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Programme Manager, Coastal and Ocean Resilience (COR) - S.Africa

Vacancy #:   6816
Unit:   ESARO - Coastal and Ocean Programme
Organisation:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   South Africa Country Office, Pretoria, South Africa
Reporting to:   Country Representative, South Africa
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   P2
Expected start date:   01 June 2024
Type of contract:   Fixed-term (24 months)
Closing date:   22 May 2024 (extended)


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 disaster risk reduction (DRR).

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.

1 cross-cutting:
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 Programme Manager, Coastal and Ocean Resilience (COR) will drive the implementation of all ocean-related activities across the Great Blue Wall pillars at the national level. This position reports directly to the Country Representative, IUCN South Africa. He/she will serve as a member of the Country Team that helps set strategic directions and define priorities for IUCN’s broader engagement on Marine and Coastal issues at the national level and, accordingly, works with the other members of the team in streamlining the coastal and ocean resilience portfolio across the national priorities.

The Programme Manager, Coastal and Ocean Resilience (COR) will manage IUCN Coastal and Ocean Resilience programme activities in South Africa in close collaboration with the Country Representative and thematic team members.

Strategic management;
In collaboration with the Country Representative, South Africa, facilitate the strategic development of the COR Country thematic Programme;
In collaboration with the Country Representative, develop and maintain strong strategic partnerships with in-country programmes, regional programme units, members, commissions, technical agencies, government and non-governmental partners (national, provincial and city level), private sector, policy bodies and donors, and work closely with and other thematic programmes to develop and maintain an appropriate project portfolio and funding for implementation of the country programme;
Oversee the development and implementation of any relevant marine and coastal initiative in the country, ensuring alignment with key strategic national action points agreed across regional conventions (Nairobi Convention, Abidjan Convention, and Benguela Current Convention), and provide where needed, guidance and support to the development and implementation of other IUCN Initiatives;
Ensure that IUCN is adequately represented in relevant country fora and negotiations on marine and coastal issues and facilitate discussions on relevant thematic emerging issues to position IUCN as a reference;
Provide support at regional and international level when required coordination with the Country Representative;
Develop, coordinate and supervise COR programme country team to ensure that individuals work as an integrated team, ensuring coherence and consistency in programmatic outputs, and that high quality of technical advice is given to IUCN national programmes, field programmes, projects, members and partners;
Oversee the development and implementation of annual budgets and work plans and provide a timely progress report of the Programme financial and technical activities in accordance with IUCN’s standards and procedures.

Project management;
Provide managerial oversight, coordination and implementation of the Country COR programme portfolio of projects at the national level, including, lead responsibility in implementation of the ‘End Plastic Pollution International Collaborative (EPPIC)’ project in South Africa, in close collaboration with responsible regional and global IUCN teams;
Ensure that IUCN's COR work in the country is of high technical quality, based on good science and drawing upon state-of-the-art thinking and knowledge;
Convene regular meetings with project staff and other technical partners (including implementing partners) to review progress on projects as well as cost recovery and provide monthly reports to the Country Representative, South Africa and Regional Head, Coastal and Ocean Resilience;
Ensure project/programme strategies and workplans are developed and implemented according to plan and commitments to partners and donors (including assuring quality of performance, timing and budget);
Capitalize and disseminate to key decision-makers within the country and region, lessons learnt from program and projects as well as those learnt from partners;
Working closely with the Finance and Administration Department as well as Human Resource focal point to ensure that projects/programme are financially viable and have the necessary human and other resources necessary for effective implementation;
Ensure that contractual obligations and IUCN's policies and procedures are efficiently adhered to;
In close coordination with the Country Representative, South Africa and Regional Head, Coastal and Ocean Resilience, ensure that IUCN's work is effectively and widely shared (including by producing high quality communication material), including on online platforms and other media channels.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting;
In close collaboration with ESARO's Regional M&E Manager, support the development and implementation of in-country COR monitoring and evaluation systems and processes at programme and project level, including inputs to IUCN South Africa Intersessional Programme Monitoring and Evaluation Framework in line with the overall regional M&E framework;
Oversee IUCN portal entries and management, and mid-year and annual reports development for in-country COR portfolio;
Facilitate targeted socio-economic and scientific surveys and analysis, and in-country project evaluation management.

Programme development;
Lead fundraising and resource mobilization efforts for the programme through development of concept notes and proposals and maintain good relationships with donors and funding agencies so as to ensure the financial viability of the programme.
Work with GEF/GCF task manager to develop the in-country COR portfolio

Other responsibilities:
Carry out other relevant tasks assigned by, and mutually agreed with, the line manager.
Perform other duties as may be assigned from time to time.
  • Position requirements

Minimum of an advanced degree in environmental sciences, marine and coastal management, natural resources management, sustainable development or any other discipline that is relevant to nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources or related fields combined with experience in similar organization/s or programmatic setting;
Computer literacy in relation to office applications (word processing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint), use of internet 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 7 to 10 years of proven experience in:
natural resource management, coastal and marine conservation, protected and conserved areas, environmental economics, or regenerative blue economy;
programme coordination and management, project development and fundraising, budgeting, project planning, and day-to-day delivery of activities;
result-based portfolio and project cycle management, and monitoring and evaluation methodologies;
adaptable to rapidly changing priorities and able to manage multiple deadlines and deliver high quality work.

Language requirement;
Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English is essential.

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;
Sound ability to see the big picture, think strategically, connect the dots and able to deal with complex situations and projects;
Capacity to work autonomously is highly desirable;
A high caliber self-driven and solution oriented professional;
Strong interpersonal, management and supervisory skills and experience, including working with remote implementing partners and teams;
Demonstrated experience in facilitating the establishment of networks and multi-stakeholder participatory processes;
Experience in advocacy and policy influencing;
Be willing to undertake frequent travel (at least 25% of their time) and able to interact with stakeholders from diverse multicultural contexts;
Demonstrated work experience and in-depth understanding of South Africa and the WIO region at large;
Established network within South Africa’s coastal/marine/blue economy related stakeholders is highly desirable, as well as among potential technical partners and donors.

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.