Location: Kigali, Rwanda
Reports To: Central Africa Regional Director
Coordinates with: WCS Executive Directors, Markets; Forests & Climate Change, Regional
Direct Reports: None
Start date: January 2023
Position Type: Full time
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.
The Central Africa and Gulf of Guinea program is one of the largest of WCS’s 13 Global Regional Programs, spanning Nigeria, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, and Gabon. This is a rapidly growing program with a diverse and expanding portfolio of donors, partners and projects. The region presents a set of complex conservation challenges to biodiversity and their habitats and WCS field programs are addressing these through a number of initiatives including protected area management, community engagement, sustainable livelihoods, policy reform and sustainable financing. WCS recently formally established its regional hub in Kigali, Rwanda which hosts a growing team of technical specialists and regional management to support our country programs and field offices.
The Congo Basin is home to the second largest forest, and the single largest tropical carbon sink, in the world, that presents significant emerging climate and conservation financing opportunities and emerging international markets for nature-based solutions. These include the Central Africa Forest Initiative (CAFI) that is evolving as the foremost climate financing mechanism for the region. There are also significant opportunities for private sector engagement and blended finance models through payments for ecosystems services such as climate regulation, water and hydropower providing access to clean rural energy and co-benefits for forest and ecosystem conservation. To capitalize upon these emerging opportunities there is a need to develop and deliver innovative impact investment programs and projects that are well adapted to the particular context of the region, strongly aligned with government policy, and succeed in protecting forests, alleviating poverty and supporting local sustainable development.
WCS is seeking a Regional Forest and Climate Investment Lead to capitalize upon emerging financing opportunities and support the implementation of our regional strategy for forest and biodiversity protection. Working closely with the Central Africa Regional Director and WCS’s Global Forest and Climate Change, and Global Markets teams, the successful candidate will bring extensive knowledge and experience of the emerging marketplace for climate and conservation financing opportunities in the region – including REDD+ – and excellent awareness of national government commitments, existing regional mechanisms, and private sector business investment practices. They will coordinate with a range of specialists within and outside WCS to analyze, identify, develop and secure investment for conservation enterprises and nature-based solutions to climate change across several sites and initiatives throughout Central Africa. Specifically, WCS is a global leader in nature-based solutions and climate financing and seeks to capitalize upon this in its field conservation programs.
In close coordination with the Central Africa regional program and national field offices, the Regional Forests and Climate Investment Lead will:
- Provide strategic oversight, coordination and guidance of WCS engagement in private sector investment practices in the region and lead consultations with private sector stakeholders to understand current and planned investments in the region and points of alignment and influence
- Work with WCS country and regional technical staff and identified private sector partners in selected landscapes to support development and establishment of financing mechanisms, structures and agreements
- Develop engagement strategies and lead on building partnerships with agricultural commodity companies and other supply chain actors In coordination with the relevant WCS staff to pilot NbS activities that demonstrate best practice in conservation of biodiversity and community rights; promote investment, corporate and regulatory systems that incentivize responsible business practices among agricultural commodity companies and their financiers
- Remain current on climate financing opportunities (national, regional, bilateral and multilateral) and other areas of innovative financing (Payments for Ecosystems Services, Nature Bonds etc.) to identify areas of strategic alignment with WCS priorities
- Provide technical coordination and proposal development support for large climate and other innovative financing opportunities in Central Africa
- Provide close liaison and regular coordination with WCS’s Global Markets Program and Forests and Climate Change Program to ensure strong representation of Central Africa’s priorities for nature-based solutions to climate change and to benefit from global best practices.
- At least 5 years’ experience of large, multi-stakeholder project management
- Demonstrated experience in working with investors, supply chains and conservation enterprises to create investment opportunities that deliver conservation outcomes and commercial returns
- Demonstrated experience of engaging the private sector to secure investment in climate change mitigation measures and in the environmental sector generally, preferably in Africa
- Experience in program development for large multi-lateral climate — or other innovative – financing mechanism
- Experience working on nature-based solutions to climate change including REDD+ and other performance-based payment systems in a global context preferred
- Excellent written and oral language skills are required in English and French
- Excellent skills in representation, communications and partnerships building
- Willingness and availability to travel around the region, and internationally as needed
- Commitment to the mission of the Wildlife Conservation Society
Other attributes that will help you stand out
- Experience working on field-based implementation of avoided deforestation, sustainable agriculture, agricultural supply chains, forest governance or other climate-relevant projects preferred.
- Experience calculating and communicating investment needs and returns in order to attract and evaluate investment propositions
- Direct experience of the Congo-Basin climate financing context
- Excellent oral and written presentation skills and experience in communicating complex issues and solutions to a diverse audience
How to apply
Interested candidates, who meet the above qualifications, skills and experience, should apply through this link by November 15, 2022.
WCS is an equal opportunity employer 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.