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Senior Programme Officer – Conservation Areas and Species Programme

Vacancy #:   5230
Unit:   Protected Areas Unit
Organization:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   South Africa Country Office, Pretoria, South Africa
  Or other offices within ESARO
Reporting to:   Regional Technical Coordinator, Conservation Areas & Species
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   P2
Expected start date:   01 February 2020
Type of contract:   Fixed-term (36 months)
Closing date:   25 March 2020 (extended)



The IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) operates in twenty four countries in the Horn of Africa, eastern Africa, southern Africa and the Western Indian Ocean. IUCN ESARO engages directly in biodiversity conservation in the region through its innovative thematic programme, Conservation Areas and Species (CAS). The CAS programme was established in late 2010 and draws on science and best practice to enhance the conservation and management of biodiversity and ecosystem functions. It engages in enhancing management effectiveness of protected and conserved areas - ranging from Community Managed Areas to World Heritage sites and national parks. The programme works at multiple levels - influencing policy and other institutional frameworks as well as carrying out direct field actions. The thematic programme also contributes to building the capacity of IUCN Members and partners, as well as the Secretariat to understand and implement relevant international conventions including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

The Senior Programme Officer (SPO) reports directly to the IUCN Technical Coord inator, CASO Programme. The main duties of the SPO include the management and implementation of the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme in Eastern and Southern Africa. BIOPAMA aims to improve the long-term conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, in protected 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). BIOPAMA supports the establishment and development of Regional Observatories for protected areas to coordinate data collection, analysis, monitoring and reporting, and develop the capacities of staff and organisations to make optimal use of this information to address specific needs. A major new element of BIOPAMA is the Action Component, a grant-making facility which will be established to support direct conservation action on the ground in selected protected and conserved areas in the region. The implementation of BIOPAMA will also require targeted capacity building activities for protected area managers at various levels making full use of I UC N's network of experts and IUCN's policy informing mandate. See
www.biopama.org for more information. The SPO will also be supporting the implementation of IUCN ESARO's other biodiversity and protected areas initiatives, including those planned Transfrontier Conservation Areas. The SPO will play a supporting role in the development of portfolio-wide strategies and assist the Technical Coordinator, to develop, resource and manage projects and activities, and link them with those of the other ESARO Component Programs and Global Programmes


1. Programme management and implementation: The Senior Programme Officer is responsible for ensuring the effective and efficient implementation of BIOPAMA and other on-going projects/programmes within the CAS portfolio. More specifically:

Ensure the implementation of existing CAS projects in accordance with the project documents, supporting agreements (e.g. contracts, MOUs, PAs, IAs etc.), annual work plans and the procedures of IUCN, as well as those of the donor, European Union (EU);
With direction from the Technical Coordinator, implement specific project activities and ensure quality outputs that meet the satisfaction of project partners and donors. This includes implementing a wide range of technical activities (e.g. designing and/or implementing capacity building programmes, coordinating the production and developing content of "State of Protected Areas" reports, identifying and advising on regional biodiversity conservation and protected area priorities, supporting and enhancing protected area and species management networks, advising on regionally tailored communication and awareness products, etc.);
In close liaison with the IUCN HQ BIOPAMA team and in line with the relevant guidelines, lead the establishment, operationalisation and implementation of the BIOPAMA Action Component grant-making facility in the ESARO region building linkages with other relevant synergistic grant facilities in the region;
In close consultation with JRC, develop and support the implementation of work plans and strategies for the development and establishment of Regional Observatories for Biodiversity and Protected Areas in the ESARO region;
Supervise and manage the BIOPAMA technical and administrative support staff (BIOPAMA Technical Officer – Regional Resource Hub, BIOPAMA Action Component Project Officer and BIOPAMA Administrative Assistant)
Manage the relationship with the Observatory (Regional Resource Hub) host institution technical staff and refer to the Technical Coordinator any issues requiring high level intervention
Provide capacity strengthening to project partners to improve delivery of specific project activities and objectives;
With relevant IUCN officers and collaborating partners, select and appoint consultants following acceptable procurement and reporting practices, and oversee delivery of quality products;
Following relevant IUCN and donor guidelines help identify, recruit and manage consultants to implement specific technical deliverables for BIOPAMA and other CAS projects
Ensure that project budgets are utilized and monitored in accordance with IUCN internal controls and donor agreements;
Ensure the collection, collation, and reporting of all project data and documents, and be responsible for the submission of technical progress reports, as well as all weekly and monthly reports according to the agreed formats and deadlines;
Provide administrative and logistical support to project implementation including the organization of workshops, meetings and consultations;
Undertake regular duty travel in the region as necessary to ensure smooth implementation of programmatic activities;
In line with relevant communications strategies, help to communicate project results through the IUCN website, articles, news stories, publications, etc.

2. Representation: Assist in building and maintaining strong relationships with relevant IUCN partners. More specifically:

Assist in overseeing and developing the relationship between IUCN and its donors and implementing partners (particularly the European Union and relevant EU delegations) ensuring that these partners are appraised of and satisfied with progress of projects in the CAS portfolio;
Represent IUCN ESARO at any relevant BIOPAMA governance structures and mechanisms (e.g. Project Steering Committees)
Keep regular contact with the IUCN global and JRC teams involved in BIOPAMA implementation in the ESARO region including attending relevant physical and virtual meetings and consultation
As required and approved, represent IUCN at other internal and external meetings, workshops and conferences of importance and relevance to the CAS programme.

3. Fundraising:

Working closely with the CAS Technical Coordinator support the development of project proposals with a particular focus on leveraging additional funds related to Protected Areas initiatives.

4. Financial Support;

Liaise with IUCN ESARO Finance Officers regarding compliance with donors’ contractual, reporting and financial requirements;
Ensure timely financial reporting to headquarters and donor partners, by providing the finance department withthe relevant project/programme information on a timely basis;
Ensure regular review, analysis and monitoring of project financial reports and communicate any over-under expenditure observations to the Technical Coordinator on a timely basis;
Ensure timely procurement of project assets and ensure all processes are in line with the IUCN Internal Control systems and donor requirements.

5. Monitoring and evaluation

Ensure that BIOPAMA and any other projects assigned to the SPO develop and effectively implement M&E frameworks and systems, in line IUCN guidelines and procedures as well as that required by specific projects.
Ensure that all the information related to the implementation of projects is adequately filed, organized and updated for easy access;
Identify and use lessons to inform practice;
Document and share lessons and experiences, as appropriate.

Perform other duties as may be assigned from time to time.
  • Education

An advanced degree in natural science related to biodiversity conservation, protected areas or related fields;

• Work Experience

At least 7 years of relevant working experience in the eastern and southern Africa region;
At least five years in management and administration of projects in the field of biodiversity conservation, natural resources or environmental management, including management of donor grants and donor relations, technical and financial reporting, monitoring and evaluation. Experience with previous European Commission projects and with the management of grant-making facilities in Eastern and Southern Africa would be a distinct advantage
Experience in resource mobilisation including strong proposal writing skills
A good understanding of current and emerging environmental issues in the region, particularly those related to protected areas and biodiversity conservation approaches and policies in the region;
Good understanding of the main international multilateral environmental agreements such as the Convention of Biological Diversity, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the World Heritage Convention.
Previous experience working with a wide range of conservation practitioners from field to senior government manager levels;
Experience in capacity building activities related to biodiversity conservation. Practical experience with protected areas management effectiveness tools and guidelines would be an advantage;
Demonstrated ability to work as part of a team and communicate in a cross-cultural environment;
Fully computer literate and familiar with Microsoft Office and major software packages.

• Language Proficiency

Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English. Ability to communicate in French and/or Portuguese an added advantage;

• 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

Personal Attributes
High personal integrity
Ability to work with minimum supervision and function in multicultural and multidisciplinary environment;
A good team worker who can also display leadership abilities;
Willingness to travel extensively within the region, sometimes at a short notice

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/

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 1,300 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.

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.