Principal Associate, Protecting Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reefs; Pew Charitable Trusts

Job Title: 
Principal Associate, Protecting Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reefs
Job Location: 
Washington, D.C.


The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. For more than 70 years, we have focused on serving the public, invigorating civic life, conducting nonpartisan research, advancing effective public policies and practices, and achieving tangible results. Through rigorous inquiry and knowledge sharing, we inform and engage public-spirited citizens and organizations, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause. We are a dedicated team of researchers, communicators, advocates, subject matter experts, and professionals working on some of today’s big challenges – and we know we are more effective and creative collectively than we are individually. With Philadelphia as our home town and the majority of our staff located in Washington, DC, our U.S. and international staff find working at Pew personally and professionally rewarding.

Wise stewardship of resources allows Pew employees to pursue work that strategically furthers our mission in significant and measurable ways. We collaborate with a diverse range of philanthropic partners, public and private organizations, and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven initiatives to improve society. Pew attracts top talent, people of integrity who are service-oriented and willing to take on challenging assignments. We provide competitive pay and benefits, a healthy work-life balance, and a respectful and inclusive workplace. Pew employees are proud of their colleagues, proud of where they work, and proud of the institution’s reputation.


The Environmental Portfolio at The Pew Charitable Trusts

For more than 25 years, Pew has been a major force in engaging 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 more than 250 professionals working at the local, national, and international levels to reduce the scope and severity of global environmental problems, such as the erosion of large natural 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 wilderness and more recently expanded our land conservation efforts to Australia’s Outback and Chilean Patagonia. Safeguarding these places offers an opportunity to conserve wildlife habitat, shorelines and landscapes for current and future generations. Our work relies on the sciences of conservation, biology, and economics to advocate for practical and durable 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. Starting in 2005, Pew’s ocean conservation program expanded around the world and played a significant role in reforming marine fisheries management in the European Union and on the high seas and creating marine reserves around the world. Our work is grounded in the best available science and pursues domestic and international conservation measures that are long-term and provide permanent, durable protections for marine ecosystems.


Protecting Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reefs

Coastal wetlands such as mangroves, marshes, and seagrasses found along shorelines worldwide, are among the most important parts of the larger ocean ecosystem that must function cohesively to ensure the ocean’s health. While relatively small in area, these habitats are large in terms of ecosystem importance, forming a critical interface between the land and sea. 


Countries are increasingly recognizing the role that protection of coastal wetlands can play as nature-based solutions within their revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement. Pew has been working directly in three countries – Costa Rica, Belize and Seychelles – to support the governments’ aim to include coastal wetland protections within their updated NDCs. Further, we are working with countries to support the development of financing plans to implement the coastal wetland portion of their NDC. 


The resulting NDCs and financing plan could serve as examples for other countries, particularly those developing countries that may need international funding assistance for their coastal habitat protections.


Position Overview 

The principal associate helps develop and implement project work to include coastal wetlands and coral reefs in countries’ NDCs and provide wider support to the team as needed. This position will report to the manager, coastal wetlands and coral reefs and is based in Washington, DC. 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.


  • Support project engagement and technical support across in-country sites, working with local partners and governments to include coastal wetlands in their NDCs.
  • Develop and oversee project agreements with external partners.
  • Assist in planning, organizing, and coordinating meetings of policy makers and other key audiences.
  • Help to develop internal research plans, grants, and contracts to ensure proposed research projects are accurately translated into project agreements.
  • Monitor grantee activities, including field activities and related logistics, to ensure that proposed timelines and key deliverables are met.
  • Manage project engagement at workshops and international meetings.
  • Support development of policy statements, papers and guidance for the TOP. Review and provide comments on draft policy proposals, regulations and white papers to internal and external audiences as needed in a timely fashion.
  • Support project reporting and development, by conducting research, drafting documents, coordinating meetings, and liaising within Pew as needed.
  • Proactively identify and monitor: the positions of governments related to NDCs and coastal habitats; potential financing organizations in relation to NDCs and coastal habitats; and emerging scientific outreach opportunities.
  • Represent The Pew Charitable Trusts and the campaign at relevant meetings and events.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required. At least six years of applicable experience in the international conservation arena. Specific policy or scientific knowledge of nature-based solutions and NDCs preferred.
  • Experience with research, international policy, project development and/or grant management is desirable.
  • 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. Ability to develop and move projects forward with a high degree of independence and autonomy.
  • Superior oral and written communications skills. Ability to synthesize material and communicate complex ideas for a general audience.
  • 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. Able to work collaboratively across cultures.
  • 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. 
  • Excellent analytic and problem-solving skills, and highly results oriented.
  • Seasoned judgment, ability to make decisions, justify recommendations and be responsive, clear and firm with colleagues and partners.


This position is expected to include international travel (consistent with Pew’s COVID-19 safety protocols).


Total Rewards 

We offer a competitive salary and 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 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.

Please note that all jobs are automatically removed once the application deadline passes. Jobs without a deadline are automatically removed after 30 days.