Senior Vice President, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

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Senior Vice President, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork, and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, biodiversity, and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples, and local communities to help people and nature thrive together.

POSITION SUMMARY - This position is open to CI Offices Globally. Please view a full list of our Global Offices here.

The Senior Vice President, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (SVP) is a strategic leader who directs Conservation International’s Global Center for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. They play a central role in planning, directing, and executing CI’s strategy. They drive impact, sets strategy, oversee execution and staff, and track progress regarding CI’s work with Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPs and LCs). Duties are complex and include leading the design, implementation, and integration of program strategies.

The SVP is a collaborator, establishing and leading partnerships to advance conservation approaches that engage IPs and LCs in recognition of their key role in protecting and managing the planet’s lands and waters. They work internally with all units, departments, and divisions within the organization toward a common vision and approach to collaborating with IPs and LCs, and work externally to establish and cultivate partnerships, set the agenda for conservation with IPs and LCs, raise funds, and elevate issues and messages. The SVP is a thought leader, identifying barriers to implementation and creating new solutions to deliver action and impact, and sharing vision, progress, and lessons with internal and external groups.

The SVP is in charge of sharing the strategic and operational importance of Indigenous rights in the context of climate change, ocean health, conservation of biodiversity, and ecosystem services, internally and externally for CI. The SVP acts with a high degree of independence representing CI externally in such a way as to ensure the reputation and leadership of Conservation International in international forums, and national or local meetings on issues related to the full participation of Indigenous peoples.


Leadership and Representation:

  • Establish, strengthen, and lead partnerships with global and regional Indigenous organizations and other partner institutions that work with Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
  • Serve as the principal contact to government agencies, other conservation organizations, donors, and the academic community on issues regarding CI’s work with Indigenous peoples and local communities.
  • Advocate for strong governance in community-established institutions.
  • Collaborate with both private and public entities to foster IP and LC participation and leadership in the sustainable management of IP and LC lands and waters.

Strategy and Delivery:

  • Establish vision and strategy for CI’s work with Indigenous peoples and local communities, both internally and externally.
  • Provide leadership and advise CI, globally and in the field, on projects, initiatives, and approaches that involve or may affect Indigenous peoples and local communities.
  • Ensure CI’s implementation teams understand and use good practices as a partner of choice to IPs and LCs, globally and locally.
  • Coordinate strategically and operationally with internal teams across the organization on issues related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; social and environmental safeguards; project design, delivery, and monitoring; fundraising; grantmaking; policy, corporate engagement, and communications.
  • In collaboration with CI colleagues, lead implementation of CI’s Rights-Based Approach to conservation and CI’s Policy on Indigenous Peoples.
  • Lead and supervise staff of the IP and LC Center; as well as coordinate with teams across CI’s global footprint.
  • Manage a global team; oversee and manage programs and projects.

Partnership and Collaboration:

  • Develop key partnerships with governmental agencies, community, private sector, donors, academics, and NGOs to identify and resolve key challenges in community-led conservation and widely communicate solutions, innovative scientific methods, analysis, tools, and frameworks to address organizational and sector gaps in community-led conservation.


  • Play a leading role in donor identification, cultivation, and stewardship for the IP and LC Center, and in implementing, adapting, and scaling the strategy.
  • Identify and lead the development of mechanisms and institutional arrangements to provide direct funding access for Indigenous peoples and local communities.
  • Identify and lead the development of enabling conditions that unlock both economic and non-economic incentives to using nature-based solutions in favor of IPs and LCs.


  • Travel time 30 -40 %
  • Guidance on flexible work arrangements will be shared during the interview process.



  • 15+ years experience in environmental sciences, ecology, climate change, strategic management, Indigenous Governance, Indigenous Science, Applied Indigenous Knowledge, Indigenous Relations, and Indigenous Business Leadership or similar.
  • Experience in strategy development, Rights-Based approaches to conservation, human rights, IPs, and LCs rights.
  • Experience working with Indigenous peoples, traditional tribes, Afro-Descendants, and/or local communities in conservation.
  • Ability to work in a team effectively across the full diversity of CI’s global organization.
  • Experience convening a broad range of individuals, developing and supporting the delivery of training, preferably in multicultural contexts.
  • Demonstrated track record of working effectively with multicultural, multidisciplinary teams to produce concrete results.
  • Deeply familiar with international fora on climate, biodiversity, and rights.
  • 5 or more years of experience providing senior leadership and managing complex or multiple projects.
  • 7 or more years experience in managing and supervising multi-disciplinary teams, budgets, and coordinating the work of other professionals and partners.
  • Experience managing programs and projects that involve or may potentially impact IPs and LCs.
  • Experience influencing, developing, and implementing conservation policies and plans.
  • Experience communicating with and presenting to diverse audiences, including but not limited to donors, board members, employees, community-based organizations, Indigenous peoples, and the private sector.
  • Experience building partnerships with internal and external stakeholders, including community or business leaders, government or legislative staff, program leadership, and/or similar audiences.
  • Experience in fundraising and partnership development.


  • Excellent oral and written skills in English and one other language preferred (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Bahasa)
  • Excellent presentation and communication skills. Ability to synthesize large amounts of information and make recommendations for decision-makers within and outside CI.
  • Interpersonal communication skills and political savviness.
  • Must be a team player.
  • Persons who identify as Indigenous or of traditional tribal backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


  • Indigenous language skills preferred.

To apply for this position please submit a resume and cover letter.

See all Conservation International Career Opportunities HERE.

Conservation International is an equal opportunity, affirmative action, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility-committed employer. We are proud to have a diverse, global workforce where employment decisions are based on qualifications, experience, position requirements, business needs, market conditions, merit, and other legitimate nondiscriminatory factors.

As a science-based organization, CI follows CDC recommendations for COVID-19 and other vaccines. Accordingly, for the health and safety of our employees, their families, and our community, subject to applicable local law, all Conservation International staff are expected to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, vaccination is no longer a mandate or condition of employment and employees are not required to provide proof of vaccination. This means we will not require an individual to be vaccinated to enter a CI office, attend CI events or travel on CI-related trips. This applies for our community partners as well. This vaccine expectation applies to all team members working remotely, in a hybrid work arrangement, and on-site. Job applicants are NOT required to state their COVID-19 vaccine status in their application.