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Development Law Specialist

Rome (Italy)

  • Organization: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Location: Rome (Italy)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: 2019-12-10

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IMPORTANT NOTICE\: Please note that Closure Date and Time displayed above are based on date and time settings of your personal device


FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender and nationality

People with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply

All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality

The incumbent may be re-assigned to different activities and/or duty stations depending on the evolving needs of the Organization


Organizational Setting

The Legal Office of FAO ensures that the activities of the Organization are carried out in accordance with the Constitution of FAO and the other Basic Texts of the Organization, in a manner consistent with its status as an inter-governmental organization of the United Nations system, and that its relationships with governments, organizations and individuals are on a sound legal basis.

The Development Law Service of the Legal Office (LEGN) provides legal advisory services to governments on food and agriculture and natural resources (including land, water, fisheries and aquaculture, plants, animals, food, forestry, wildlife, environment, climate change and biodiversity), as well as general agricultural issues (institutions, trade, economic reform).

It is anticipated that LEGN will need to retain external experts to assist it to deliver technical legal support for various FAO projects and other activities. This call for expressions of interest is for the purpose of identifying suitably qualified experts who may be invited to undertake short-term assignments for LEGN, ranging in length from a few days or weeks to a maximum of 11 months. This call is aimed at experts with various levels of experience, in particular, Specialist Legal Experts and Junior Legal Experts, to support LEGN’s work in the areas listed under Technical Skills below. The Legal Experts may be located at the Organization’s headquarters in Rome (Italy), at one of the Organization’s decentralized offices, on field missions or home based. The assignments may cover a number of activities, or be dedicated to a specific project or other activity.

Candidates who have already been informed of their inclusion on the LEGN roster do not need to resubmit their application. Applicants who have responded to the latest call in September 2017 (IRC 4570) for expressions of interest issued by LEGN equally need not reapply; those who have responded to earlier calls are advised to resubmit their applications if they wish to be considered under the present call.

Notwithstanding this call for expressions of interest, individual Vacancy Announcements may be issued for specific assignments where this is deemed appropriate.

Applicants already included on the Legal Office roster should not reapply.

Reporting Lines

The Development Law Specialist reports to the Senior Legal Officer (Chief) LEGN.

Technical Focus

Legal research and advisory services to governments in relation to food and agriculture and management of renewable natural resources.

LEGN is particularly interested in identifying qualified candidates to support it work in the following technical areas of

  • Climate change law as it relates to agriculture, fisheries and, forestry
  • Enable environment for responsible investments in agriculture and food systems
  • Agricultural law, including agricultural health (food safety, plant health and veterinary legislation; antimicrobial resistance), sustainable agricultural production (seeds, pesticides, organic agriculture and other marketing schemes) and other areas of agriculture law (supply chain regulatory mechanisms, contract farming, agricultural finance, cooperatives and other farmers´ organisations, agricultural insurance schemes).
  • Forestry, wildlife, pastoralism
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Sustainable land management
  • Sustainable water management
  • Social protection in rural areas and decent rural employment
  • Food and nutrition security, right to adequate food, school food and nutrition
  • Gender-sensitive and responsible governance of tenure
Tasks and responsibilities

The tasks and responsibilities of each selected Legal Expert will be defined in the Terms of Reference for the specific assignment. Legal experts working with LEGN are normally called upon to provide advice contributing to the progressive development of national systems of law, review draft legislation, or participate in or lead projects to draft legislation, analyse, evaluate and explain various alternative laws or legal systems or legal approaches.

Specialist Legal Specialists work under the overall supervision and guidance of senior Legal Officers, but are expected to undertake tasks with technical independence, according to the deadlines and deliverables established under their Terms of Reference. They undertake their tasks within FAO´s Results Based Management framework for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Their assigned tasks and responsibilities will normally include several of the following elements\:

  • advise countries on possibilities for legislative assistance;
  • review relevant policies and laws;
  • undertake gap analyses against international legal instruments;
  • provide legal technical advice;
  • prepare draft legislation and regulations;
  • prepare project concept notes, and designing projects involving different relevant technical units, as well as regional, subregional and national FAO offices;
  • prepare, review and update workplans;
  • represent LEGN at internal and external meetings, undertake field missions, conducting training and other capacity development activities, and briefing the Chief LEGN and the designated LEGN officer on outcomes and results achieved (only for Consultants);
  • undertake capacity development activities and provide legal support and assistance in the development of project outputs;
  • review the work of national and/or junior personnel, and providing inputs on and technical review and clearance of work and reports carried out by them;
  • prepare materials, undertaking legal research, prepare legal notes, reports and written advice;
  • Prepare or contribute to legal publications and analyses.

Junior Legal Specialists work under the close supervision and guidance of Legal Officers, supporting them to deliver LEGN’s programme of work. Their assigned tasks and responsibilities will normally include several of the following elements\:

  • prepare project concept notes;
  • support the design of projects involving different relevant technical units, as well as regional, subregional and national FAO offices;
  • prepare, review and update workplans;
  • support the preparation for, and delivery of, training and capacity development activities;
  • prepare materials, undertake legal research, prepare legal notes, reports and written advice;
  • prepare or contribute to legal publications and analyses;
  • attend internal and external meetings, and briefing the Chief LEGN and the designated LEGN officer on outcomes and results achieved.

Minimum Requirements

  • Degree in law and advanced university degree in international law related to food, agriculture, environment or related field.
  • Work experience\: Specialist Legal Specialists\: At least five years of relevant legal work experience; Junior Legal Specialists\: At least one year of relevant legal work experience.
  • Working knowledge of English. Working knowledge of the other official languages of the Organization (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) may be required depending upon the assignment.
  • Experience of working and living in low- or middle income countries is an asset.
FAO Core Competencies
  • Results Focus
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Building Effective Relationships
  • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement
Technical/Functional Skills
  • Applicants for assignments as Specialist Legal Specialists should clearly indicate their specific technical expertise in their application in particular in the areas of fisheries and aquaculture and governance of tenure law as highlighted above.
  • Applicants for assignments as Junior Legal Specialists should have demonstrated interest in the technical areas listed above, as well as strong analytical, legal research and writing skills.

Selection criteria

  • Extent of knowledge and experience on legal issues relating to a relevant technical field;
  • Extent of experience in developing national legislative and regulatory measures to implement international agreements, codes, guidelines or other instruments;
  • Ability to carry out legal research and analysis;
  • Ability to write clear and concise reports and to draft legal texts, legislative and regulatory instruments;
  • Extent of experience of different legal systems and working and living in different countries, including developing countries.
  • Work experience with international or regional organizations or other entities in a relevant field


Please note that all candidates should adhere to FAO Values of Commitment to FAO, Respect for All and Integrity and Transparency


We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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