Senior Programme Officer (Global Drylands Initiative)

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Ouagadougou, , BF

IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.
Created in 1948, IUCN is now the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of more than 1,300 Member organisations and some 16,000 experts. It is a leading provider of conservation data, assessments and analysis. Its broad membership enables IUCN to fill the role of incubator and trusted repository of best practices, tools and international standards.
IUCN provides a neutral space in which diverse stakeholders including governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, indigenous peoples organisations and others can work together to forge and implement solutions to environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development.
Working with many partners and supporters, IUCN implements a large and diverse portfolio of conservation projects worldwide. Combining the latest science with the traditional knowledge of local communities, these projects work to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems and improve people’s well-being.
The Global Drylands Initiative (GDI) is part of IUCN’s Global Ecosystem Management Programme and is responsible for IUCN’s programme of work in Hyper Arid, Arid, Semi-Arid and Dry Sub-humid lands. The programme has a growing portfolio of projects in multiple regions that focus on sustainable drylands management, rangeland monitoring and assessment, natural resource governance, and influencing policies and policy implementation for dryland management. The GDI is IUCN’s focal point to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

The principle roles of the Senior Programme Officer West Africa (SPO) are to lead the development of the GDI in the PACO region and ensure smooth delivery of a portfolio of projects, ensuring their alignment with the GDI programme strategy and IUCN’s wider programme. The SPO is responsible for delivery of assigned projects and project activities in accordance with both donor and IUCN requirements and for maintaining consistency between these projects and the overall IUCN Global Programme. The SPO will provide input to programme planning and strategic development in GDI, GEMP and PACO. The SPO will represent the GDI within PACO and with national and regional partners, including leading on partnership building and fund raising.

7.1 Representation:

• Build a positive working relationship between GDI and the PACO regional team to ensure smooth programme development and implementation of collaborative activities;
• Build positive working relationships with key intergovernmental partners in the West Africa region, including UEMOA, CILSS, ECOWAS, OSS and Aghrymet, as well as make collaborative linkages with the Africa Union – particularly with respect to the Great Green Wall;
• Develop and maintain working relationships with government partners, particularly those involved in drylands work (UNCCD focal points and GGWI focal points), and assist PACO to build more productive partnerships with these institutions;
• Lead in IUCN’s internal coordination of actions on the Great Green Wall, between PACO, ESARO and the relevant global thematic programmes (GEMP, Forest, Water, etc.)
• Take a leading role in representing the GDI in discussions with colleagues in the PACO regional programme office and with members and other partners in the PACO region;
• Maintain a strong network of contacts in bilateral and multilateral institutions to facilitate development and implementation of regional activities;
• Represent IUCN and the GDI in internal and external meetings, particularly in relevant regional and global events (including UNCCD fora);
• Use opportunities at internal and public events to identify strategic partnerships and initiatives;
• Collaborate effectively with IUCN members and Commission Members as well as other strategic partners, under the guidance of the Line Manager;

7.2 Project management according to IUCN policies, procedures and positions:

• Understand and comply with IUCN policies and procedures in all aspects of work;
• Secure correct approval of all assigned projects through the PAAS system;
• Ensure all assigned projects meet IUCN ESMS (environmental and social) standards in both development and implementation phases;
• Update the IUCN project portal with relevant project information;
• Implement all assigned projects in accordance with the project documents, supporting agreements (e.g. contracts, MOUs, PAIAs etc.), annual work plans and the procedures of IUCN;
• Utilize and monitor project budgets in accordance with IUCN internal controls and donor agreements;
• Manage all project data and documents, in soft and hard copy as appropriate, ensuring they are suitably accessible by other IUCN staff;
• Prepare project technical reports according to the agreed formats and deadlines and IUCN standards;

7.3 Project implementation:

• Implement project activities, in agreement with the line manager, according to both IUCN and donor requirements and standards, and to the satisfaction of project partners;
• 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;
• Organise and facilitate project related workshops, training events and other public fora;
• Organise and lead policy dialogue and advocacy events through field based GDI projects, and contribute to the global policy dialogue of GDI, for example at UNCCD fora;
• Provide training to project partners to improve their capacity to deliver on project activities and objectives;
• Capture and document lessons from project activities and write, or co-author, agreed project publications and communication material;
• Implement agreed programmatic activities, including workshops and side events at international events;
• Coordinate project activities with the GDI and PACO teams and ensure that technical and administrative support is provided as and when appropriate;

7.4 Contribute to programme development within the GDI:

• Work with the GDI coordinator and other GDI and GEMP team members to strengthen the overall GDI programme approach, including input to defining strategic priorities and objectives and aligning GDI and GEMP to the overall IUCN intersessional programme goals;
• Revive the WISP network as a vehicle for stronger advocacy on sustainable pastoralism and rangelands management;
• Maintain a current understanding of the IUCN Global Programme results and targets and provide input to consultations over amendments of the programme;
• Report on the contribution of assigned projects to delivering programme goals and contribute to annual work planning and budgeting for the EMP cost centre and GDI sub cost centre;
• Communicate projects and project activities, in coordination with IUCN communication focal points and experts, to maintain public visibility of the programme;
• Maintain an awareness of other IUCN thematic programmes and approaches and assist in identifying opportunities for synergy and collaboration;
• Maintain a current awareness of environment/drylands issues in order to assist in responding to emerging issues, particularly in West and Central Africa;
• Develop innovative fund raising proposals for West and Central Africa, following GDIs strategic priorities as well as the priorities of PACO, and working closely with other IUCN thematic programmes, and with members, commissions, and partners;
• Provide technical input to PACO proposal development and donor liaison as agreed with the GDI coordinator;
• Lead the preparation of other assigned concept notes and proposals for GDI and assist in negotiating project funding with potential donors according to IUCN standards and guidelines on cost recovery;

7.5 Monitoring, Evaluation and learning:

• Implement all project-based M&E activities and report on outcomes and impacts of project delivery;
• Include appropriately funded M&E activities in all newly developed projects;
• Effectively document and communicate project lessons and contribute to GDI learning and good practices;
• Lead on assigned learning activities within the GDI, including rapid reviews of emerging issues and larger programme-wide publications;
• Draw on the expertise of commissions and other partners to ensure learning products are state of the art, highly relevant, and accurate;
• Publish, or contribute to publication of, at least one peer reviewed paper per year;

7.6 Other duties

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


8.1 Education

• A Masters Degree in Natural Resource Management, or its equivalent, with a specialization in drylands, rangelands or a related field

8.2 Work Experience

• At least 8 years’ work experience in managing and coordinating projects, primarily in the conservation or sustainable development field, in more than one country;
• Experience with results-based project cycle management including monitoring and evaluation methodologies and project budget management;
• Experience in participatory and community based development or natural resource management approaches and ability to organize and facilitate multi-stakeholder participatory processes;
• Proven confidence in working with high level government representatives in the PACO region;
• A good understanding of drylands conservation and sustainable development;
• Strong networking and communication skills and ability to work with different partners and stakeholders;
• Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a multi-disciplinary and multi-partner environment;

8.3 Languages and other skills

• Fluency in spoken and written French and English;
• Excellent computer skills, including Microsoft Office package and internet;
• Excellent communication skills and proven writing ability;
• Strong motivation for working on drylands, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development;
• Ability to work with minimum supervision and to seek appropriate support where needed;

8.4 Competencies

• Core Competencies

o Transparency: Able to build trust and contribute to informed and responsible decision making by carrying out the work of IUCN in a transparent manner; provides clear guidance to ensure that objectives and desired measurable results are understood by members of the team.
o Inclusiveness: Understands and accepts cultural diversity, and provide a tolerant, positive and supportive working environment that fosters respect for diversity, demonstrates ability to work in a multicultural, multi ethnic environment and to maintain effective working relations with people of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds.
o Professionalism: Promote the organization’s interests, objectives and values in a diligent and professional manner.
o Accountability: Takes responsibility of individual and collective actions, promotes the IUCN One Programme approach.

• Functional competencies

o Adheres to IUCN ESARO core values of Transparency, Inclusiveness, Professionalism and Accountability;
o 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;
o Highly motivated and results-oriented individual;
o Demonstrated ability to work with limited supervision to prioritize tasking and manage workflow in a high pressure environment;
o Must be a proactive individual who is able to energize and motivate teams;
o Committed to continuous learning and proactive and mature attitude towards self-development;
o Be willing to undertake frequent travel (approx. 40% of their time).

Please Note: The above TOR contains the main responsibilities and duties of this position. However in an ever evolving organization such as IUCN staff members are expected to show flexibility in their approach to work and be willing to undertake other tasks that are reasonably allocated to them but which are not part of their regular TOR. Where any task becomes a regular part of staff member’s responsibilities, the TOR should be changed in consultation between the manager, the staff member and the HR Unit. Any one of the three may initiate the consultation.


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).

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About IUCN

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.

IUCN works on biodiversity, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,200 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.