Chief Operations Officer (COO) and Deputy Executive Secretary

Global Water Partnership (GWP)
Stockholm, Sweden
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
10+ Years
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.


JOB TITLE:                            Chief Operations Officer (COO) and Deputy Executive Secretary

REPORTS TO:                       Executive Secretary (ES)


LOCATION:                            GWPO Secretariat in Stockholm (or other GWP location)

HIRING DATE:                       As soon as possible

APPLICATIONS DUE BY:     February 15, 2019


The Global Water Partnership (GWP) is a multi-stakeholder platform supported by a global secretariat that was established as an intergovernmental organization to support countries in their efforts to implement a more equitable and sustainable management of their water resources. The GWP network spans 13 regions with more 60 country water partnerships and over 3,000 institutional Partners in 180+ countries. The global secretariat is hosted by the GWP Organisation (GWPO) located in Stockholm, Sweden. More information:

The secretariat is comprised of 25+ staff and consultants who work to support GWP’s Regional Water Partnerships, Country Water Partnerships and institutional partners, as well as all of GWP’s stakeholders.  In doing so, the secretariat provides:  (i) network management services; (ii) convening & influencing services; (iii) learning and knowledge services; (iv) partner mobilization services; (v) resource mobilization services; and (vi) financial management and administration services.  The secretariat is led by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who also is the Executive Secretary of the Network.  Reporting to a Steering Committee and its Chair – who both are appointed by the eight countries and two organizations that are GWPO’s Sponsoring Partners – the CEO works closely with his/her Management Team, comprised of heads of teams within the secretariat, and with the Executive Council, comprised of Regional Chairs and Regional Coordinators across the Network.

GWP is looking to identify a new Chief Operations Officer to support and closely work with the CEO and Executive Secretary in heading the secretariat and helping the network move into a new growth phase.  The ideal candidate would be someone who enjoys leading and shaping, who takes on accountability and pro-actively moves agendas, while being at ease when integrating in a flat organizational structure where leadership takes forms of coaching and support more than anything else.  We are looking for a development professional who is active, passionate, innovative and detail- and quality-oriented; s/he should take pleasure in the details of planning and monitoring, in establishing systems and processes, and in designing initiatives and getting them off the ground. Ideally but not necessarily bringing years of experience in working to promote good water resources management or initiatives in adjacent areas (land, biodiversity, climate etc), the Chief Operations Officer (COO) would take on the task to ensure a smooth functioning of all internal processes across the organization, while also collegially deputizing for the CEO.


The Chief Operations Officer provides strategic thinking and programmatic direction to enhance Network performance, building synergies between regional and global actions to promote integrated and sustainable water resources management. S/he looks after network governance, the building and delivery of specific global GWP programs – including their financing, quality and timeliness. S/he fosters cooperation across the secretariat’s teams, by building the secretariat-wide workprogram and by pro-actively setting structures and incentives for knowledge sharing at all levels. The role has 10-12 direct reports and some 60 indirect reports. The COO deputizes for the Executive Secretary and is a key member of the GWPO management team.


1.   Network Governance and Performance. Together with dedicated Network specialists, the COO:

  • Supports the Regional Water Partnerships´ and Country Water Partnerships´ activities and outcomes, as part of implementing the GWP Strategy;
  • Encourages substantive action by the Regional Water Partnerships within the framework of the Strategy and the Work Programs/Annual Work Plans, and focus on capturing and documenting success stories;
  • Works towards strengthening and developing the GWP Network at regional and country levels, supporting regions and countries seeking accreditation as new water partnerships;
  • Works closely with the Chief Financial and Network SpecialistsOfficer in overseeing interactions regarding governance matters with the Regional Water Partnerships and their Host Institutions;
  • Sets incentives for and encourages use of GWP’s monitoring systems by the Regional Water Partnerships, works with them to develop progress markers for Regional activities and to report on outcomes from GWP regional activities;
  • Provides back-up to Network Specialists in regional/country representation when necessary and participates in key regional meetings and events as and when required, based on regional or global needs;
  • Promotes knowledge sharing among the Regional Water Partnerships at global and regional levels ensuring that the Network continues to grow and improve in performance;
  • Coordinates with strategic allies and builds their links with the Regional and Country Water Partnerships;
  • Create opportunities for partners and donors to interact with Regional and Country Water Partnerships, as well as with GWPO staff, incubating and nurturing these relationships.

2.   Global Thematic Programs. Together with dedicated thematic specialists, the COO:

  • Strategic planning and implementation: Coordinates and supports medium and long-term strategic planning of Global Thematic Programs and takes accountability for implementation together with and through Regional and Country Water Partnerships, and, as appropriate, other Strategic Partners, with a particular focus on the delivery and quality of the respective global components;
  • Learning: Promotes learning about experiences and new tools and approaches in Integrated Water Resources Management across the GWP regions and countries, working closely with others across the GWP secretariat, the GWP Technical Committee, and partners such as Cap-Net; promotes knowledge sharing among the Regional Water Partnerships and the thematic specialists and Technical Committee at global and regional level ensuring that the Network is closely linked with the GWP Knowledge Agenda
  • Backstopping: Co-ordinates and secures technical backstopping by external experts on relevant global thematic programs;
  • Funding applications: Prepare or reviews funding applications for regional, country and programmatic activities and ensures initiatives are in line with GWP strategic outcomes. 

3.   Management, Monitoring and Reporting.  Together with dedicated staff, the COO:

  • Work Program: Contributes to GWP’s strategy implementation by converting the strategy into implementable work programs, working with all GWP teams towards effectively integrating human and financial resources across the entire secretariat;
  • Management for Results: Establishes, across the organization, processes to ensure an effective management-for-results approach and ensures that planning and implementation are in line with the GWP Strategy;
  • Planning , Monitoring and Reporting: Leads the GWP wide annual program planning and management process, including ensuring an appropriate system for management, monitoring and reporting are in place, functional and able to deliver effective program implementation and rigorous and compelling documentation and appropriate reports on an ongoing basis;
  • Day-to-Day operations: Effectively manages, co-ordinates and leads the organization’s day-to-day operations in terms of network governance and program delivery; ensure coherence and integration across all teams and clarity on responsibilities and accountabilities of individuals;
  • Policies and Processes:  Establishes operating policies and procedures and evaluates operating results;
  • Business Development: Formulates, recommends and leads proactive strategies and approaches for business development;
  • Strategy Development and Updates:  Works closely with the Executive Secretary and GWP’s Governance bodies on the ongoing development and updating of the GWP Strategy;
  • Human Resources and Learning across the Secretariat: Establishes and maintains appropriate staffing to ensure that quality projects are delivered on time and budget; creates opportunities for staff to synthesize knowledge and learning across the organization to strategically improve results and enable broader adaptation (e.g. replication, upscaling, and mainstreaming);
  • Network and Thematic Staff: Motivates, supports, manages and supervises a team of Network and Thematic Specialists, Associates and Assistants, including the full range of HR responsibilities, from setting of targets through coaching, support and performance assessments; oversees contractual status and ensures timely extension and hiring; ensures timely agreements about learning needs and opportunities, providing mentoring and coaching as appropriate, and supporting staff welfare and professional career development;
  • Focus, mission, and approach: Ensures that the focus, mission, and approaches to IWRM are applied systematically throughout its normative and operational portfolio of activities, and are rooted in the specific requirements and contexts of individual countries and regions;
  • Governance bodies:  Supports the Executive Secretary in reporting to and engaging with the GWP Governance bodies, with a particular focus on Network Governance, Program Delivery and Performance, and Strategic Patnerships, including specific reporting and follow-up actions;
  • Learning and Evaluation: Actively participates and leads in evaluations and learning processes.

4.     Leadership and Representation

  • Work Environment and Values: Works with the Executive Secretary and the Management Team in building and shaping a positive and productive work environment, characterized by GWP’s values of inclusiveness, openness, transparency, accountability, respect, gender sensitivity and solidarity;
  • Leadership Team: Supports the Executive Secretary in building a strong leadership team for the GWP Organisation, pro-actively developing and taking on initiatives appropriate to strengthen and sustain both the GWP Organisation and Network;
  • Innovation and Learning: Takes accountability for contributing to an organizational culture of innovation and continuous learning which understands and recognizes the intrinsic value in the diversity of the organization;
  • Cross-Cutting Initiatives: Takes and/or shares leadership, as appropriate, for the secretariat’s cross-cutting work in developing and implementing robust and cutting-edge partnership management, learning and knowledge management, and results based management systems;  
  • Risk and Performance Management:  Understands and mitigates key elements of the organization’s risk profile to maximise impact and efficiency and proactive problem solving;  maintains and updates appropriate risk monitoring tools and supports reporting to GWP Governance Bodies on risk and performance (“scorecard”); works with the Executive Secretary and the Steering Committee to determine the types and appropriate levels/amounts of risk for GWP to take, and leads, implements and reports on adequate action;  
  • Representation and Positioning: Represents GWP in external settings and provides leadership and input into global debates as appropriate; supports the Executive Secretary in raising GWP’s profile among global stakeholders, and helps ensure that GWP’s work has relevance to current and emerging development challenges.



University degree: Master's degree (or equivalent through work experience) in a water-related field or in international affairs, communications, business, environmental studies with a water/environmental management related focus.

Management and Operational Delivery: Demonstrated ability to plan, organize, and direct the work of multidisciplinary professional and administrative staff; strong in and passion for analyzing administrative policies, organization, procedures and practices.

Coaching and Leadership:  Appropriate to provide teams with appropriate coaching and leadership support, including learning opportunities, inspiring and motivating them with and without direct supervisory roles.

Water Resource Management insight and experience: At least 10 years’ relevant work experience, ideally in applying and/or promoting water resource management and/or environmental management principles to solve real-life water challenges.  Fully aware of key challenges in the sector at large, ideally with experience in on-the ground implementation of relevant projects or initiatives. Ideally, in the course of doing so, experience in building innovation and learning communities, entrepreneurship, and collaboration.   Knowledge of the GWP Network a plus but not a requirement.

Learning and Behavior Change: Direct experience in (or if not: then exposure to) designing, hosting and managing partner-to-partner/South-to-South learning events and practices, promoting learning and behavior change, ideally with geographically distributed communities.  Ideally also experience in having applied concepts of behavioral psychology and/or applied sociology in some form of cultural or organisational change management; experience in data capture and analysis, in evaluating and assessing change and impact and improving capacity and practices a plus.

Relationship Management: Evidenced ability to build effective and sustainable relationships internally and externally.

Global development trends, sustainable development: Awareness of global development trends.  Experience of working and living in low-income and middle-income countries a plus.

Fluency in written and spoken English a must, knowledge of French and/or Spanish an advantage.


Professionalism: Demonstrating/safeguarding ethics and integrity. Demonstrates corporate knowledge, self-development and initiative-taking. Ability to work in a multi-cultural and international environment based on mutual respect and tolerance.  Ability to exercise good judgement, discretion and tact in handling sensitive issues.  Ability to negotiate at the highest level.

Planning and Organizing:  Excellent organizational and task management skills, with appropriate attention to details and quality, and ability to prioritize work among multiple competing demands, and under tight deadlines.  Ability to manage multiple workflows at the same time. Ability to thrive in a fast-paced work environment where adaptability is essential.

E-literacy: Excellent e-skills, including the ability to use modern office technology and related software. Practical knowledge of word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software is required. Ability to do internet research, compile information and find solutions online to information gaps is essential.

Teamwork:   Support colleagues, contribute to team culture, and share responsibility for decision-making and results. Places team agenda before personal agenda. Supports and acts in accordance with final group decision; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility.   Ability to “lead from behind” and work without direct authority to deliver timely and high quality products. 

Personal: A good sense of humor.  Love for nature, its beauty and its resources.  Willingness to 'get the job' done with a positive attitude to take on a wide range of tasks. Availability for longer travel to attend international meetings.

Please note:

Professionals with a background from and/or living and working in in Asian, African, Eastern European, Latin American, or Middle Eastern countries are particularly encouraged to apply.

GWP offers competitive remuneration as well as an attractive work environment, with flat hierarchies and fast decisions, and with great opportunities for professional exposure and growth.  The position, while new with GWP, is expected to be a long-term assignment and part of the core team.  The contract is initially offered for 1-2 years for administrative reasons.

Please send your CV with a motivation letter to  by  February 15, 2019.