Reports to: Eastern Africa, Madagascar & Western Indian Ocean Regional NBS Advisor
Location: Kigali, Rwanda preferred; Other African locations considered
Position Type: Fulltime
Internal liaison: WCS Nature-based Solutions Team
Expected travel: Approximately 30%. As required within the region and to donor/technical meetings as needed/possible.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US non-profit, tax-exempt, private organization established in 1895 that saves wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, crafting science-based solutions, and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, presence in more than 60 nations, and experience helping to establish over 150 protected areas across the globe, WCS has amassed the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships to ensure that vibrant, wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. Working with local communities and organizations, that knowledge is applied to address species, habitat and ecosystem management issues critical to improving the quality of life of poor rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct utilization of natural resources.
Across the over 70 landscapes in which WCS works, there are significant opportunities for utilizing carbon finance as an effective approach to achieve long term sustainable financing for conservation. WCS has been actively involved in the development of REDD+ programs for over ten years which has resulted in over 20 million emissions reductions through improved forest protection and restoration.
With this pioneering success, WCS has now initiated the development of a wider set of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) programs across its global landscapes with the ambitious goal to develop at least ten new nature-based carbon offset projects within the next five years. To support this work, WCS is seeking highly motivated candidates to enhance its team of NBS experts to lead the design and implementation of our burgeoning NBS Portfolio.
The position will be responsible for working directly with the Regional NBS Advisor to assist in the development, execution, and management of the WCS East Africa NBS Program together with country staff and other members of WCS’s Global NBS team. Countries include Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Functions include:
• Work directly with the Regional NBS Advisor in the development of the WCS East Africa NBS program. This role will include serving as a lead advisor to country programs in refining the vision and mission of carbon finance in service of conservation and communities;
• Assist to identify, develop, and lead a cadre of investor-ready climate change finance projects across East Africa, anchored around existing WCS conservation landscapes. Project identification and design will be conducted through intensive interaction with existing WCS country teams;
• Together with the Regional NBS Advisor, WCS country and global WCS NBS team, identify, track, and selectively pursue a pipeline additional project development funding;
• Engage with identified project investors, and create the materials and proposals needed to secure additional investments in project establishment;
• Developing standardized approaches for project development catering to the range of emission reduction and/or restoration opportunities, the typology of project funders and investors, forms of engagement with government, and level of development of national or jurisdictional programs.
• Serve as key member of WCS NBS technical team and WCS Regional Team;
• Develop and provide advisement to WCS country teams on the potential of carbon finance within their landscapes, including internal awareness raising materials and a proposed country strategy;
• Lead the development of initial assessments and feasibility studies required for identified opportunities to evaluate and recommend the appropriate role carbon finance may provide within a land/seascape. This will include evaluating and developing a potential project governance approach, evaluating various intervention activities against their net greenhouse gas emissions reductions potential, and determining the financing required for the implementation of such interventions. The objective of the feasibility work is to create a fact base that will facilitate an investor decision on the potential for cost effective credit generation over the long term;
• Oversee the development of all components of a project required for government support and third-party project validation and credit verification, including:
o Work with the Regional NBS Advisor and country teams to develop the design and structure of identified projects, based on a theory of change. This will include the design of project interventions, and community and government engagement;
o Oversee and provide advisement to country teams on the development of community and government engagement strategies, including the role of jurisdictional programs;
o Work with country teams to develop appropriate benefit sharing mechanisms;
o Develop and lead in-country technical teams and technical consultants responsible for the full development of identified projects;
o Identify key third party technical needs; secure and manage identified third party consultants;
o Determine short, medium and long-term financing needs in order to inform investment and credit sales strategies;
o Act as principal liaison with investors, marketing firms and credit end-buyers on investment proposals and deal-structuring;
• Serve as bridge between regional team, country teams, technical consultants, and the NBS team;
• Provide regular and timely reporting to investors, funders, and to global WCS NBS team on activities and progress to project milestones;
• Serve as an expert advisor to global WCS NBS team on regional issues, events, and initiatives that create either opportunities or obstacles for advancing our carbon portfolio;
• Work with country team and global WCS NBS team to further develop the portfolio and project level strategy plans along with a short and medium-term financial plan;
• Monitor and work with country programs to secure additional grant funding.
• Strong background in NBS and REDD+, demonstrated experience in both voluntary carbon project development and jurisdictional REDD+ preferred;
• Strong familiarity with existing voluntary market standards and methodologies;
• At least 5-years experience, including at least 2 years of program and budget management experience;
• Advanced degree in conservation, community engagement, environmental studies, or other related advanced degree;
• Demonstrated experience in the convening of networks and multi-stakeholders engagement;
• Excellent skills in representation, outreach and partnerships building across a diverse set of technical levels, cultures, and languages;
• Excellent skills in mediation, communication and animation of multi-stakeholders initiatives;
• Experience working on field based implementation of landscape-level conservation, avoided deforestation, reforestation, woodlots, or natural regeneration projects;
• Strong analytical and writing skills; extreme attention to detail;
• Professional level written and oral English fluency required, fluency in Portuguese strongly preferred;
• Willingness to travel extensively to country programs and field sites.
Interested candidates, who meet the above qualifications should apply by emailing an application letter and CV and the names and contact information of three references to AfricaApplications@wcs.org by Thursday 15 July 2021 deadline. Please include “Regional NBS Specialist” in the subject line of your email.
In addition, please note that all candidates must also apply online via the WCS career portal at: http://www.wcs.org/about-us/careers
WCS is an equal opportunity employer and the organization complies with all employment and labor laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination in hiring and ensures that candidates from all backgrounds are fairly and consistently considered during the recruitment process. We are dedicated to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and look for future team members who share that same value
The organization provides equal employment opportunities for all qualified candidates. The organization does not discriminate for employment based on age, color, disability, gender identify, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by laws and regulations
Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interview.