Local recruitment: Policy Advisor (Climate Resilient Water and Agriculture)

International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 🇨🇦

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 120 people, plus over 150 associates and consultants, come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.

IISD’s Resilience Program is a multidisciplinary team of policy researchers who work with governments, civil society, communities, and businesses to help them manage climate- and conflict-related risks. Its work on climate change adaptation focuses on planning, people, and nature—preparing for a different or uncertain future, making sure different genders and social groups influence and benefit from adaptation investments, and harnessing the role of ecosystems to help communities manage climate risk. The program hosts the Secretariat for the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network, an initiative focused on accelerating adaptation planning and action in developing countries.

IISD’s Water Program has decades of experience in research, collaborative action, and policy reform for the protection and management of fresh water in Canada. On the Prairies and in Manitoba, the program is conducting extensive research and analyses on agricultural watersheds, focussing on improved management of soil, water and socio-economic systems in the agriculture sector. The IISD Experimental Lakes Area—our unique research facility where scientists conduct experiments on real lakes to determine the impact of human activity—provides us with evidence to inform our policy recommendations and improve water security globally.

The Position

The Policy Advisor will provide project oversight, research, and communication support for IISD’s Resilience and Water Teams and their work related to water, agriculture, and climate change adaptation.

The successful candidate will understand and be able to support initiatives that involve research, capacity building, and engagement activities at the intersection of healthy water resources, sustainable agriculture, nature-based solutions (NbS), and climate change adaptation. Much of this work will support and be undertaken in collaboration with local- to national-level government institutions and civil society organizations. The work will primarily be focused on Canada’s Prairie provinces and secondarily on developing countries. The successful candidate will be part of a multidisciplinary team, working closely with IISD staff, affiliates, consultants, and partners.


The successful candidate’s key areas of responsibility will include but not be limited to:

  • Research (50%):
    • Undertaking substantive reviews and background research.
    • Delivering analyses and writing reports, papers, case studies, and issue briefs that accurately synthesize and assess research findings.
    • Following and summarizing news and events pertaining to advancing the climate resilience of water and agriculture in Canada and in developing countries.
  • Project coordination and implementation (20%):
    • Initiating and coordinating projects of various sizes with the support of team members, including recruiting and supervising consultants and ensuring the highest quality of all deliverables.
    • Designing, convening, facilitating, and contributing to workshops, meetings, dialogues, and other events of various sizes.
    • Contributing to the preparation of narrative and financial reports to funders.
  • Engagement (10%):
    • Working collaboratively with partners in government, the private sector, and research and non-governmental organizations, as well as with consultants, to advance IISD’s strategic objectives related to water, agriculture, NbS, and climate resilience.
    • Establishing and actively maintaining a network of partners and contacts engaged in efforts related to water, agriculture, NbS, and climate resilience, including individuals from governments, civil society organizations, the private sector, and academia.
    • Strengthening IISD’s involvement in networks and initiatives within Canada and internationally, aligned with its objectives.
  • Communications and outreach (10%):
    • Preparing blogs and presentations that summarize IISD’s work on water, agriculture, NbS, and climate resilience with limited oversight and editing.
    • Sharing research results through webinars, workshops, conferences, and other events.
    • Representing IISD at national and international forums.
  • Business Development (10%):
    • Supporting other IISD personnel with the development of new project ideas and proposals related to water, agriculture, NbS, and climate resilience.

Required Skills

The Policy Advisor will bring the following set of skills to the position:

Substantive knowledge:

  • Practical experience working on issues at the intersection of water, agriculture, NbS, and climate change adaptation, particularly in Canada’s Prairie provinces. Additional experience in developing countries would be considered an asset.
  • Substantive knowledge of two or more of the following issues, particularly as they pertain to government policy and planning processes:
    • Integrated land-water management
  • Climate change adaptation, climate risk management, and/or disaster risk reduction
  • Sustainable agriculture, including climate-resilient agriculture
  • Ecosystems and ecosystem services, the role of ecosystems for climate adaptation, and nature conservation.
  • Strong research skills and analytical capacity, and the ability to become familiar with new topics quickly.
  • Quantitative analysis capacity, including experience in data-relevant programs such as Microsoft Excel.

Project management skills

  • Strong project management and demonstrated organizational and planning skills, including an ability to coordinate complex, multi-partner projects in multicultural contexts.
  • Capacity to develop budgets and oversee the tracking of financial performance.

Communication skills

  • Excellent writing skills and strong oral communication skills; capacity to clearly and succinctly communicate policy issues and research findings to different audiences via different platforms.
  • Strong interpersonal and networking skills.

Additional skills

  • Be results-focused with an ability to work quickly, independently, and accurately while managing multiple tasks and meeting tight deadlines.
  • Computer literacy, including Microsoft Office applications, and experience in handling web-based communications and management systems.
  • Ability to conduct field research, experience working outdoors, and a valid driver’s license would be considered assets.


The Policy Advisor should possess the following qualifications:

  • A master’s degree or equivalent in a relevant field of the social or natural sciences (e.g., geography, political science, agricultural sciences, economics, sociology, agroecology, ecology) or in another similar area.
  • Minimum of 5 years of relevant work experience in the field of integrated water management, sustainable agriculture, and climate change adaptation.
  • Prior experience working with local and/or provincial governments.
  • Fluent in written and spoken English. Ability to work (read, write, speak) in French would be an asset.
  • The following would be considered strong assets:
    • Knowledge of international development and experience in the Global South
    • Experience in municipal policy and planning processes
    • Prior experience working with Indigenous communities.
  • Availability to travel from time to time in Canada and internationally.
  • Must be currently eligible to work in Canada.

Location:             Winnipeg. Exceptional candidates located elsewhere in Canada will also be considered.

Term:                   Full-time

Salary:                  $52,300–$67,300 CAD (based on experience)

Start Date:          As soon as possible

Closing date:      December 13, 2021, at 4:00 pm CST

Application Procedure

All submissions must be in English. 

Applications will only be accepted through Bamboo HR

  • A CV (no longer than two pages)
  • A one-page letter of motivation

Candidates must hold appropriate work authorization for Canada.       

Only those candidates we wish to interview will be contacted.  Resumes will be kept on file for one year.

IISD is committed to fostering a more equitable and sustainable world and welcomes candidates who uphold our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, to correct the conditions of social injustice and disadvantage in employment around the world, we encourage candidates from historically marginalized groups, including women, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and those who identify themselves as 2SLGBTQIA+ to apply for the Policy Advisor position. 





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development