Senior Policy Advisor, Adaptation Finance

Senior Policy Advisor, Adaptation Finance

CHF 96500 - CHF 113000 / year
Application deadline closed.

Job Description



About us

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 200 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.

IISD’s Resilience Program is made up of a multidisciplinary team of policy researchers who work with governments, civil society, communities, and businesses to help them manage climate- and conflict-related risks. Its work focuses on planning, people, and nature—preparing for a different or uncertain future, making sure different genders and social groups influence and benefit from investments in resilience, and harnessing the role of ecosystems to help communities manage risks.

Within this work, the Resilience Program hosts the Secretariat for the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network, an initiative focused on accelerating adaptation planning and action in developing countries.

One of the consistent areas of interest among Network participants is finance for adaptation—namely, understanding and strategically combining, sequencing, and accessing the range of different public and private funding opportunities available to implement adaptation actions in developing countries. IISD is looking for an individual with solid experience in these areas to (i) provide ongoing technical support to the NAP Global Network and (ii) provide complementary support to the Resilience team more broadly.

The Position

The Senior Policy Advisor will support the growing portfolio of work related to adaptation finance and the NAP process, especially in identifying and securing different types of finance needed for the implementation of adaptation priorities. This support will include looking at potential domestic public revenue streams, public–private partnerships, financial instruments such as green bonds, the structuring of strategic and long-term adaptation programs and projects, and accessing international funds, such as the Green Climate Fund.

The Senior Policy Advisor will also help partner countries connect adaptation planning and implementation by facilitating consultative processes that bring together internal and external stakeholders, embedding climate finance throughout the NAP process, and facilitating access to climate finance. This role will include assessing the relevant climate finance landscape to develop adaptation finance and implementation strategies.

The Senior Policy Advisor will be expected to help synthesize country experiences and share them more broadly with the climate change adaptation community. They will also work to build a network of resource people who might be called upon to provide support to countries seeking technical inputs on financing options for national adaptation planning and implementation.

Key Areas of Responsibility Will Include But Not Be Limited To :


  • Support the operation and expansion of IISD’s work on adaptation finance in a way that aligns with the strategic direction of the NAP Global Network and the overall Resilience Program.
  • Engage with team members to recognize challenges, opportunities, and solutions relating to adaptation finance; help define and execute appropriate response strategies.
  • Participate in IISD’s wider work to strengthen its ability to achieve its mission; work with other senior staff to build synergies across IISD.


  • Lead the delivery of high-quality primary and secondary research, knowledge products, communication materials, and other project outputs that accurately synthesize and assess research findings.
  • Support institutional collaboration by serving as a peer reviewer, advisory committee member, or thematic expert on projects and deliverables throughout the organization.
  • Remain up to date in both specific and general areas of expertise related to adaptation finance.

Technical support and operations

  • Oversee and/or provide technical backstopping for the implementation of projects and country requests related to adaptation finance.
  • Identify funding opportunities and partnerships, contribute to the development of proposals, and support the design and management of work plans and funder reports.
  • Collaborate with NAP Global Network and Resilience staff, potentially assisting with the supervision of more junior staff on matters related to adaptation finance and supporting their professional development.
  • Ensure project compliance with IISD’s policies and that projects are actively monitored against financial, legal, and reputational risks.


  • Develop relevant materials to communicate the work of the NAP Global Network and Resilience Program related to adaptation finance to target audiences in collaboration with the IISD Communications team.
  • Represent the NAP Global Network to clients, stakeholders, and policy-makers, including at national and international forums, conferences, and public events.
  • Share program results through webinars, workshops, conferences, and other events.

Business development and donor relationships

  • Work with other IISD personnel on the identification of new fundraising opportunities and the development of new project ideas and proposals.
  • Build relationships with existing program funders and participate in donor engagement and networking activities as needed.

Reporting Relationship

The Senior Policy Advisor shall report to the Head of Secretariat, NAP Global Network.

Experience Sought

The experience and qualifications below indicate what is needed to succeed in the position. We understand candidates may not have all the experience and qualifications identified. If you possess 75% or more of the qualifications listed as “Essential,” then we encourage you to apply.

Please note that our Resilience team works across multiple time zones. We are looking for someone with a “can-do” work attitude who can work autonomously while proactively engaging with other team members.

Qualifications (Essential)

  • A minimum of a master’s degree or equivalent in relevant social sciences.
  • The ability to travel overseas on a regular basis.
  • Currently eligible to work in Switzerland; exceptional candidates located in other countries may be considered.

Experience and knowledge (Essential)

  • Minimum 5–7 years of relevant work experience in conducting financial or economic analyses in the field of climate change adaptation.
  • Knowledge and experience in finance for climate change adaptation, including the different sources, mechanisms, and access modalities.
  • Knowledge of climate change adaptation in developing countries.
    • A strong understanding of the NAP process is considered an asset.
  • A solid understanding of development policy processes, particularly in developing countries.
  • Work experience in developing countries, particularly related to finance for climate change adaptation.
    • Desirable: Relevant experience in sub-Saharan Africa and/or Small Island Developing States is a strong asset.
  • Experience with external communications.
  • Experience in stakeholder management and outreach.

Skills (Essential)

  • Ability to effectively communicate policy issues and research findings to different audiences via different platforms.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills.
  • Strong research and analytical skills and the ability to become familiar with new topics quickly.
  • The ability to design, fundraise for, and implement policy-oriented research projects from start to finish.
  • Fluent in written and spoken English.
    • Desirable: Ability to work (read, write, speak) in French or Spanish or both.

Behavioural competencies (Essential)

  • Results-focused; able to work quickly and accurately to meet tight deadlines without compromising the quality of the results.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and networking skills; ability to work comfortably across different cultures; ability to be an inclusive, positive, and a good communicator.
  • Curious and committed to learning and working to understand the people, concepts, and issues that drive our work; asks questions and seeks answers.
  • A positive work attitude and the ability to work in a multidisciplinary, internationally distributed research team and independently.
  • Flexibility to take on tasks ranging from highly complex to basic in nature.

Applicants must have the authorization to work in Switzerland with a valid passport.

  • Location: Geneva
  • Term: Full-time
  • Salary: CHF 96,500 - CHF 113,000, salary commensurate with experience and locations
  • Start Date: As soon as possible
  • Closing date: October 29, 2023, at midnight EST

Application Procedure

All submissions must be in English. Please only apply for one posting, as this is posted in multiple cities.

Applications will only be accepted through Bamboo HR. Please include the following:

Only those candidates we wish to interview will be contacted. Resumes will be kept on file for one year.

IISD has implemented a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy that requires employees who are required or choose to be at an office or participate in in-person team events or in-person meetings/events to be fully vaccinated. Anyone unable to be fully vaccinated, either because of a sincerely held religious belief or a medical condition or disability that prevents them from being fully vaccinated, can request a reasonable accommodation.

IISD is committed to fostering a more equitable and sustainable world and welcomes candidates who uphold our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, to correct the conditions of social injustice and disadvantage in employment around the world, we encourage candidates from historically marginalized groups, including women, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and those who identify themselves as 2SLGBTQIA+, to apply for this position. Preference will be given to the equity-deserving groups during the hiring process. We offer reasonable accommodations in our recruitment process and seek applicants’ advice on how best to accommodate their needs. Please self-identify and answer our employment equity questionnaire on our applicant tracking system when you apply.

IISD does not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, caste, ethnicity, religion, colour, disability, marital status, pregnancy, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.