Director of External EU affairs (conservation, biodiversity, landscape protection)

Closing date

Indicative Start Date: April 2021

Location: based in Brussels, Belgium

Contract period: permanent (1 month notice in case of leaving)

Specifics: possibility to work remotely for now / relocation support offered

DevelopmentAid Recruitment Solutions seeks to recruit, on behalf of an international NGO, an experienced Director - External Affairs Europe, who will be responsible for representing the NGO to government audiences in key European markets, working with Account Managers in Program Design, Development and Communications to devise strategies to win support for the NGO’s strategy, cultivate existing and new relationships and elevate the African agenda in conservation and development discussions dialogues in the European Union and Member Countries.


The candidate will be the focal point with the European Union institutions including the Commission, Parliament and Council to develop partnership opportunities in close coordination with the Program Design team. The incumbent will represent NGO in European convened processes relating to Africa and conservation. The goal is to position the NGO well in these processes, represent African positions and use learning to contribute to the delivery of the NGO’s mission. In this role, the director will also serve as the NGO's focal point for engagements with diplomatic missions in Brussels and with strategic partners such as the Brussels offices of the African Union and the Africa, Caribbean Pacific Secretariat to ensure that the NGO’s commitment as the ‘go to’ conservation partner in Africa as a legitimate and respected voice for African conservation positions. In this role, the candidate will serve to share lessons learned from the field and the NGO’s science-based landscape level technical approaches to African conservation issues to inform strategy formulation by the EU and other European partners and provide insights to the program design team to position the NGO for future funding opportunities.

The position also provides cross cutting needs for the NGO’s CEO, other Senior Program staff and Development and Communications units. The position will also review proposals to European donors to ensure strategic alignment with donor interests and the NGO’s positioning as well as participate in strategy formulation to identify priority engagements of public donors and strategic opportunities for funding.


1. Advance the NGO’s priorities in policy and programming discussions of the European Union and partner entities such as the AU and ACP

· Represent the NGO and give voice to the African agenda with European Commission, Parliament and Council, with a focus on DEVCO, EEAS, and the EU AU Joint Parliamentary Assembly as well as the ACP Secretariat to provide technical advice on conservation and programming priorities of the NGO and partners in Africa.

· Establish and maintain relationships with key European Parliamentarians as well as the NGO’s peers and partners in Brussels, leading and participating in roundtable discussions, advocacy and media events relevant to the NGO’s mission, program and global leadership strategy. This should include active participation on panels with ‘think tank’ platforms and Parliamentary groups. Leverage these engagements to inform donor engagement strategies of the program design and philanthropy teams as well as the NGO’s program strategies.

· Provide liaison and outreach to individuals and coalitions in Brussels who impact African conservation and development by regularly engaging strategic Commission and Parliament offices, committees and sub-committees and attending, and strategizing the NGO’s engagement in EU events such as European Development Days.

2. Provide technical advice and representation to ensure engagement of external audiences addresses

the NGO and our partners’ strategic priorities

· Support development and refinement of the NGO’s strategies as needed, with a particular focus on identifying new funding opportunities. This will include working with other senior staff of the NGO to identify European funding opportunities for the NGO’s strategies and programmes and execute targeted engagements of key relationships;

· Contribute to developing funding plans and strategies for landscapes, country and thematic programmes and emerging issues, reviewing proposals and facilitating fundraising from official and private donors for specific interventions. This will include coordinating and collaborating with the Program Design, Corporate and Foundation, and Philanthropy teams;

· Serve as focal point to grow the NGO’s relationship with the European Union and ACP Secretariat. Work closely with Program Design and Program teams to ensure coherent and effective strategies are followed with these potentially important donors;

· Support Program Design, Grants, and Program teams to implement actions in their portfolios, adhere to donor conditions and submit reports timely;

· Give interviews to media outlets to advance the NGO’s mission and the modern Africa agenda of our partners on the continent.

3. Lead the NGO’s Donor Relations and Fundraising with the EU

· Serve as the point person for the NGO with the EU DEVCO team;

· Help establish and maintain the NGO’s reputation with DEVCO, reviewing proposals and progress reports where applicable to vet quality and compliance;

· Lead on policy and strategy engagement with the European Union based on the NGO’s and African priorities and strategies. Take responsibility for encouraging use and understanding of the policy arena change dynamics to inform adaptive alignment with the NGO’s mission;

· Support the NGO’s Country and Program Design teams to engage in a coordinated and strategic way with European and EU Diplomatic Missions on priorities and strategies for support to wildlife and wild lands in the context of development strategies and investment plans;

· Monitor reporting deadlines with EU contracts and ensure quality control and compliance with donor requirements.


· Master’s degree in Conservation, Economics, or Political Science or similar relevant degree;

· Minimum of 10 years’ experience in environmental management, donor/government relations, conservation planning and strategy with significant portion in Africa;

· Understanding and experience of EU policymaking environment;

· Strong established network and relationships with EU institutions such as European Commission, Parliament and Council, DEVCO, EEAS, and the EU AU Joint Parliamentary Assembly as well as the ACP Secretariat;

· Existing relationships with African and European conservation, government and business leaders;

· Education and demonstrated knowledge of the emerging business environment in Africa and related impacts on conservation landscapes;

· Advance study of and experience working in conservation in multiple African regions;

· Extensive experience living and working in Africa and Europe and an ability to work in a cross-cultural environment;

· Demonstrated leadership in landscape conservation in modern Africa;

· Strong presentation skills and ability to communicate complex information to informed and technically astute audiences;

· Excellent writing skills including the ability to shift writing style and purpose to be appealing and persuasive to the designated target audience;

· Fluency in spoken and written French and English is essential;

· Excellent relationship management skills;

· Excellent interpersonal and communication skills;

· Computer literacy to use all MS Office packages.

How to apply

Applications and updated CV should be submitted to DRS ref. number 10965. Due to the high number of applications received via DevelopmentAid website, we can reply to shortlisted candidates only. Please note that the above requirements can be modified during the recruitment process according to client's procedures.