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Standard Setting specialist

Rome (Italy)

  • Organization: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Location: Rome (Italy)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
  • Closing Date: 2020-10-31

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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 International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is an international agreement on plant health with over 183 contracting parties, which aims to protect the world's cultivated and wild plants by preventing the introduction and spread of plant pests. The IPPC is a Convention approved by the FAO Conference in adherence with Article XIV of the Constitution of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The IPPC Secretariat is hosted by FAO and is responsible to facilitate the implementation of the Convention as well as the development and implementation of International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) to fulfil the IPPC's mandates.

Reporting Lines

The Standard Setting Unit Associate reports to the relevant Unit/Team Leader of the IPPC Secretariat (NSPI).

Technical Focus

The Organization frequently engages experts to work on short-term projects as consultants (COF.REG.) or under a Personal Services Agreement (PSAs). The functions of the consultants and PSAs are results-oriented and normally involve analysing complex issues. Specifically to:

Support the IPPC Secretariat in delivering its work programme to develop ISPMS, and consequently to strengthen IPPC contracting parties’ national capacities and capability to implement the provisions of the IPPC.

A COF.REG./PSA is engaged by the Organization to provide expertise, skills or knowledge for carrying out specific tasks or projects, which is short-term by nature. The duration of the assignment can vary from 1 month up to 11 months in a 12 month period. The possibility of extension is subject to satisfactory performance and depending on the secretariat’s resources and needs.

The objective of the Call for Expression of interest for Consultants and PSAs is to attract talents to populate the IPPC Experts Roster. Experts who are registered in the Roster are available for consideration whenever relevant opportunities arise.

Tasks and responsibilities

Under the overall supervision of the Standard Setting Unit Lead and in close collaboration with the Standard Setting Unit team, the incumbent shall support the IPPC Secretariat and the Standards Committee (SC), in the below listed tasks:

  • Assist the implementation of the Standard Setting Unit activities according the workplan, with particular regard to the IPPC Standard Setting Procedure and standard operating procedures;
  • Review, update, communicate and disseminate materials on the Standard Setting activities and integrate broader information in the International Phytosanitary Portal (IPP) and provide, upon request, an input into outreach material;
  • Contribute to the preparation and coordination of the Standards Committee, Technical Panels and Expert Working Groups international/regional/online meetings (review discussion papers, note taking, assistance in the development of standards, training on the online comment system) in view to follow the standard setting procedure and ensure the preparation of the reports;
  • Coordinate the update of the 2020 Standard Setting Procedure manual, in consultation with colleagues;
  • Draft and update standard operating procedures (SOPs) within assigned areas of responsibility;
  • Liaise with the members of the Standards Committee, Technical Panels and Expert Working Groups;
  • Liaise with the national plant protection organizations and regional plant protection organizations to the Standards Committee for obtaining regular updates on calls for experts, authors and topics;
  • Oversee the update of the List of topics for IPPC standards in six languages, including liaising with colleagues for necessary input;
  • Provide support to the ongoing work of the Standards Committee during consultation and notification periods for draft ISPMs and specifications, including liaison with colleagues (tracking, editing, translation, provision of documents for stewards, etc.) and drafting and revisions of documents;
  • Be involved in coordination of activities relating to the International Year of Plant Health;
  • Carry out extensive research on topics of interest to the work of the IPPC in support of ongoing tasks;
  • Travel as and when necessary for meetings;
  • Perform other duties as required.


Minimum Requirements

  • University degree in Agriculture, Natural Science, International Relations, Business, Public Administration, Social Science or a related field.
  • At least 3 years of relevant experience in supporting development and implementation of technical programmes/projects, policy support, capacity development activities, development of advocacy materials and tools and implementation of international instruments.
  • Working knowledge of English and limited knowledge of one other UN official language (French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese or Russian).


FAO Core Competencies

  • Results Focus
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Building Effective Relationships
  • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills

  • Work experience in more than one location or area of work
  • Extent and relevance of experience in plant protection
  • Extent and relevant of experience in drafting studies and report including in-depth analysis
  • Familiarity with alert and response systems, in particular related to plant protection

Selection Criteria

  • Experience in international organizations is an asset.
  • Working experience with phytosanitary related or standard setting organizations is highly preferable.

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


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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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