Regional Director (South America)

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Quito, , EC

This senior leadership position provides an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of the implementation of the IUCN Vision of a just world that values and conserves nature. In the achievement of IUCN’s Mission and Programme, the Regional Director, South America, contributes to global targets of conservation and encourages the involvement of IUCN Member organizations, Commission members, governments, international cooperation and social actors. Scope under the South American region includes working in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The Regional Director, South America, leads and directs the strategic development, positioning and effective implementation of conservation programmes in South America. She/he engages in high-level dialogues with IUCN global and regional programmes, IUCN Member organizations, Commission members, governments, institutions, and civil society groups to advance the mission and mandate of the organization. With a firm understanding of South America and international challenges and opportunities, the Regional Director, South America, drives the portfolio of the IUCN Secretariat in the region, in line with IUCN’s strategic plans and programmes. As the official representative in the region, she/he is responsible for maintaining a high and professional corporate profile for IUCN, particularly with IUCN Members, partners and stakeholder groups at different levels.

This position requires an accomplished, credible and reliable senior leader with strong experience and a good understanding of environmental policy issues in the regional context. Fully supported by a range of local, regional and global experts, the Regional Director, South America, has an institutional responsibility for oversight of a broad spectrum of subjects ranging from biodiversity and ecosystem-based resource management strategies and policies to organisational management and financial planning, ensuring close coordination and communication with the Global Programmes, Regional Offices and Units of the IUCN Secretariat.

In coordination with the Regional Director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (ORMACC) as part of the hub structure, she/he is equally accountable for financial, people and administrative resources and ensures the financial viability of the regional programme in line with IUCN policies and procedures. The Regional Director, South America, ensures that all organisational activities are consistently performed under the principles of equity, fairness, inclusiveness and respect for the diversity of people.


Leadership, Programme Management and Representation

• Represent and promote the mission of IUCN in South America in a manner that promotes IUCN’s mission, enhances the status of the Union and influences decision-making bodies, intergovernmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector;
• Provide strategic leadership and guidance in delivering programmes of the IUCN Secretariat in South America;
• Oversee the preparation, implementation, evaluation and reporting of multi-year programmes for IUCN’s work in South America in line with IUCN’s global programme and management priorities to ensure technical effectiveness, value and sustainability of the IUCN Programme;
• Serve as a member of IUCN’s Leadership Team to establish and implement strategic decisions for the Secretariat;
• Establish programme and portfolio targets derived from IUCN’s quadrennial strategic programme;
• Establish diplomatic relations with governments and formalize such relationships by forging Agreements that enhance active cooperation and collaboration between parties in conserving the integrity and diversity of nature;
• Establish priorities and remain accountable for the implementation of work plans to manage and mitigate strategic and operational risks associated with various programmatic engagements;
• Provide intellectual direction on regional and country-specific knowledge products and reports;
• Ensure programmes and projects within the region are delivered within time, quality, scope, specification, and budget as well as compliance with all appropriate stakeholder and donor requirements and reporting;

Membership and Engagement

• In collaboration with the IUCN Membership Unit and focal persons, implement the IUCN Membership strategy and develop a membership recruitment, engagement and retention plan;
• In coordination with the different parts of IUCN – government and NGO Members, Council, National and Regional Committees of Members, Commissions of experts, and the Secretariat – work together to develop, implement and advance IUCN’s Programme of Work.
• Engage current and potential members, governments and other partners at the national and regional levels within the framework of the IUCN mission and actively work to expand membership in the region;
• Initiate, promote and facilitate initiatives and dialogues on key issues of conservation policy based on IUCN’s regional and global priorities;
• Partner with national and regional IUCN Member Committees in preparing IUCN’s quadrennial Programme of Work;
• Develop, guide and implement medium and long-term business development strategies, establish new partnerships and identify additional potential areas of engagement for IUCN to strengthen the South America portfolio following established policies and standards;
• Establish and maintain exceptional relations with the donor community in the region to obtain long-term engagement and support for IUCN’s regional programmes and to the activities of IUCN members in promoting the incorporation of conservation principles into development programmes;
• Identify institutions – both public and private – with which IUCN can establish collaborative relationships in the future in programmatic work;
• Facilitate the necessary donor intelligence and determine the needs of relevant governments, organizations and institutions to plan and develop partnership areas for leveraging IUCN’s knowledge base and expertise in conservation projects and programmes;
• Build and nurture a coherent IUCN team in South America and develop deeper collaboration opportunities that strengthen IUCN’s presence in the region;

Resources, Operational and Change Management

• Lead and direct the South America Regional Office by cultivating and developing a dynamic, effective and committed team of professionals;
• In coordination with the Hub office and internal corporate units, both at the Headquarters and Regional levels, evaluate resource requirements (human, financial, administrative) to ensure available capacity and financial sustainability can respond to operational requirements of the Regional and Country Offices;
• Plan, manage and develop an agile workforce with the technical skills, competencies and potential to ensure optimum performance, while at the same time addressing workforce diversity, equity and equality;
• Develop and safeguard a professional work environment, free from harassment, ensuring that the highest standards of conduct are observed at all times;
• Maintain a positive work environment that facilitates collaboration and information sharing and is conducive to attracting, retaining, and motivating diverse talent;
• In coordination with the Hub Office (ORMACC), implement regulatory frameworks for programme operations in South America;
• Develop and retain close coordination and knowledge exchange links with IUCN Headquarters and collectively determine the most beneficial contribution to IUCN’s work globally and regionally;
• Direct the effective operation of the activities of the IUCN Secretariat in the region, including workforce resources and financial management, as well as development of appropriate policies, procedures and control mechanisms;
• Lead and manage Regional and Country Office budgets and ensure financial sustainability within operational and programmatic areas.

 • Advanced University Degree (Master’s) in a development or science-related area including natural resources management, business management, public administration, project management, economics, conservation and sustainable development or relevant social sciences;
• A minimum of 15 years’ progressively responsible experience in strategic and managerial leadership, including governance of a complex multinational organization or programme in an area related to conservation and/or sustainable development, of which at least 10 years in South America;
• Proven experience in developing, managing, implementing and monitoring large projects and programmes related to conservation, biodiversity, natural resources and sustainable development;
• Demonstrated experience in resource mobilization, partnerships, government relations, and operations management;
• Leadership experience in managing the performance of diverse and multi-cultural teams;
• Experience in developing projects and programmes and ability to lead fund raising strategies and activities with the donor community, both public and private;
• Solid knowledge of conservation and sustainable development policy issues as well as the geopolitical, development and multi-stakeholder contexts in South America, and a sound understanding of how this fits into the global context;
• Fluency in English and Spanish (verbal and written) is essential; knowledge of Portuguese an advantage;
• Excellent communication and presentation skills;
• Ability to travel within the region and globally, as required.


• Ability and commitment to act in accordance with the core values of integrity and trust, transparency, professionalism and accountability, equality, inclusiveness and respect for diversity;
• Unimpeachable integrity as evidenced by behaviour, communication style and way of handling ambiguous or difficult situations;
• Demonstrated ability to manage and lead the work of the IUCN Secretariat with diverse skills, personalities, and backgrounds;
• Clear commitment to fostering a culture of high performance and accountability, demonstrated in the ability to manage by results, differentiate performance and assertively give feedback and take decisive action when necessary;
• Demonstrated experience building teams diverse in gender, nationality and background to achieve business results. This commitment to diversity and inclusion should be exemplified through staffing decisions and the ability to model behaviours that promote a more inclusive organizational culture;
• Proven experience in maintaining and nurturing expert networks with demonstrated ability to handle politically and culturally sensitive issues;
• Experience in identifying key issues in a complex situation, and consulting, gathering, and analysing relevant information before proposing and implementing decisive actions or recommendations;
• Enthusiastic commitment and vision characterized by a commitment to nature conservation and sustainable use and the ability to provide inspiration and strategic direction;
• Good understanding of global affairs and experience with the workings of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and governmental and non-governmental institutions;
• Maturity, knowledge and experience in management and leadership abilities with a deep sense of self-awareness as evidenced by the ability to articulate one’s own strengths, weaknesses and impact on others;
• Proven ability to effectively delegate, empower and motivate staff and others, and the ability to both plan and take action, keeping staff focused on priorities;
• Experience developing teams and individuals and effectively leading improvement and change;


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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