Position vacancy at the Ramsar Secretariat
Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Post title: Regional Affairs Officer
Work percentage: 100%
Duty station: Gland, Switzerland
Reporting to: Senior Regional Advisor for Europe
Starting date: as soon as possible after 1 July 2007
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, hosted by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in its headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, provides the secretariat services to the Convention's Contracting Parties (signatory countries) for the operations and implementation of the Convention. Among the small Secretariat staff of 17 persons, four regional teams provide specific support to the Ramsar Parties in Africa, the Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe. Each of the regional teams is made up of a senior and an assistant adviser.
In order to be able to cope with the increasing needs of an ever growing number of Contracting Parties (currently 154), the Convention's Standing Committee decided to establish an additional position in the Secretariat dealing with regional affairs, in order to provide improved support to the Contracting Parties.
The main focus of the work of the Regional Affairs Officer will be to provide support to the Secretariat's regional teams in their advice and guidance on national and regional implementation of the Ramsar Convention to Contracting Parties and other stakeholders.
This includes the provision of guidance and training to the temporary regional assistant advisers (interns) and in particular support to their work on Ramsar sites and project administration matters. The work also involves providing support for some global aspects of the work of the Secretariat, specifically contributing to the Secretariat's technical preparations for the 10th Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP10), to be held in South Korea in October-November 2008.
The Regional Affairs Officer will report to the Senior Adviser for Europe, but will be involved in a number of national and regional level tasks addressing all regions:
1. Provide guidance and training to the assistant regional advisers (interns) in order to harmonize and maintain highest standards for regular office procedures concerning Ramsar sites (information handling, updating, monitoring, etc.), project administration (Ramsar Small Grants Fund, Wetlands For the Future Initiative and others) and other regional and national matters.
2. Support the assistant regional advisers in their daily work on these matters, according to short term needs and shortages of capacities.
3. Develop and manage a database for the National Reports for COP10 by the Contracting Parties, prepare a global analysis and support the regional teams in their regional analyses of these reports for COP10.
4. Assist Contracting Parties through the regional teams in the designation and management of Ramsar sites, and their drafting of wetland policies and strategies.
5. Facilitate accession to the Convention by countries which are not yet Contracting Parties.
6. Support the regional teams in the organisation of Ramsar regional meetings prior to COP10.
7. Support the regional teams in the implementation of regional initiatives.
8. Undertake other duties, notably supporting Secretariat staff in their tasks to prepare for COP10, according to the requirements expressed by the Secretary General.
Selection Criteria and Qualifications
1. The principal qualities required are enthusiasm and a commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable development issues, including issues related to wetlands and water management.
2. A University degree (preferably a post-graduate degree) in a subject relevant to environmental management, wetland conservation and/or sustainable use.
3. Experience of data and information management, including software applications.
4. A minimum of 4 years' professional experience in environmental conservation, of which at least one should be at the international level; experience of developing countries being an advantage.
5. Full ability to work in English. The ability to work in the two other Convention languages, Spanish and French, is a clear advantage.
This post is offered in the first instance as a fixed term position from 1 July 2007 to 31 December 2008, with a probationary period of three months. A position evaluation will take place after 12 months in view of the budgetary decisions to be proposed to COP10 for its possible prolongation.
Applications should include:
a) An application letter in English of no more than two pages, briefly describing the suitability of the candidate for the post in relation to each of the selection criteria and qualifications listed above.
b) A maximum one-page statement on the applicant's interpretation of the main regional challenges facing the work of the Convention Secretariat.
c) A complete curriculum vitae.
d) The names and contact details (including e-mail and telephone) of three referees, including one recent employer.
E-mail applications are preferred. They should be sent only to the following address before 10 April 2007 : firstname.lastname@example.org.
The schedule for the selection process is as follows:
a) Applications are due by 10 April 2007. All applications will be acknowledged.
b) Those applicants who are shortlisted for interview will be informed of this by 23 April 2007.
c) Interviews will be carried out at the Ramsar Secretariat during the week beginning
7 May 2007 (probably 9 May). Applicants should be prepared to be in Gland on this day if called.
d) Final decision will be communicated not later than 22 May 2007.
e) Starting date will be as soon as possible after 1 July 2007.
Conditions of service
While the Convention on Wetlands is fully recognized by the international community as an intergovernmental treaty, its Secretariat is currently under the special circumstance of being administered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and shares the premises provided to both IUCN and the Convention by the Government of Switzerland, located in Gland. However, the Ramsar Secretariat is under the authority of the Standing Committee of the Convention and ultimately of its Conference of the Contracting Parties.
Legally, Ramsar Secretariat staff are IUCN employees, and their contracts are governed by the IUCN Global Human Resources Policy, Guidelines and Procedures for Expatriates, Conditions of Service in Switzerland, and Swiss labour law. IUCN does not have the status of an intergovernmental organization under a host country agreement in Switzerland: consequently, IUCN must obtain a Swiss work permit for non-Swiss staff. IUCN and Ramsar staff do not have diplomatic immunity or international civil servant (UN) status.
This position is graded at level P1 (first-level professional) in the IUCN Position Evaluation System. Depending upon the qualification and experience of the successful candidate, the remuneration will be a minimum gross salary of CHF 80,640 per annum before tax and deductions for statutory social security schemes in Switzerland and contributions to a pension scheme.
The following additional benefits are provided: full accident insurance and a fixed contribution for health insurance (for the employee only, not his/her family); a salary entitlement in case of illness or accident; a family allowance if applicable. Expatriate entitlements include the possibility of an education allowance; a home leave travel allowance; and installation and repatriation costs. These entitlements are governed by the Guidelines and Procedures for Expatriates.