The objective of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification around the world, particularly in Africa, through effective action at all levels, supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.
The Global Mechanism is an institution of the UNCCD, mandated to assist countries in the mobilization of financial resources from public and private sector for activities that prevent, control or reverse desertification, land degradation and drought. As the operational arm of the Convention, the Global Mechanism supports countries to translate the Convention into action.
The continued degradation of the Sahelian landscape is jeopardizing rural livelihoods and economic development in the region. Agriculture, livestock and forestry provides the income and employment for more than 80% of the population of this region, and land-based activities generate most of the wealth. However, in the Sahelian countries, land degradation leads to an annual decline of nearly 3% of agricultural production, compromising food security and increasing the vulnerability of millions of people, particularly in rural areas.
In this context, the Global Mechanism developed a project proposal ‘Creating lands of opportunities: transforming livelihoods through landscape restoration in the Sahel’ (Sahel Opportunities Project) to be supported through a grant from the Government of Italy. The project aims to make a significant and sustainable contribution towards landscape restoration in the Sahel while creating income generating activities for local communities in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Niger. The project seeks to strengthen communities’ resilience to climate change and desertification through the provision of incentives to invest in the rehabilitation of degraded lands in the Sahel region. It will contribute to slowing the rural exodus and subsequent migration to Europe exacerbated by desertification, land degradation and drought by rehabilitating lands and through the creation of land-based income and job opportunities in communities in three selected countries in West Africa Sahel with emphasis on the promotion of productive agricultural value-chains of drylands products.
More broadly, the project will also contribute to achieving the bold vision of the Great Green Wall Initiative in supporting local communities to adapt and build resilience to climate change, as well as boost food security and spur economic growth. In addition, the project will support countries in achieving Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) through addressing underlying vulnerabilities and build resilience to future shocks (climatic and conflict-related). This implies avoiding further land degradation, mitigating and therefore compensating unavoidable land degradation due to agricultural and urban development needs and restoring as much as possible already degraded land.
Additionally, the UNCCD is supporting the development of the Sahel Initiative, a broader program to highlight the Sahel’s potential through the large-scale mobilization of communities, social groups and networks to accelerate installation of clean energy, restore degraded lands and catalyze the development of rural enterprise across the Sahel belt, with a special focus on youth and women. Given the close alignment between the Sahel Opportunities Project and the Sahel Initiative, the Senior Project Officer will also undertake activities in support of the Initiative.
Under the supervision of the Managing Director, the incumbent is responsible for the following specific duties:
- Takes the lead to implement and evaluate the Sahel Opportunities project; act as manager in developing the Sahel Initiative; directs subordinates in programme/project development, implementation, monitoring and assessment; directs review of relevant documents and reports; identifies priorities, problems and issues to be addressed and proposes corrective actions; liaises with relevant parties including the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Bank, the Permanent Interstates Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature; identifies and initiates follow-up actions.
- Ensures implementation of gender mainstreaming guidelines by assessing the implications for men and women of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels.
- Directs research and programme evaluation and presents information gathered from diverse sources.
- Coordinates policy development; reviews the assessments of issues and trends, preparation of evaluations or research activities and studies,
- Initiates, establishes and coordinates effective working relationships with national and international public and private partners to ensure knowledge sharing in support of Sahel programme, development, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation;
- Supervises preparation of various written outputs, e.g. background papers, analysis, substantial sections of reports and studies, inputs to publications, development of scientific and technical papers on land degradation in the Sahel, etc.
- Directs substantive support to consultative and other meetings, conferences, etc., to include proposing agenda topics, identifying participants, preparation of documents and presentations, etc.
- Manages outreach activities; designs and conducts training workshops, seminars, etc., makes presentations on assigned topics/activities.
- Leads field missions, including provision of guidance to external consultants, government officials and other parties and drafting mission summaries, etc.
- Coordinates activities related to budget and funding (programme/project preparation and submissions, progress reports, financial statements, etc.) and ensures preparation of related documents/reports (pledging, work programme, programme budget, etc.).
- Serves as an effective spokesperson on the Sahel Opportunities Project and the Sahel Initiative and establishes collaboration and partnerships with key officials at all levels inside and outside the organization.
- Support the development of scientific and technical papers on land degradation in the Sahel.
- Performs any other job-related activity required to achieve the goals and objectives of the UNCCD and as required by the Executive Secretary.
- Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to particular sector, functional area or another specialized field. Ability to identify key strategic issues, opportunities and risks. Ability to generate and communicate broad and compelling organizational direction. Ability to communicate clearly links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals. Demonstrated ability to provide innovative technical leadership by performing and/or overseeing the planning, development, and management of operation. Demonstrated ability to negotiate and apply good judgment. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.
- Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.
- Serves as a role model that other people want to follow: empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; drives for change and improvements; does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.
- Identifies key issues in complex situations, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information; checks assumptions against facts; determines actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.
- Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in business administration, public administration, management, economics, international relations, social science or a related field. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
- A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in programme or project planning and management, economics, international relations, social science or related area is required
- Experience in providing administrative or programmatic support to or in a field operation of an international organization is desirable.
- Experience in the United Nations system or a comparable international organization is desirable
- Experience in implementing projects and promoting partnerships is desirable.
- Field experience in development cooperation is desirable.
- For the position advertised, fluency in both English and French is required. Knowledge of another official United Nations language is an advantage.