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Regional Regenerative Blue Economy Manager

Vacancy #:   6442
Unit:   ESARO - Coastal and Ocean Programme
Organisation:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, Nairobi, Kenya
Reporting to:   Regional Head, Coastal and Ocean Resilience (COR)
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   SP
Expected start date:   01 July 2023
Type of contract:   Fixed-term (36 months)
Closing date:   01 June 2023



The IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) operates in twenty-four countries in the Horn of Africa, east Africa, southern Africa and the Western Indian Ocean. The ESARO region is extremely rich in biodiversity with high number of endemic species and the largest remaining populations of iconic wildlife left on the continent. ESARO’s Programme focuses on biodiversity conservation through a diverse portfolio of projects and programmatic initiatives ranging from activities at the level of individual protected areas to shaping regional policy on biodiversity conservation. ESARO defines and delivers on its programmatic priorities in collaboration with IUCN members, commissions and other strategic partners.

The Coastal and Ocean Resilience (COR) Programme is responsible for marine and coastal issues, including biodiversity conservation, development and management of marine protected areas, other effective conservation measures (OECMs) and their networks, blue economy, ecosystem and fisheries management, High Seas, blue carbon, marine spatial planning, marine pollution, integrated management and governance of coastal areas, adaptation to climate change and disasters risks reduction.

In order to accelerate and scale up efforts in the region towards coastal and ocean resilience, IUCN has been coordinating efforts, together with countries and partners, in developing the Great Blue Wall initiative. The Great Blue Wall is a Western Indian Ocean (WIO)-born, Africa-driven roadmap to achieve a nature positive world by 2030. It aims at unlocking unprecedented nature-based recovery efforts through the establishment of a transformational movement. Its goal is to dramatically accelerate and upscale ocean conservation actions while enhancing socio-ecological resilience and the development of a regenerative blue economy by catalyzing political leadership and financial support. This will be achieved by spearheading the establishment of a connected network of nature-people positive seascapes (or regenerative seascapes). This network of seascapes will be connected by a living blue wall that will act as a regional ecological corridor formed by conserved and restored critical blue ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrasses and corals. While the Great Blue Wall will act as a wall against climate change impacts and biodiversity loss, it will also shelter coastal communities and create the enabling conditions and necessary mechanisms to empower local stakeholders to become stewards of the ocean while accelerating the development of a regenerative blue economy. The Great Blue Wall is an action-focused and action-driven regional response to 3 interconnected crises, i.e. Biodiversity - Climate – Socioeconomic with three clear objectives to be achieved by 2030:
- Effectively and equitably conserve at least 30%of the ocean by 2030
- Conserve and restore critical blue ecosystems to achieve net-gain by 2030
- Unlock the development of a regenerative blue economy that directly benefits coastal communities while also delivering conservation outcomes.

To guide its development, implementation and in order to achieve its goals, the COR programme is based on the premises of IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa’s Blue Resilience Programme Framework, composed of three key pillars and one cross-cutting: Blue Planet, Blue Nature, Blue People and Blue Partnerships. The Blue Resilience Framework aims at structuring IUCN’s interventions in the region and build resilience at ocean and seascape level and can be described as follows:
3 key pillars:
- Blue Planet: As the world embarks on an ambitious journey of conservation and protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030, it is of paramount importance to ensure that such target is not only achieved on paper but importantly on the ground by empowering local stakeholders to become stewards and managers of the ocean. This pillar therefore focuses on this effort by supporting the establishment of relevant governance frameworks at seascape level as well as the necessary enabling policy frameworks at national, regional and international levels. It also focuses on increasing the effectiveness and equity of area-based conservation measures.
- Blue Nature: Like any living organism, a seascape has its own critical features (or “organs”) that need to be protected and restored (or “healed”) if the rest of the seascape is to stay healthy. This pillar therefore focuses on securing the integrity of critical ecosystems by accelerating and upscaling the restoration and conservation of critical blue ecosystems by driving the implementation at scale of Nature-based Solutions
- Blue People: For a large-scale seascape to thrive and be effectively managed, it is of paramount importance that stakeholders directly benefit from these areas and from ocean conservation efforts. To achieve the scale of impact required, it is crucial that economic activities are not only sustainable and produce socio-economic benefits but also contribute to the regeneration of the ocean. This pillar therefore focuses on unlocking the potential of our blue natural capital by supporting the development of a regenerative blue economy.
1 cross-cutting:
- Blue Partnerships: Because overcoming today’s challenges will require all parties to join forces, and for conservation efforts to be sustainable and impactful at scale, innovative and ambitious partnerships will be a critical piece of the solution. Setting-up such type of partnerships is IUCN’s DNA. Areas of work include innovative finance, technology and communication as well as broader ecosystem of partners, coalition building as well as knowledge and experience sharing

The Regional Regenerative Blue Economy Manager will drive the implementation of the third pillar (Blue People). This position reports directly to the IUCN ESARO Regional Head - Coastal and Ocean Resilience (COR) programme. He/she will serve as a senior member of the Regional COR Team and the IUCN’s Global Ocean community of practice that helps set strategic directions and define priorities for IUCN’s broader engagement on Marine and Coastal issues and, accordingly, works with the other members of the Group in strategic planning; monitoring and evaluation; and learning, innovation and knowledge generation at the overall Intersessional Programme level. This also includes (when requested) contributing to the development of and adhering to IUCN/ESARO policies and procedures related to both organizational and Programme management.

The Regional Regenerative Blue Economy Manager will develop, resource, and manage IUCN ESARO’s Coastal and Ocean Resilience programme activities in the region related to the Blue People pillar in close collaboration with the Regional Head of the COR programme, other regional and national leads of the programme as well as other relevant IUCN programmes, Members, Commissions and partners. He/she will be responsible for the overall management of Blue People programme activities, ensuring that they are coherent and consistent with IUCN’s “One Programme” approach, build on and align with the Great Blue Wall initiative IUCN’s blue resilience framework and add value to regionally and nationally defined priorities. He is responsible for: i) Guiding the strategic direction and development of the thematic area, including development and marketing of project proposals with donors; ii) Ensuring that programmatic activities within the thematic area are effectively and efficiently implemented at both regional and national levels; iii) Promoting learning, knowledge generation and innovation within both the thematic area and in relation to the IUCN’s Intersessional Programme and Strategy; and iv) Ensuring that progress and performance of the Blue People pillar is regularly monitored and evaluated.

On a day-to-day basis, this position will be responsible to coordinate and manage the implementation of the Western Indian Ocean Costal and Ocean Resilience (WIOCOR) project, funded by FFEM. This project has a particular focus on enhancing seagrass conservation in the WIO under the Great Blue Wall initiative, and is composed by three main components. The first focuses on increasing the level of understanding of this critical ecosystem by supporting scientific research and sharing knowledge among key stakeholders. The second component aims at driving on the ground seagrass conservation and related livelihoods development. The third component aims at advocating for more ambitious seagrass conservation efforts and policies at national and regional levels.

The Regional Regenerative Blue Economy Manager will be based in Mauritius (highly preferred) but could be based in any location in the Western Indian Ocean region.

Implementation and portfolio management;
Oversee the development of the WIOCOR activities workplan and related budget, in collaboration with other regional leads, national teams and partners;
Day-to-day coordination of project implementation and activities delivery in order to ensure the highest quality of outputs and outcomes as well as guarantee that activities are implemented in line with project workplans and budgets;
Develop relevant programme KPIs and ensure its good monitoring and reporting;
Support national and lead on regional technical reporting for the WIOCOR project.

Strategic and Technical leadership;
Provide leadership, strategic guidance and direction to the Blue People Regional area of work, as a member of the Regional COR Team;
Lead the strategic development of the Blue People area of work, including periodically conducting situation and scoping analysis to develop/refine the COR strategic framework, ensuring that priorities identified are relevant to IUCN’s members and partners and aligned with IUCN’s value proposition;
Act as a driving force for innovation to position IUCN as a leading organization in terms of supporting the development of a regenerative blue economy;
Ensuring that IUCN’s work in the region is of high technical quality, based on good science and drawing upon state-of-the-art thinking and knowledge;
Unlock synergies and collaboration with other regional COR area of works and IUCN ESARO’s programmes and projects when and where possible;

External engagement and communication;
Ensure that IUCN is adequately represented in relevant regional and international fora and negotiations and facilitate discussions on relevant marine and coastal emerging issues to position IUCN as a reference in the region;
Provide evidence-based support and facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogues on emerging issues and policy debates;
Lead coherent and consistent communication of lessons learnt to key decision-makers and other stakeholders within the region and globally as appropriate, including via the web, print and media;
Lead in identifying and managing potential risks associated with IUCN’s public positions and design strategies to mitigate the risks that have been identified;
Act as a focal point for facilitating and supporting the involvement of IUCN Commissions, Members and other members of the Secretariat in the development and implementation of programmatic activities.

Programme Development and Resource Mobilization;
Lead in the identification of strategic fundraising leads and in developing related concepts, in particular in line with the WIOCOR project. This will involve establishing, maintaining and nurturing good relationships with donors, funding agencies and other technical partners so as to ensure the financial viability of the Blue People pillar of the COR programme;
Lead the development of related full proposals once a concept note has been selected. This work requires coordination with the national teams, regional team, global programme colleagues as well as with IUCN members, partners and consultants;
Work with IUCN ESARO COR Head and senior management to identify donors and key strategic partners aligned to thematic and cross thematic priorities in the ESARO region.

Monitoring and Evaluation;
Contributing to the development of the ESARO COR Intersessional Programme Monitoring and Evaluation Framework;
Ensure IUCN work is accountable to our donor, in particular FFEM, and other stakeholders through the establishment and management of effective accountability mechanisms and processes;
Provide leadership to use data for programme decision making, for the implementation of management actions based on the findings of monitoring, and to ensure that feedback from stakeholders inform programme development;
Lead regional reporting processes and requirements.

Other responsibilities;
Perform other duties as may be assigned from time to time.
  • Position requirements:

An advanced degree in environment, conservation, international cooperation or related fields;
Computer literacy in relation to office applications (word processing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint) use of internet and online communication tools;

Work Experience;
We’re looking for an outstanding, hands-on, highly motivated, autonomous, innovative, solution oriented, results driven and resourceful individual with at least seven years of proven experience with:
Sound expertise in supporting and developing marine and coastal livelihoods, conservation enterprises, blue entrepreneurship, ocean ventures, blue economy or related fields;
Strong expertise and experience in designing and implementing livelihood and entrepreneurship development activities; experience with venture building, incubation and/or acceleration mechanism an added advantage;
Up-to-date knowledge on climate impacts on coastal and marine systems, coastal and marine biodiversity conservation, with particular reference to regenerative marine and coastal production systems and practices highly desirable;
Strong knowledge of blue carbon ecosystems highly desirable, with a particular interest for seagrass ecosystem.
Familiarity with established and emerging nature and people positive approaches to sustainable use of marine/coastal natural resources, in particular in the context of the newly established Global Biodiversity Framework;
Experience in network development and alliance building skills to consult and collaborate across boundaries to build strategic relationships and achieve common goals; demonstrated ability to build consensus in cross-cultural situations;
Ability to interact effectively with and directly support or identify experts required to support all aspects of the ESARO Programme with information on regenerative blue production system and entrepreneurship;
Experience with result-based portfolio and project cycle management, monitoring and evaluation methodologies and principles and facilitation skills;
Strong experience with project and programme development and management, with demonstrated fundraising, budgeting and programme planning abilities and past performance, including experience of development and successful marketing of project proposals with donors, and subsequent delivery and reporting;
Experience with important bilateral and multilateral donors;
Strong interpersonal, management and supervisory skills and experience, with a minimum of 5 years’ in managing organizations and/or teams;
Computer literacy in relation to office applications (word processing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint) use of internet and online communication tools;
Demonstrates strong leadership and people - management experience including supervision of staff, consultants and coordination and effective management of virtual team settings;
Demonstrated ability to work under pressure managing competing demands and complex situations and deliver satisfactory and timely results;
Must be a strong team player with proven communication and diplomacy skills and ability to work effectively with multicultural and multidisciplinary teams displaying sensitivity and respect for diversity;
Must be a proactive individual who is able to energize and motivate teams;
Committed to continuous learning and proactive and mature attitude towards self-development;

Language requirement;
Excellent verbal and communication skills in English and French is a must, with ability to communicate in Portuguese as 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;
Adheres to IUCN core values of Transparency, Inclusiveness, Professionalism and Accountability;
Strong interpersonal, management and supervisory skills and experience, with a minimum of 5 years’ in managing organizations and/or teams;
Ability to manage complex situations and facilitate the establishment of networks and multi-stakeholder participatory processes;
Be willing to undertake frequent travel and interact with different stakeholders from diverse cultures.

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/

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 1,400 Member organisations and around 16,000 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.