Ombudsperson | WWF

Posted on 30 July 2019

Location: Gland, Switzerland
WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.
To further strengthen our deep commitment to working in collaboration with indigenous peoples, local communities and respecting human rights,
WWF International has established an independent monitoring and review function to assist in the resolution of complaints, and is recruiting for 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’s International’s Board Members, 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.



Gland, Switzerland

Work percentage:


Contract type:

 Open Ended

Major Duties & 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’s Board or WWF’s management or on the suggestion of the Ombudsperson. In addressing such projects, the Ombudsperson will consult with WWF’ 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 staff on specific project issues.    



Required qualifications & skills
The Ombudsperson will be a person of high international recognition, impeccable integrity, great interpersonal skills, empathy and sound judgment:  

  • 10-15 year 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 organizations 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 WWF International Board, NET, SMT.  
External – External partners and other international NGOs, civil society organisations
This ToR covers the main tasks and conveys the spirit of the tasks that are
anticipated. Other tasks may be assigned as necessary according to organizational needs. 


How to apply?

Please send your application in english with cover letter to
Applications without a CV and Covering Letter will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: by 02 September 2019

Early application is encouraged as we will review applications throughout the advertising period and reserve the right to close the advert early.

Work permit restrictions may apply. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

WWF is an equal opportunity employer and committed to having a diverse workforce.