Regional ESMS Specialist


The IUCN is hiring a Regional ESMS Specialist.

  • Expected start date: 01 June 2022
  • Type of contract: Fixed-term (12 months with possibility of renewal)
  • Closing date: 15 May 2022

The Regional ESMS Specialist position is expected to comply with the IUCN Delegation of Authority (DoA) current at any particular time, and the sub-delegations issued thereof. Such compliance must be exercised with due diligence and regard for the letter, spirit and purpose of the DoA.


IUCN is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organisations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,300 Member organisations and the input of more than 16,000 experts. IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. The IUCN Secretariat has offices located all around the world and is headquartered in Gland, Switzerland.
Every four years, the IUCN membership adopts a quadrennial Programme that guides the work of the Union, especially that of the IUCN Secretariat. The Secretariat implements the IUCN Programme through a growing portfolio of over 400 projects across the world that are designed to respond to country, donor, and IUCN priorities. IUCN has put in place an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) in order to provide a systematic procedure to check IUCN projects for potential adverse environmental and social impacts and to assure that negative impacts are avoided or minimised to the extent possible while promoting positive impacts. The ESMS procedures and policies are explained in the ESMS Manual and in the ESMS standards available at

Currently the application of the ESMS procedures is assumed by the global ESMS Coordinator, but delegation of some of this work is intended in order to increase the ESMS’ performance, timely delivery and operational efficiency and to ensure the review is geographically closer to the projects and its stakeholder.

To achieve these enhancements, IUCN is hiring an ESMS Specialist for the Regional office for Central and West Africa, PACO. He/she will be responsible for the application of the IUCN ESMS policy on the regional project portfolio. This position will contribute to the region’s leadership in safeguard quality assurance and will play a key role in improving IUCN’s ESMS practices and culture. It will require safeguard subject-matter expertise and experience as well as aptitude in advising and training on the need and benefits of safeguard application.

Job description

Major responsibilities

As the regional specialist for the application of the ESMS, this position is responsible for ensuring that ESMS procedures, standards and principles are applied on the regional project portfolio. This includes preparing ESMS screening reports for projects in the Central and West Africa Region (PACO) including country specific and multi-country/regional projects, advising proponents on safeguard-related improvements of project design, support the preparation of ESIAs and safeguard documents and preparing ESMS clearance. It further involves providing support and supervision during project implementation to guarantee that ESMS requirements are complied with and assure quality. Where safeguard related grievance is raised, he/she will be instrumental in solving the matter proactively.

He/she will also build ESMS capacity in the region to enhance ESMS compliant project design and ensure effective implementation of the risk management strategies. This involves coaching and training of existing regional staff, project proponents and project managers (including external to IUCN) as well as supporting recruitment, onboarding and training of project ESMS officers.

This position provides safeguards expertise to support learning from ESMS application in support of further refining the system and increasing the system’s efficiency. She/he will monitor the application of safeguard tools in the region, distil lessons learned and support the global ESMS Coordinator in system development, refinements and learning.

This position will report to the Regional MEL Coordinator but will be guided technically by the global ESMS Coordinator.

Specific duties

Regional portfolio ESMS application

Application of ESMS procedures on the regional project portfolio, specifically:

Environmental and social due diligence at project design stage

  • Screen projects on environmental and social impacts, define risk category, identify necessary impact studies and safeguard tools/plans;
  • Advise proponents on stakeholder engagement during project design and implementation phase;
  • Support proponents in contracting experts for environmental and social assessments ; where issues are less complex, carry out targeted assessments and stakeholder consultation;
  • Appraise the quality of final ESIA reports and environmental and social management plans (ESMP) and other safeguard tools;
  • Ensure appropriate budgeting for ESMS activities;
  • Conduct final compliance check and prepare ESMS clearance of projects.

ESMS support during project implementation

  • Provide ESMS training for executing agency (EA) and relevant partners at project inception;
  • Appraise any ESMS deliverables that are due in the inception phase;
  • Support the EA in monitoring safeguard tools and reporting progress on implementation and compliance with all ESMS requirements;
  • Contribute to annual project implementation reviews/ supervision missions and to the development of the
  • ESMS specific aspects of the mid-term review and terminal review;
  • Manage ESMS project data including entries to the Project Portal to assure maintenance of ESMS records.

Grievance management and incident reporting

  • Support the EA in setting-up a project-level grievance mechanism in accordance to the Grievance Mechanism Guidance Note;
  • Work with EA to solve grievance in line with IUCN’s three-staged grievance process;
  • Maintain a register of grievance and report on progress solving grievances;
  • Ensure timely reporting of incidents and implementation of corrective actions.
  • Build ESMS capacity in the region

To enhance ESMS compliant project design and ensure effective implementation of the risk management strategies, it is essential to strengthen regional ESMS capacity. This involves:

Train and coach regional staff and project proponents on ESMS procedures, principles and standards to ensure not only consistent application but also pro-active integration of ESMS principles into project design;

Support the global ESMS Coordinator in the development of ESMS training materials and delivery of training sessions;

Contribute to the recruitment, hiring and on-boarding of new project ESMS officers in the region.

ESMS development, refinement and learning

Supporting the global ESMS Coordinator in system development, refinements and learning. This involves:

Monitor ESMS implementation in the region to capture lessons learned and feed-back from the EA and project stakeholders and suggest refinement and improvements of the system;

Contribute to enhancement of institutional processes to increase effectiveness of ESMS application;

Generate lessons on the ESMS application identifying good practices and synthesising these practices for dissemination;

Perform other duties as may be assigned from time to time.

Please Note: The above TORs contain the main responsibilities and duties of this position. However in an ever evolving organisation such as IUCN staff members are expected to show flexibility in their approach to work and be willing to undertake other tasks that are reasonably allocated to them but which are not part of their regular TORs. Where any task becomes a regular part of staff member’s responsibilities, the TORs should be changed in consultation between the manager, the staff member and the HR Unit. Any one of the three may initiate the consultation.

  • Master degree in natural or social sciences, environmental management, policies or law, sociology, anthropology, indigenous people’s studies or comparable qualification;
  • Minimum of 5 years of relevant professional experience, desirably in the region, promoting rights-based approaches, improving socio-economic benefits and addressing and managing environmental and, in particular, social risks in the context of conservation or natural resource management projects;
  • Expert knowledge and practical experience in carrying out environmental and social assessments and the application of safeguards/performance standards (e.g. World Bank, IFC etc), in designing and implementing safeguard tools and technical and organizational solutions; familiarity with GEF and GCF and national safeguards requirements in the region; certified social and environmental impact experts will have an advantage;
  • Practical experience in engaging with indigenous peoples, marginalized, vulnerable or minority groups and local communities, conducting FPIC and addressing gender risks desired; familiarity with addressing risks related to environmental law enforcement an advantage;
  • Demonstrated capacity to work collaboratively within a diverse team, coach colleagues and design and implement training courses;
  • Very good inter-personal skills and high degree of cultural sensitivity;
  • Strong analytical skills, diligent working style and ability to quickly evaluate complex situations;
  • Fluency in English and French is a requirement, good Portuguese communication skills are an advantage.

Closing date: 15 May 2022

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