Land and Resource Rights Director

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World Resources Institute

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22 days ago

Job Summary:

Reporting to the Global Director, Center for Equitable Development based in WRI’s office in Nairobi, Kenya, you will be responsible for Land and Resource Rights (LRR) overall strategy, management, thought leadership, and fundraising. You will not only manage the initiative but also leverage WRI’s Programs, Centers, and global network of international offices to achieve results. You will grow the current LRR team and provide IPLC advise/support to WRI’s Programs, Centers and international offices as needed/requested.

You will be a leading subject matter expert with a track record of sound management, successful research/publication, and fundraising. You will facilitate LRR management and new project development in partnership with WRI’s Programs, Centers, and international offices and be expected to help lead global research on critical IPLC land and resource rights issues.

This position can be based in any of our international offices in which you are legally able to work. Please indicate your preference in your cover letter.

Job Responsibilities:

Strategy and Impact (20%)
  • Develop a bold WRI land and resource rights strategy that effectively responds to the global climate, biodiversity, and sustainable development agenda.
  • Ensure the strategy’s “theories of change” are robust.
  • Develop and enhance collaborations, platforms, and “movements” that help deliver the strategy.
  • Leverage WRI’s entire global network (e.g., international offices, Centers, Programs) to implement the land and resource rights strategy.
  • Establish WRI as a “go to” non-governmental organization on IPLC land rights, and land and resource rights more broadly
Management and Leadership (25%)
  • Inspire and lead a team of professionals to implement WRI’s LRR strategy.
  • Manage LRR staff members, ensuring they are effective and supported, and that planned deliverables and results are achieved.
  • Recruit, train, and retain world-caliber staff, including interns and Senior Fellows.
  • Help identify opportunities, problem solve challenges, and deliver top-notch results.
  • Oversee the program’s budget and financial performance.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with staff across WRI’s Programs, Centers and international offices, and external partners to advance the interests of LRR and of WRI.
  • Review draft publications, blogs, press releases, and other research and communications materials developed by LRR staff to ensure they meet WRI’s high standards of quality.
Research and Outreach (25%)
  • Serve as the leading “face and voice” of WRI’s IPLC land rights strategy on the global stage.
  • Define a WRI research agenda that addresses IPLC land rights challenges and opportunities
  • Identify knowledge gaps and influence opportunities where WRI research can produce meaningful improvements in IPLC land rights.
  • Identify the data and rigorous methods needed to produce robust, unbiased research that addresses knowledge gaps and informs LRR’s influence strategies.
  • Lead groundbreaking research and author or co-author reports/articles published by WRI and in leading academic journals.
  • Work with WRI’s science and research professionals to ensure LRR delivers high-quality research and impactful outreach.
  • Provide constructive feedback on relevant knowledge products produced by other WRI initiatives.
Outreach (10%)
  • External representation of WRI’s work on land and resource rights.
  • Communicate WRI’s research findings to target audiences in compelling manners that lead to desired change.
  • Develop and deliver presentations at public speaking events, international fora, one-on-one meetings, and within WRI.
  • Write briefs, publish blogs, and conduct media interviews to set public and private sector agendas, influence decision-maker perspectives, and communicate findings and recommendations from LRR’s work.
Fundraising and Funder Stewardship (20%)
  • Develop a “next-generation” long-term fundraising strategy that expands LRR’s current base of funding.
  • Conceive, write, help others prepare, and solicit impactful 6-8 figure project proposals.
  • Cultivate new and manage existing high-profile donor relationships.
  • Actively cultivate and manage relationships with existing donors to secure renewals.
  • Increase the public profile of WRI’s work on IPLCs and land and resource rights thereby making WRI more attractive to donors.
  • Mentor staff to broaden their fundraising skills, help them engage effectively in fundraising, and cultivate new funding prospects.
Job Qualifications:
  • Master’s or PhD degree in relevant field (e.g., ecological anthropology and human ecology).
  • Minimum of 15 years of professional experience in fields relevant to IPLC land rights.
  • Bold visionary and strategic thinker.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and wide-ranging intellectual curiosity.
  • Excellent writing skills with a track record of publications on IPLC issues
  • World-class presentation skills (ability to communicate clearly, passionately, and compellingly).
  • Successful experience supervising and mentoring direct reports (experience with matrixed teams is a plus)
  • Effective motivator of people to fulfill their potential and achieve results.
  • Experience with "cross-sectoral" IPLC land rights issues (e.g., IPLCs and climate mitigation and IPLCs and biodiversity conservation).
  • Demonstrated experience in the application of evidence to policy or practice
  • Demonstrated fundraising track record, including securing multi-year seven-figure funding.
  • Strong network of relationships.
  • Commitment to WRI’s mission and values
  • Ability to travel, especially internationally, about 20% to 25% of time (post-COVID).
Potential Salary:

$124,000 - $167,000. Salary is commensurate with experience and other compensable factors.

How to Apply:

Please submit a resume with cover letter. Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

Program Overview:

Indigenous and community land provides a range of ecosystem goods and services - carbon mitigation, regulation of local climate dynamics and water cycling, hydrological services, pollination, nutrient retention, existence values, recreation, and tourism - that generate valuable local, regional, and global benefits. A large body of literature assessing the effectiveness and impacts of land management by Indigenous Peoples and other local communities (IPLCs) provides clear evidence that IPLC approaches yield positive environmental (e.g., stem forest loss and degradation) and development outcomes (e.g., increased incomes and reduced conflicts). While various factors and incentives can enable and encourage IPLCs to sustainably manage their land, research shows that strong land rights and tenure security are fundamental to IPLCs and their sustainable land management.

WRI aims to catapult IPLC land challenges and solutions to the top of national and international agendas. WRI’s Land and Resource Rights (LRR) initiative works to help IPLCs:
1) secure their collective land and natural resource rights (both at the community and individual/household level);
2) protect their lands from external threats, such as from mining, agrobusiness, and infrastructure; and
3) sustainably manage their collectively held land and natural resources. LRR works to strengthen and secure land rights as a path to poverty reduction, sustainable development, and environmental management.

Our approach includes:
  • Aggregating and visualizing IPLC land data and developing tools to advance IPLC land rights issues (e.g., LandMark: Global Platform of Indigenous and Community Lands);
  • Reviewing policies and conducting cutting-edge research to influence progress on a large scale (e.g., Undermining Rights: Indigenous Lands and Mining in the Amazon and On Equal Ground: Promising Practices for Realizing Women’s Rights in Collectively Held Lands);
  • Providing strategic advice and technical assistance to civil society organizations, governments, development assistance agencies, and corporations to advance specific IPLC issues (e.g., Land Rights, Beef Commodity Chains, and Deforestation Dynamics in the Paraguayan Chaco); and
  • Developing and implementing communication strategies and media campaigns to turn our research findings into action (e.g., Beyond Title: How to Secure Land Tenure for Women and 9 Facts About Community Land and Climate Mitigation) Operating across Latin America, Africa, and Asia, LRR focuses on the connections between land and access to forests, water, and food to ensure our approaches to land rights are truly sustainable and equitable.

Considering the impacts of this work on vulnerable and impoverished communities and people ensures they are brought to the front of the conversation. New challenges and opportunities make this a critical decade for IPLCs. Community land is under growing threat. Competition for land is intensifying as global demand for foods, fuels, minerals, and other products grows. Land disputes between IPLCs and external actors, especially governments and companies, are becoming more common and growing more dangerous. Yet key international climate and environmental instruments now recognize the role of IPLCs and community land in forest health, climate mitigation, and biodiversity conservation including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and New York Declaration on Forests. At the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26), five governments and 17 private donors pledged $1.7B to support IPLCs and their organizations as well as various activities to secure, strengthen, and protect IPLC lands.

WRI Overview:

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills, and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence, and respect.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps, and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business, and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years, and our operating budget is now $150 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of 1,000+ people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States, as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.