Head of Partnership and Advocacy- WAZA

Posted: 30 November| Full-Time |Barcelona, Spain | Deadline: 31 December 2023


Founded in 1935, WAZA is the world’s most diverse zoo and aquarium association. Driven by their vision “To be a globally recognised and trusted leader advancing conservation and animal welfare”, we facilitate cooperation among almost 400 members (zoos and aquariums, our national and regional associations, and like-minded organisations) and key global partners (including IUCN and CITES).

Our membership covers organisations in more than 54 countries/regions.

The operations of our Association are managed by the Executive Office, with a dedicated team with headquarters based in Barcelona, Spain.

About the position

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer and working closely with the team you will ensure the success of the association advocacy and partnership work.

main activities

  • Develop strong and effective relationships with key stakeholders across the global conservation landscape.
  • Represent the association with relevant authorities and stakeholders and facilitate contacts between other association members and relevant global bodies, advocating for campaigns and policies to support their strategic vision.
  • Be instrumental in raising issues in the international agenda, negotiating outcomes, and critical to implementing specific outcomes of multilateral environmental agreements.
  • Via strategic partnerships, to advocate on the association behalf, and coordinate and deliver association engagement, participation and negotiation in conventions, committees, working groups, discussions, and communication with:
  • Multilateral Environmental Agreements like CITES and CBD and global conservation networks like IUCN, among potentially others.
  • New legislation initiatives that particularly impact zoos and aquariums (monitoring and sharing with members, when appropriate providing support to members)
  • Global organisations that intersect with the zoo and aquarium community who provide opportunities to connect people with nature, advocating for the association strengths in conservation, animal welfare and community engagement.
  • Collaboration with membership, communication, animal welfare, and conservation areas will be required.

duties and responsibilities

Partnership development

  • Leverage established networks, partnerships and alliances, and develop new ones (within and outside the organisation) to create opportunities for the association.
  • Identify and cultivate strategic partnerships with governments, international organisations, and NGOs to enhance influence across the global conservation landscape.
  • Collaborate with Members and stakeholders to develop joint initiatives and projects that contribute to improving the global conservation landscape.

Advocacy and Submissions

  • Represent the association and its members, coordinate and deliver engagement and participation in relevant issues at key forums including but not limited to CITES, IUCN, and CBD, among others.
  • Lead the development of cross-organisation responses/submissions/interventions to key external consultations/reforms, in collaboration with the association Committees and office.
  • Represent the organisation externally in the sector and other advocacy efforts.

Strategic positioning

  • In close collaboration with the association’s national and regional associations of zoos and aquariums actively monitor and if required, contribute to the key emerging national/regional legislation that particularly impacts on zoos and aquariums through supporting conceptualisation and development of policies and programmes.
  • In line with the Strategic Plan, advance the association positioning on emerging issues and reforms under the oversight of the CEO, including through developing relationships with external partners.
  • In line with the Strategic Plan, identify and create opportunities to advance organisation positioning.
  • Develop and implement a partnership and advocacy action plan aligned with the association strategy.

Advisor to the CEO

  • Act as a trusted advisor to CEO, briefing and informing the CEO on cross-organisation and external policy issues, and providing advice on strategic positioning in the sector.
  • Undertake strategic projects at the direction of the CEO.
  • In collaboration with the Communications department, create and develop high quality written communications which understand and promote the association voice.

Operations support

  • Supporting achievement of actions set out in association’s Strategic Plan, especially in relation to the action plan of the Associations Committee.
  • The association Head of Advocacy and Partnership will also be the association Office liaison for the association Associations Committee.
  • Where relevant, assisting with preparation of conferences and other tasks carried out by the association Executive Office.

required qualifications and experience


  • Completed higher education to a minimum of degree level or equivalent is essential, preferably on international affairs and/or environmental policy or a related discipline.
  • A degree might not be needed if the candidate has a proven satisfactory level of relevant applied experience in international affairs, partnership development, environmental policy, and its application in a real-world context.

Qualifications and experience

  • Good understanding of international policy decision-making processes is essential.
  • A minimum of five years of work experience. Experience in advocacy at conservation organisations is strongly preferred.
  • A proven track record of working in a multidisciplinary team environment is essential.
  • Experience with standard office word processing, power points (and/or other presentation software) and spreadsheet packages is essential.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English is essential. The ability to communicate in an additional language is preferred.

Other functional information

  • Readiness to travel is important.
  • Candidates with experience of working with a membership-based organisation and/or sustainability/conservation organisations will be preferred.
  • Based in Barcelona ideally.


The successful candidate should have – or be able to develop – the following personal competencies:

  • Negotiation skills and ability to influence policy
  • Ability to analyse and interpret relevant policy and legislation and propose effective solutions to influence them.
  • Proactive and progressive
  • Being forward-thinking and taking initiative within scope of responsibility.
  • Using knowledge and experience to lead to the best result for the association.
  • Demonstrating reliability, consistency, transparency, inclusivity and honesty in actions.
  • Being fact based, accountable and maintaining confidentiality.
  • Respecting cultural and experiential differences and positively representing WAZA.
  • Results orientated
  • Able to take concrete and targeted actions to meet agreed results and continuously add value
  • Adapting quickly and with agility to new, ad-hoc and emerging situations and ways of working.
  • Representation skills
  • Understanding the association policy and position combined with diplomacy and speak effectively on behalf of the assocaition with external parties.
  • Interpersonal skills, able to work with a wide range of people across multiple cultures.
  • Managing relationships with professionalism, empathy, and tact.
  • Determining own goals and priorities across multiple tasks and indicating the actions, time and resources needed to achieve these goals.
  • Keeping on track and on time to meet deadlines, even under pressure.

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

WAZA is a member of the following organisations:
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