Coordinator – Ethnic Governance of Land and Resources – FOREST TREND

Title: Coordinator – Ethnic Governance of Land and Resources
Location: Yangon, Myanmar
Term: Annual consultant contract, with possibility for extension


Forest Trends (FT) seeks a Yangon-based Coordinator – Ethnic Governance of Land and Resources to support its work in Myanmar. For two decades, FT has worked with communities, governments, and businesses to more fully embed conservation into economic activity and prevent the destruction that comes from badly planned, unsustainable resource allocation and development. We work across multiple forest and land use sectors to create markets for legal forest products, and incentives to conserve and restore ecosystems. In doing so, we enhance the livelihoods of local and indigenous forest-dependent communities and shift the economic paradigm to sustainable forest management. FT’s Forest Policy, Trade, and Finance (FPTF) initiative combines research, mentorship, and convening “communities of practice” to address issues at the intersection of land and natural resource governance, markets and trade, legal reforms and indigenous rights. Since its creation in the early 2000s, FTPF has gained the trust of high-level government decision-makers and donors in key resource-producer and -consumer countries by producing timely data analysis with key insights on relevance for livelihoods, markets and policy impact.

In Myanmar, FT has worked to bring increased transparency and accountability in the land sectors (forestry and agriculture) since 2011, with an increasing view towards working with ethnic CSOs, ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), and other stakeholders that are often marginalized in decision-making processes and outcomes around land and resource governance. FT’s interest is to promote inclusive development in Myanmar, support ethnic governance of land and natural resources, and support development of policy and processes at the national level which catalyze peace and accountable governance. This includes integrating these issues into the national peace process and progress towards political federalism.

For this position, we seek candidates that can work effectively with a broad range of key stakeholders, ranging from civil society (especially those that are working in resource-rich, ethnic states), to EAOs, and to Union government ministries and line agencies. Our ideal candidate has experience working in ethnic areas, facilitating dialogue between multiple interests, and is willing to navigate the complexities of land-related policy and governance issues. The successful candidate will work within the larger FPTF program team, in particular two non-Burmese (Senior Policy Advisor and Senior Policy Analyst, based in North America) and one ethnic Burmese (based in Thailand) colleagues who focus on promoting ethnic governance systems for land and natural resources, and with regular interaction with FT’s main office in Washington, DC.

This position is ideal for a self-starter and excellent communicator who can prioritize competing demands, work independently, demonstrate initiative and responsibility, and collaborate effectively with a wide variety of stakeholders and liaise regularly with overseas team members. Hours and days are flexible in general, with an average of 12-15 working days per month depending on need, with more days required when the international FT team is in-country (quarterly).

Note on COVID-19: FT supports a Do No Harm policy and follows all health advice and regulations set by responsible authorities in Myanmar. This position will therefore be remote, with no travel envisioned, until restrictions are lifted by the Government of Myanmar. Once it is deemed safe to resume normal activity, the successful candidate will share an office in Yangon with FT’s Analyst for Fiscal Transparency and travel to states/regions as necessary. Travel to remote locations and/or ethnic community lands will be carefully considered, as these communities and their territories face particular risk from the virus.

Roles and Responsibilities:
Working as a team with the Senior Policy Advisor and Senior Policy Analyst, the successful candidate will:

  • Provide facilitation and technical assistance (“backstopping”) to civil society, EAO stakeholders, Union government, private sector and media on land and natural resources, decentralization, political federalism and ethnic conflict in Myanmar;
  • Facilitate advocacy at regional and national levels on issues pertaining to land, natural resources, decentralization, political federalism and ethnic conflict;
  • Support technical assistance activities in ethnic regions where Forest Trends is active;
  • Coordinate capacity-building workshops with various relevant stakeholders;
  • Contribute to the strategic direction of Forest Trends’ work program in Myanmar on land and natural resource decentralization and peacebuilding;
  • Contribute to research products by conducting field visits, helping to write drafts, editing, facilitating translation, and/or disseminating results in close collaboration with team members;
  • Contribute to ongoing planning of activities and strategy development;
  • Report back from all meetings/workshops in order to keep the team abreast of activities and contribute to Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and donor reporting for activities under their work program;
  • Facilitate engagement with media; and
  • Other related duties as assigned.

Required Skills, Experience, and Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in social sciences or relevant field;
  • At least 3 years demonstrated professional experience in NGO project management and development, program administration, advocacy, and/or research;
  • Professional experience with and demonstrated interest in the land and natural resource governance sector, including deep knowledge of Myanmar’s ethnic conflict context;
  • Excellent communications skills in English and Burmese including the ability to write clear, concise, and grammatically correct content and ability to edit and summarize text written by others in both Burmese and English. Spoken fluency in an ethnic language is preferable;
  • Initiative and ability for self-directed, independent work;
  • Willingness to travel domestically;
  • Ability to prioritize competing demands and projects in both short and long term, and perform well under pressure; and
  • Committed to the mission of Forest Trends.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Wide professional network among Myanmar ethnic civil society and government, familiarity with EAOs and their leaders, with proven skills in networking with a variety of stakeholders; and
  • Understanding of donor requirements, including monitoring and evaluation.

To apply:

  • Please send your CV, a brief cover letter, and writing sample (2 pages maximum) all in English to by July 1, 2020. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis – apply early.