Global Plastics Policy Coordinator

(6-12 months post)

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) is a global network working towards a just and zero waste world without incineration. GAIA aims to power a transition away from our current linear and extractive economy and towards a circular system that supports people’s right to a safe and healthy environment. This entails fighting pollution and building regenerative solutions in cities through local campaigns, shifts in policy and finance, research and communication initiatives, and movement building. We work on four primary points of intervention: incineration, zero waste, plastic, and climate.

GAIA is a founding member of the Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) collaborative movement and plays a critical role coordinating and working with other member organizations to develop and implement key strategies on a global level to curb the ever-increasing ill effects of the world’s overreliance on plastic. The movement has identified key policy spaces where decisive action is needed and in some cases is already underway, and member organizations are moving quickly to ensure processes and deliberations are informed if not driven by real solutions that have grassroots support from around the world.

Purpose: 

GAIA’s Global Policy team is looking for a Global Plastics Policy Coordinator to do international organizing, support GAIA and BFFP members, coordinate engagement in priority policy spaces, master policy questions and convey them to a variety of audiences, and handle international coordination and related logistics. This person is comfortable and experienced working in international, multicultural environments, dedicated to social and environmental justice, as well as self-directed and motivated.

The Global Plastics Policy Coordinator will facilitate discussion and strategizing in multiple movement spaces to support GAIA and BFFP members working to curb the plastic waste trade and pass policy on plastics at the global, regional, national or local level. Since China’s National Sword policy of 2018, it has become apparent that much of the global plastic recycling economy hinges on Global North countries dumping low-value, mixed plastic waste in Global South countries at a significant cost to the environment and human health. New regulations have emerged with unusual speed, both at the international level (Basel Convention) and at the national level (import bans and restrictions). The Global Plastics Policy Coordinator will collaborate with GAIA and BFFP members to seize this unprecedented opportunity to push for regulations that: curb plastic waste trade, build zero waste systems in cities, and phase out plastics, starting with those that cannot be safely and sustainably recycled in the countries where they are consumed. 

The Global Plastics Policy Coordinator will lead GAIA’s global plastics policy engagement leading up to the in-person Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) meeting in February 2022, when countries will have the opportunity to decide on a negotiation mandate for a new treaty on to prevent and tackle plastic pollution. UNEA has been the main international policy body to address the plastic pollution crisis in recent years. The Global Plastics Policy Coordinator will support active participation of civil society representatives from the Global South in key debates and decisions, including representatives from the informal waste-picker sector. They will also monitor discussions framing a potential plastics treaty and strive to exclude waste-burning technologies that undermine the waste hierarchy, harm the climate and cause toxic pollution, such as incineration and pyrolysis – and to prioritize prevention at source and zero waste approaches instead. 

This 6-12 month post could be full time; we might also consider candidates who are available part time. This is a unique position regarding flexible location and length of post, and we can discuss those during the interview process. There may be a possibility of an extension depending on factors including funding. 

The Global Plastics Policy Coordinator will work closely with the Global Policy & Research Director as well as the Global Policy team, global communications team, regional staff leading waste trade policy work, grassroots network members, and multiple external allies.

Responsibilities:

  • Coordinating GAIA’s engagement in the United Nations Environment Assembly process on plastic pollution
    • Attending virtual and in-person meetings and reporting back
    • Drafting and delivering verbal and written interventions and submissions related to GAIA’s primary work areas
    • Organizing and supporting members’ engagement in this space, with particular attention to members from Global South countries (capacity-building, coordinating delegations, bilateral support)
    • Coordinating engagement with allies 
  • Coordinating and supporting GAIA and BFFP activities on plastic waste trade and other plastics policy
  • Organizing policy and research discussions in member spaces to identify and respond to threats and opportunities through collaborative campaigning
  • Facilitating coordination spaces (calls, email lists, chats) and setting-up and maintaining coordination tools (shared documents and folders)
  • Provide support (such as research, policy advice, connections to experts) to organizations intervening in national and regional policy processes (as needed, based on availability and prioritization with GAIA Global Policy Team) 
  • Coordinating waste trade and other plastics policy work with GAIA colleagues in different regions
  • Other responsibilities:
    • Handling relationships with key allies & allied networks working on plastics policy
    • Tracking major developments in certain plastic policy work areas led by others, including Basel Convention processes
    • Contributing to proposal drafting, planning, assessments and reporting to funders.

Essential qualifications:

  • At least 5 years of policy advocacy, research or campaigning experience at the local, national, regional or global level, preferably in the environmental sector 
  • Experience providing capacity-building for grassroots organizations, including through bilateral mentoring and webinars or in-person workshops
  • Excellent communication skills in English, both written and oral, and ability to write in a regulatory/legal context with precision and attention to detail
  • Strong organizational skills, and experience coordinating collective action
  • Experience working with teams from diverse cultural backgrounds in a way that is sensitive to different communication styles and values community wisdom
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently and collaboratively
  • Comfort with online platforms and ability to quickly learn new digital tools
  • Demonstrated commitment to environmental, climate and/or social justice

 

Preferred qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in environmental, economic, social or human rights policy 
  • Fluency in additional languages
  • Outreach experience to different constituencies, communities 
  • Travel & events coordination experience 
  • Budget management experience 
  • Experience and ease working with others across markedly different time zones

Location: This position is remote and global applicants are welcomed. 

Compensation: competitive and dependent upon experience and location. 

How to apply: Interested candidates should email cover letter, current resume, and list of three professional references to gaiajobs@no-burn.org with the subject line “Global Plastics Policy Coordinator- (YOUR NAME)”. Position open until filled; first round of applications will be reviewed beginning 31 May 2021. 

We are committed to equal employment opportunity principles and to provide all employees with a safe work environment free from discrimination and harassment. We welcome you regardless of your race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, age, physical ability, nationality, or any other status unrelated to the performance of the job and protected by law. GAIA practices affirmative action, and candidates from historically disadvantaged or marginalized groups are strongly encouraged to apply.