WWF has established an independent monitoring and review function to assist in the resolution of complaints and is recruiting an Ombudsperson to provide an additional layer of independent review to further enhance existing social policies and safeguards mechanisms.

The Ombudsperson will be appointed by the WWF International Board and will report to them, under the administrative oversight of the WWF Network Executive Team (NET).  To carry out his/her mandate, the Ombudsperson will liaise directly with the senior management within the WWF network, and members of WWF International Board, as requested.

The Ombudsperson will also maintain appropriate contacts with NGOs, civil society and the business community to the extent necessary to carry out his/her duties. These contacts will include the ability to communicate directly with complainants and affected parties, while respecting the confidentiality of sensitive business information.

The Ombudsperson will keep WWF senior management informed of his/her contacts with complainants and affected parties and make regular periodic reports to the Board on his/her activities.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

The role of the Ombudsperson will include the following activities:

  • Take a lead role in dealing with complaints from external parties affected by WWF projects in relation to the application of safeguards. Complaints, once verified, will be investigated by the Ombudsperson, as appropriate, in consultation with affected parties, project sponsors, and WWF’s management.
  • Report on his/her findings and make recommendations directly to the WWF International Board and to the NET and WWF International senior management.
  • Advise and assist WWF in dealing with sensitive or controversial projects, either at the request of the WWF International Board or WWF’s management or on the suggestion of the Ombudsperson. In addressing such projects, the Ombudsperson will consult with the WWF International Board’s and coordinate with WWF’s management.
  • Supervise reviews of WWF’s overall environmental and social performance and sensitive projects, in order to ensure ex-post compliance with policies, guidelines, and procedures.
  • Provide advice to WWF management on environmental and social policies, procedures, guidelines, resources and systems established to ensure adequate review and monitoring of WWF projects.
  • Provide advice at the request of WWF’s environmental and social policies staff on specific project issues.

Required Skills and Qualifications

The Ombudsperson is a person of high international recognition, impeccable integrity, great interpersonal skills, empathy and sound judgment:

  • 10 to 15 years of experience managing in a conflict resolution capacity.
  • A successful record of dealing with a broad range of civil society, affected communities and NGOs through negotiation, participation and consultation.
  • Extensive knowledge and experience of environmental and social issues (technical expertise would not be required).
  • Proven knowledge and experience with international development organisations and relevant NGOs.
  • Solid academic (post-graduate) and professional background.
  • Ability to communicate with the media.
  • Clearly demonstrates behaviours aligned to the culture of WWF: Strive for Impact, Listen Deeply, Collaborate Openly and Innovate Fearlessly.
  • Adheres to WWF’s values, which are: Knowledgeable, Optimistic, Determined and Engaging.

Working Relationships

INTERNAL – Interacts regularly with members of the International Board, Senior Management Team, Safeguards team, Head of Compliance, NET members and CEOs of WWF Offices

EXTERNAL – External partners and other international NGOs, civil society organisations.

This job description covers the main tasks and conveys the spirit of the tasks that are anticipated. Other tasks may be necessary according to organizational needs.


Closing of applications: 15 September 2019 at 23h59 (CEST)
First interviews: Weeks commencing on 23 and 30 September 2019
Final interviews: Week commencing 14 October 2019 (tbc)

Reports to: WWF International Board / Day to day oversight from NET
Supervises: Support staff in the Office of the Ombudsperson
Location: Geneva
Salary: Competitive


For details of how to apply, please visit Oxford HR.