Director (Global Water Programme)

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Gland, , CH

The Director of the Global Water Programme is responsible for development and implementation of the IUCN’s thematic programme on water resources and conservation of water-related ecosystems. Based in IUCN Headquarters, the Director is the focal point for all water related matters in IUCN regarding policy, programme development, resource mobilization and representation.
1. Programme Development

• Lead the development of IUCN’s programme of work on water by providing a well-defined strategic focus over the medium and long term, ensuring effective programming and project implementation, and guiding analysis and evaluation of on-going programmatic activities.

• Act as IUCN’s senior thematic focal point on water and conservation of wetlands and water-related ecosystems.

• Ensure coherence and integrity in all IUCN water-related activities and interventions, particularly with respect to:- i) the generation of analysis and knowledge that shapes and influences current international policy dialogue and implementation priorities and ii) by positioning IUCN as a reliable and trusted authority to facilitate policy implementation at the transboundary, national and sub-national levels.

• Coordinate with those colleagues across global thematic units and Regional and Country Offices working on water, river basin and wetlands issues to ensure that they function as an integrated team, that there is coherence and consistency in policy statements, and a high quality of technical and policy advice is given to projects and programmes, including water-related projects in IUCN’s GEF and GCF portfolios.

• Provide, where needed, guidance and support to the development and implementation of the quadrennial IUCN Programme.

2. Policy and Communications
• Coordinate the analysis of relevant water policy and the dissemination of policy information and advice on water, river basins and wetlands to various parts of the Union and other networks in the most effective way.
• Ensure that IUCN is adequately represented in relevant international fora and negotiations on water, river basin and wetlands management.
• Develop and maintain appropriate collaboration and partnerships with relevant organisations on water-related issues of mutual interest.
• Ensure IUCN’s knowledge, recommendations and policies are effectively communicated to identified target users at global, regional and country levels by overseeing the development and implementation of appropriate strategies for knowledge management and communications.

3. Management and resource mobilization
• Manage the Programme, including human and financial resources, budgets, communications, and planning, assessment and reporting as required by IUCN systems.
• Develop and maintain a high-quality, programmatically-aligned project portfolio for delivery of the programme of work on water by collaborating closely with IUCN regions, Commissions and Members, as well as other thematic programmes.
• Lead fundraising for the Water Programme by developing and maintaining good relationships with donor and funding agencies so as to ensure the financial viability of the Programme.
• Convene the Water Resources Management Job Network in the IUCN Secretariat to strengthen strategic coherence on water among programme units at global, regional and country levels, continuously improve quality, promote collaboration, improve IUCN-wide knowledge management and support development of water professionals in IUCN.
• Convene and facilitate advice from associated experts who provide guidance to the water management related activities of the Union.
• Proactively contribute to and participate in the senior management team of the Nature-based Solutions group with particular emphasis on building and reinforcing a group-wide transparent and accountable management culture.

Section B – Competencies

1. Enthusiastic commitment and vision, characterized by:
• A commitment to nature conservation and sustainable use.
• Ability to provide inspiration and strategic direction.

2. Leadership abilities and experience, maturity and management skills, characterized by:
• 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.

3. Senior management experience, characterized by:
• A well-developed sense of managerial self-awareness with an ability to proactively manage individual strengths and weaknesses (including one’s own) and understand how these influence the team’s performance.
• 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.

4. Professional competencies, characterized by:
• Good understanding of world affairs and experience with the workings of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and governmental and non-governmental institutions.
• 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.

5. 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 risks.

The institution reserves the right to re-assign duty stations for any internationally recruited position, after consultation with staff members and taking into account their personal circumstances.

  • At least 10 years of experience of designing, leading and managing initiatives, programmes and projects aimed at sustainable management of water resources and/or conserving biodiversity and restoring ecosystems with local and global social and environmental benefits. Management of programmes and projects in a developing country context is a distinct advantage.

• At least 10 years of experience of proven capacity and skills in leading and managing diverse, multi-stakeholder partnerships and networks involving e.g. government agencies, NGOs, international organizations, development agencies, and scientific and technical bodies.

• At least 10 years of proven experience in managing a large team of professionals, including through a decentralized global network.

• Demonstrated capacity to successfully design projects according to the latest project appraisal standards. Previous working experience of the GEF or other multilateral funding mechanism would be an additional asset.

• Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English, including ability to communicate complex issues to a wide range of audiences. A second language (French, Spanish) is highly desirable.

• Ability to travel frequently


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.

Other job opportunities are published in the IUCN website: