Principal Associate (Costal Wetlands and Coral Reefs)

Pew Charitable Trusts

Washington, D.C., USA 🇺🇸

The Environment Portfolio at The Pew Charitable Trusts

For more than 30 years, Pew has been a major force in engaging the public and policy makers about the causes, consequences, and solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Our environment work spans all seven continents with more than 250 professionals working at the local, national, and international levels to reduce the scope and severity of global environmental problems, such as the erosion of large natural ecosystems that contain a great part of the world’s remaining biodiversity, and the destruction of the marine environment. Pew’s global environmental program focuses on science-based, nonpartisan, and sustainable solutions to help protect the planet and people. We work in partnership with governments, Indigenous rights holders, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, local stakeholders, scientists, and other researchers to advance public policy so that nature and communities can thrive.

Since 1990, Pew has worked in North America, South America and Australia to protect large and critically important terrestrial ecosystems, including rivers and other freshwater resources, coastal temperate rainforests, interior mountain ranges, the northern boreal forests, Australia’s Outback, and Chilean Patagonia. We work to ensure these natural systems remain bountiful, functioning, and resilient, providing essential ecological services such as clean air and clean water, sustenance and food security for local communities and more broadly for the welfare of current and future generations. Our work relies on the sciences of conservation, sociology, biology, and economics to advocate for practical and durable solutions to the loss of biodiversity. 

In the sea, reforms to how our oceans are managed are essential to address overfishing, pollution, and loss of habitat. Pew began its oceans program in the United States, focusing on ending overfishing and protecting fragile marine habitat. Starting in 2005, Pew’s ocean conservation program expanded around the world and played a significant role in reforming marine fisheries management in the European Union and on the high seas and creating large scale marine reserves around the world. Our work is grounded in the best available science and pursues domestic and international conservation measures that are long-term and provide permanent, durable protections for marine ecosystems. We also work to address systemic threats to the ocean, including from plastics, over-and-illegal fishing, seabed mining, and climate change.

Project Overview 

Coastal wetlands such as mangroves, marshes, and seagrasses found along shorelines worldwide, are among the most important parts of the larger ocean ecosystem that must function cohesively to ensure the ocean’s health. While relatively small in area, these habitats are large in terms of ecosystem importance, forming a critical interface between the land and sea. Known for harboring rich biodiversity, supporting local economies, and delivering valuable ecosystem services, these ecosystems have become even more relevant as the effects of climate change are felt increasingly around the globe. They buffer shorelines from severe storms, erosion, and sea level rise, and can help mitigate climate impacts by acting as important carbon sinks.

Countries are increasingly recognizing the role that protection of coastal wetlands can play as nature-based solutions within their revised nationally determined contributions (NDC) to the Paris Agreement. In the first phase of the Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reefs Project, Pew worked directly in three countries – Costa Rica, Belize and Seychelles – to support the governments’ aim to include coastal wetland protections within their updated NDCs.

Building on this initial effort, Pew will soon commence a second, expanded phase of the Project, both aiding NDC implementation in our existing partner countries and expanding new partnerships in support of other countries. Working with local and regional partners, the project would provide country-specific scientific research, technical policy support, and on-the-ground capacity building that would enable nations to develop comprehensive, measurable, and science-based commitments to protect or restore their coastal wetlands in NDCs. This effort also would help create the enabling conditions needed to successfully implement and finance countries’ coastal wetland NDC commitments.

Position Overview

The role helps develop and implement project work to include coastal wetlands and coral reefs in countries’ NDCs and provide wider support to the team as needed. This position will report to the Senior Officer, coastal wetlands and coral reefs and is based in either Washington, DC or London and is eligible for up to 60% telework.


  • Support Project’s Senior Officers for research and policy in managing the Project’s overall portfolio of in-country partnerships and associated project engagement with policy makers. 
  • Working with Senior Officer, lead on providing policy and technical support to local partners, governments and regional frameworks to assist in the development of coastal wetlands commitments in country NDCs and other associated policy frameworks.
  • Proactively identify, monitor and assess the positions of governments and financing organizations in relation to NDCs to support project’s identification of at least five new partner countries.
  • Identify and help to develop partnerships with regional policy and technical frameworks to support country NDC ambitions.
  • Support Senior Officer with project review and input to draft UNFCCC and country policy proposals, regulations and white paper.
  • In collaboration with Senior Officer and colleagues in the International Conservation Unit, identify opportunities within the developing UNFCCC Ocean-Climate Dialogue and associated partnerships.
  • Represent The Pew Charitable Trusts and the campaign at relevant meetings and events.
  • Support project staff as necessary on internal coordination with Conservation Science, Communications and the development of agreements with external partners.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience is required, advanced degree in public policy, international relations, or environmental science strongly preferred.
  • At least six years of applicable experience in the international conservation arena.
  • Specific policy knowledge of the inclusion of nature-based solutions within NDCs/UNFCCC and other international policy frameworks applicable to coastal wetlands is strongly preferred.
  • Understanding carbon financing projects or other conservation financing frameworks is desirable.
  • A task-oriented style, with focus on achieving clear and ambitious goals.
  • Ability to proactively identify and develop projects with a high degree of independence and autonomy.
  • Superior oral and written communications skills. Ability to synthesize material and communicate complex ideas for a general audience.
  • Strong interpersonal skills; able to develop and manage productive relationships with consultants, partners and others who contribute to the development of a project by anticipating possible outcomes. Excellent listening skills. Highly articulate. Able to work collaboratively across cultures.
  • Exhibits strong diplomacy skills. Able to work productively with a wide array of different people and institutions that frequently disagree with and are in competition with one another.
  • Excellent analytic and problem-solving skills, and highly results oriented.
  • Seasoned judgment, ability to make decisions, justify recommendations and be responsive, clear and firm with colleagues and partners.


This position is expected to include international travel up to 20% of the time.

Total Rewards

We offer a competitive salary and benefit program, including: comprehensive, affordable health care through medical, dental, and vision coverage; financial security with life and disability insurance; opportunities to save using health savings and flexible spending accounts; retirement benefits to help prepare for the future; and work/life benefits to maintain a good balance.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Pew considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.