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Programme Officer - BEST 2.0/BEST 2.0+

Vacancy #:   5463
Unit:   Global Protected Areas Programme
Organisation:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   European Regional Office, Brussels, Belgium
  Local contract
Reporting to:   Senior Grants Manager
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   P1
Expected start date:   01 January 2021
Type of contract:   Fixed-term (12 months with possibility of renewal)
Closing date:   30 November 2020
BEST – voluntary scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of European Overseas – is an EU initiative supporting the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of ecosystem services including ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation in the EU Outermost Regions (ORs) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).

Funded by DG DEVCO as part of the BEST Initiative, the BEST 2.0+ Project is a transition towards a more stable financing scheme. It is a direct follow up to the "BEST 2.0 Programme", a part of the B4Life flagship initiative, which has been designed to support field actions for protection of biodiversity in the EU Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). It has been developed in accordance to the overarching policy framework of the Agenda for Change, through emphasising its support to empowering civil society, improving the local governance of natural resources and promoting an ecosystem services-based green economy. It complies with the provisions of the Overseas Association Decision, which establishes the rules and modalities of cooperation of the EU with the OCTs. It is promoting the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of ecosystem services including ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation as a basis for sustainable development in the EU’s OCTs by enabling, empowering and strengthening local authorities and civil society organisations and facilitating their access to EU funds.

BEST 2.0+ is implemented by IUCN (BEST Secretariat) with the support of Regional Focal Points. The Secretariat team in IUCN is split between the Brussels Office and IUCN HQ in Switzerland.
The Project Officer will play a key role in the daily management of the BEST 2.0+ Project. S/he will support the grant making-facility management and ensure that all stages of the grant making cycle are managed to a high standard and in compliance with the BEST 2.0+ guidelines and in line with donor and IUCN requirements.
S/he will support a smooth and effective functioning of the BEST 2.0+ Secretariat team and will support the Senior Grants Manager and the Senior Finance Grant Manager as well as external contractors.

The position requires excellent organizational and reporting skills, good understanding of conservation projects, good knowledge of OCTS biodiversity, good communication as well as good knowledge of EC DEVCO EFD, DCI and PRAG rules to ensure that the project is implemented and managed according to best practices.

The Project Officer will work closely with the BEST 2.0+ Secretariat team (2 staff) and the BEST 2.0+ Regional Focal Points as well as with individuals within IUCN working on other grant mechanism such as BEST4LIFE, BIOPAMA Action Component. S/he will liaise with other grant-making initiative like CEPF. Regular interactions with staff at IUCN Headquarters, particularly in charge of legal affairs and finances will be required.


Under the overall supervision of the Senior Grants Manager, the BEST 2.0+ Project Officer will have the following duties and responsibilities:

1. Project Management / Implementation
o Support the overall management of the BEST 2.0/BEST 2.0 + Project including:
o Ensuring that project activities are on-track and contribute to the efficient achievement of the project’s objectives;
o Ensuring the quality and timely production of all deliverables and compliance with the donor requirements and IUCN’s contractual obligations;
o Preparing technical reports and financial reports (in coordination with the Senior Finance Grant Manager) in line with the requirements of the European Commission (EC DG DEVCO) and support the annual audit of project;
• Support, in a very efficient and timely manner, all stages of the grant making cycle ensuring compliance with the BEST 2.0+ Operational Manual and respecting all donor and IUCN requirements including:
o Launching of new calls for proposals;
o Planning and delivering effective capacity-building for applicants (in collaboration with the Regional Focal Points);
o Checking all submissions comply with the relevant eligibility criteria and screening project proposals for potential negative environmental and social impacts;
o Assisting the Senior Finance Grant manager in conducting due diligence checks of potential grantees and screening proposal budgets;
o Supporting the secretariat of the regional Advisory Committees ensured by the Regional Focal Points;
o Organising and preparing the Board and Steering Committee meetings in close coordination with the Senior Grant Manager;
o Preparing grant contracts;
o Ensuring that all projects are monitored effectively and that regular support and advice are provided to grantees;
o Reviewing project technical and financial reports and other deliverables with the support of the Regional Focal Points;
o Identifying, planning and undertaking necessary field visits to funded projects (in consultation with the Senior Grants Manager and Regional Focal Points).
• Where relevant, ensure the effective engagement of IUCN members, Commissions and regional offices in the project delivery.

2. Communication
• Maintain and update the information on the BEST 2.0/BEST 2.0+ Portals to ensure it provides clear, up-to-date and quality information on the call for Proposals, awarded grants, and highlights successes and progress;
• Coordinate with the external Portal developer to ensure the continued and high quality functioning of the Portal to meet the needs of the project;
• Prepare communication materials to promote and highlight the successes of the BEST2.0/ BEST 2.0+ project as well as the individual funded projects funded (including but not limited to news articles, information brochures, annual reports, social media posts);
• Assist in the planning, organization and delivery of events to promote the project and IUCN’s work in the EU Overseas;
• Ensure effective information flow between the Secretariat, Regional Focal Points, European Commission and other members of the Steering Committee.

3. Knowledge Capitalization
• Document the impact of BEST 2.0/ BEST 2.0+ at the individual project and project levels in monitoring key indicators, preparing and promoting regional factsheets;
• Capture the lessons-learnt from the management of the BEST 2.0/ BEST 2.0+ grant making facility and the best practices and innovative approaches of the funded projects to inform future calls for proposals for the EU Overseas and contribute to the knowledge base for IUCN’s other grant-making work.

4. Project Development and Fundraising
• Support the design, development and fundraise for new project proposals to continue, build-on and capitalize IUCN’s work in the EU Overseas;
• Support, in close coordination with the Senior Grant manager and ERO Policy manager, the political liaison with the Member States Permanent representations, the OCTs.

5. Other Responsibilities
• As required the Project Officer shall:
o Represent, upon request of the Senior Grant Manager, IUCN at relevant political and technical meetings, seminars and other events and processes;
o Assume responsibility for other activities that the Senior Grants Manager may assign from time to time and that do not negatively affect the delivery of the above responsibilities.
  • Master’s Degree/Academic level and equivalent professional experience in Project Management, Planning, Biodiversity, Sustainable Development/Natural Resource Management, with college courses/academic level or certification in project management preferred;

• Good knowledge of OCTs biodiversity conservation, climate change and sustainable development issues;

• Professional experience at the European Commission (DG DEVCO) is a great asset;

• Excellent organization and project management skills, with proven ability in prioritising workloads, meeting deadlines and timely delivery

• Minimum of 5 years’ experience in administration/management of projects;

• Experience in adherence to internal policies and procedures;

• Ability to work with an interdisciplinary and multicultural team; good and proven experience in teamwork and interpersonal relationships;

• Ability to work at multisectoral and multistakeholder level (senior government officials, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and local communities;

• Strong IT skills (Word, Excel, Powerpoint,etc);

• Excellent attention to detail;

• Problem-solving, creativity, initiative and innovation;

• Bilingual language skills - English and French essential.

• Willingness to travel at national level and internationally, whenever required;

• Willingness to occasionally work outside of office hours upon project implementation and stakeholders’ needs.

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.