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Lead Advisor (Social, Environment and Climate Assessment Procedures) (SECAP)

Italy (Italy)

  • Organization: IFAD - International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • Location: Italy (Italy)
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Environment
    • Meteorology, Geology and Geography
    • Climate Change
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2021-10-21

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Organizational Setting

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty and hunger. It does so by investing in rural people. IFAD finances programmes and projects that increase agricultural productivity and raise rural incomes, and  advocates at the local, national and international level for policies that contribute to rural transformation.

The Programme Management Department (PMD), under the leadership of an Associate Vice-President (AVP), is responsible for the overall programme of loans and grants of the Fund and is composed of five (5) regional divisions and the Operational Policy and Results Division (OPR).

OPR oversees operational policies and procedures, operational training through corporate learning programmes, compliance with environmental and social safeguards and project procurement policies, and operational performance monitoring and results reporting. It also manages IFAD's self-evaluation architecture, including the interface with the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE), and the performance-based allocation system (PBAS), and coordinates the drive for enhanced transparency and value for money.  It is also responsible for overseeing corporate databases, including the Operational Results Management System (ORMS) and the Corporate Dashboard. During the project cycle, OPR plays an important role during project design as a secretariat for quality reviews, and is responsible for determining project categorization, including environmental. OPR also plays a pivotal role in coordinating the implementation of commitments emanating from replenishment consultations.

IFAD is also an implementing agency of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Least Developed Country Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund. These funds complement IFAD’s baseline activities to further integrate environment and climate change considerations in rural development operations and to channel climate finance to poor smallholders

The position is located in the OPR division and the incumbent works under the strategic management, policy guidance and supervision of the Director of the Operational Policy and Results Division.

Job Role

The Lead Advisor (LA) is a leading professional in her/his field with significant operational experience in IFAD or similar MDBs / IFIs. The LA technically supports senior management to ensure proper oversight and leadership of operations as well as PMD inputs into the corporate agenda.

The Lead Advisor as the most senior recognized authority on corporate Social, Environment and Climate Assessment Procedures (SECAP) policy and compliance, on operational matters, is accountable for IFAD's core values of integrity, transparency, value for money, competitiveness and equity. S/he provides technical oversight for the design, implementation and compliance of operational (Social, Environmental and Climate Change) SECAP policies and procedures.  S/he works closely with the five regional divisions to provide strategic leadership and overall policy direction to operations and ensure coherence in the application of IFAD’s operational policies and procedures and works closely with other relevant staff within PMD and across other departments and divisions such as ECG to ensure independence and accountability of SECAP compliance at all phases of the project cycle.

Key Functions and Results

1. POLICY AND STRATEGY ADVICE AND DEVELOPMENT: On the basis of the state-of-the-art knowledge and analysis of current thematic conditions, emerging environmental and social challenges, and the state of rural poverty globally and in the region/sub-regions, the LA provides authoritative advice to improve the capacity and quality of IFAD on the design and implementation of social and environmental safeguards and related policies.

2. PROGRAMME ADVICE AND DEVELOPMENT: On the basis of their operational and thematic expertise and skills, the LA ensures appropriate and up-to-date authoritative strategic advice to the senior management in their role leading PMD – including country programmes, project design, quality assurance processes, implementation support and monitoring to optimize positive programme results and compliance. 

3. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND CAPACITY BUILDING: The LA ensures access to the latest sources of knowledge and innovation, strengthen regional and national technical capacity and lead the preparation of knowledge products and advisory partnerships as well as coordinating knowledge dissemination and learning processes for enhanced capacity building. S/he will serve as resource person reaching out beyond IFAD regional divisions to partners in development and stakeholders at the corporate and global level.

4. PARTNERSHIP BUILDING AND RESOURCE MOBILIZATION: The LA develops and maintains a network of peer contacts and partners outside IFAD to keep abreast of recent developments and trends and facilitate brokering of information, knowledge exchanges, IFAD positioning in the global arena, and joint advocacy to enhance the Fund’s profile as a highly competent and viable partner in development and safeguards. 

5. MONITORING AND REPORTING: The LA supports the supervisor in the monitoring of the Departmental Performance Plan and the budgetary resources under their purview. S/He also performs other monitoring and reporting activities to enhance compliance and adherence to IFAD’s safeguards and other policies.

6: MANAGERIAL FUNCTIONS: The LA is accountable for integrity, transparency, and equity in the management of IFAD resources. This includes: (a) People Management through support to recruitment of technical specialists and technical leadership/capacity development, coaching and mentoring of new and/or more junior staff, supervisory role and evaluation of performance of professionals and general service staff under her/his purview; b) Resource Management by providing strategic and technical advice into programme development, and Knowledge and Content Management by ensuring that

(1) Knowledge content within specialty/thematic area is continuously updated and available through the intranet; that

(2) Best practices are continuously identified, documented and made available to clients and peers through the inter-/intra-net and that (3) appropriate and up-to-date information and learning tools are available.

Position specific:

7. STRATEGY AND EFFECTIVENESS MANAGEMENT: The Lead Advisor (SECAP) provides overall strategic and technical direction to ensure that IFAD-financed projects are conducted effectively and efficiently and are consistent with applicable corporate policies and guidelines. She/he is accountable for leading and managing medium to long-term strategies, reforms and innovations. She/he provides authoritative advice and guidance to management as well as to procurement and other operational staff on strategic and complex operational procurement issues.  The Lead Advisor will take a leadership role in strengthening IFAD's systems for compliance with the Social, Environmental and Climate Change (SECAP) procedures, ensuring independence, accountability and transparency throughout the project cycle.

More specifically, the Lead Advisor is accountable for:

(1) Ensuring that IFAD has fit for purpose best practice environmental and social safeguards that identify and manage the environmental and social impacts, risks, and opportunities of projects through the programme and project life cycle. This includes:

(a) Keeping abreast with international best practices and engage in global networks,

(b) Setting the safeguard standards for IFAD.

(c) Overseeing SECAP roll-out and implementation

(d) Leading IFAD’s development, implementation, update, tracking and reporting of SECAP standards and compliance.

(2) Acting as the global technical custodian of these standards for IFAD.

(3) Identifying, collating, generating, and disseminating current knowledge, lessons, trends and development pertaining to SECAP.

(4) Advising senior management on overall risks and mitigation strategies in the area of SECAP including advising IFAD’s senior management and staff on responses to safeguards related complaints.

8. QUALITY CONTROL AND ASSURANCE: The Lead Advisor (SECAP) strategically guides the organization in the establishment of a coherent and cutting-edge policy and procedural framework for operations through a unified taxonomy. In this capacity, he/she works across the different OPR teams to ensure appropriate quality of operational policies and procedures, with special attention to interdependencies and policy coherence.  He/she also oversees the function and delivery of operational oversight and support services across IFAD’s portfolio, ensuring appropriate fiduciary and quality controls, and consistent application of IFAD’s project standards. She/he leads the development and organization of systems and processes for consistently high-quality risk-based reviews of all aspects throughout IFAD’s programming cycle (including country strategy development, project design and supervision, portfolio performance review and completion). She/he is the custodian of all operational procedures related to safeguarding, and ensures coherent interpretation and application of relevant operational procedures, guidelines and standards across IFAD’s project portfolio.

More specifically, the Lead Advisor is accountable for:

(1) Leading the development of standards, procedures, trainings, guidance, and toolkits supporting strong quality control and assurance regarding SECAP.

(2) As overall Lead specialist, advising project delivery teams and IFAD staff on strategy and range of interventions and provide support for on-going and future work in the SECAP areas.

(3) Reviewing COSOPs and projects at concept (OSC), final review (DRM) and Quality Assurance Group stages with a view to ensuring SECAP standard adherence and providing clear guidance for the steps needed to be taken by the programme/project teams.

(4) Providing overall quality assurance across IFAD’s global portfolio of projects where safeguards are triggered and monitor key risks.

(5) Coordinating the problem solving function of IFAD’s Complaints procedure and monitor complaints

9. POLICY DIALOGUE: He/she specifically promotes a constructive dialogue and advances partnerships on operational matters, and provides technical backstopping for SECAP, including national capacity building, with Borrower/Recipient government officials, counterparts in other multilateral development banks and international organizations. 

Key Performance Indicators

Assignments require the provision of authoritative professional expertise and technical leadership at the global, regional and national levels. LEAD Advisors define, propose, revise and/or develop programmes or policies for the Fund and represent the position of IFAD in national, regional as well as global fora and conferences and partnerships. Innovation is required in the adaptation and development of approaches and methods to evolving technical and programmatic contexts. Work at this level is considered as substantially complex and of critical concern to the Fund. In particular, analytical and advisory work requires in-depth identification and consideration of a full range of factors relevant to the examination and discussion of programme problems and policies in the solution of methodological problems or in the formulation of policy proposals and project recommendations. 

Position specific:

The key results have an impact on the overall effectiveness and efficiency in change management and success in establishment and implementation of operational policies and procedures to accompany the new organizational architecture and business model for IFAD12 and beyond. Establishment and implementation of the monitoring and control system for procurement and SECAP, facilitate problem solving and monitor IFAD’s Complaints Procedure, timely and appropriate delivery of services ensures risk management and contingency plans, as well as client satisfaction and overall timely delivery of IFAD programmes and projects.

Working Relationships

The work relationships of Lead Advisors involve the provision of authoritative technical advice and the negotiation and resolution of problems that arise in mission planning, technical project appraisal or the preparation of studies and reports. S/He typically serves as the Fund’s Lead technical advisor in the field of specialization and exercises wide professional latitude in contacts in her/his field(s), providing technical leadership and methodological guidance to management, national governments, development partners and other staff in the technical area of specialization.

Position specific:

Within the parameters of a Lead Advisor at this level, she/he serves as the lead strategic advisor on policy development and compliance. A combination of authoritative expertise on operational policy, risk management and ensuring overall oversight and adherence to IFAD's environmental, social and climate policies, priorities and procedures.

Job Profile Requirements

Organizational Competencies (Level 2)

  • Strategic thinking and organizational development: Personal influence
  • Demonstrating Leadership: Leads by example; initiates and supports change
  • Learning, sharing knowledge and innovating: Challenges, innovates and contributes to a learning culture
  • Focusing on clients: Contributes to a client-focused culture
  • Problem solving and decision making: Solves complex problems and makes decisions that have wider corporate impact
  • Managing time, resources and information: Coordinates wider use of time, information and/or resources
  • Team Work: Fosters a cohesive team environment
  • Communicating and negotiating: Acquires and uses a wide range of communication styles and skills
  • Building relationships and partnerships: Builds and maintains strategic partnerships internally and externally
  • Managing performance and developing staff: Manages staff and teams effectively


Level - Advanced university degree

Areas - Law, public procurement, public administration, finance, environment, social development; or a related field.

Degree must be an accredited institution listed on 

Work experience:

•      At least ten (10) years of progressively responsible professional experience in operational policy implementation, compliance, law and/or development in a multilateral development bank or international financial institution with solid understanding of IFI's project cycles as well as safeguard, legal and governance frameworks.

•     Three (3) years in a multi-cultural organization or national organization providing support on a global scope.

•     Position-specific experience: At least 7 years of solid experience in managing teams and systems in high pressure environments as well as managing other resources (e.g., financial and material).  At least 5 years of relevant international experience in environmental, social and climate safeguard systems. A track record of strategizing, managing and delivering complex public procurement programmes would be an asset


  • Required English (4 – Excellent)
  • Desirable: French, Spanish, or Arabic


Job role specific

  • Leadership: Group thought leader, sought out by others and providing mentorship and effective guidance to others; Ability to build trust, inside and outside the organization by acting as a role model for IFAD’s core values and competencies, and to provide a clear sense of direction, mentorship and effective guidance to the team, strategizing the IFAD’s goals, giving the vision, empowering the team and ensuring a positive environment for all; 4
  • Political acumen: Ability to conduct sound political analysis and understand complex environments, providing options and advice; IFAD partners , Knowledge of IFAD's partners' functioning and mandate , such as the public sector (e.g. governments and policy, institutions and system), non-state actors (NGOs, CSOs, Foundations, etc.) and private sector actors; 3
  • Policy Dialogue: Know-how in the representation of IFAD as a trusted and strategic partner, advocating and promoting IFAD's mandate and vision;  effective consultations with IFAD counterparts — line ministries and governmental bodies at all administrative levels, donors, civil society; 4
  • Advocacy: Know-how in advocacy, to maintain and promote constructive dialogue around IFAD’s vision to external actors; 4
  • Change management: Role modelling, anticipation of key risks & conflicts and formulation of contingency plans/solutions, action-oriented 4Evidence-based policy, Know-how in the formulation of concrete and actionable policy recommendations based on hard evidence (going beyond simple data interpretation); 4
  • Synthesis: Outstanding ability to synthesize and simplify complex technical information for a variety of (non-technical) audiences; 4
  • Stakeholder Management: Strong alignment capabilities and consultation skills, building on effective interactions and relationships with different stakeholders (e.g. for the co-creation of communication material with member states) and ability to build and maintain a strong network (e.g. with journalists, media outlets, etc.); 4
  • Strategy implementation:Ability to lead and manage the development and implementation of medium to longer-term strategies for IFAD / for respective divisions; 4
  • Resources management: Know-how in the management of human, financial and material management of IFAD resources; 3
  • Specialized communication skills: Ability to negotiate on behalf of IFAD and drive for creative and pragmatic solutions in complex negotiations with key partners, both public and private sector 4
  • Written communication: Clear, succinct and convincing written communication in the language needed for specific role ; highly professional, balanced and diplomatic language   (e.g. for drafting of position papers, briefings, etc.); 4
  • Interpersonal skills: Ability to deal patiently and tactfully with others (e.g. visitors, clients, callers, etc.), including senior individuals (e.g. high-level meeting participants); 4
  • Adaptability: Adaptability and flexibility when facing new or unexpected situations, and to specific constraints and circumstances and managing complex processes; 4
  • Programme/Project development, management: Know-how in Programme/Project development, implementation, management; 3
  • Risk management (e.g. reputational): Identification and assessment of potential liabilities and risks in IFAD’s activities, particularly vis-à-vis third parties; ability to handle risks via contingency and mitigation strategies (e.g. reputational). 3

Position specific

  • Social & Environmental Safeguards: Know-how in Social & Environmental compliance as specified in the IFAD's Social, Environmental and Climate Assessment Procedures (SECAP). 4Business acumen, private sector knowledge, Outstanding ability to synthesize and simplify complex technical information for a variety of (non-technical) audiences.  4

Other Information

Applicants should note that IFAD staff members are international civil servants subject to the authority of the President of IFAD. In accordance with IFAD's Human Resources Policy, staff members are subject to the authority of the President who can decide to assign them to any of the activities of the Fund. All International Professional staff members are required to be geographically mobile and positions in the professional category are subject to changes in location at any time in line with strategic priorities and reform initiatives in IFAD.

In the interest of making most cost effective use of funds and resources, we are only able to respond to applicants who are short-listed for interview. Candidates who do not receive any feedback within three months should consider their application unsuccessful

Candidates may be required to take a written test and to deliver a presentation as well as participate in interviews.


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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