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Deputy Secretary General

Vacancy #:   913
Unit:   Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Organisation:   The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar)
Location:   Headquarters, Gland, Switzerland
Reporting to:   Secretary General
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   M2
Expected start date:   01 May 2019
Type of contract:   Max-term (14 months with possibility of renewal)
Closing date:   30 November 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 (DSG) is the most senior position, after the Secretary General, in the 24 member Ramsar Secretariat. The post-holder provides the lead within the Ramsar Secretariat regarding relations with the governing bodies, the arrangements for their meetings, the official documentation of the Secretariat and support to the Parties in implementation of the Convention.

The position requires a demonstrated experience of organizing and supporting the work of governing bodies and of organizing their meetings, and long experience of intergovernmental processes and of negotiations regarding issues of conservation and sustainable development. It requires also a knowledge of the operations of the Convention and the work of its Secretariat as well as an understanding of sustainable development and the issues that affect the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
Governing Bodies

1. Support the Secretary-General by acting as a senior representative of the Convention and its Secretariat on behalf of the Secretary-General, in particular on issues of governance and implementation.

2. Take responsibility for:

a) Organization of the work and meetings of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention and the Standing Committee, including the draft agendas, logistics, documentation, translation, interpretation and record-keeping;
b) Negotiation of the host country agreements for meetings;
c) Maintaining liaison with national Ramsar Administrative Authorities and advising on the implementation of the Convention;
d) Liaison with the Depositary and with States not party to the Convention on the process for accession and on the Convention’s requirements;
e) Preparation of the official Ramsar reference documents, the proceedings of meetings, and the Resolutions and other decisions adopted by the Conference of the Contracting Parties.


3. Provide oversight and coordination of the work of the Secretariat to facilitate implementation of the Convention and its Strategic Plan by Contracting Parties.

4. Take responsibility for:
a) Coordination of the work of the regional teams, ensuring that national and regional implementation issues, and organization of regional meetings, are handled consistently across all regions while encouraging the sharing of experiences between regions in order to increase effectiveness of action;
b) Provision of the documentation and translation service of the Secretariat;

5. Work closely with the Director, Science and Policy regarding the work of the Convention’s subsidiary advisory body, the Scientific & Technical Review Panel (STRP) and to ensure links with scientific and technical aspects of implementation of the Convention, including supporting collaboration with other relevant Multilateral Environmental Agreements, intergovernmental organizations and International Organization Partners (IOPs).

6. Work closely with the Director, Resource Mobilization and Outreach to support the Convention’s implementation, ensuring a whole-of-Secretariat approach to mobilize resources and to leverage the Convention’s value proposition in accordance with the priorities identified by the Contracting Parties.


7. Act as a senior representative of the Convention and its Secretariat on behalf of the Secretary-General on issues of governance and implementation of the Convention. Serve as officer-in-charge of the Secretariat in the absence of the Secretary-General.

8. Supervise a team of 11 staff members, develop its work plan and budget and ensure that all staff have annual work plans linked to the strategic plan, encourage and assist their professional development. Hold staff accountable for results and for the quality of outputs. Ensure that these staff members work together and with the other staff of the Secretariat as needed to achieve good synergies and cross-fertilization between the different teams.

9. 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 efficiency of operation and implementation and a whole-of-Secretariat approach to the Secretariat’s work programme.

10. Represent the Secretary-General and the Ramsar Secretariat, as requested, in meetings and in contacts with government officials, intergovernmental organizations and secretariats of other conventions, partner organizations and other institutions, including the IOPs and national and international NGOs.

The above job description contains the main duties and responsibilities for this position. However, in the Ramsar Secretariat, staff members are expected 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.
  • A commitment to nature conservation and sustainable use.

• A university degree (preferably a post-graduate/masters’ degree) or an equivalent demonstrated level of knowledge in a subject related to international relations and diplomacy, political science, international law, conservation or sustainable development.

• Demonstrated experience and evidence of achievements in organizing and supporting the work of governing bodies and their meetings, and substantive experience of intergovernmental processes and of negotiations regarding issues of conservation and sustainable development, including a minimum of 10 years in a senior position. Experience of working with the Ramsar or other multilateral conventions would be a strong advantage.

• Ability to negotiate mutually acceptable solutions, especially on sensitive issues, and understand the perspective of Ramsar Contracting Parties, the Standing Committee and Ramsar partners.

• 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.

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

• Good understanding of world affairs and experience in the workings of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and governmental and non-governmental institutions.

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

• 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.

• 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.

• 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). Please note that only selected applicants will be personally contacted for interviews.

Other job opportunities are published in the IUCN website: https://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 1,400 Member organisations and some 15,000 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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