Officer, Protecting Ocean Life on the High Seas

  • Job posted by The Pew Charitable Trusts

Job Type

Full Time




District of Columbia
United States


The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and invigorate civic life.

We are an independent nonprofit organization – the sole beneficiary of seven individual trusts established between 1948 and 1979 by two sons and two daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew.

Our work lays the foundation for effective policy solutions by informing and engaging citizens, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause and insisting on tangible results. Our projects encourage efficient, responsive governments – at the local, state, national and international levels – serving the public interests.

With offices in Philadelphia, Washington DC, Australia, Brussels and London, and with additional staff in other regions of the United States and around the globe, Pew provides an exciting learning environment and the opportunity to work with highly talented individuals. We are a dynamic, rapidly evolving organization that values creativity and innovative thinking and fosters strong teamwork with mutual respect.

The Environmental Portfolio at the Pew Charitable Trusts:

For the past twenty-five years, Pew has been a major force in educating the public and policy makers about the causes, consequences, and solutions to some of the world's most pressing environmental challenges. Our environment work spans all seven continents with close to 250 professionals working full-time at the local, national, and international levels to reduce the scope and severity of global environmental problems, such as the erosion of large wilderness ecosystems that contain a great part of the world's remaining biodiversity and the destruction of the marine environment.

Pew has worked in the United States and Canada since 1990 to protect vast stretches of unspoiled wilderness and more recently expanded our land conservation efforts to Australia's Outback and Chilean Patagonia. Preserving these places offers an opportunity to conserve wildlife habitat, shorelines and pristine landscapes for future generations. Our work relies on the sciences of conservation, biology, and economics to advocate for sound solutions to the loss of biodiversity.

In the sea, reforms to how our oceans are managed are essential to address overfishing, pollution, and loss of habitat. Pew began its oceans program in the United States, focusing on ending overfishing and protecting fragile marine habitat. Since 2005, Pew's ocean conservation program has expanded around the world and has played a significant role in reforming marine fisheries management in the European Union and on the high seas. Our work is grounded in the best available science and our goal is to reverse the decline of ocean life ranging from sharks and tunas to penguins and whales, and the habitat on which they depend.

Protecting Ocean Life on the High Seas:

Although the high seas make up a majority of the world's oceans, no institutional or formal legal framework currently exists to designate fully protected marine reserves beyond a country's exclusive economic zone except in the Southern Ocean. These waters, covering an area larger than all of the world's continents combined, exemplify the tragedy of the global commons—exploited by all, but protected by none. The value of fully protected marine reserves has been increasingly recognized by individual countries which have established reserves in their own exclusive economic zones as a means to protect and conserve marine biodiversity and ensure the health of marine ecosystems.

The United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly is anticipated to establish an intergovernmental conference in 2018 to negotiate final text of a treaty to protect marine biodiversity in the high seas by the end of 2020. This project will utilize Pew's experience as a leader in the creation of science-based marine reserves and protected areas and international ocean policy to mount a global campaign that generates worldwide support for the negotiation of this agreement.

Position Overview:

The Officer, Protecting Ocean Life on the High Seas will assist in building momentum for development of a new international legal instrument enabling the establishment of marine protected areas and reserves on the high seas. Efforts will focus on making the case for higher levels of ocean protection through the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Pew will work closely with other organizations to galvanize international support for an increase in the global commitment for marine protections.

This position is based in Washington, DC and will work closely with the International Conservation Unit and Government Relations teams and will report to the Senior Manager, Protecting Ocean Life on the High Seas.

The position has a set time frame that could be extended based on the success of the program, funding sources, and board decisions on continued support.

  • Help design and implement effective cross-campaign strategies that will result in broad support in political capitols around the world and at key UN missions in New York for an increased commitment marine protected areas and reserves globally and in the high seas.
  • Follow and influence the CBD process in the lead up to the 2020 Conference to the Parties (COP) to ensure that the CBD makes strong recommendations on marine protected areas.
  • Assist in coordinating Pew's cross campaign efforts related to the CBD COP.
  • Develop and maintain working relationships with decision makers, government officials and national and international institutions, as well as relevant NGOs in the field.
  • Work in close collaboration with other allies and organizations in order to maximize the impact of campaign strategies.
  • Represent Pew publicly at conferences, seminars and official forums. Participate in or lead Pew delegations to relevant intergovernmental meetings as necessary.
  • Provide direction to and oversee a strategy to increase public awareness and support for high seas conservation to ensure that communication and outreach is an essential component of the program in key target areas. Serve as a spokesperson, and represent Pew with the media.
  • Manage campaign consultants and their activities, in support of meeting campaign objectives. Develop timelines and operational plans for the program so as to achieve agreed goals and strategic objectives.
  • Determine when goals are at risk of not being met, identifying the causes and, when needed, taking appropriate steps to fix any problems in ways that keep the project on course.
  • Contribute to and participate in tasks of the department as assigned, as well as broader Pew-related projects and activities as needed.

  • Bachelor's degree required; an advanced degree in public policy, international relations or environmental science or equivalent experience strongly preferred.
  • A minimum of 8 years of experience in the international conservation arena, with a particular focus on or familiarity with international ocean policy preferred. This includes designing and implementing programs and initiatives on a global scale.
  • Excellent political, strategic and analytical abilities with proven program management skills to develop, execute and evaluate a range of diverse strategies to achieve goals.
  • Demonstrated strong analytical and problem solving skills. Ability to synthesize large amounts of information and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue/problem, determine whether it is ripe for intervention and identify the means to address it. Ability to be flexible, creative, consistent and assume high accountability for all areas of responsibility. A strong commitment to producing measurable results.
  • A task-oriented style, with focus on achieving clear and ambitious goals. Demonstrated ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization. Able to develop and move projects forward with a high degree of independence and autonomy.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills, including an ease in briefly summarizing the essence of issues and means to address them. Strong oral and written communication skills such that complex ideas, thoughts and concepts are clearly articulated for a general audience. Clear, effective writing style.
  • Strong interpersonal skills; able to develop and manage productive relationships with consultants, partners and others who contribute to the development of a project by anticipating possible outcomes. Excellent listening skills. Highly articulate.
  • Media-savvy and politically astute. Able to use effective marketing techniques and media exposure to communicate the impact of research on conservation needs.
  • Exhibits strong diplomacy skills. Able to work productively with a wide array of different people and institutions that frequently disagree with and are in competition with one another.
  • Seasoned judgment, able to make decisions, justify recommendations, and be responsive, clear and firm with colleagues and partners.


Domestic and international travel required at least 25% of time.


As this is a full-time position, we offer a competitive salary and complete benefit program, including: comprehensive, affordable health care through medical, dental and vision coverage; financial security with life and disability insurance; opportunities to save using health savings and flexible spending accounts; retirement benefits to help prepare for the future; and work/life benefits to help you maintain a good balance.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Pew considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

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Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply