The Ramsar Convention's Internship Programme
The Ramsar Internship Programme supports four regionally-oriented positions, one each for Africa, the Americas, Asia/Oceania, and Europe; all are normally one-year to 18-month positions and the Secretariat posts announcements in advance of each new vacancy. Candidates should be nationals of countries from the region being applied for. Below are the common Terms of Reference for all internship posts.
April 2012 | Saber Masoomi (I.R. Iran), with (l-r): Nury Furlan (Guatemala), Ako Charlotte Eyong (Cameroon), Kati Wenzel (Germany)
Attention: Please do not apply for Ramsar Internship positions
until a vacancy for the appropriate region has been announced on this Web site.
General Terms of Reference for Ramsar internships
Important Note: Applications for internship positions at the Ramsar Secretariat are to be submitted online only through the IUCN Web site, and links will be posted on the Ramsar Web site when there are vacancies.
The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Ramsar Convention is independent of the United Nations system of environmental treaties and reports only to its own Contracting Parties, or Member States. The Secretariat operations are administered by IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The Convention Secretariat, which currently comprises 20 employees, is co-located with the world headquarters of IUCN in Gland (near Geneva), Switzerland.
The Secretariat initiated a regional internship programme in 1997 which allows four interns to assist the respective Senior Regional Advisors in their day-to-day work within the Secretariat. The tasks will rarely involve field work. Exceptionally, interns could be asked to visit projects or participate in meetings abroad. There will also be opportunities to attend international meetings held in Geneva and to become acquainted with other international agencies based there.
With an upper age limit for applicants of 30 years old, the internships offer opportunities for young graduates to become acquainted with the workings of an intergovernmental treaty dealing with the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Candidates should be prepared to provide services for a period of at least 12 months. The assignment will be subject to a two-month probationary period. After six months of service, the Secretariat may offer an intern an extension of up to six months, i.e. for a maximum period of 18 months' service.
Interns report to the Senior Advisors for the four Ramsar Convention regions: Africa, the Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe.
Specific duties and responsibilities
1. Evaluating data sheets ("Ramsar Information Sheets") and preparing related documentation to accompany the designation process of Ramsar Sites and their updates;
2. Entering Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS) data in the Ramsar Sites Information Service database for new designations and updates;
3. Evaluating/assessing project proposals for the Convention's small grants assistance programmes and monitoring projects over their cycle, maintaining contact, checking reports and results. This may also include a field visit evaluation;
4. Dealing with the conservation and sustainable use issues of individual wetland sites in the respective region and particularly assisting with the procedure concerning adverse changes in the ecological character of Ramsar Sites (Art 3.2);
5. Maintaining routine contacts with governments of Ramsar member and non–member countries, as well as with national NGOs and international partner organizations and other relevant bodies in the respective region;
6. Promoting use of the mechanisms for conservation and sustainable use of wetlands that have been developed under the Convention, especially the technical guidelines related to the work on Ramsar Information Sheets, and the development of management tools;
7. Contributing to the preparation of regional meetings, annual meetings of the Ramsar Standing Committee and the triennial Conference of the Contracting Parties;
8. Assisting in activities related to spreading the 'Ramsar message' to governments, decision-makers, the media, the private sector, and the public at large (e.g., the World Wetlands Day initiative) and participating in other events, and possibly delivering presentations;
9. Dealing with routine administrative work, such as preparing correspondence, sending faxes, making photocopies, assisting with bulk mailings;
10. Occasionally collating and analyzing information on technical and policy issues related to wetland conservation and sustainable use, as required by the Strategic Plan 2009-2015 and the work plan of the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) (copies of both documents available upon request and on the Ramsar Web site).
For regional internships it is important that candidates be nationals of the region being applied for and have lived most of their lives in that region.
The principal qualities required are enthusiasm and a commitment to nature conservation and sustainable use issues.
Interns should have a university degree (preferably a post-graduate degree) in a subject relevant to wetland conservation and sustainable use, such as geography, biology, hydrology, marine sciences, natural resources management, land use planning, or anthropology/sociology. Experience of field work in wetland subjects will be a clear advantage.
In addition, interns should have well-developed computer skills (Word, Excel, e-mail) and be able to perform routine secretarial tasks efficiently (typing in particular).
The Ramsar Secretariat’s working languages are English, French, and Spanish. Full ability to work in English is required for all the regional internships. Additionally, high-level French is required for the Africa regional internship position and Spanish for the Americas internship.
The Ramsar Secretariat will provide for each intern:
- a return train/boat or air ticket from and to a previously-agreed point of departure, using the most economical fare available (return fare offered only up to three months after end of the intern's tenure in the Secretariat);
- a monthly remuneration, of which roughly 18% is deducted for statutory Swiss social security and unemployment schemes and for pension and internal tax. After payment of studio rent and associated charges, interns “take home” a net salary of approximately SFR 2,000.- per month;
- SFR 290 gross per month as a contribution towards his/her premium for medical insurance coverage;
- (because suitable accommodation is scarce in Gland) studio apartments at a short distance from the office are rented on a permanent basis for the use of Ramsar interns. They are furnished and equipped by the Ramsar Secretariat. For this reason, interns do not have the choice of living elsewhere. Owing to the type of accommodation, level of salary, and Swiss health insurance and residency conditions, candidates should be aware that it is not possible for interns to bring members of their families to live with them during their internships. Of course, holiday visits are possible with a tourist visa (at the cost of interns).
- a half-price tariff ticket on the Swiss railway system, to allow travel at reasonable cost on the excellent Swiss rail network;
- a subsidized mid-day meal in the IUCN cafeteria;
- IUCN applies for work permits (and if required an entry visa to take up employment in Switzerland);
- Working hours: 40 per week;
- Leave: 25 days per year.
May 2011| Cathleen Cybele (Mauritius), Miriam Gwilliam (Fiji), Sofia Méndez Castillo (Honduras), and Kati Wenzel (Germany)
March 2010 | From left to right: Cathleen Cybele (Mauritius), Ann Aldersey (Australia), Sofia Méndez Castillo (Honduras), and Nadezhda Alexeeva (Russia)
February 2008 : (from left) Evelyn Parh Moloko (Cameroon), Pragati Tuladhar (Nepal), Mila Llorens (Guatemala), and Monica Zavagli (Italy)