South Africa nationals: Country Representative (South Africa)

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Pretoria, , ZA



For over 70 years, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN, as a Membership Union, has worked towards a sustainable future for people and nature. Our vision guides us: a just world that values and conserves nature. Drawing on a large and diverse membership, and thousands of volunteer experts, with global reach, IUCN is focused on the crucial mission of safeguarding our natural world and rebuilding a healthy and equitable planet for people and nature. The Nature 2030 IUCN Programme sets IUCN ambition in a decadal timeframe (2021–2030) and is a call for mobilization to the entire Union that includes the IUCN Members, Commissions and Secretariat. Uniquely, Nature 2030 IUCN Programme begins in the extraordinary global context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and societal response to this.

The Eastern and Southern Africa region of IUCN spans 24 countries on mainland Africa as well as Island states within the Western Indian Ocean region. The region was delineated by the Global Conservation Council of IUCN on the basis of geopolitical clustering of political economies as well as the connectivity of biomes that host unique, rich and diverse ecosystems. Geopolitically, the ESARO region is clustered into four significant regional economic commissions (RECs) that include the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), East African Community (EAC), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Indian Ocean Commission IOC. The principle strategic goals for the ESARO programme are to:
I) Protect intact landscapes and biodiversity
II) Enhance water management and protection
III) Improve effective governance of marine resources
IV) Advance Nature-based Solutions for both adaptation and mitigation,;
The Regional plan also includes three cross cutting intervention areas of: i) gender and youth; ii) indigenous rights; iii) development information and iii) institutional/organizational strengthening

Being one of the eight middle-income countries in Africa, South Africa is the continent’s second largest economy. The country’s expansive land comprise of distinct physical features including bushveld, grasslands, wetlands, forests, deserts, unspoilt beaches and is immensely rich in biodiversity. The IUCN South Africa programme office has been in operation since the 1970s and has extensive experience of working with the Government, IUCN national members (currently 23), Academia and Non-Government members to influence the national and regional conservation agenda. Currently IUCN South Africa office is delivering an integrated programme of policy, scientific and technical work that includes: a) Biodiversity conservation; b) Ocean and costal resilience; c) Climate resilience and drylands management; e) Water resources management at the national as well as the sub-continent/transboundary level (SADC, Africa Union). In addition, the South Africa programme in conjunction with IUCN national committee is working closely with the government to inform the Covid recovery plan with a focus on green economic recovery, climate change and green infrastructure resilience building, sustainable conservation financing and nature-based livelihoods improvement.


The Country Representative, IUCN South Africa is responsible for overseeing the effectiveness of IUCN’s Programme of Work at a sub-regional level, providing strategic oversight and day-to-day management of the Office, as well as providing a representation role through supporting and building IUCN’s Constituency in the country and region.

More specifically, roles and responsibilities of the Country Representative, IUCN South Africa are as follows:

I)Organizational management and leadership;-
The Country Representative is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the office and its resources. This includes overarching responsibility for the financial viability and sustainability of the Office. S/he bears responsibility for the management of the offices human resources. The office is comprised of Programme and Project Officers, IUCN affiliate partners, Finance and Administration as well as Support staff – all of whom report to the Head of Office. The Country Representative is responsible for both individual performance as well as ensuring that all individuals across the different departments work together as a team. S/he is also responsible for ensuring that IUCN policies and procedures are adhered to in the day to day running of the office and management of all assets.

II)Overseeing the effectiveness of IUCN’s Programme of Work;-
IUCN is seeking to build on the success of the Programme and consolidate and further develop this into a cohesive sub-regional programme – covering transboundary ecosystems as well as underlying drivers affecting biodiversity across South Africa and SADC countries. The Country Representative will play a lead role in this process, working closely with Regional Technical Coordinators as subject matter specialists.

This will involve the following:

Working the (regional and sub-regional) Programme team to clearly define strategic areas of focus, in line with the IUCN Global and Regional priorities and multi-year Programme;
Identifying core issues and opportunities for project/programme development;
Working with the relevant Technical Coordinators to make decisions on growth areas and to develop and secure new projects and programmatic initiatives; and
Effectively planning for and mobilizing resources (financial, human and physical) necessary for the effective implementation of the Programme.

S/he will also be responsible for ensuring that all programmatic initiatives are implemented. This will involve strategic oversight, ensuring that projects are realizing their overall results/objectives; high quality and timely delivery of outputs as well as efficient use of resources in line with approved budgets. This involves establishing clear mechanisms for adaptive management – guiding both the strategic direction of the portfolio of activities at the sub-regional level as well as coordinating the day to day operations.

The Country Representative acts as a liaison between IUCN and its constituency, particularly the IUCN membership at country level. This includes providing support to the National Coordination Committee (NCC), ensuring that regular meetings are convened, supporting individual members in matters related to IUCN and acting as a liaison between the membership and the IUCN Regional Director. S/he is also responsible for identifying new members and recruiting with the support of the IUCN Regional Membership Administrator.

S/he will represent IUCN in various forums, including the public and private sectors, with partners and donors and will ensure that IUCN is participating in the right forums, is presenting a consistent message, is engaging and being engaged by all key stakeholders to address crucial conservation issues. From time to time, the Country Representative, IUCN South Africa may also be required to issue formal statements on behalf of IUCN as directed by the Regional Director.

IV)Other responsibilities:-
Perform other duties as may be assigned from time to time.

 • Education;-
An advanced degree in natural science, business administration, international development, economics or related fields
Computer literacy in relation to office applications (word processing, spreadsheets, powerpoint) use of internet and online communication tools;

• Work Experience;
At least 10+ years of proven experience with:
Demonstrated experience in working with international/regional organizations would be an asset;
Proven high level of knowledge about policy and political issues in the sub-region related to the management of natural resources with demonstrated experience in engaging with relevant national and sub-regional forums and other policy processes ;
Familiarity with established and emerging relevant conservation and natural resource management approaches, methodologies and processes – including Landscape/Ecosystem based approaches;
Demonstrated experience with climate change adaptation and mitigation would be an added advantage;
Demonstrated fundraising, budgeting and programme planning abilities and past performance, including experience of development and successful marketing of project proposals with donors, and subsequent delivery and reporting;
Experience with result based portfolio and project cycle management, monitoring and evaluation methodologies and principles and facilitation skills;
Demonstrated experience in facilitating the establishment of networks and multi-stakeholder participatory processes

• Language requirement;-
Excellent verbal and communication skills in English essential

• Leadership abilities and experience, maturity and management skills characterized by:-
A deep sense of self-awareness as evidenced by the ability to articulate one’s own strengths, weaknesses and one’s impact on others.
Unimpeachable integrity as evidenced by behavior, communication style and way of handling ambiguous or difficult situations.
Demonstrated ability to manage and lead the work of the Secretariat with diverse skills, personalities, and backgrounds.
Proven ability to effectively delegate, empower and motivate staff and others.
Experience developing teams and individuals and effectively leading improvement and change.
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 ability to both plan and take action, keeping the staff focused on priorities.
Demonstrated experience in the selection, coaching and appraisal of staff.
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 (recruitment, promotion, recognition, etc.) and the ability to model behaviors that promote a more inclusive organizational culture.

• Senior management experience characterized by:-
Demonstrated experience and achievements in organizational, financial and personnel management, and in decision-making.
Proven experience in maintaining and nurturing expert networks with demonstrated ability to handle politically and culturally sensitive issues.
Maintain a positive work environment that facilitates collaboration and information sharing and is conducive to attracting, retaining, and motivating diverse talent;
Demonstrated ability to establish relationships and influence peer agencies, local governments and community leaders to work effectively towards a common and agreed upon result.

• Professional competencies characterized by:-
Good understanding of world affairs and experience with the workings of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and governmental and non-governmental institutions.
Good analytical skills and a demonstrated ability to think strategically.
Ability and commitment to act in accordance with the core values of integrity, respect for diversity and professionalism as spelled out in IUCN’s Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics.

• Sound judgment and decision making characterized by:-
Experience in identifying key issues in a complex situation, and consulting, gathering, and analyzing relevant information before proposing and implementing decisive actions or recommendations.
Well-organized and logical in thought and action.
Ability to foresee and manage risk.

• Core Competencies;-
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.
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.
Professionalism: Promote the organization’s interests, objectives and values in a diligent and professional manner.
Accountability: Takes responsibility of individual and collective actions, promotes the IUCN One Programme approach.

• Functional competencies;-
Adheres to IUCN ESARO core values of Transparency, Inclusiveness, Professionalism and Accountability;
Highly skilled in strategic planning, management and budgeting.
Ability to manage complex situations and facilitate the establishment of networks and multi-stakeholder participatory processes;
Strong communication skills, both written and verbal.
Exceptional attention to detail and organizational skills;
Highly motivated and results-oriented individual;
Committed to continuous learning and proactive and mature attitude towards self-development;
Ability and willingness to travel extensively within the region and beyond (approx. 40% of their 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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