Location: Remote and Epulu, Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Reports To: Reserve Director
Start date: Immediate
Delivery date: April 2023
Days: 60 days
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a private, nonprofit U.S. organization founded in 1895. Its mission is to preserve wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, developing science-based solutions, and taking conservation action that benefits nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, a presence in more than 60 countries, and experience in creating more than 150 protected areas around the world, WCS has accumulated the biological knowledge, cultural understanding, and partnerships necessary to ensure that wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. Working with local communities and organizations, this knowledge is applied to address species, habitat, and ecosystem management issues that are critical to improving the quality of life for poor rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct use of natural resources.
Okapi Wildlife Reserve (OWR) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to globally significant wildlife populations, such as those of okapi, elephants, and chimpanzees, and as a Reserve, it provides Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples with opportunities for sustainable natural resource use. The Reserve, however, is faced with threats relating to illicit natural resource exploitation, unsustainable economic development, and in-migration. WCS is currently working in partnership with the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) to implement a multi-pronged strategy to protect OWR that covers protected area governance and management systems, community conservation, security and law enforcement, buffer zone land-use management, and building external public support.
In 2018, WCS signed a 10-year Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) agreement with ICCN for the management and protection of OWR. Under this mandate, WCS is working to strengthen management systems, increase the transparency and efficiency of funding streams, and improve stakeholder collaboration. A critical step in this process is the development of a 10-year management plan (plan d’aménagement et de gestion – ‘PAG’). The management plan will provide a framework upon which to ensure sustained and effective management of OWR as a Congolese treasure, sustaining thriving ecosystems and benefiting local communities. The OWR management plan will be used as a practical management tool supporting Reserve management to carry out their duties. The plan will clearly outline the Reserve’s management goals and the means to achieve these with a focus on key conservation issues and approaches to address them. It will be developed through a participatory process with various stakeholders, particularly ICCN and Wildlife Conservation Global (WCG). This consultancy will involve leading the development of the management plan in close coordination with ICCN and the OWR senior management team.
The main objective of the consultancy is to lead and coordinate the development of a 10-year management plan for OWR. The consultancy will adopt a participatory approach to ensure involvement of key stakeholders, and incorporation of OWR’s existing conservation strategies and PPP deliverables.
More specifically, the consultancy will involve:
- Collating information from the PPP-agreement, the previous draft management plan, the existing 5-year strategy and work plan, as well as other planning documents to build an understanding of OWR, as well as the socio-economic and security context
- Developing a comprehensive plan, methodology and timeline for the development of the management plan, including identifying relevant stakeholders for consultation
- Ensuring alignment between the OWR management plan and existing WCS, ICCN and WCG strategies for OWR
- Forming a core planning team consisting of key OWR management stakeholders from across the three organisations (WCS, ICCN and WCG)
- Working with the OWR senior management team to develop and submit a final draft for submission to OWR’s steering committee
- Establish relationships with key management personnel in OWR
- Conduct a desk review of laws, literature and existing material (necessary documents to be provided by the OWR management team)
- Form a core planning team consisting of key OWR management staff
- Support the planning and organization of core planning team meetings in Epulu
- Ensure regular communication with the OWR senior management team to identify, prioritize, execute, and review required steps
- Workplan for the management plan development process for approval by the Reserve Director
- List of stakeholders to be consulted during the field visit
- Draft management plan structure (including, for example, sections on plan foundations, management programmes, general activity work plan, plan monitoring framework and annexes)
- Series of core planning team meetings to obtain input and consult on management plan contents
- Final draft management plan in both French and English for validation by the Reserve’s steering committee
Qualifications and requirements
- Master’s or PhD in a biodiversity conservation related topic
- At least 10+ years of experience in protected area management planning in Central Africa
- Experience with managing protected area field operations in Central Africa (desirable)
- Excellent knowledge of methods and approaches for conservation planning and monitoring (incl. the Conservation Action Planning methodology)
- Knowledge of DRC’s wildlife and conservation laws (desirable)
- Ability to sensitively engage with a range of stakeholders
- Ability to tailor communication approach to audiences
- Ability at high quality technical writing in French and English to tight deadlines
- Ability to produce cartographic products using ArcGIS or QGIS (desirable)
- Ability to travel and work in remote tropical forest environments in developing countries
- Ability to work in a multicultural context and in a remote field site with basic amenities
- Fluency in French and English required, Kiswahili and Lingala desirable
Interested candidates who meet the above criteria should submit their application (CV and cover letter combined in one attachment including contact information for three references) to [email protected]
Please indicate « Protected Area Management Planning Consultant » in the subject line of your email. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.
Application deadline: December 5, 2022
WCS is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and are looking for future team members who share this same value.