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Secretary General

Vacancy #:   455
Unit:   Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Organization:   The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar)
Location:   Headquarters, Gland, Switzerland
Reporting to:   -
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   S
Expected start date:   01 August 2016
Type of contract:   Max-term (36 months)
Closing date:   15 January 2013
The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is fully recognized by the international community as an intergovernmental agreement and its Secretariat is administered by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Ramsar Secretariats located in Gland, Switzerland within the IUCN Conservation Center. The Ramsar Secretariat is under the authority of the Standing Committee of the Convention and ultimately of its Conference of the Parties and is answerable and reports to the Parties on a range of Convention-related issues.

Legally, Ramsar Secretariat staff, including the Secretary General, are IUCN employees and their contracts are governed by the IUCN Global Human Resources Policy, Expatriate Policy, the Conditions of Service for Switzerland, and Swiss labor law.
The Secretary General is the most senior position in the 22-member Ramsar Convention Secretariat which was established pursuant to Article 8 of the Convention. The principal responsibilities of the Secretary General are to:

1. Manage and lead the Ramsar Convention with purpose and vision for effective programmes and policies.
2. Represent the Convention in international fora and intergovernmental meetings, conferences and UN processes, and act as the Convention’s principal spokesperson.
3. Ensure all decisions of the Conference of the Parties and the Standing Committee are implemented. Lead the Ramsar Secretariat in implementing those decisions of the Conference of the Parties and the Standing Committee that are the responsibility of the Secretary General/Ramsar Secretariat, and thus lead the development and implementation of the Secretariat’s work programme.
4. Provide strong leadership to the Convention Secretariat in the formulation and execution of annual work plans and priorities, and initiate and supervise the work required to achieve specific results.
5. Lead and execute the preparation of annual meetings of the Standing Committee and the triennial meetings of the Conference of the Parties.
6. Oversee and ensure effective management of the Ramsar Secretariat budget and Secretariat personnel.
7. Lead voluntary fundraising efforts for the stated priorities of the Convention.
8. Provide leadership for the further implementation of the Convention by all Contracting Parties. Drive the collaborative implementation of the 2016-2024 Strategic Plan for the Convention.
9. Promote and ensure effective cooperation with other entities, including intergovernmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations and the private sector, in order to realize the goals of the Convention. Nurture synergies with the Biodiversity Liaison Group and environment-related treaties.
  • Enthusiastic commitment and vision, characterized by:
- A commitment to nature conservation and sustainable use.
- Ability to provide inspiration and strategic direction.

• Proven communication skills, characterized by:
- Ability to negotiate mutually acceptable solutions, especially on sensitive issues, and understand the perspective of Ramsar Contracting Parties, the Standing Committee and Ramsar Partners.
- A clear, inspiring and authoritative speaker with high-level English skills who has the ability to deliver clear messages and retain the attention and interest of any given audience. Ability to make presentations in French and/or Spanish would be a benefit for this post.
- Facility and speed in written English.
- High-level representational skills in an international context.
- Demonstrated openness in sharing information and encouraging dialogue both internally and externally.

• Leadership abilities and experience, maturity and management skills, characterized by:
- A deep sense of self-awareness as evidenced by the ability to articulate one’s own strengths, weaknesses and one’s impact on others.
- Unimpeachable integrity as evidenced by behavior, communication style and way of handling ambiguous or difficult situations.
- Demonstrated ability to manage and lead the work of the Secretariat with diverse skills, personalities, and backgrounds.
- Proven ability to effectively delegate, empower and motivate staff and others.
- Experience developing teams and individuals and effectively leading improvement and change.
- Clear commitment to fostering a culture of high performance and accountability, demonstrated in the ability to manage by results, differentiate performance and assertively give feedback and take decisive action when necessary.
- Demonstrated ability to both plan and take action, keeping the staff focused on priorities.
- Demonstrated experience in the selection, coaching and appraisal of staff.
- Demonstrated experience building teams diverse in gender, nationality and background to achieve business results. This commitment to diversity and inclusion should be exemplified through staffing decisions (recruitment, promotion, recognition, etc.) and the ability to model behaviors that promote a more inclusive organizational culture.

• Senior management experience, characterized by:
- Demonstrated experience and achievements in organizational, financial and personnel management, and in decision-making.

• Professionalism competencies, characterized by:
- Good understanding of world affairs and experience with the workings of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and governmental and non-governmental institutions.
- Ability and commitment to act in accordance with the core values of integrity, respect for diversity and professionalism as spelled out in IUCN’s Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics.

• Judgement/decision making, characterized by:
- Experience in identifying key issues in a complex situation, and consulting, gathering, and analyzing relevant information before proposing and implementing decisive actions or recommendations.
- Well-organized and logical in thought and action.
- Ability to foresee and manage risk.

• Education:
Applicants should have a university post-graduate degree or an equivalent combination of experience and education in a subject relevant to wetland conservation and sustainable use, such as geography, biology, hydrology, marine sciences, natural resources management, land-use planning, and socio-economic aspects of sustainable development. In addition, an MBA would be advantageous.

• Experience:
Extensive work experience and evidence of achievements in the area of nature conservation and/or sustainable use issues, and a minimum of ten years’ experience in senior leadership positions, are indispensable. Experience and evidence of achievements in the areas of multilateral convention fora, e.g. as a delegate representing a Party, policy development, financial and management of international teams of professional staff, and programme administration within intergovernmental organizations or government agencies will be an advantage.

• Languages:
The Ramsar Secretariat’s working languages are English, French, and Spanish. The ability to work independently in English is essential and knowledge of at least one of the other two languages will be beneficial. An ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing is essential.

• Travel:
Applicants must be prepared to travel extensively to all parts of the world, noting that the class of travel offered is economy.

• Other requirements:
Applicants need to have a solid awareness and understanding of cultural diversity and gender issues and be committed to incorporate these in the management of the Ramsar Secretariat and in their relations with the Ramsar constituency. Applicants must possess a well-developed, independent working style, be fully computer literate and be able and prepared to perform the duties of the position with limited assistance from support staff.
The gross annual salary for this position is in the range from CHF 219'039 to CHF 273'799, 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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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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