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   Tanzania Project Office, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania
Reporting to:   Regional Head, Coastal and Ocean Resilience (COR)
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   P2
Expected start date:   01 May 2024
Type of contract:   Fixed-term (24 months)
Closing date:   14 February 2024


The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) operates in 24 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:
i. Effectively and equitably conserve at least 30% of the ocean by 2030.
ii. Conserve and restore critical blue ecosystems to achieve net-gain by 2030.
iii. 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 Ocean Communications Officer will drive the implementation of all ocean-related communications and outreach activities in support of all four pillars at the regional level. 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 streamlining the communications and outreach portfolio across all COR Programme activities.

The Regional Ocean Communications Officer will manage IUCN Coastal and Ocean Resilience programme activities in the region that advance communication, outreach, media productions and relations, and social media innovation in close collaboration with the Regional COR team. The role is essential for effectively communicating the importance and impact of IUCN's COR Programme and the Great Blue Wall initiative, driving enhanced visibility, stakeholder engagement, and successful outcomes in marine and coastal conservation efforts.

Strategy and Planning:
Lead the development and implementation of the IUCN Great Blue Wall Communications and Outreach Strategy in collaboration with COR team members, regional communications lead, and thematic leads.
Manage communications strategies, products, and creative campaigns, particularly for the IslandPlas project, across various island areas in Eastern and Western Africa.

Content Development and Management:
Oversee the creation and distribution of a wide array of communication materials, including advertisements, videos, brochures, press releases, slide decks, and letters.
Develop and edit internal and external communication materials, such as blog posts, media materials, newsletters, op-eds, website content, and other related products.
Ideate and support the design and promotion of interactive media pieces, including infographics, slideshows, charts, and videos.

Digital Engagement and Media Relations:
Enhance digital presence through web-based platforms, social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Develop and maintain key media contacts and coordinate media outreach, including pitching, handling requests, and monitoring news coverage.
Plan and manage events like publication launches, round-table discussions, and meetings.

Outreach and Advocacy:
Co-develop and implement outreach strategies for the Great Blue Wall initiative and the IslandPlas project.
Build and maintain relationships with communications and public relations contacts across various sectors to improve the COR program's image and open new opportunities.
Spearhead the development of platforms and dashboards for showcasing progress towards the targets of the Great Blue Wall and IslandPlas project.
Spearhead and oversee the development of web-based platforms and dashboards for showcasing progress towards achievement of the targets of the Great Blue Wall, the IslandPlas project and alignment with targets of global frameworks such as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and Sustainable Development Goal 14.

Internal Communications and Support:
Facilitate effective internal communication within the COR Programme and IUCN ESARO.
Provide strategic communications feedback to advance projects' impacts and participate in regional and country teams planning to integrate communications priorities.
Support the team in developing effective communication tools and managing strategies for reports, events, conferences, and news opportunities.

Administration and Coordination:
Provide general administrative support, including scheduling, event logistics, and maintaining the regional oceans’ constituency stakeholders contact database.
Monitor and support the publications process, liaising with the IUCN Editorial Board for advice and publication clearance.
Other duties as may be assigned.
  • Position requirements:

A degree in Communication, Journalism, Public Relations, or a related field combined with an experience in similar organization/s or programmatic setting;
Computer literacy in relation to office applications (word processing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint) use of internet and online communication and knowledge management tools.

Work Experience;
We’re looking for an outstanding, hands-on, highly motivated, autonomous, innovative, solution oriented, results driven and resourceful individual with at least seven years of proven experience in:
Communications, public relations, or journalism, ideally in an international, multicultural context or prior work in a global organization preferred.
Strategic and innovative thinking with strong leadership skills.
Excellent organizational, project management, and collaborative abilities.
Creative problem-solving approach with a commitment to IUCN's mission and values.
Social media management and how to use it to impact diverse audiences.
Working with reporters or members of the media and established media contacts.
Communicating effectively with government officials, private sector and civil society in the African continent or the western Indian Ocean Region.
Interest in coastal and ocean management, marine conservation and restoration, ocean, and blue economy entrepreneurship development in the western Indian Ocean Region.
Articulate, versatile, highly skilled writer with professional writing experience with demonstratable professional clips or writing samples.
Social media savvy with the ability to properly utilize each channel for the best impact to varied targeted audiences.
Ability to work effectively within a tight deadline in a fast-paced office environment, both independently and as part of a regional team.
Excellent inter-personal communication skills, including the ability to encourage collaboration with other programs, regional and country offices, global headquarters, and partners.
Ability to think creatively and collaboratively about all elements of communications work.
Excellent inter-personal communication skills, including the ability to encourage collaboration with other regional programs, international offices, and partners.
Experience in working with a content management system (CMS).
Visual skills and creativity in photography, graphic design, and adobe suite of applications.
Adaptable to rapidly changing priorities and able to manage multiple deadlines and deliver high quality work products.

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, multiethnic 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 for individual and collective actions, promotes the IUCN One Programme approach.

Functional competencies;
Adheres to IUCN core values of Transparency, Inclusiveness, Professionalism and Accountability.
Ability to develop and implement communications activities as well as communication products based on co-developed communication strategies.
Ability to manage multiple communications channels (such as websites, social media, blogs, publications, media relations, and events), and ensuring responsive communications coordination among partners and stakeholders.
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 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.