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Senior Regional Advisor for Asia/Oceania

Vacancy #:   5522
Unit:   Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Organisation:   The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar)
Location:   Headquarters, Gland, Switzerland
Reporting to:   Deputy Secretary General
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   M1
Expected start date:   01 June 2021
Type of contract:   Indefinite
Closing date:   17 January 2021
The Convention on Wetlands, also known as the “Ramsar Convention” from the name of the city in Iran where it was signed in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and of wetland biodiversity and services. It was the first of the modern global multilateral environmental agreements and remains the only one devoted to a specific critical ecosystem.

The Ramsar Convention Secretariat has its headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, where the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provides some administrative services to the Convention’s Contracting Parties for the operations and implementation of the Convention.

The Senior Regional Advisor for Asia/Oceania provides the lead within the Ramsar Convention Secretariat for advising on and supporting the strategic development and effective implementation of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands for these regions. The Senior Regional Advisor also serves as the coordinator of the Secretariat's international work in relation to specific thematic areas or relevant international policy processes.

The regional responsibility of the incumbent is to provide advice and to support Contracting Parties in the implementation of the Convention. As part of the Secretariat team he/she coordinates with senior staff responsible for leading on core functions of the Secretariat to engage with Contracting Parties in the region, including on-support for governing and subsidiary bodies, policy, technical and scientific, issues, resource mobilization and outreach.

The responsibility regarding leadership for thematic areas of work of the Convention is to provide leading expert advice to support Contracting Parties in these areas at global level and across regions; and to serve as a focal point for relevant international policy processes within the Secretariat and coordinate its engagement strategies.

The Senior Regional Advisor must have a global and regional understanding of wetland-related issues and must develop, maintain and present a clear understanding of the Convention's operations and priorities, and of wetland-related issues and priorities in his/her region.

This position requires competencies in biodiversity and ecosystem-based resource management, with a special focus on wetlands, and one or more of the following thematic areas as they relate to wetlands: climate change; water management and mainstreaming wetlands in the sustainable development agenda. Experience in policy processes and in an intergovernmental context related to biodiversity, climate change, water and/or more broadly sustainable development is desirable The position also requires management competencies including organisational and financial management, project preparation, resource mobilization and outreach, and people management.


1. Act as the lead contact point for the relevant region, working closely with relevant members of the Secretariat, for the provision of advice to Contracting Parties and other stakeholders on implementation of the Convention and specifically on wetland conservation and wise use.

2. Support Contracting Parties and partner organisations to implement the current Ramsar Strategic Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals, including through the designation and management of Ramsar Sites and wise use of wetlands.

3. Develop and maintain regular contacts with the Administrative Authorities of Contracting Parties to the Convention in the Region, as well as create and maintain linkages with high level officials in other relevant government ministries and agencies, Regional Organisations, Multilateral Environmental Agreements, International Organisation Partners and NGOs.

4. Promote and facilitate accession to the Convention by countries that are not Contracting Parties.

5. Prepare and lead technical missions and more specifically Ramsar Advisory Missions (RAMs) to review the conservation status of Ramsar sites, at the request of Contracting Parties.

6. Working closely with the Head of Science and Policy, and as part of the Secretariat workplan, provide lead or support as appropriate on policy-related matters, including promoting synergies with other conventions relevant to biodiversity, water, disaster risk reduction, and climate change, as well as more broadly with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

7. Within the regions concerned, advise and support the development of Regional Initiatives that have been approved by the Conference of the Parties as operating within the framework of the Convention, and keep them under review.

8. Working with the Communication Officers, support engagement of Contracting Parties in communications activities and ensure that the lessons learnt from field and policy experience are analysed and shared throughout the Ramsar networks.

9. Working with the Resource Mobilization Officer, support Contracting Parties to source funding for the priorities identified by the Conference of the Contracting Parties for the implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan. Maintain and extend contacts with funding organisations and partner organisations, in close cooperation with the Resource Mobilization Officerand senior management.

10. Advise the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General on global wetland priorities on the basis of experience in the region. Support the work of Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) and the programme on Communication, Capacity Building, Education, Participation and Awareness (CEPA) in order to ensure that regional scientific and technical issues are handled to the highest professional standards.


1. Take a global lead role in, and act as the Secretariat’s focal point for, developing and implementing the Secretariat's work on specific thematic issues, including topics identified in Resolutions adopted by the Conference of the Parties in the context of the Secretariat’s workplan, based on the incumbent's areas of experience and expertise and according to the distribution of tasks within the Ramsar Convention Secretariat.

2. Provide advice to Contracting Parties on the issues under the leadership of the Adviser and support the Secretariat’s work on such issues in areas such as policy, communications and fundraising.

3. Take the lead for identified policy processes, including those of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, as part of the Secretariat’s workplan; identify priorities; develop strategic engagement of the Secretariat; foster partnerships and enable engagement from Contracting Parties on issues of relevance to the Convention.


1. Represent the Secretary-General and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, in relation to regional matters and specified thematic areas, in meetings and in contacts with government officials, intergovernmental organisations, secretariats of other conventions, partner organisations and other institutions, and national and international NGOs.

2. Supervise staff reporting to the Advisor, and ensure that all supervised staff have annual workplans linked to the workplan of the Secretariat, and encourage and assist their professional development. Hold staff accountable for results and for the quality of outputs. Ensure that they work together and with the other staff of the Secretariat as needed to achieve synergy and a unified approach to attain the objectives of the Secretariat.

3. As a member of the Senior Management Team, participate in the work planning of the Secretariat, and coordinate activities with those of other sections of the Secretariat to ensure efficient operations and implementation and a whole-of-Secretariat approach to the Secretariat’s workplan.

4. Prepare reports or other documents as needed for the governing bodies of the Convention and support or assist as required in the organisation and conduct of their meetings.

The above job description contains the main duties and responsibilities for this position. However, in a small secretariat such as Ramsar, staff members are expected to show flexibility in their approach to work and be willing to undertake other tasks that are reasonably allocated to them but which are not part of their regular job description. Where any task becomes a regular part of an employee's responsibilities, the job description will be changed in consultation with the employee and the Human Resources Management Group.
  • Postgraduate qualification in an aspect of natural or social science relevant to wetland conservation and wise use.

• At least 15 years of experience across a broad spectrum of subjects including biodiversity and ecosystem-based resource management, with a special focus on wetlands, and one or more of the following thematic areas as they relate to wetlands: climate change; water management and mainstreaming wetlands in the sustainable development agenda. This should include at least five years working at the international level within the relevant region.

• Demonstrated expertise and experience in providing authoritative advice in policy processes, technical and scientific issues at national or regional levels, in the context of global issues and in an intergovernmental context.

• Demonstrated experience in policy processes in Multilateral Environmental Agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, United Nations Convention on Desertification, other relevant global or regional MEAs and/or, more broadly, on the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda.

• Demonstrated experience in professional competencies including organizational and financial management, project preparation, programme planning, resource mobilization and outreach, and staff management.

• Demonstrated spoken and written fluency in English. Knowledge of other official languages an advantage.

• Demonstrated capacity for innovative and strategic thinking and ability to provide leadership in dealing with complex issues.

• Demonstrated ability to integrate the perspectives of the biological and social sciences and a commitment to working in interdisciplinary teams.

• Exposure to and knowledge of major wetland conservation issues, both policy-related and field-related.

• Familiarity with the work of the main regional and global institutions, including NGOs, dealing with environment and development issues.

• Well-developed computer skills and ability and willingness to perform the duties of the position with limited assistance from support staff.

• Strong interpersonal skills, with a demonstrated ability to understand and operate within multicultural environments, and with the range of cultures within and across the regions.

• Demonstrated ability to work within a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team environment with sound experience in establishing and maintaining effective relationships with a diverse group of people including different levels of government, NGOs and community groups.

• 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.

• Preferably a national of Asia or Oceania, and preferably with substantial experience of working and living in different parts of the two regions.
The minimum gross annual salary for this position is CHF 134'355, subject to deductions for social security contributions and second-pillar pension, and before tax. While this is an indicative amount effective as of the current date, changes may occur as per IUCN's compensation practices without prior notice. The same applies to other organisations hosted by IUCN.

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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