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Senior Regional Advisor for Africa

Vacancy #:   164
Unit:   Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Organization:   The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar)
Location:   Headquarters, Gland, Switzerland
Reporting to:   Deputy Secretary General
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   M1
Expected start date:   01 July 2010
Type of contract:   Max-term (30 months)
Closing date:   09 May 2010 (extended)

The Senior Regional Advisor is the lead officer in the Ramsar Convention Secretariat responsible for advising on and supporting the strategic development and effective implementation of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands for their Region.

The main responsibility of the position is to provide expert and authoritative advice and assistance to Contracting Parties in the Region on policy, technical, and scientific issues related to the implementation at the national and regional levels, in the context of global issues.

The Senior Regional Advisor must have a global and regional understanding of wetland-related issues and must develop, maintain and present a clear understanding of the Convention's operations and priorities, and of wetland-related issues and priorities in his/her Region. The Senior Regional Advisor must be able to provide consistent and expert advice on how to implement the Convention, including the Ramsar Strategic Plan, the Ramsar guidelines and other tools developed by the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel, and other policy and procedural decisions adopted by the Conferences of the Parties.

This position requires competencies across a broad spectrum of subjects including organizational management and financial planning, project preparation, management and fund raising, biodiversity and ecosystem-based resource management strategies and policies, and cross-sectoral issues that influence the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

As the official representative of the Secretary General in each Ramsar Region, the Senior Regional Advisor is responsible for maintaining a high and professional profile with governments in the Region, partners, donors and other stakeholders.

In particular, the Senior Regional Advisor will:

1. Represent the Ramsar Convention in the Region and other relevant international fora in a manner that promotes Ramsar’s mission and enhances the status of the Convention among decision-making bodies, intergovernmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
2. Act as the lead contact point for the relevant Region for the provision of policy and technical advice on wetland conservation and wise use under the Convention to Contracting Parties and other stakeholders.
3. Support Contracting Parties and Ramsar partners to implement the current Ramsar Strategic Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals.
4. Seek and implement synergies with other conventions relevant to biodiversity, water, disaster risk reduction, climate etc. at global, regional and national levels.
5. Oversee preparation, implementation, evaluation and reporting of multi-year and annual workplans for the Region.
6. Develop and maintain regular contacts with the Administrative Authorities of Contracting Parties to the Convention in the Region, as well as create and maintain linkages with high level officials in other relevant government ministries and agencies, Regional Organisations, Multilateral Environmental Agreements, IOPs and NGOs.
7. Initiate and facilitate initiatives and dialogues on key issues of wetland conservation policy and wise use based on Ramsar’s regional and global priorities.
8. Support the preparation of papers for SCs and COPs as needed, and when requested, lead on the review and revision of the texts through the normal Convention processes.
9. Take a global lead role in, and act as the Secretariat’s focal point for, developing and implementing specific thematic issues, including Resolutions adopted by the Conference of the Parties based on her/his areas of experience and expertise and according to the mutually agreed distribution of tasks within the Ramsar Secretariat.
10. Convene and facilitate Ramsar regional and sub-regional or thematic meetings to provide guidance and a forum for discussion on wetland conservation issues and implementation of the Convention.
11. Advise, support the development of, and keep under review Regional Initiatives in the relevant Region which have been approved by the Conference of the Parties as operating within the framework of the Convention.
12. Ensure that the lessons learnt from field and policy experience are analyzed and shared throughout the Ramsar networks in the most effective way so that they can have the widest possible effect and that such information is made available to the Communications team on a regular basis.
13. Coordinate analysis of relevant wetland policy and the dispersion of policy information and advice to the countries of the Region with help of Communications team.
14. Promote and facilitate accession to the Convention by countries which are not yet Contracting Parties.
15. Prepare and lead technical missions to review the conservation status of Ramsar sites, at the request of Contracting Parties.
16. Ensure that there is a high quality of technical and policy direction to field projects, especially those in the Region funded through Convention mechanisms.
17. Coordinate technical reviews of projects submitted by developing countries in the Region to the Ramsar “Small Grants Fund for Wetland Conservation and Wise Use”. Administer regional funding initiatives such as: the “Wetlands for the Future” initiative, the “Swiss Grant Fund for Africa” or others, as appropriate for the Region.
18. Support Contracting Parties to source funding for the priorities identified by Contracting Parties for the implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan in close cooperation with Head of Partnerships. Maintain and extend contacts with funding organizations and Ramsar partners at all levels, in close cooperation with Head of Partnerships and senior management.
19. Advise the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General on global wetland priorities on the basis of experience in the Region. Support the work of STRP and CEPA in order to ensure that regional scientific and technical issues are handled to the highest professional standards.
20. Act, when requested, as Officer-in-Charge in the absence of the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General.

The Senior Regional Advisor has line management responsibility for the Assistant Regional Advisor for his/her Region and the Regional Officer, where that position exists.

All Senior Regional Advisors report to the Convention’s Deputy Secretary General, and collaborate on the joint work of the Secretariat, as needed, reporting on progress in regular Regional Team meetings and staff meetings.

The above job description contains the main duties and responsibilities for this position. However, in a collaborative secretariat such as Ramsar, staff members are expected to show flexibility in their approach to work, and be willing to undertake other tasks that are reasonably allocated to them but which are not part of their regular job description.
  • Postgraduate qualification in an aspect of natural or social science related to wetland conservation and wise use.

• A minimum of 12 years' professional experience in environmental conservation and sustainable use / sustainable development issues, preferably related to wetland ecosystems, of which at least five years should be international experience in the relevant region.

• Demonstrated spoken and written fluency in English and French.

• Demonstrated capacity for innovative and strategic thinking and ability to provide leadership in dealing with complex issues.

• Demonstrated fundraising, budgeting and programme planning ability.

• Demonstrated ability to integrate the perspectives of the biological and social sciences and a commitment to working in interdisciplinary teams.

• Exposure to and knowledge of major wetland conservation issues, both policy and field related.

• Familiarity with the work of the main regional and global institutions, including NGOs, dealing with environment and development issues.

• Well-developed computer skills and ability and willingness to perform the duties of the position in a fairly independent manner, with limited assistance from support staff.

• Strong inter-personal skills, with demonstrated ability to understand and operate within multicultural environments, and with the range of cultures within the region.

• Should be an African national, with extensive work and living experience, preferably in different parts of Africa.
The gross annual salary for this position is in the range from CHF 134'355 to CHF 167'944, subject to deductions for social security contributions and second-pillar pension, and before tax.

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: http://www.iucn.org/involved/jobs/

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