Organization Logo

Deputy Secretary General

Vacancy #:   860
Unit:   Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Organization:   The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar)
Location:   Headquarters, Gland, Switzerland
Reporting to:   Secretary General
Work percentage:   100%
Function group:   M2
Expected start date:   01 January 2015
Type of contract:   Max-term (24 months with possibility of renewal)
Closing date:   31 August 2014
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 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 Deputy Secretary General is the most senior position, after the Secretary General, in the 22 - member Ramsar Secretariat. The post-holder provides the lead within the Ramsar Secretariat on all scientific, technical and policy matters with a global relevance.

The position requires an extensive knowledge and experience of the objectives and operations of the Convention and of the work of its Secretariat, at the global level and regional level, as well as competencies across a broad spectrum of subjects including water and wetland management, sustainable development, science and policy, organizational management and financial planning, and the issues that affect the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
If you have already applied for this position when it was last posted and were not selected please do not re-apply.

1. Act as senior representative of the Convention and its Secretariat on behalf of the Secretary General, as and when requested, on all matters of Convention business.

2. Advise and assist the Secretary General, the Head of Strategy and Partnerships, the Senior Regional Advisors, and the Head of Communications on global policy, developmental, technical, and scientific issues related to the implementation of the Convention.

3. Advise on the implementation of the Convention’s Work Plan and the Resolutions and Recommendations adopted at Conferences of Contracting Parties (COPs) of the Convention, in particular those concerning scientific, developmental, technical and policy implementation.

4. Support the Secretary General in the development of the content of Ramsar meetings and their substantive preparation and execution, including all meetings of the Standing Committee, and the meetings of the Conference of the Contracting Parties; and advise the Secretariat’s Senior Regional Advisors on the preparation of Ramsar regional meetings.

5. Supervise a team of 10 staff members and ensure that all staff have annual work plans linked to strategic plan, and that they prepare quarterly reports. Hold staff accountable for results and for a quantitative improvement in the quality of outputs. Ensure that the various sections of the office work together smoothly and increase the synergies and cross-fertilization between the different teams.

6. Act as the Ramsar Secretariat’s focal point for the Convention’s subsidiary advisory body, the Scientific & Technical Review Panel (STRP), and its collaborating institutions, and oversee staff and guide the substantive preparations of its meetings and the implementation of its work plan in general.

7. Oversee the work of the Secretariat’s Senior Regional Advisors (SRAs) and others in the Regional Teams, and ensure that national and regional implementation issues are handled consistently across the world while instilling a learning focus between regions in order to increase effectiveness of action.

8. Work with the Head of Communications and Head of Strategy & Partnerships on support to the Regional teams in order to ensure global scientific, developmental, technical, communications and policy implications are addressed appropriately through effective policy and programmatic instruments.

9. Working closely with the Head of Strategy and Partnerships, establish and maintain scientific and technical links with other relevant Multilateral Environmental Agreements, including their secretariats and subsidiary bodies, and in particular the Conventions on Biological Diversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Migratory Species, and World Heritage. Such work will also include intergovernmental institutions, such as the five International Organization Partners (IUCN, WWF, Birdlife International, Wetlands International, IWMI), and the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank and other multilateral development banks, with UNEP, UNDP, UNECE, UNESCO, FAO, World Health Organization, European Commission, European Space Agency, IPBES and other scientific and technical organizations, with which the Convention establishes agreements of some sort.

10. Represent the Secretary General and the Ramsar Secretariat, as requested, in meetings and contacts with governments, conventions, partner organizations and other institutions, including national and international NGOs.

11. As an official representative of the Secretary General, the Deputy Secretary General is responsible for maintaining a high and professional profile with governments, partners, donors, civil society and other relevant stakeholders. The DSG will also manage the staff of the Secretariat for the Secretary General when required.

The Deputy Secretary General reports to the Secretary General of the Convention.

Interviews will take place in Gland on 16 and 17 December 2014.


The gross annual salary for this position is in the range from CHF 148'000 to CHF 185'000, subject to deductions for social security contributions and second-pillar pension, and before tax.
  • The principal qualities required are knowledge, experience, enthusiasm and a commitment to wise use of wetlands and sustainable development.

• A university degree (preferably a post-graduate/masters’ degree) or an equivalent demonstrated level of knowledge in at least one subject relevant to water wetland management and sustainable development, such as geography, biology, hydrology, water resource management, marine sciences, natural resources management, or land-use planning. In addition, a firm grounding in development and the social sciences would be an advantage.

• A minimum of 15 years' professional experience and evidence of achievements in the area of the environment, management of water and wetlands and sustainable development, and international cooperation with a minimum of five years’ work experience in a senior position, are essential.

• Experience and evidence of achievements in the areas of policy development and programme administration within government agencies, and/or experience with international institutions, and in particular with intergovernmental treaties, is a clear advantage.

• Experience of working with the Ramsar or other multilateral conventions would be a strong advantage.

• Demonstrated capacity for innovative and strategic thinking and ability to provide leadership in dealing with complex issues, as well as skills in planning and management of international events and provision of relevant support.

• Experienced professional manager of individuals and teams in multicultural settings and proven ability to support and develop staff skills and ensure achievement of objectives.

• Well-developed computer skills and an ability to perform the duties of the position in a fairly independent manner, with limited assistance from support staff.

• Exposure to, and a good understanding of, international development, world current affairs and of cultural diversity.

• Strong inter-personal skills, including the ability to understand and operate within multi-cultural environments.

• Strong communication skills, including in public presentation, writing and speaking.

• The ability to work independently with full fluency in spoken and written English. Knowledge and fluency in one of the Conventions’ other official languages French and Spanish is also to be expected.

• Willingness and ability to travel extensively to all parts of the world.

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).

Other job opportunities are published in the IUCN website:

About IUCN

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.

IUCN works on biodiversity, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,200 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.