Communities and Natural Climate Solutions Lead

Conservation International (CI)
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
5-7 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 Search Location(s) Colombia - Bogota, Kenya - Nairobi, Singapore, United States - Arlington, VA, United States - Seattle, WA

Conservation International (CI) has been protecting nature for the benefit of all for over 30 years. Through science, policy, and partnerships, CI is helping build a healthier, more prosperous and more productive planet.  


Amid growing consensus that the protection, restoration, and improved management of ecosystems can provide at least 30% of the climate mitigation needed to limit warming to 1.5°C, Conservation International (CI) has set ambitious targets to realize the potential of these natural climate solutions (NCS) worldwide. Yet these targets cannot be achieved without the leadership and engagement of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs), who occupy, own, or use a quarter of the world’s land area.

CI envisions a world in which the potential of nature as a climate solution is fully realized, human rights are respected and supported, and through negotiated agreement the benefits of NCS projects create positive social impacts for indigenous peoples and local communities. Rising investments in natural climate solutions are an opportunity to support this vision. Doing so will require bold steps to shape market-based mechanisms that genuinely benefit global climate and IPLCs together.

The Lead, Communities and Natural Climate Solutions orchestrates CI’s work to make this vision a reality. 

The Lead is a strategic thinker, driving the development and refinement of strategy to integrate human rights and social impacts into NCS pathways from protection and restoration of natural ecosystems to improved management of working forests and farms. The Lead is a collaborator, establishing and leading creative partnerships to advance climate approaches that engage IPLCs, coordinating with other facets of CI’s Climate Strategy, supporting other CI teams working on community engagement, and supporting field teams and partners in building IPLCs into a large and rapidly growing portfolio of NCS projects. The Lead is a thought leader, identifying barriers to implementation and creating new solutions to address them, convening meetings and engagements to deliver action and impact, and sharing vision, progress, and lessons with a global community. The Lead may also lead and support others working on community engagement involving the mission of Conservation International and fill project management and other roles as needed for the success of the team.

To be successful, the Lead needs extensive knowledge and experience on community engagement, human rights and natural climate solutions. They must be able to articulate an actionable plan for creating climate and social impacts at the level of individual projects, of national policies, and global initiatives, and be comfortable sharing and driving that vision with Conservation InternationaI staff, leadership, and board, with IPLCs and in high level forums, with potential funding partners, and with the implementing programs and partners to drive ongoing buy-in, resourcing, and execution.  

The Lead reports to the SVP, Center for Communities and Conservation, and is part of both that team and the Center for Natural Climate Solutions. The Lead works closely with CI country programs throughout the tropics and with other relevant CI programs specializing in areas including science, policy, and conservation finance.


Strategic Leadership

  • Establish and advance, in coordination with CI programs and partners, a global vision and strategy for NCS and communities that advance both NCS and a human rights-based approach. Marshal staff, partners, and resources to integrate vision with CI NCS portfolio and beyond.
  • Drive definition of human and community outcomes in the context of NCS approaches, including by convening a team of indigenous, academic, and practitioner experts.
  • Report on progress towards achieving objectives of the strategy, and proactively flag issues for senior management.
  • Advise CI leadership on activities related to NCS and communities.
  • Lead or support high-level decisions with a long-term impact across broad programs or functions, pertinent to the strategy. 

Management and Implementation

  • Provide guidance to country programs working to advance the NCS & communities strategy, including but not limited to support on country specific strategy development, monitoring and evaluation, field staff and partner trainings, in-field progress assessments, and fundraising.
  • Support CI programs in the development of stakeholder engagement and participatory processes.
  • Support project carbon project design and due diligence, with particular emphasis on equitable benefit sharing.
  • Monitor and evaluate work across CI’s NCS portfolio ensuring that rights are protected and supported, communities see tangible outcomes, and new methods in support of both are advanced.
  • Manage highly visible, complex technical projects and/or partnerships within CI.
  • Manage external partner relationships, including convening expert stakeholders from indigenous and local community leaders to peer organizations and, more broadly, as necessary, to accelerate delivery of the above workstreams.
  • Participate in divisional or regional teams (as appropriate) to advance internal co-creation and collaboration on a shared institutional approach to NCS & communities.
  • Build out the capacity of CI’s community of practice overtime to meet the opportunities of the institution's NCS & community's work.

Partnerships and Thought Leadership

  • Oversee and support innovative research products and multilateral partnerships that shape the implementation of NCS with respect to communities worldwide. Contribute to development and evolution of independent standards for NCS, such as the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS), IFC Performance Standards, etc.
  • Advance CI’s expertise and credibility through targeted publications, op-eds, social media, networking, meetings, and public speaking.
  • Engage with IPLC networks to build awareness and engagement around NCS work and project development.


  • This position can be based in the US (Arlington or Seattle), Nairobi, Singapore, or Bogotá
  • Work is performed in a typical office environment, and with potential for work from home office.
  • Travel up to 25%, often in developing countries.
  • Flexibility in work schedule required in order to accommodate time differences between the Arlington, VA office and international field offices located in multiple time zones.
  • This is a two-year fixed term position.



  • Master’s Degree or equivalent education and or experience in social sciences, conservation or development studies, climate change, international policy, environmental education, or a related field.
  • 7+ plus years of relevant work experience.
  • Experience demonstrating increasing responsibility in implementing and managing programs engaging and working with indigenous peoples’ organizations and communities.
  • Experience in design and implementation of training tools and programs.
  • Working familiarity with indigenous people’s networks and global and regional organizations.
  • Thorough understanding of climate change mitigation and its relationship to market-based approaches, REDD+, Rights Based Approach, social safeguards, community conserved areas and indigenous people’s rights.
  • Demonstrated understanding and use of third-party standards used to ensure community engagement and support such as CCBS, Gold Standard, Fair Trade, etc.
  • Understanding of global policy issues related to indigenous people’s issues, particularly related to rights, climate change and conservation.
  • Consistent demonstration of vision and thought leadership in the form of effective scientific or public communication, coalition building, institutional leadership, or other means, and demonstrated skills in intercultural communication and experience engaging multiple audiences.
  • Excellent written and spoken English.
  • Proven collaborative focus and ability to work effectively across cultures and across organizations.
  • Demonstrated problem solving skills and ability to build on existing knowledge to develop new approaches.
  • Strong capacity to navigate diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges and opportunities.
  • Authorized to work in the USA, Nairobi, Singapore, or Bogotá


  • Knowledge of relevant climate and carbon science literature.
  • Ability to work independently and with minimal guidance.
  • Spanish and/or Portuguese language skills.

To apply for this position please submit a resume and cover letter.

See all Conservation International Career Opportunities  HERE

Conservation International Values

We expect that all employees will embrace the values of our organization.​

  • Passion: Inspired by people and by nature, we are urgently compelled to drive change for a sustainable future. 
  • Integrity: We are honest, transparent and accountable for our actions.
  • Teamwork: We work together as one CI, recognizing that inclusion, collaboration and cooperation are fundamental to achieving a healthy and prosperous world for all.
  • Respect: We respect each other and work to earn trust, valuing our diversity of cultures, talents, and experiences.
  • Courage: We pursue our vision, taking bold action, persevering and overcoming challenges.
  • Optimism: We are optimistic about the capacity of people to be caring, generous and brilliant, and believe that with partners, we can inspire humanity to create a better future.

Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Vets/Disabled