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Senior Advisor (Americas)

Organization Name: Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar)
Location: Gland, Switzerland
Apply email: Not Specified
Start Date: 15-May-2024
Closing Date: 31-May-2024

Senior Advisor (Americas)

Vacancy #: 6838

Unit: Ramsar Convention Secretariat

Organisation: The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar)

Location: Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands, Gland, Switzerland

Reporting to: Director, Science and Policy

Work percentage: 100%

Grade: M1

Expected start date: 01 August 2024

Type of contract: Max-term (24 months)

Closing date: 31 May 2024


The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and of wetland biodiversity and services. It is the first of the modern global multilateral environmental agreements and remains the only one devoted to a specific critical ecosystem.

The Convention Secretariat has its headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, where the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provides some administrative services for the Convention.

The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty, which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It was the first of the modern global multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and remains the only MEA dedicated to the conservation of a specific critical ecosystem. Wetlands are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems. They provide essential services and supply all our fresh water. However, they continue to be degraded and converted to other uses.

The Secretariat of the Convention has its headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, where the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provides legal status and related administrative services for the Secretariat to support contracting Parties in the implementation of the Convention.

The Senior Advisor provides leadership within the Secretariat for advising on and supporting the strategic development and effective implementation of the Convention on Wetlands. The Senior Advisor serves as the coordinator of the Secretariat's international work in relation to specific assigned thematic areas and relevant international policy processes. Additionally, the Senior Advisor provides support to Contracting Parties within one or more designated regions.

The regional responsibility of the incumbent is to provide advice and support to Contracting Parties in the implementation of the Convention. As part of the Secretariat team he/she coordinates with senior staff responsible for leading on core functions of the Secretariat, to engage with Contracting Parties in a region, including on support for governing and subsidiary bodies, policy, technical and scientific, issues, resource mobilization and outreach.

The responsibility regarding leadership for thematic areas of work of the Convention is: to provide expert advice to support Contracting Parties in these areas at global level and across regions; and to serve as a focal point for relevant international policy processes within the Secretariat and coordinate its engagement strategies.

The Senior Advisor must have a global and regional understanding of wetland-related issues and must develop, maintain and present a clear understanding of the Convention's operations and priorities, and of wetland-related issues and priorities.

This position requires competencies in biodiversity and ecosystem-based resource management, with a special focus on wetlands, and one or more of the following thematic areas as they relate to wetlands: climate change; water management; and mainstreaming wetlands in sustainable development. Experience in policy processes and in an intergovernmental context related to biodiversity, climate change, water, and/or sustainable development more broadly, is required. The position also requires management competencies including organizational and financial management, project preparation and implementation, resource mobilization, and people management.


1. Global leadership for thematic issues:

• Take a global lead role in, and act as the Secretariat’s focal point for, developing and implementing the Secretariat's work on specific thematic issues, including topics identified in Resolutions adopted by the Conference of the Parties and in the context of the Secretariat’s workplan, based on the incumbent's areas of experience and expertise and according to the distribution of tasks within the Secretariat.
• Provide advice to Contracting Parties on the issues under the leadership of the Senior Adviser and support the Secretariat’s work on such issues in areas such as policy, communications and fundraising.
• Take the lead for identified policy processes, including those of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, as part of the Secretariat’s workplan; identify priorities; develop strategic engagement of the Secretariat; foster partnerships and enable engagement from Contracting Parties on issues of relevance to the Convention.

2. Regional duties

• Act as the lead contact point for the America regions, working closely with relevant members of the Secretariat, for the provision of advice to Contracting Parties and other stakeholders on implementation of the Convention and specifically on wetland conservation and wise use.
• Support Contracting Parties and partner organizations to implement the current Convention Strategic Plan including through the designation and management of Wetlands of International Importance and wise use of wetlands.
• Develop and maintain regular contacts with the Administrative Authorities and National Focal Points of Contracting Parties to the Convention in the assigned regions, and create and maintain linkages with high-level officials in other relevant government ministries and agencies, regional organizations, secretariats of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, International Organization Partners and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
• Promote and facilitate accession to the Convention by countries that are not Contracting Parties.
• Prepare and lead technical missions, and more specifically Ramsar Advisory Missions (RAMs), to review the conservation status of Wetlands of International Importance at the request of Contracting Parties.
• In accordance with the Secretariat workplan, provide a lead or support as appropriate on policy-related matters, including promoting synergies with other conventions relevant to biodiversity, water, disaster risk reduction, and climate change, as well as with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda more broadly.
• Within the regions concerned, advise and support the development of Regional Initiatives that have been approved by the Conference of the Parties as operating within the framework of the Convention, and keep them under review.
• Working with Secretariat staff responsible for communications, support engagement of Contracting Parties in communications activities and ensure that the lessons learnt from field and policy experience are analyzed and shared throughout Convention networks.
• Working with the Resource Mobilization Officer, support Contracting Parties to source funding for the priorities identified by the Conference of the Contracting Parties for the implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan. Maintain and extend contacts with funding organizations and partner organizations, in close cooperation with the Resource Mobilization Officer and senior management.
• Advise the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General on global wetland priorities on the basis of experience globally and within the region.
• Support the work of Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) and the programme on Communication, Capacity Building, Education, Participation and Awareness (CEPA) as requested.

3. Management

• Represent the Secretary General and the Secretariat, in relation to regional matters and specified thematic areas, in meetings and in contacts with government officials, intergovernmental organizations, secretariats of other conventions, partner organizations and other institutions, and national and international NGOs.
• Provide leadership and oversight of assigned operational functions, including functional areas as identified in the Secretariat’s workplan.
• Supervise staff reporting to the Advisor, and ensure that all supervised staff have annual workplans linked to the workplan of the Secretariat, and encourage and assist their professional development. Hold staff accountable for results and for the quality of outputs. Ensure that they work together and with the other staff of the Secretariat as needed to achieve synergy and a unified approach to attain the objectives of the Secretariat.
• 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 efficient operations and implementation and a whole-of-Secretariat approach to the Secretariat’s workplan.
• Prepare reports or other documents as needed for the governing bodies of the Convention and support or assist as required in the organization and conduct of their meetings.

The above job description contains the main duties and responsibilities for this position. However, as the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands is a small team, staff members are expected to show flexibility in their approach to work and be willing 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.



• Postgraduate qualification in an aspect of biological, political or social sciences or economics relevant to wetland conservation and wise use.

Experience & Technical Skills:

• At least 15 years of experience across a broad spectrum of subjects including biodiversity and ecosystem-based resource management, with a special focus on wetlands, and one or more of the following thematic areas as they relate to wetlands: climate change; water management; and mainstreaming wetlands in the sustainable development agenda. This should include at least five years working at the international level within the Americas.
• Experience in wetland related issues such as water resource management and climate adaptation and mitigation within policy and field contexts is desirable.
• Demonstrated expertise and experience in providing authoritative advice in policy processes, technical and scientific issues at national or regional levels, in the context of global issues and in an intergovernmental context.
• Demonstrated experience in policy processes in global or regional Multilateral Environmental Agreements or, more broadly, on the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda.
• Familiarity with the work of the main regional and global institutions, including NGOs, dealing with environment and development issues.
• Demonstrated competence in organizational, project and financial management, including project preparation, planning, implementation and oversight, resource mobilization and outreach, and staff management.
• Demonstrated spoken and written fluency in English is a must, full proficiency in Spanish is required.

Other Skills:

• Demonstrated capacity for innovative and strategic thinking and ability to provide leadership in dealing with complex issues.
• Demonstrated ability to integrate the perspectives of the biological, social and political sciences and a commitment to working in interdisciplinary teams.
• Well-developed computer skills and ability and willingness to perform the duties of the position with limited assistance from support staff.
• Strong interpersonal skills, with a demonstrated ability to understand and operate within multicultural environments, and with the range of cultures within and across the regions of the Convention.
• Demonstrated ability to work within a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team environment, and experience in establishing and maintaining effective relationships with a diverse group of people including different levels of government, NGOs and community groups.
• Demonstrated experience building teams diverse in gender, nationality and background, to achieve desired organizational outcomes. This commitment to diversity and inclusion should be exemplified through staffing decisions (recruitment, promotion, recognition, etc.) and the ability to model behaviours that promote a more inclusive organizational culture.


The gross annual salary for this position is between CHF 134'355 and CHF 167'944. While this is an indicative amount effective as of the current date, changes may occur as per IUCN's compensation practices without prior notice. The same applies to other organisations hosted by IUCN.


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.

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