Senior Programme Officer (Global Drylands Initiative)

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Nairobi, Kenya
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
8-9 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.


IUCN’s Global Drylands Initiative (GDI) is responsible for IUCN’s programme of work in Hyper Arid, Arid, Semi-Arid and Dry Sub-humid lands. The GDI contributes to the goals of the Global Ecosystem Management Programme, and particularly Result 2: to adapt ecosystem management for threatened and neglected ecosystems. Adapting ecosystem management to the drylands requires an understanding of the unique features of drylands, including ecological characteristics as well as a number of contemporary challenges and opportunities. Ecosystem management approaches also need to be adapted according to the pre-existing adaptations in dryland societies. The goal of IUCN’s Drylands Initiative is to restore and sustainably manage dryland ecosystems to safeguard their environmental and social values. This responds to a number of major global challenges in the drylands, including: weak availability of data; knowledge gaps; weak application of local knowledge; breakdown in governance and tenure; inappropriate policies; inadequate investments; and overall low human development. The results are intended to be globally relevant whereas specific actions will be determined by country context and opportunities.
The Drylands Strategy is delivered through the following three result areas:
1. Evidence-based targeting of dryland restoration and sustainable management
2. Improved governance for sustainable land management
3. Scaling up dryland restoration through policy and investments

The GDI includes a growing portfolio of projects that focus on sustainable management of the rangelands, sustainable pastoralist development, natural resource governance, and conservation of dryland biodiversity. The GDI is also IUCN’s focal point to the United Nations Convention to Combat desertification (UNCCD).

The principle role of the Senior Programme Officer (SPO) is to provide technical leadership for implementing the Global Drylands Initiative and to contribute to developing the initiative’s strategic direction. The SPO will lead the implementation of project and program actions and ensure their alignment with the GDI programme strategy and IUCN’s global programme. Technical roles will include: coordinating rangeland assessments; refining IUCN’s assessment methodologies; providing training on participatory planning; leading policy dialogue and; coordinating technical publications and communications. The SPO will support collaboration with regions and with other global thematic programmes and with IUCN Commissions in developing and delivering the GDI programme. S/he will support the development of strategic external partnerships and fund raising, will represent IUCN in external events and policy dialogue, and will lead in selected areas of programme learning, knowledge management and communication.


1. Implement project activities
• Implement IUCN’s participatory rangeland assessment methodology in agreed countries in partnership with IUCN country offices, partner organisations and other experts;
• Implement participatory Community Rangeland Management in agreed countries in partnership with IUCN country offices and partners;
• Train IUCN staff and partners in participatory approaches and other IUCN tools and methodologies;
• Lead policy dialogue and advocacy events;
• Capture and document lessons from project activities in order to refine methodologies and approaches, and to ensure their alignment with the GDI programme strategy and IUCN’s wider programme;
• Lead the development of agreed publications and project communications.

2. Support project managers to effectively manage their projects
• Assist project managers to develop strategic and operational work plans for the delivery of projects;
• Ensure effective internal communication on all project-related activities, including project representation and field work;
• Provide appropriate input to monitoring and evaluation of project activities, including development of monitoring plans and capturing and storage of project data and lessons;
• Supervise project managers to prepare high quality project progress reports.

3. Collaborate with country and regional programmes and with IUCN Commissions in order to support growth of the drylands portfolio
• Develop and maintain positive working relationships with IUCN regional and country programmes and other global thematic programmes to ensure smooth delivery of project activities and to maintain a spirit of collaboration on drylands issues;
• Provide technical support to country and regional programmes to develop funding proposals;
• Collaborate with IUCN Commissions for delivery of project activities (e.g. rangeland assessments) and for capturing lessons and engaging in policy dialogue.

4. Represent IUCN and the GDI in external events and policy dialogue
• Effectively represent IUCN’s global programme, and specifically the Global Drylands Initiative, in external events;
• Provide input to external events to influence dialogue, through presentations, speeches and interventions in plenary;
• Provide input to IUCN’s influencing strategies for key international fora;
• Maintain a current understanding of negotiations at the UNCCD on key issues and IUCN’s position in relation to those issues;
• Monitor other globally important issues (e.g. climate change & biodiversity loss) to identify emerging issues, threats and opportunities for the drylands programme.

5. Support the development of strategic external partnerships and fund raising
• Take advantage of external events to develop networks and to identify potential partnerships for fund raising, for collaboration, and for learning and advocacy;
• Identify new and strategically relevant funding opportunities and agree with colleagues over prioritisation of fund raising;
• Develop funding proposals according to IUCN policies and standards, ensuring where possible the participation of IUCN constituencies;
• Ensure funding proposals are successfully processed through the IUCN ESMS and PAAS processes;
• Maintain a strong understanding and ownership of the GDI strategy and provide regular input to strengthening and monitoring of the strategy.

6. Lead in selected areas of programme learning, knowledge sharing and communication.
• Collaborate with the GDI team to identify priority areas for learning, including on emerging issues;
• Take the lead on agreed issues to produce relevant learning documents, including short memos (e.g. for rapid updates on emerging issues), internal reports and external publications;
• Draw on the expertise of commissions and other partners to ensure learning products are state of the art, highly relevant, and accurate.

7. Comply with IUCN policies, procedures and positions
• Understand and comply with IUCN policies and procedures in all aspects of work;
• Comply with project agreements, project documents (e.g. contracts, MOUs, PAIAs etc.), annual work plans and budgets in the delivery of assigned projects and activities;
• Ensure that all project activities delivered meet the quality required by IUCN and project partners;
• Follow all procedures in project development and ensure adherence with environmental and social safeguards and other IUCN policies.

8. Other duties
• Carry out other relevant tasks assigned by, and mutually agreed with, the line manager.


• A Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Management, or its equivalent, with a specialization in drylands, rangelands or a related field;

• Excellent computer skills, including Microsoft Office package and internet;

• At least 8 years’ work experience in managing and coordinating projects, primarily in the conservation or sustainable development field, in more than one country;

• Proven ability in fundraising and resource mobilization;

• Experience in natural resource assessment and rangeland assessment;

• Demonstrated ability to write high quality technical reports and non-technical communications within tight deadlines;

• Demonstrated capacity to work in a multi-disciplinary and multi-partner environment;

• Strong networking and communication skills and ability to work with different partners and stakeholders;

• Fluency in spoken and written English, working knowledge of French or Spanish desirable;

• Adheres to IUCN ESARO core values of Transparency, Inclusiveness, Professionalism and Accountability;

• Excellent interpersonal skills and a strong team player with proven communication and diplomacy with the ability to work effectively with multicultural and multidisciplinary teams with sensitivity and respect for diversity;

• Highly motivated and results-oriented individual;

• Demonstrated ability to work with limited supervision to prioritize tasking and manage workflow in a high pressure environment;

• Must be a proactive individual who is able to energize and motivate teams;

• Committed to continuous learning and proactive and mature attitude towards self-development;

• Be willing to undertake frequent travel (max. 40% of working time).


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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