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Programme Officer (Freshwater)

Vacancy #:   312
Unit:   Species Cambridge Unit
Organization:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   Species Programme Office, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Reporting to:   Head, Freshwater Biodiversity Unit
Work percentage:   100%
Function group:   P1
Expected start date:   01 February 2012
Type of contract:   Fixed-term (35 months)
Closing date:   09 January 2012
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is looking to recruit a full-time Programme Officer to join the existing staff of the IUCN Species Programme. The position will be based in the Freshwater Biodiversity Unit (FBU) of the IUCN Global Species Programme, in Cambridge, UK. The remit of the FBU is to comprehensively assess the status of the world’s freshwater biodiversity in order to rapidly expand the taxonomic and geographic coverage of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species ( in order to inform conservation strategies and management decisions. The assessment is being conducted in partnership with organizations with demonstrated experience and expertise in biodiversity assessment, in particular – the IUCN Species Survival Commission, Conservation International, Birdlife International, NatureServe… The priority taxa being assessed are freshwater fishes, molluscs, dragonflies and damselflies, shrimps, and selected aquatic plants worldwide, adding these to existing assessments of freshwater mammals, birds, crocodiles, freshwater crabs and crayfish, turtles and amphibians to provide a relatively comprehensive picture of the state of life in the planet’s freshwaters. The global assessment is being completed through a combination of regional assessments with a current major focus on Asia, Europe and South America.

The main tool employed in species assessments is the IUCN Red List. Since its conception by Sir Peter Scott in 1963, the Red List has become the most authoritative source of assessments on the conservation status of species in the world; it is now widely used to underpin decision-making and conservation action around the world. The Red List is the result of a massive data gathering and data management exercise produced by a vast partnership. The work is carried out by members of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC), by IUCN members and partners, with support from and in close association with the IUCN Global Species Programme.

In addition to the core work of the species assessments the FBU is implementing a number of other projects including studies on: the importance of freshwater species to people’s livelihoods; ecosystem services provided by freshwater species; climate change impacts on freshwater species; and important sites of freshwater biodiversity (Key Biodiversity Areas). The Programme Officer will be expected to input to aspects of all these projects.

The gross annual salary available for this position in Cambridge, UK is GBP 30,012.
The Programme Officer will be responsible for input to data analyses and reporting on results of the FBU's portfolio of ongoing and future projects. The Officer will also have responsibility for other activities of the FBU as they arise. He/she will also be required, on occasion, to help in the facilitation of biodiversity training and review workshops overseas

1. As a contribution to the regular project work of the FBU:
• Take a lead in work relating to the identification and analyses of Freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas at the European and Global scales.
• Input to data collation, statistical and spatial analyses, and reporting on the global status of freshwater biodiversity.
• Maintain regular communications with project partners, especially those involved in species distribution modeling.
• Take the lead, or provide close technical and scientific input to the lead author, on scientific publications.

2. As a contribution to the other work of the FBU:
• Assist in the ongoing species Red List assessment work as required.
• Facilitate at regional species assessment and review workshops as required.
• Provide assistance with spatial (GIS) and statistical analyses.
• Provide input to the ongoing broader consultation on the methodology for identification and designation of Key Biodiversity Areas. Assist other members of the FBU and partner organizations in applying these techniques and take part in relevant workshops.
3. As a contribution to the general operations of the FBU:
• Provide general assistance with the everyday running of the Unit.
• Help to develop new project funding proposals.
• Take a key role in the implementation of any new projects.

In addition to duties specific to the Cambridge Office, the Programme Officer may also collaborate with Global Species Programme staff in Gland, Switzerland and Washington, USA and members of the Species Survival Commission.
  • Applicants should have, as minimum:
• A higher degree (MSc or PhD) in Conservation Biology or related field.
• A solid knowledge and understanding of freshwater ecology and species conservation.
• High proficiency in the use of computer software, particularly databases such as MS Access.
• Demonstrated proficiency in statistical analyses and programming languages such as “R”.
• Proven skills using GIS.
• Excellent editing and writing skills in English.
• Peer reviewed publications (of which you can provide examples).
• Project management experience.
• Good communication skills, experience of presenting scientific information to different audiences.
• Ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

In addition to the above requirements, the following skills and attributes would be advantageous:
• An understanding of approaches in Systematic Conservation Planning.
• Oversees work/travel experience.
• Prior knowledge of the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria.
• Skills in web design, use of HTML, etc.
• Fluency in French and/or Spanish.

Applicants must be eligible to work in the United Kingdom.

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).

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About IUCN

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.

IUCN works on biodiversity, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,200 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.