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Executive Secretary, Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR) Secretariat

Rome (Italy)

  • Organization: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Location: Rome (Italy)
  • Grade: D-1, Director - Internationally recruited position - Senior Executive level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
    • Administrative support
    • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Closing Date: 2020-11-27

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

• People with disabilities are protected from any type of discrimination during any stage of employment, including the recruitment phase

• 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 Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR) ( is a multistakeholder network made up of roughly 600 self-identifying partner organizations, which share the common vision of making agri-food research and innovation more effective, responsive and equitable, towards achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal outcomes. Partners in GFAR come from all geographical areas and relevant sectors from public, private and civil society organizations and networks, as well as international organizations. GFAR promotes new forms of multistakeholder dialogue, strategic partnerships and collective actions across these extensive networks, helping to enable the transformation and strengthening of agri-food research and innovation for development systems and processes worldwide. GFAR works through a bottom-up and development-centred approach, together.

The GFAR Secretariat is hosted by FAO in Rome and is headed by the GFAR Executive Secretary,. The Executive Secretary is responsible for the efficient functioning of the GFAR Secretariat and for coordinating the implementation of administrative, institutional and operational activities across the networks, as approved by the GFAR Steering Committee. The secretariat supports GFAR partners in engaging actively in the Global Forum and its governance. It also implements GFAR’s Programme of Work to catalyse collective actions, mentor their start up, track and document best practices, and share knowledge and learning from these experiences.

Reporting Lines

The GFAR Executive Secretary works within the Office of Innovation (OIN) - placed under the oversight of FAO’s Chief Scientist- and reports to the Director, OIN on FAO matters regarding the host institution, accountability and administrative rules and to the GFAR Chairperson and Steering Committee on the implementation of the programme of work and budget of the GFAR Secretariat.

Summary of Duties and Functions

The Executive Secretary, in keeping with the GFAR Charter ( will:

  • Commission studies and facilitate discussion on strategic issues, helping partners to develop national, regional and global research and innovation agendas and plans that aligns with existing and emerging global challenges and trends and ensure synergies with partners for the achievement of the SDGs.
  • Coordinate the secretariat’s role in helping to mobilize GFAR partners to engage in collective advocacy and actions, with particular attention to the voices and needs of family and smallholder farmers, to transform and strengthen agri-food innovation systems and processes, and share learning from their progress.
  • Support communication, interaction and knowledge sharing among GFAR partners through the GFAR website, social media and other digital and non-digital communication to promote change in national agri-food research and innovation systems and in subregional and interregional/global processes.
  • Co-organize the GCARD (Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development) process and mobilize/represent GFAR and partner input into the strategic planning of international agricultural research for development such as CGIAR. Ensure full participation and contribution of GFAR membership in relevant international discussions, including the United Nations Food Systems Summit in 2021.
  • Act as Secretary (ex officio) to all GFAR Committees and deliver the practical organization of the GFAR Partners Assembly, Steering Committee and EXCO meetings and others. Develop a Medium Term Plan and annual programme of work and budget, review and propose updates of GFAR strategic documents.
  • Mobilize and direct the use of GFAR technical and financial resources to catalyse and assist development of multistakeholder collective actions among partners.
  • Manage the effective administration of contract commissioning, tracking and learning from activities commissioned with GFAR partners.
  • Advocate and maintain active contact with existing and new funding sources in order to mobilize financial resources with GFAR partners. Manage the finances of the secretariat, ensuring audit compliance and prepare financial reports for approval of the Steering Committee and funders. Build further value from the relationship between GFAR and its facilitating agencies, FAO and IFAD.

Minimum Requirements
  • Advanced university degree (MSc or PhD) in agriculture, agricultural economics, social sciences/development studies or a related field.
  • Minimum twelve years of relevant/cognitive experience in an agricultural setting, programme/project, agricultural research institution, public/government/intergovernment /private concern of a development nature for smallholder producers, processors or marketers of agriculture products, or agriculture extension and knowledge hubs.
  • Experience in planning, organizing interdisciplinary work programmes and in managing and providing budgetary oversight, with demonstrated management and professional competence and mastery of agricultural programme management, research institution/network management, including partnership development, networking, capacity development, strengthening of research and innovation systems, agricultural education reform, knowledge management, and participatory and demand driven innovation, in a multidisciplinary environment.
  • High-level experience in the management of human, financial and operational resources and managing and communicating organizational change.
  • Expertise in resource mobilization, including coordinating project proposals for funding and interacting with donors and funding agencies.
  • Ability to lead and work effectively with a diverse team of people of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds across different public, private and civil sectors, in an international setting.
  • Working knowledge of English and a limited knowledge of one of the other FAO official languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish).
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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