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Finance Officer, BIOPAMA

Vacancy #:   3970
Unit:   ESARO - South Africa Conservation Areas and Species
Organization:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   South Africa Country Office, Pretoria, South Africa
Reporting to:   Finance and Administration Manager
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   P1
Expected start date:   01 March 2019
Type of contract:   Fixed-term (36 months)
Closing date:   05 April 2019 (extended)
The Biodiversity and Protected Area Management Programme (BIOPAMA) aims to improve the long-term conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, in protected and conserved areas and surrounding communities. It is an initiative of the ACP Group of States financed by the European Union’s 11th European Development Fund (EDF), jointly implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC). Specifically, the programme will enhance existing institutions and networks by making use of available best science and knowledge for building capacity to improve policies and inform decision-making on biodiversity conservation and protected areas management and governance. By improving access to, and availability of, relevant data and information, the BIOPAMA programme aims to enhance the management of protected areas (terrestrial and marine) and national systems of protected and conserved areas. A Regional Resource Hub (RRH) and Regional Reference Information System (RRIS) are initiated to be established in the Eastern and Southern African region to enable the provision of relevant data and information to assist in improved planning and decision-making as well as exchanging knowledge. The project also implements an Action Component which comprises a substantially funded and high profile grants programme to support specific actions on the ground in priority conservation landscapes that are aimed at strengthening PA and natural resource management effectiveness and governance. The Action Component involves the implementation of a comprehensive portfolio of small to medium sized grants, based on priorities identified through the RRH and RRIS.

The BIOPAMA Finance Officer will be responsible for the day-to-day administration, coordination and supervision of the finances for the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) BIOPAMA programme. S/he will work closely with the Senior Programme Officer (BIOPAMA Coordinator), the BIOPAMA Technical Officer and the BIOPAMA Global Action Component (AC) Grant Manager, as well as the IUCN ESARO Regional Finance team and IUCN Global BIOPAMA Finance Officers. The Finance Officer will play a fundamental role in carrying out the Action Component, as well as all regional BIOPAMA financial management and reporting. The position will have a go-to function both for the IUCN BIOPAMA II personnel and external parties.

The BIOPAMA Finance Officer is expected to have a solid grasp of grant-making rules, particularly those applying to the Action Component, and be part of a continuous learning process of the team. The relation with grants beneficiaries will require knowledgeability, proactive attitude, patience and creative approach. These relations should be informed to and supported by the BIOPAMA Regional Programme Coordinator. S/he will also work closely with the global BIOPAMA team to contract grantees, ensure reporting in line with donor requirements, and will manage all financial reporting, internal and external, related to the ESA BIOPAMA programme and the Action Component.
The BIOPAMA Financial Officer (FO) will be responsible for the following main duties:

1. Regional BIOPAMA financial management and reporting:
• Take responsibility for implementing all processes required at both country and regional level for all financial accounting and management and reporting ensuring that they are delivered in a timely, effective and accurate manner;
• Prepare monthly financial reports to be submitted to the BIOPAMA Regional Programme Coordinator;
• Prepare annual Regional Financial Reporting Package, including supporting documents, as a contribution for the consolidated Financial Report in HQ;
• Work closely with the BIOPAMA Finance team in HQ, ensuring specifically a total availability during the annual expenditure verification;
• Ensure compliance with all donor contractual requirements in respect of finance, administration and reporting;
• Identify issues of eventual conflict between IUCN policies and donor requirements;
• Ensure timely procurement process clearance;
• Work closely with country office finance officer to ensure that transactions are updated timely in the NAV ERP accounting system and that the relevant supporting documents are properly filed.

2. Preparation of the calls for proposals for the Action Component:
• Develop a thorough understanding of the BIOPAMA Action Component mechanism;
• Advise the AC Secretariat in preparing the Guidelines and templates for the Calls for Proposals by contributing to the regional specific requirements;
• Acquire thorough knowledge of the financial rules for grants applicants, templates and forms in the Call for Proposals;
• Participate in the Regional webinar for potential applicants and address the applicants’ queries;
• Advise the BIOPAMA AC Senior Finance Officer for the development of the BIOPAMA Action Component Portal as required;
• Provide advice and support to the applicants during the budget preparation stage;
• Play an active role in FAQ compilation and regular updates.

3. Proposals evaluation, selection and awards:
• Perform primary review of the due diligence questionnaire submitted by the applicants;
• Ensure all the requested supported documents are provided by the applicants for the due diligence check;
• Interact with the applicants to ensure the completeness of the due diligence questionnaire and its consistency with the supporting documents;
• Ensure the final financial risk rating is correctly included in the ranking of the applications for the AC Validating Committee;
• Provide active support in the finalization of the awards’ budgets;
• Play an active role in the validation of the budgets where the methodology of Simplified Costs Option is selected.

4. Monitoring projects under implementation:
• Work, together with the Regional BIOPAMA Coordinator, to ensure integration and compliance with the IUCN Environmental and Social Management System;
• Assist the Regional BIOPAMA Coordinator with financial monitoring, in monthly monitoring of the projects under implementation: timely flag up potential financial issues (level of expenditure, respect of procurement rules, etc.) and bring to the attention of the Regional BIOPAMA Coordinator and AC Secretariat;
• Support the Grantees by providing advice and guidance on financial issues;
• Participate in and contribute to the technical/financial reporting webinars organized for the projects in the regions;
• Perform financial spot checks and field visits scheduled for the projects with medium/high risk ratings;
• As part of the field visits advise the AC Secretariat on the status of projects financial implementation, weaknesses or critical failings in internal controls, as well as make recommendations on the improvement of financial project management;
• Review periodic internal financial project reports, support the grantees in correcting the reported data in close interaction with the AC Secretariat.

5. Grants financial reports and audits:
• Set up and maintain a regional tracking table for projects reporting deadlines, sending reminders to grantees;
• Review periodic interim and final financial grant project reports, support the grantees in correcting the reported data in close interaction with the Regional BIOPAMA Coordinator and AC Secretariat;
• Make sure the financial reports are supported by appropriate supporting documents;
• Follow up with the grantees on the auditors’ queries;
• Check the supporting documentation uploaded by the grantees and assist the grantees in resolving any issues;
• Maintain clear and consistent records of projects audit related exchanges and documentation;
• Support the AC Secretariat in preparing the annual consolidated audit: legal commitments and eligible expenditures of the grants;
• Assist in providing the relevant information to any ROM review or any Mid-term Evaluation in the region as required.

6. Capitalisation:
• Contribute to the capitalization document with “lessons learned” related to the financial implementation of funded projects.

7. Communication:
• Plan and undertake regular communication with other members of the regional and global BIOPAMA team and provide relevant updates periodically.
• Work effectively with the BIOPAMA global team to deliver regional BIOPAMA communication products and communicate results, where appropriate

8. Other responsibilities:
• Perform other duties as may be assigned from time to time.
  • University Degree in Finance or a relevant field. An Advanced University Degree in a relevant field highly advantageous.

• Excellent working knowledge of Microsoft packages, financial management packages and electronic communication tools.

• At least 5 years of experience in financial management and reporting;

• Experience with grant management systems including implementation, monitoring and evaluation methodologies;

• Experience with organising and facilitating grants and the related reporting to donors;

• Experience in interacting confidently with diverse stakeholders including with government officials and local communities;

• Hands-on experience with report writing;

• Proven experience in project administration;

• Previous experience in managing EU funded projects is an advantage

• Working knowledge of ERP NAV accounting system will be an added advantage.

• Fluency in English, both written and verbal. Portuguese and French would be an added advantage for working with Action Component grantees in all Eastern and Southern African countries.

• Adheres to IUCN ESARO core values of Transparency, Inclusiveness, Professionalism and Accountability.

• Demonstrated ability to work with limited supervision to prioritize tasking and manage workflow in a high pressure environment.

• Excellent interpersonal skills and a strong team player with proven communication and diplomacy with the ability to work effectively with multicultural and multidisciplinary teams with sensitivity and respect for diversity.

• Willing to travel frequently within the Eastern and Southern African region.

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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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 1,300 Member organisations and some 10,000 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.

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