Darwin Expert Committee (DEC) Chair

Body: Darwin Expert Committee (DEC)
Appointing Department: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Sectors: Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Location: Seacole Block, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF
Skills required: Regulation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Yes
Time Requirements: 2 terms, 3 years each

This is not a ministerial appointment.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    22/10/2018 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date

    28 & 29 November 2018

  • Announcement

    January 2019


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

What is the Darwin Initiative and Darwin Plus (also known as The Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund)

Darwin Initiative
The Darwin Initiative aims to assist those countries that are rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources to implement their commitments under the main biodiversity Conventions; the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, The Ramsar Convention, Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the international Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGFA)

Darwin Plus
The aim of Darwin Plus is to help deliver long-term strategic outcomes for the natural environment in the UK’s Overseas Territories (UK OTs). Biodiversity in the OTs is globally significant. The UK OTs boast some of the world’s most delicate and complex ecosystems and habitats. The UK Government is working to improve our understanding of the full value of these unique environments, and through the Blue Belt programme 4 million km2 of ocean around the OTs will be protected, further conserving vital habitats and species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. It is estimated that the OTs contain an estimated 90% of the biodiversity found within the UK and the Territories combined. With their vast marine areas, the OTs offer an opportunity to lead the world in marine protection.

Description of role
The Chair is responsible for:

• acting, along with Ministers, as the public face of the Darwin Initiative and Darwin Plus. Representing and promoting both funds and their interests at the most senior levels across all sectors including public, business, academic and non-governmental;

• chairing all Darwin Expert Committee and Darwin Plus meetings, including application sift meetings; ensuring consistent standards of assessment are applied and that the high quality of both schemes is maintained. You may be called upon to take the final decisions on recommendations for funding in the case of disputes and appeals and, occasionally, to advise on revisions to approved projects;

• guiding strategic discussion on the scheme aims, priorities and further development; and advising on recommendations to be made to Ministers;

• attending and chairing/speaking at Darwin Initiative and events including Darwin workshops, and the annual Darwin Lecture;

• advising the Darwin Initiative and Darwin Plus Secretariat (Defra) on preparations for applications sift processes, Committee meetings, and other matters.

The Chair will be required to commit to around 14 days per annum in total (and a maximum of up to 5 days additional days per annum in years where there is a panel recruitment exercise) including preparation for and attendance at two sift meetings (a total of two days) and an annual strategy meeting (one day) for DEC. For Darwin Plus, attendance at sift meetings (two days) and an annual strategy meeting (one day). In addition, the Chair is expected to attend certain Darwin Initiative events, including any Ministerial events related to Darwin, as well as the events mentioned above. The Chair is also expected to liaise with the Darwin Secretariat in Defra as well as Defra’s Chief Scientist who oversees all Defra’s Expert Committees.

Person Specification

Essential experience

• Experience in chairing high-level committees making recommendations on strategic and/or funding priorities

• Significant scientific, academic, or professional experience and standing in a field related to the work of at least one of the main biodiversity conventions (CBD, the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, CITES & International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, CMS, and Ramsar)

• Experience in working with or within countries in which the Initiative operates

• Experience in promoting biodiversity and/or development related interests at senior levels and across a range of sectors

• Experience with international development, either project implementation or policy development

• Experience in working on grant awarding committees

• A good understanding of environmental issues and challenges facing the UKOTs

Desirable experience

• Experience in working with Government Departments at a senior level

• Experience working in or with non-governmental organisations and/or business at a senior level

• Experience of working with or within UKOTs and an understanding of the constraints of working in the Territories

• Experience in reviewing project applications and justifying views in a challenging forum

Additional Information

Applicants from a wide range of backgrounds will be considered including private sector, academic and professional institutions and non-governmental organisations.

The deadline for applications is noon on Monday 22 October 2018 and the appointment will commence on 7 January 2019.

For further information on Darwin or DEC, please email: darwin@defra.gsi.gov.uk or to have a confidential discussion, please contact the Darwin Secretariat in Defra: Siriol Leach e-mail siriol.leach@defra.gsi.gov.uk or call 02080264068.

How to Apply

Candidates should submit the following five documents:

• Curriculum Vitae (CV)
• Statement of suitability
• Conflicts of interest and political activity questionnaire
• Diversity and data protection questionnaire

CV: should include education, professional qualifications and employment history and the names and contact details for two referees. CVs should not exceed 2 A4 pages (size 12 Arial font).

Statement of suitability: should give evidence of your ability to meet the criteria for the role, as described above. Please provide specific examples to demonstrate how you meet the essential experience. The statement must not exceed 2 A4 pages (size 12 Arial font).

All completed documents listed above should be returned by email to darwin@defra.gsi.gov.uk.

The deadline for receipt of completed documents is 12:00 noon on 22 October 2018.

1_ Advert - DEC Chair
2_DEC_Chair Information Pack
3_Political Activity and CoI Questionnaire
4_Diversity Questionnaire_

This post is NOT regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments.

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