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Agriculture and Food System Specialist

Colombo (Sri Lanka)

  • Organization: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Location: Colombo (Sri Lanka)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Agriculture and Forestry
    • Nutrition
    • Food Security, Livestock and Livelihoods
  • Closing Date: 2020-07-10

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FAO seeks gender, geographical and linguistic diversity in its staff and international consultants in order to best serve FAO Members in all regions.

Qualified female applicants and qualified nationals of non-and under-represented member countries are encouraged to apply.

Persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.

All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

Organizational Setting

This assignment supports a FAO Sri Lanka project based on FAO’s global City Region Food System (CRFS) Climate Resilience Programme, being implemented in many city regions worldwide. It follows a methodological process to reduce city region food system vulnerabilities through improved resilience. It aims to address the lack of adaptive capacity of agriculture producers, which comes at a high cost to urban consumers, who face food shortages and unaffordable prices. It will support the government to formulate the more critical strategies and action plans and establish the importance of an integrated approach informed by evidence and careful study of climate risks to Colombo, its megapolis and wider urban region food system. It will assess and scrutinize geographical boundaries and all food system characteristics and elements of the CRFS, including its actors and vulnerabilities affected by progressively altering climate trends. The project aims to provide evidence and knowledge derived through methodical analysis. It will identify the city’s capacity to respond to climate change impacts from a sustainable urban development perspective, that is demand driven and futuristic. Sustainable climate adaptive production through improved capacities will ensure a resilient urban food system. Integrating and strengthening communication and coordination mechanisms amongst institutional stakeholders who have a stake in food systems within the urban context, will ensure implementation.

Reporting Lines

Under the overall supervision of the FAO Representative, Sri Lanka (Budget Holder) and the Lead Technical Officer (LTO), and in consultation with the HQ Technical Officer, the National Consultant will carry out the following tasks and deliver the expected outputs as described.

Technical Focus

Building a Climate Resilient City Region Food System (CRFS) through Adapted Production Systems.

Objectives to be Achieved\:

1) A climate resilient Colombo City Region Food System (CRFS) is promoted and integrated into existing multi stakeholder governance mechanisms

2) Resilience of the Colombo City Region Food System (CRFS) is taken into consideration in the national plans and strategy implementation of a climate adaptive agriculture sector

3) Institutional networks and producers of the agriculture sector will have /skills of climate adaptive production tools and practices to specifically address urban food system challenges.

Tasks and responsibilities
  • Contribute to establishing a stakeholder mechanism with buy-in for the project –
    • Review current institutional/stakeholder coordination mechanisms related to CRFS;
    • Conduct a gap analysis of climate resilience in urban food systems in policies, strategies and budget allocations (jointly with IWMI);
    • Assist the lead project focal establishing a CRFS governance mechanism by appointing a core group which is part of an existing climate change stakeholder platform which could be an advisory group with expertise from agriculture, environment, urban planning and other relevant sectors;
    • Commence a participatory dialogue process with food system and climate risk related stakeholders and agree on a shared vision;
    • Develop a jointly planned approach by the above stakeholders to collaborate on the project in supporting expected outputs – e.g. their role in workshop sessions, collaborations with regional government stakeholders and agriculture institutions and support on capacity building activities. (stakeholder sessions to continue).
  • Stock-take and catalogue successful interventions and lessons learned on climate resilient good practices within food systems locally and internationally;
    • create a repository of information on these practices and make it available through a knowledge sharing platform for food system actors servicing the urban region and reduce information asymmetry between different actors. (up to August 2020)
  • Support the policy planning and strategy formulation to promote a climate resilient CRFS
    • In close collaboration with IWMI, contribute finalizing the in-depth assessment (led by IWMI) on climate risk and vulnerability of the CRFS
    • based on the in-depth assessment determine entry points (priority areas) for policy action on climate resilient CRFS and secure political buy-in/approval by the appropriate institutional stakeholder/s;
    • conduct sessions that lead to stakeholder dialogue on scenario building, strategy development and formulation of action plans to address climate change impacts on CRFS (with reference to appropriate policy on climate resilience of urban food systems);
    • link the proposed actions to and/or integrate into disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation or agricultural development plans. (October to Feb 2021)
  • Organize prioritized learning events (field visits, study tours, consultations, etc.) to share experiences and knowledge on climate resilient practices locally and internationally in pilot cities and countries, (up to 30th November 2020) – to be further defined.
  • Contribute developing capacities of stakeholders to address climate resilience of CRFS
    • In collaboration with universities, local NGOs, government agencies jointly develop a training programme on climate adaptive agriculture production systems to support CRFS;
    • Organize a specific set of training workshops and pilots to facilitate knowledge sharing on tools, practices and methodologies specifically addressing the requirements of the urban food system– capacity development to target agricutlure institutions, extension officers, represnetative producer groups and master trainers. (Mar 2021 – Aug 2021)
  • Liaise closely with a project partner IWMI for parallel coordination with their CRFS assessment activities that would be critical in informing all tasks described in this ToR. Consult frequently with IWMI focal points for collaboration on jointly implemented activities.
Expected outputs\:
  • Report on analysis of existing current institutional coordination mechanisms, policies, strategies and action plans related to CRFS (could be done jointly with IWMI), details of meetings and consultations had with stakeholders who are part of the CRFS governance mechanism/advisory group, the shared vision, description of the joint approach to work on defined activities towards achieving project outputs and respective stakeholder roles related to this.
  • Catalogue of successful interventions and lessons learned on climate resilient good practices within local and international food systems and brief report on approach to sharing and dissemination through a platform.
  • Report on learning experiences and events (field visits, study tours, consultations, etc.)
Minimum Requirements
  • An advanced degree in Agriculture or related fields with expertise in Climate Resilience and Adaptation in Agriculture and food systems.
  • At least ten (10) years of progressively responsible work experience in the field of agriculture and especially on climate change issues, including specific experience in the development of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA).
  • The candidate must be a National of Sri Lanka.
FAO Core Competencies
  • Results Focus
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Building Effective Relationships
  • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills

  • Good oral and written communication skills in English. Working knowledge of Sinhala/Tamil is desirable;
  • Computer literacy at working level is required;
  • Working experience in data collection and analytical work;
  • Good research and communication skills; and
  • Ability to work with minimum guidance, ability to work in a team and meet deadlines.
Selection Criteria
  • Relevant expertise/experience in urban food systems and its linkages to agriculture production and supply chains is highly desirable.
  • He/she will also have a vision, professional competence and proven mastery of agricultural development projects at field level operations.
  • He/she should have knowledge of CSA technologies and practices and the capacity to analyze evaluate and seek solutions to the implications of climate change in food systems.
  • The consultant is required to be available for engagement on stipulated tasks during the entire duration of the project, ending December 2021.


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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