The 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
|"Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People" |
10th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
Changwon, Republic of Korea, 28 October - 4 November 2008
Ramsar COP10 DOC. 19
Future Secretariat structure and staffing
1. At its 35th meeting of the Standing Committee (SC), the Management Working Group and the SC as a whole considered proposals from the then-Secretary General for a rearrangement of aspects of senior Secretariat staff roles and responsibilities, with a view to helping to address significant work overloads being faced by a number of staff members, including notably the Deputy Secretary General, the regional teams, and the communications team.
2. In Decision SC35-31, “The Standing Committee requested the Secretary General to work with the Management Working Group to propose an organizational structure and terms of reference for senior staff to better reflect the strategic priorities and needs of the Convention for the next five years, for consideration by SC36. The Committee also endorsed the recruitment of a P1 post in the Secretariat to support the work of the Senior Regional Advisors.”
3. This P1 post has now been filled, with Alexia Dufour joining the Secretariat in 2007 as our “Regional Affairs Officer”.
4. Following his arrival in his post in August 2007, the Secretary General reviewed the roles and responsibilities of all Secretariat staff against the current and anticipated future needs of the Convention and its organizational growth, and he identified a number of gaps and weaknesses in capacity and skills impeding the effective accomplishment of what the Secretariat is expected to deliver, both currently in a COP year and beyond.
5. This resulting paper provided the Management Working Group and Standing Committee at its 36th meeting (SC36) with:
i) a proposal for a 2008 interim (transitional) revised Secretariat staff management structure and responsibilities designed, without adding to staff posts or costs, to establish a clearer functional unit structure and line management responsibilities of staff;
ii) a Secretariat “vision”, commitments and guiding principles for its operations and future development, in relation to the broader issues and strategic priorities for the organizational growth of the Convention and its Secretariat; and
iii) a proposed organizational structure and staffing of the Secretariat for the next triennium.
6. SC36 examined the proposals and made the following decision:
Decision SC36-15: The Standing Committee
1) endorsed the interim Secretariat staff structure for 2008;
2) recognized that the SG’s review and proposals for a 2009-2011 staffing and structure are appropriate in a general sense to consider as a realistic vision for a future Secretariat structure to deliver the aspirations and development of the Convention;
3) endorsed this staffing and structure, subject to its amendment with the simplified senior management structure, noting that nothing in this decision relates to issues concerning core budget matters to be considered further by SC37 and COP10 in relation to any core funding allocations for additional posts indicated; and
4) requested the SG to revise and update, as necessary, the post descriptions and Terms of Reference of Secretariat staff posts in the light of the discussion, and to provide further information to SC37 a) on what options exist for additional staffing other than from core budget allocations; b) on Secretariat current work overloads, and c) on what un-resourced priorities that have been set by COP Resolutions cannot be delivered by current Secretariat resourcing and staffing.
7. In line with Decision SC36-15, the Secretariat took the following actions:
- amended the proposal concerning the Secretariat staff structure for 2009-2011;
- reviewed and updated the post descriptions and Terms of Reference of Secretariat staff posts;
- drafted proposals on options for additional staffing other than from core budget allocation;
- analyzed the Secretariat’s current work overload;
- considered what unresourced priorities that have been set by COP Resolutions cannot be delivered by current Secretariat resourcing and staffing.
8. The Standing Committee discussed this matter at its 37th meeting and arrived at the following decision:
Decision SC37-17: The Standing Committee requested the Secretary General to 1) review the proposed staff structure for 2009-2011, bearing in mind the need to address the burden on the Deputy Secretary General and not to create a new mid-management level; 2) propose a redistribution of responsibilities, especially regarding the coordination of the scientific & communication unit, the regional teams, and the proposed partnership unit; and 3) add one position to each regional team to increase their capacity. The SC requested the Secretary General to report to the Standing Committee the results of that review by 10 July 2008 at the latest and indicate the financial implications of those results.
9. The Secretariat has reviewed its thinking in light of this decision, and what follows is a revised version of the proposal that is in line with the Standing Committee’s wishes.
The Ramsar Secretariat’s “vision”, commitments and guiding principles for its operations and future development
10. The issues and approaches outlined in this section provide a view of the approach and commitments of the Secretariat in relation to the broader issues and strategic priorities for the organizational growth of the Convention and its Secretariat, and they supply a background to the proposals for future Secretariat structure and staffing in the section that follows.
Working with a Vision
11. Our “Vision” is our perspective, our way of seeing our role and responsibilities; it guides our choices, our attitude, and our behavior.
12. We believe that true direction is born with a Vision. An effective vision provides guidance and it gives direction to our Secretariat. It begins when we accept it as a team, and it becomes a reality when our Standing Committee and the Contracting Parties they represent respond to it.
Ramsar Secretariat Vision
A dedicated team made up of people with a common goal and a mutual commitment to promote and support the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world.
We do our best to remain a constructive team made up of people with different aptitudes, and playing different positions and roles, to assist the Contracting Parties in achieving increasing progress in the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
13. The Ramsar Secretariat believes in teamwork at all levels, and we strive to promote partnership at local, national and international levels so that each stakeholder group uses its particular style and strengths to integrate wetland issues in their work and create a powerful partnership, one that enhances synergy in wetland conservation and wise use.
The Secretariat’s commitments
14. The team members of the Ramsar Secretariat are committed to:
- bringing the particular skills and experience of each staff member to the team and working together with respect and appreciation for one another to create a powerful team;
- providing high-quality support to the Ramsar Contracting Parties;
- promoting a clear and shared understanding of wetland issues by key players;
- providing timely and high-quality information that is understandable and reliable to facilitate the right decision at the right time and right place;
- promoting effective communications to facilitate partnership at local, national and international levels; and
- enhancing the image of the Convention and encouraging the recognition of wetland values and their importance for sustainable development by key decision-makers.
The Secretariat’s guiding principles to meet our commitments
15. We choose to respect those for whom we work (the Ramsar Contracting Parties). We value what others do and the ways in which they contribute to the work of the Convention.
16. We keep in mind that the degree to which we value our ability is the degree to which others will value our ability.
17. We look for options and opportunities to:
- enhance a common understanding of “what are wetlands and their importance for sustainable development”?;
- innovate and make progress;
- encourage other players and help them become better than we are and give them credit for their achievements;
- continually invest in a disciplined and consistent way of learning and growing; and
- take ownership of our capacity and provide all we can offer to the Contracting Parties.
Proposed organizational structure and staffing of the Secretariat for 2009 onwards
18. The proposals for the future Secretariat structure and staffing (2009 onwards) are made in line with Decisions SC36-15 and SC37-17, together with the following principles concerning the organizational growth of the Convention:
i) The Ramsar Convention is committed to growing and developing its work to meet persisting and emerging challenges.
ii) The Contracting Parties are committed to making positive changes to keep the Convention modernized and well-run in order to adjust to a changing environment.
iii) The Contracting Parties and the Ramsar partners are willing to ensure the growth of the Convention and enhance its achievements, taking into account new challenges.
iv) The Contracting Parties are committed to supporting the difficult decisions necessary for the success of the Convention.
v) The Contracting Parties support the Vision of the Secretariat.
vi) The Standing Committee and the Contracting Parties they represent think big.
19. With increasing membership of the Convention, and recognition of the Convention’s key role in securing the future sustainability of wetlands, the capacity of the Secretariat has become increasingly overstretched, putting at risk its ability to deliver the services expected by Contracting Parties and partners in an efficient and timely manner.
20. Following the Secretary General’s review in late 2007 of current staffing and capacities, as well as the gaps in current capacity and skills needed to deliver the work of a Convention Secretariat in the modern world, the Secretary General has identified the following needs, including additional staff skills and expertise to undertake various aspects of the Secretariat’s mandate and work plans. These cover:
a) the Secretary General’s Office
21. Under the direct supervision of the Secretary General, the following staff positions and functions will operate:
22. Executive Assistant: The TOR has been reviewed to clarify some tasks.
23. Finance Officer: This position has been thoroughly reviewed in order to integrate additional skills and expertise to advise the Secretary General regarding the financial viability of the Convention. In this regard, new strategic responsibilities are added as follows:
- providing a clear picture and understanding of the financial health of the Ramsar Secretariat, including the development of a set of performance indicators for the ongoing monitoring of financial health;
- ensuring that IUCN’s financial reports provide high quality financial information to facilitate monitoring and informed decision-making by Secretariat, the Standing Committee, and the Conference of the Parties;
- ensuring that the budgeting process reflects and supports the Strategic Plan and the priorities of the Convention; and
- providing support and high quality relevant information to fundraising efforts to ensure adequate income and strong interest and commitment from donors.
24. As a result of this review the position has been upgraded from P1 to P2 to take into account the strategic responsibilities.
25. This Unit is coordinated by the Senior Administrative Assistant and includes two administrative assistants. One additional Administrative Assistant is needed to carry out all required administration tasks. The descriptions of the existing posts have been reviewed.
26. The Secretary General will oversee all administrative aspects of the work of the Regional Teams. The Senior Advisors report to the Secretary General administrative matters with regard to:
a) travel authorization requests and mission reports
b) leave authorization requests
c) Ramsar Advisory Missions
d) Regional initiatives
e) SGF, Swiss Grant, Wetlands For the Future, other similar projects
f) National Reports for COP
g) Annual Performance Evaluation
27. Legal officer: in view of the increasing need for professional legal advice to the Convention on matters such as the future status of the Secretariat, the hosting agreements with IUCN, and ongoing project and contractual matters, the creation of a “Legal Officer” post is proposed. It is anticipated that this post would not be a full-time staff post and it is indicated at 20% on a retainer basis, but this would need funding from core budget or another source of funding.
28. The establishment and staffing of a “Partnership Unit” in the Secretariat, including a senior post of “ Partnership Coordinator”, is intended to further develop and maintain the increasingly necessary work on partnerships and synergy with other relevant processes and organizations, including inter alia other multilateral environmental agreements and United Nations agencies and organizations. It also coordinates the involvement of the non-governmental sector, especially the Convention’s International Organization Partners (IOPs), and the private sector and governmental donor community; and importantly, takes on the lead responsibility for planning and coordination of COP preparations with the host country – an area of work that currently places a heavy load on the Secretary General, particularly in a COP year. This Unit encompasses the proposed UN/MEAs Liaison Officer, the IOPs/NGOs Liaison Officer, and the Donor/Private Sector Officer. Project officers are under the supervision of the Donor/Private Sector Officer.
29. Further rationale for the proposed “Partnership Unit” and its staffing, and outline terms of reference of its proposed staff posts, is provided in Annex 2, and outline rationale and terms of reference for other proposed posts cited above are provided in Annex 3.
b) Deputy Secretary General
30. The post description and the Terms of Reference of the Deputy Secretary General have been reviewed and updated. The position requires an extensive knowledge and experience of the objectives and operations of the Convention and of the work of its Secretariat, in particular at the global level, as well as competencies across a broad spectrum of subjects including wetland science and policy, organizational management and financial planning, and cross-sectoral issues that influence the conservation and wise use of wetlands. IUCN has been requested to review the post grade in the light of the updated post description.
c) Units under the direct supervision of the Deputy Secretary General
31. The new senior management structure includes two Units under the direct supervision of the Deputy Secretary General: 1) communications and science, and 2) regional teams (scientific and technical coordination).
32. The CEPA Officer, in charge of the Convention’s Programme on Communication, Education and Public Awareness. The descriptions and TOR of the CEPA officer have been reviewed to take into account additional tasks.
33. The Communications Officer, in charge of writing news stories and announcements for the Ramsar Web site and other press releases, is also responsible for the e-mail lists, preparation of documents for Ramsar meetings, editing and lay-out for the Handbooks and Technical Reports series, other English-language editing, maintenance of the Ramsar List and Annotated List of Wetlands of International Importance, preparing the reports of Standing Committee and STRP meetings, and interaction with external agencies on communications issues.
34. The STRP Technical Officer: The Scientific & Technical Officer is a new post in the Ramsar Secretariat, created in 2007 to enhance the Secretariat’s capacity to provide technical support to the work of the STRP and advice on other scientific matters. The main focus of the work of the Scientific & Technical Officer will be to provide support to the STRP in the implementation of its Work Plan. He provides day-to-day assistance to the Deputy Secretary General for Science and Communications in supporting the implementation of the STRP work plan, including establishing and running contracts with expert consultants at the request of the STRP. He leads, with the Secretariat’s regional teams and STRP regional network members, in developing enhanced interaction with, and from, STRP National Focal Points. He also reviews, as appropriate, draft materials prepared by the STRP and keeps the STRP Support Service Web site maintained and updated. He undertakes other duties, as required, with the agreement of the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General for Science and Communications.
35. The IT Officer: This is a proposed new position intended to take into account increasing needs. The establishment of an information technology junior professional officer post is proposed to ensure that the IT needs, such as databases, further Web-developments, etc., are effectively developed and maintained and result in the smooth running of the Secretariat and Convention in an increasingly technological world.
36. Regional teams: each team is composed of a senior Adviser and assistant (intern), assisting the following regions: Africa; Americas; Asia/Oceania; and Europe. The Senior Advisors report to the Deputy Secretary on general scientific and technical matters, including:
a) STRP matters
b) Ramsar site designations
c) Ramsar site management
d) Montreux Record
e) participation in task forces
f) participation in Scientific debates
37. The post descriptions and TOR of the Senior Regional Advisors have been revised and updated. As a result of this review, all Seniors Advisors have moved from grade P2 to grade M, following a review by IUCN.
38. Role and responsibilities of the Technical Officer. This proposal is a response to Decision SC37-17, which requested the Secretariat to add one position to each of the Regional Teams in order to increase their capacity. Therefore, the proposal is made so that each of the four regional teams (Africa, Americas, Asia & Oceania, Europe) at the Secretariat consists of three officers. This proposal is intended to significantly increase the ability of the Secretariat and its regional teams to deal with the many regional and national issues, notably referring to Ramsar sites and implementation of the Convention and its Resolutions at national level, through direct support to Contracting Parties.
39. Under the supervision of the Senior Adviser, and in close cooperation with the Assistant Adviser (intern position) and the Regional Affairs Officer, the Technical Officer will:
- assist the Senior Adviser in strategic, political and planning tasks to be addressed by the regional teams;
- develop close working relationships with national focal points of the Contracting Parties (daily contacts, STRP, CEPA);
- provide technical assistance to Contracting Parties in the implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan at the regional level;
- work assiduously with Contracting Parties on the application of Article 3.2, Montreux Record, and other issues related to the ecological character of Ramsar sites and other specific aspects of the implementation of the Convention in Contracting Parties;
- in consultation with the CEPA Programme Officer, identify and support appropriate outreach activities to enhance Ramsar’s image in the region;
- oversee the World Wetlands Day celebrations in the region and provide technical and logistics support to other major Ramsar events in the region in collaboration with the Ramsar CEPA Programme Officer;
- develop existing partnerships and draw lessons with relevant regional organizations that can assist in implementing the Convention at regional and subregional level.
- oversee Ramsar site designations and updates of Ramsar Information Sheets;
- keep track of National Reports to be submitted by Contracting Parties prior to COPs;
- provide guidance and support to the Assistant Advisor through sharing the above tasks as appropriate in order to achieve the most effective results in cooperation with the Assistant Advisor and the Regional Affairs Officer;
- work closely with the Regional Affairs Officer on regional tasks to be undertaken by regional teams in the Secretariat with a view to providing global (cross-regional) analyses and products; and
- provide support to the Senior Adviser and other colleagues in the Secretariat in other tasks to be undertaken by the Secretariat, as instructed by the Secretary General or his Deputy.
Current Secretariat work overload
Staff person days in 2008
Need 140 extra days to perform the duties
Deputy Secretary General
Need 188 extra days
Senior Advisor Europe, Acting Regional Coordinator
Need 110 extra days
Senior Advisor, Africa
need 67 extra days
Senior Advisor, Americas
Need106 extra days
Senior Advisor, Asia/Pacific
CEPA Programme Officer
Need 64 extra days
Scientific and Technical Support Officer
Need 6 extra days
Need 96 extra days
Need 71 extra days
Regional affairs Officer
Need 21 extra days
Technical Officer for Asia/Pacific
Need 117 extra days
Executive Assistant to the Secretary General
Need 133 extra days
Senior Administrative Assistant
Need 105 extra days
Need 67 extra days
She normally works 70%; Need 45 extra days to complete the tasks
Need 86 extra days
Evelyn Moloko Parh
Need 96 extra days to complete the work
Need 93 extra days
40. Options for additional staffing from core budget allocations
- Paying overtime hours to staff working more than 230 days; this has been done for the interns to complete on time the dissemination of materials for World Wetlands Day
- Recruiting part-time staff for specific tasks such as the Ramsar site designation process; this has already been the case for the Americas in 2008 to process a large number of proposed Ramsar sites.
41. Options for additional staffing other than core budget allocations
- Secondment to be provided by Contracting Parties;
- Additional voluntary financial contribution by Contracting Parties;
- Financial assistance through partnership with business sector.
Un-resourced priorities that cannot be delivered by current Secretariat staffing
42. The Secretariat staff have reviewed the question of which of their tasks enumerated in their Terms of Reference cannot be completed because of the estimated work overloads in each of their cases, and they came to two conclusions. The first is that, in practical terms, it would not be so much a question of which tasks could not be undertaken as it is a question of undertaking all of the expected tasks but hastily, shoddily in some cases, incompletely, and perhaps in some cases unacceptably poorly.
43. The second conclusion that the staff reached is that, if some tasks of the overloads could not be undertaken, it would not be for the staff members or even the Secretariat as a whole to decide which tasks assigned by the Conference of the Parties they should prefer or abandon. The prioritization of their work should be the responsibility of the Parties for whom they work.
Overall Growth of the Convention
44. Annex 4 provides a note about the growth and capacity of the Ramsar Convention; it provides an assessment by the Secretariat of different aspects of the past and present trends in growth and capacity of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands since its signature in 1971.
45. As an overall assessment, the Convention has continued to grow steadily since its inception, with some measures of growth such as Ramsar site designations and their area indicating more rapid growth in the past ten years than earlier. Despite this growth, and the increasing workloads it implies in providing maintenance of service to the increasing number of Parties and other convention processes by the Secretariat, the resources of the Convention (core budget) and capacity of the Secretariat have not kept pace. The rate of increase in the core convention budget has been progressively slowing over the past ten years, as has the growth in Secretariat staffing. Whilst partly due to changes in administrative operations and new technology, the number of administrative staff has decreased since the late 1990s.
46. Currently, the largest allocation (34%) of the Convention’s total core budget goes to national and regional support to Contracting Parties through the work of the Secretariat’s regional teams and funding for regional initiatives, with much smaller amounts to scientific and technical, communications, administration, and service provision.
47. In comparison with other multilateral environmental agreements, the Ramsar Convention has fewer Secretariat staff per Contracting Party and a much smaller budget per Contracting Party.
Proposed Secretariat staffing and structure 2009-2011
Rationale, responsibilities and outline terms of reference for a Partnership Unit in the Secretariat
1. The Ramsar Secretariat, on behalf of the Convention, has entered into collaborative agreements with a diversity of organizations, including five International Organization Partners (IOP), four global conventions, one regional convention, four UN agencies, four global programmes, four river/lake basin organizations, one institute, one regional programme, one regional UN agency, seven other NGOs, one university center, one private company, and one private alliance of companies.
2. Although the Ramsar Convention receives recurring voluntary funding from some developed Contracting Parties in addition to their prescribed financial contribution to the budget, there is no signed agreement about funding from governments. The only financial agreement signed so far is with a private company.
3. Today, all major conventions, including the Ramsar Convention, recognize that civil society and, more generally, non-state actors have become indispensable development partners. Therefore, it is crucial that, in addition to the leadership role played by governments, the Ramsar Convention must be closely associated with the non-state actors and support their contributions by facilitating participation. Accordingly, coordination among all Ramsar partners is useful to increase the effectiveness of their support.
4. It is time to evaluate the existing partnerships and to use the results of this evaluation to assess the added value of each agreement. The evaluation will highlight the lessons learned with regard to the relevance, the efficiency, the effectiveness, the impact and the sustainability of each partnership. The evaluation will also consider the coverage (spatial and thematic areas of collaboration), the coordination mechanism, and the coherence of the working relationships with existing partners. The overall result of the evaluation will be used to focus upon realistic partnership that is effective and efficient.
5. The significant expected results of the Ramsar Partnership Unit are based on the assumption that collaboration is more effective in achieving the Ramsar mission than efforts carried out by single agencies. The Partnership Unit is proposed to define a clear perception of the approach that accounts for the collaborative advantage, as well as a way to measure it in order to test this assumption and to strengthen the capacity of partnerships in order to realize the full potential of collaboration. The Ramsar Convention already recognizes that the quality that gives collaboration its unique advantage is synergy. For this reason, it is proposed to establish a Partnership Unit within the Ramsar Secretariat to enhance and assess partnership synergy through the identification of its likely determinants, in order to be used to address critical policy, evaluation, and management issues related to our collaboration with many partners at national and global levels.
6. In addition, with the increasing global attention being paid to the Ramsar Convention and its work, and the increasing size and complexity of its meetings of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, there is a need to increase the capacity of the Secretariat to prepare and deliver each COP in an efficient and smooth manner. In particular, much of the additional work of developing and delivering the COP in partnership with the host country currently falls to the Secretary General, which means that for a significant period of each triennium, the Secretary General’s need to focus on COP preparations impairs his/her capacity to deliver the other major leadership and representational roles expected. It is therefore proposed that the “Coordinator, Partnership Unit” would assume the lead role in the Secretariat for COP preparations, under the direction of the Secretary General.
7. Another fundamental reason for establishing a Partnership Unit is the urgent need to draw up a fundraising strategy and plan, followed by the implementation of the activities that are needed to gain better access to funding. This will enable the Secretariat to better assist and strengthen the capacity of the Contracting Parties to implement the Convention. The Secretariat will propose to the Contracting Parties a fundraising strategy and a plan, along with the details and the scope of related activities in line with the requirements and objectives of the Strategic Plan 2009-2014.
8. The Secretariat believes that having a fundraising strategy is essential to clarifying and guiding our funding applications. The strategy will greatly enhance our chances of raising funds, and in the long run it will save us time and energy by having a framework in place to use and adapt for future funding applications. The first requirement for this strategy is already in place since the Convention has its overall Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan confirms the Convention’s mission and vision, and it clarifies the aims and objectives, specific tasks and targets. It is through a fundraising strategy that we can assess and find the required resources to succeed in pursuing that Plan.
9. The following should be the strategic priorities of the Partnership Unit:
i) to strengthen the Secretariat’s ability to review and monitor progress on the strategic priorities and targets and to assist in defining a long-term and annual action plan for partnership with key players, including governments, the Ramsar IOPs, UN agencies, other environmental conventions, research institutes, river/lake basin organizations, business sector, the media, and the civil society at large;
ii) to assist Ramsar Contracting Parties in an integrated state/civil-society approach at the national, regional and local levels;
iii) to strengthen the existing networks and information exchanges to enable the Ramsar International Organization Partners to coordinate their actions, to communicate better, and to agree and implement joint actions on wetlands, water, biodiversity, climate change, and poverty reduction with both governments and the public at large;
iv) to prepare and implement a fundraising strategy to reinforce the capacity of developing Ramsar Contracting Parties to implement the Convention;
v) to develop a policy or strategies for the development of partnerships with relevant corporate and business organizations;
vi) to identify and select relevant potential partners and achieve greater alignment between the policy/strategies of the selected corporate and business partners and the Ramsar policy and strategies;
vii) to ensure that we have the same understanding of the definition and the values of all wetland systems and types with all organizations working on wetland and water issues, and to involve them in our work in order to focus upon those partnerships that are worth spending our time on; and
viii) to lead preparation of the meetings of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, in close collaboration with the host country of each COP.
Role and responsibilities of the Coordinator, Partnership Unit
10. Under the supervision of the Deputy Secretary General, and in consultation with the Secretary General and the other Ramsar senior staff members, the Coordinator, Partnership Unit will:
- undertake the evaluation of the existing partnerships;
- use the results of this evaluation to assess the added value of each agreement;
- highlight the lessons learned with regard to the relevance, the efficiency, the effectiveness, the impact and the sustainability of each partnership;
- consider the coverage (spatial and thematic areas of collaboration), the coordination mechanism, and the coherence of the working relationships with existing partners;
- use the lessons learned to propose realistic partnerships that are effective and efficient;
- propose a draft policy or strategies for the development of partnerships with relevant corporate and business organizations;
- propose a list of relevant potential partners to achieve greater alignment between the policy/strategies of the selected corporate and business partners and the Ramsar policy/strategies;
- promote the same understanding of the definition and the values of all wetland systems and types with all organizations working on wetland and water issues, and involve them in our work in order to focus upon those partnerships that are worth spending our time on;
- promote a common understanding of all wetland systems and wetland types with all partners;
- be committed to the principles of participation, collaboration, partnership and learning;
- consider partnership development as a process in which we undertake effective partnerships continuously and evaluate their performance through a feedback loop;
- ensure that Ramsar values and norms are respected in the development of partnerships, especially with the corporate and business sector;
- propose a list of key partners and maintain the focus on the most important areas of work with them;
- propose strategic and operational advice to Contracting Parties regarding fundraising activities;
- develop policy/strategies and new initiatives, identify trends and provide advice in the development of new initiatives;
- help to build the capacity of Ramsar Administrative Authorities, especially in developing countries, with regard to project proposal development;
- provide policy/strategy input in the development of partnerships with the civil society;
- provide strategic and operational links with the Ramsar IOPs, the UN system, and civil society;
- compile the lessons learned from existing partnerships and propose innovative actions that capitalize upon those lessons learned; and
- lead preparation of the meetings of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, in close collaboration with the host country of each COP.
11. This is a senior post and requires an officer with at least 10 years’ experience and demonstrable success at managing and developing successful relationships with various organizations and the public at large, preferably including working with MEAs, the UN system, governments, NGOs and/or donors and the private sector.
12. In addition, the officer should have at least five years’ experience in preparation of proposals; at least five years’ experience in developing relationships with donors and raising funds; excellent communication skills and proven experience in communication with a wide range of other stakeholders; full fluency in English, with high-quality writing and reporting skills, and with a working knowledge in French and/or Spanish as an advantage.
Role and responsibilities of the Donor/Private Sector Liaison Officer
13. Under the supervision of the Coordinator, Partnership Unit, the role of this Donor/Private Sector Officer will be will be to:
- develop and maintain relationships with a range of selected donors, including multilateral, bilateral and business sector;
- develop well-targeted appeals and proposals;
- secure funding to reach agreed targets;
- prepare reports and feedback briefings and draw lessons from them;
- assist in the implementation of strategies, budgets and plans to generate a long-term, sustainable funding system for the overall work of the Convention;
- build the capacity of Ramsar Administrative Authorities in developing countries to develop high-quality proposals that can draw the attention and interest of donors;
- develop a policy or strategies for the development of partnerships with relevant corporate and business organizations;
- select relevant potential partners and achieve greater alignment between the policy/strategies of the selected corporate and business partners and the Ramsar policy/strategies; and
- ensure that we have the same understanding of the definition and the values of all wetland systems and types with all organizations working on wetland and water issues, and involve them in our work in order to focus upon those partnerships that are worth spending our time on.
14. For this post the officer should have at least five years’ experience in the preparation of proposals; at least five years’ experience in developing relationships with donors and raising funds; and be fluent in English, with high-quality writing and reporting skills, with a working knowledge in French and/or Spanish as an advantage.
Role and responsibilities of the UN/MEAs Liaison Officer
15. Under the supervision of the Coordinator, Partnership Unit, the role of the UN/MEAs Liaison Officer will be to:
- develop and maintain relationships with the UN system in general;
- develop well-targeted liaison with relevant UN bodies, including agencies and conventions dealing with wetland, water, land degradation and land use, biodiversity and climate change;
- prepare meetings with UN agencies and UN conventions, including UN Water, the Environmental Management Group (EMG), and the intersessional meetings preparing the UN General Assembly to help integrate wetland issues in the UN debate;
- secure funding to reach agreed targets;
- prepare reports and feedback briefings and draw lessons from them;
- assist in the implementation of strategies, budgets and plans to generate a long-term, sustainable funding system for the overall work of the Convention; and
- build the capacity of Ramsar Administrative Authorities in developing countries to develop high-quality proposals that can draw the attention and interest of UN agencies and UN conventions, together with the related funding mechanisms, including GEF.
16. For this post, the officer should have at least five years’ experience in working with the UN system and/or multilateral environmental agreements; a clear understanding of the legal, administrative and organizational aspects of the UN system; fluency in English, with high-quality writing and reporting skills; excellent skills in oral and written communication, and with a working knowledge of French and/or Spanish as an advantage.
Role and responsibilities of the IOP/NGO Liaison Officer
17. Under the supervision of the Coordinator, Partnership Unit, the role of the IOPs/NGO Liaison Officer will be to assist in:
- developing and maintaining relationships with the civil society in general;
- developing well-targeted liaison with the Ramsar IOPs, including their field-based programmes and projects on wetlands, water, land degradation and land use, biodiversity, climate change and protected areas;
- preparing the meetings with IOPs;
- ensuring the coordination of the implementation of the agreed actions with the IOPs;
- proposing and encouraging specific actions with selected other NGOs working with the Ramsar Administrative Authorities;
- preparing reports and feedback briefings, and drawing lessons from them;
- assisting in the implementation of strategies, budgets and plans to generate a long-term, sustainable funding system for the overall work of the Convention; and
- building the capacity of Ramsar Administrative Authorities in developing countries to develop high-quality proposals that can draw the attention and interest of the IOPs and other NGOs, together with their respective partners, including the related donors.
18. For this post, the officer should have at least five years’ experience in dealing with the civil society at large; a clear understanding of the legal, administrative and organizational aspects of civil society, and experience in working with the NGO sector; excellent skills in oral and written communication; fluency in English, with high-quality writing and reporting skills, and with a working knowledge in French and/or Spanish an advantage.
Rationale and outline terms of reference for IT (information technology) Officer and Legal Officer
IT (information technology) Officer
1. In an increasingly technological world, there is a growing need (and opportunity) to utilize modern technologies to make the running of the Secretariat and Convention as smooth and efficient as possible. To date, the Secretariat has not had professional staff expertise in information technology applications, and it has rather had to rely on staff who have developed aspects of such skills in an informal way and/or on external contractors to develop IT applications (such as on-line COP registration), which has led to difficulties in resolving subsequent problems with such applications. This is making the Secretariat and Convention increasingly vulnerable to the failure of an IT application at a critical time, such as, for example, during COP registration.
2. Examples of the increasing number of IT applications which need to be developed and maintained by the Secretariat include:
- on-line COP delegate pre-registration system;
- COP registration database;
- Contracting Party contributions database;
- Convention contacts database;
- COP National Reports database;
- STRP Support Service Web site.
3. In addition, there will be a need for IT support in relation to the future software maintenance and developments related to the imminent major redesign and development of the Ramsar Web site, as well as to build capacity to capitalize on future opportunities for streamlining Convention processes, such as the potential for developing on-line National Reporting, as is being done by some other MEAs.
4. This post is for a junior professional with IT training and experience in database (e.g., Microsoft Access) development and maintenance and database-driven Web site software and scripting languages, with an ability to work wholly reliably with on-line database servers and good knowledge of the three Convention languages, but in particular fluent English.
17. The Secretariat has recognized increasing need for professional legal advice to the Convention on matters such as the future status of the Secretariat, the hosting agreements with IUCN, any legal and procedural issues arising during COPs and other meetings, and on-going project and contractual matters. It is anticipated that this post would not need to be a full-time staff post, and it is indicated for 2009-2011 at 20% on a retainer basis, but this would require funding from core budget.
Growth and capacity of the Ramsar Convention:
Contracting Parties, Ramsar sites, core budget and Secretariat staffing
1. This note provides an assessment by the Secretariat of different aspects of the past and present trends in growth and capacity of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands since its signature in 1971.
2. As an overall assessment, the Convention has continued to grow steadily since its inception, with some measures of growth such as Ramsar site designations and their area indicating more rapid growth in the past ten years than earlier.
3. Despite this growth, and the increasing workloads it implies in providing maintenance of service to the increasing number of Contracting Parties and other convention processes by the Secretariat, the resources of the Convention (core budget) and capacity of the Secretariat have not kept pace. The rate of increase in the core convention budget has been progressively slowing over the past ten years, as has the growth in Secretariat staffing. Whilst partly due to changes in administrative operations and new technology, the number of administrative staff has decreased since the late 1990s.
4. Currently, the largest allocation (34%) of the Convention’s total core budget goes to national and regional support to Contracting Parties through the work of the Secretariat’s regional teams and funding for regional initiatives, with much smaller amounts to scientific and technical, communications, administration, and service provision.
5. In comparison with other multilateral environmental agreements, the Ramsar Convention has fewer Secretariat staff per Contracting Party and a much small budget per Contracting Party.
A. Measures of the growth of the Ramsar Convention: Contracting Parties, designated Ramsar sites, and Small Grant Fund proposals
6. Trends in the number of Contracting Parties and Ramsar site designations and the area of designated sites are shown below, as of April 2008 (graphics from the Ramsar Sites Information Service: http://ramsar.wetlands.org/GlobalGraphicaldata/tabid/ 943/language/en-US/Default.aspx).
7. These measures provide indicators not only of the continuing overall growth of the Convention, but also of the increase in the workload of the Secretariat in providing continuing service to the increasing number of Parties, handling issues relating to the increasing number of Ramsar sites, and processing their Ramsar Information Sheets and the updates to these sheets.
8. Contracting Party accessions have overall grown steadily throughout the life of the Convention, at an average rate of about five new Parties per year. The annual rate of new Ramsar site designations has almost doubled in the past ten years (average 75 per year) compared with the earlier period of the Convention (average 43 per year). Likewise, the annual area covered by newly designated sites has almost trebled, from an average of 3.2 million hectares before 1997 to an average of 8.8 million ha over the last 10-year period.
9. As another indicator of increasing Secretariat workload, there has been an overall increase in the number of Small Grants Fund (SGF) projects submitted annually and an increase since 2000 (although largest numbers of proposals were submitted in the late 1990s). All such SGF proposals have to be reviewed and assessed by the Secretariat staff, regardless of the amount of funds that become available for SGF disbursement. [Note. In relation to this there has been a steady decline in the total amount of annual voluntary contributions to the SGF since a peak in the late 1990s, thus diminishing the return to Parties on the significant investment of Secretariat staff time in handling the SGF process.]
10. Finally, a further significant area of recent growth in Convention implementation is that of regional initiatives operating in the framework of the Convention. Prior to COP9, only one such initiative, MedWet, was formally operating in this manner. For the 2006-2008 triennium, the Parties at COP9 approved eight further initiatives in addition to MedWet. Twenty existing and potential regional initiatives have submitted proposals for approval for the 2009-2011 triennium.
11. Reviewing, advising and monitoring such initiatives, particularly those receiving core budget funding allocation, requires concomitant increases in Secretariat staff time, especially by the regional teams, but this is having to be undertaken within existing Secretariat staffing and time at the expense of attention to other support to Parties (see section C. below).
B. Growth of the core budget of the Ramsar Convention
12. A core budget for the Convention was first approved by COP3 (Regina, 1987). Although the core budget approved by each COP since COP3 has progressively increased between COPs and during each triennium, the absolute rate of increase has progressively slowed. The average annual core budget increase between 1987 and 1998 was CHF 232,000, but the average annual core budget increase between 1998 and 2008 was only CHF 158,000.
13. These figures do not take into account any costs of inflation or increases in costs of service provision over the years, so in real terms the buying power of the Convention’s core budget funding will have further slowed considerably.
C. Growth in the staffing of the Ramsar Secretariat
14. A formal Secretariat (then called the Ramsar Bureau) was established in the 1988-1990 triennium, following the adoption of a core Convention budget by COP3. Following that, Secretariat staffing levels grew steadily until the late 1990s, but since then growth has slowed and now halted in the last two triennia.
15. This is largely because any increases in core budget in recent years have been allocated to other aspects of Convention implementation such as implementation of regional initiatives, with budget allocations for staff salaries increasing only by the minimum required to cover cost of living increases.
D. Current allocation of Convention core budget to implementation themes
16. Currently, by far the largest allocation (34%) of the Convention’s total core budget goes to national and regional support to Contracting Parties through the work of the Secretariat’s regional teams and the funding for regional initiatives, with smaller amounts to scientific and technical (13%), communications (13%), administration (9%), Secretariat senior management (11%), and service provision (13%).
E. Comparisons of Ramsar Secretariat staffing and core budget with secretariat staffing and budgets of other MEAs
17. Comparisons of budget levels and secretariat staffing here are provided using the number of Contracting Parties as an indicator of different convention Secretariat workloads. The multilateral environmental agreements included in the analysis are: Ramsar, AEWA, CMS, CITES, CBD, UNCCD, UNFCCC and the World Heritage Convention. Information is for either the year 2007, 2008 or 2009, depending on the information available for each MEA.
18. The comparisons indicate that both in terms of Secretariat staffing and in terms of size of core budget, the Ramsar Convention falls most ‘below-the-line’ compared with other MEAs.
19. Only CITES has a comparably low core budget level of CHF 28,000 per Contracting Party. For other global MEAs the figures ranges from CHF 38,000 (CMS) to CHF 133,000 (UNFCCC).
20. In other words, given the large and increasing number of Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention, the core budget and Secretariat capacity are both below those provided to other MEAs. It should also be noted that of the other MEAs, only the World Heritage Convention has an on-the-ground site designation process that requires significant secretariat capacity and work to process and handle.
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