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Expert in International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code Compliance — IPSA 11


  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Malabo
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
    • Maritime
    • Security and Safety
    • Ombudsman and Ethics
  • Closing Date: 2023-02-01


UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

The country implemented the National Economic and Social Development Plan “Equatorial Guinea Horizon 2020” from 2008 to 2020, following the Second National Economic Conference held in 2007. However, its continued reliance on oil and the severe economic recession that engulfed the country since the drop of international price of oil in 2014, prompted the Government to organize the third National Economic Conference in 2019, under the slogan “Consolidating Social Equity and Economic Diversification”. Immediately after, Equatorial Guinea’s economy then suffered from the effects of the COVID19 pandemic. The drop in global demand and oil prices due to the crisis along with the drop in household consumption and the slowdown of business activities due to measures to contain the spread of the disease exacerbated the country’s already serious growth problems. The wide socio-economic impacts brought by the pandemic further highlighted the inherent socio-economic fragility of Equatorial Guinea, thus bringing to the government a new sense of urgency on the need of reaching socio-economic transformation and resilience through economic diversification.

It is in this context that UNDP, seen as a premier and trusted development partner, that at the end of June 2022, the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea made a specific request to UNDP to support the country on ports management and further development. At the audience it was agreed that UNDP would provide technical guidance and support to an Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee charged with overseeing the country’s economic diversification process through blue economy.  In response to the President’s Request, UNDP organized a high-level mission to: 1) confer with high-level government officials on the viability of economic diversification options proposed by UNDP2)  assess the viability of the remote assessment of Equatorial Guinea’s maritime economic potential; 3)  evaluate capacity gaps regarding the possible avenues of maritime development; 4) establish working relationships with key interlocutors in Equatorial Guinea, especially those in the inter-ministerial committee; and 5) identify actionable steps to advance the national maritime economy. 

Based on site visits to the ports of Malabo, Luba and Bata, and meetings with a number of ministers, ministries and institutions, including: Foreign Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, Finance , Fisheries and the Navy, the Head of State concurred with the UNDPs mission team’s assessment that Equatorial Guinea’s economic diversification strategy could be based on a phased approach, with the nation’s ports and port facilities serving as a catalyst in the near term.  In addition, the Head of State requested UNDP’s technical support for the Inter-ministerial committee involving most of the maritime-related agencies. Over the longer term, Equatorial Guinea will invest in human and physical capacity to enhance innovative blue economy options, in which the country could have a competitive advantage and possibly become a leading state in developing the “blue economy” – the inclusive, sustainable, and environmentally responsible subset of the wider maritime economy.

This President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea’s request to UNDP comes as natural consequence of the substantive support provided by UNDP to the Government of Equatorial since 2019 to explore innovative and effective ways to support the country’s economic diversification strategy, including in the the conceptualization, design, and development of a forward-looking strategy for economic diversification based on the blue economy. As part of this support, UNDP produced a draft economic diversification strategy document and commissioned two reports on economic complexity and diversification strategies with a number of maritime economy options for Equatorial Guinea.  UNDP also commissioned a resources mobilization strategy to identify financing options for the potential investments and policy opportunities being identified.

These reports found that, at least on paper, given the geographical nature of the country, the extent of the country's jurisdictional maritime territory at the heart of the Gulf of Guinea, recent biomass estimates, and the significant investments done in port infrastructures Equatorial Guinea has immense economic potential in the maritime domain that could attract investors and to embark the country on this new growth path.


Specific Work Context
As mentioned, the greatest and most immediate opportunity for Equatorial Guinea to advance the maritime economy is to leverage its ports and port facilities.  At present, Equatorial Guinea moves fewer containers per year than some of the nearby ports like Douala, Cameroon move per month.  Yet Equatorial Guinea has several features that could make it competitive with all the other ports of the region. In relation to space, Douala, Lagos, and other major ports of the region are saturated and have run out of space. On the other end Equatorial Guinea’s ports have immense space. This opens opportunities for both transshipment and storage, as well as an expansion of services including ship repair. In addition, contrary to most African ports that face a critical limitation in that their waters depth that is only about 12 meters deep, the waters in the port of Bata and Malabo are respectively 14.5 meters and 16 meters deep. This creates the possibility for much larger vessels to call in Equatorial Guinea and drop of cargo that is destined for other countries in the region – both coastal and landlocked.

The country can also count on existing transportation Infrastructure with road links that could transport cargo to neighboring countries quickly and smoothly, and in term of security Equatorial Guinea’s maritime domain is relatively safer than some neighboring states, which should make it more attractive for enhanced and diversified maritime traffic. A final asset is the strategic location of the country that can serve as a hub for the Gulf of Guinea and provide transshipment and port-related services to regional states – both coastal and landlocked. 

As one of the results of this latest mission, it was assessed that the biggest impediment to realizing the economic potential of Equatorial Guinea’s ports is currently the lack of certified compliance with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.  The ISPS Code was developed in 2011 is a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities to reduce the possibilities of terrorist attacks. 

In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) identified 24 areas of non-compliance in Equatorial Guinea’s ports. Since then, Equatorial Guinea has taken on one of the most challenging of the issues and developed comprehensive legislation, only passed in June 2022. ISPS non-compliance is also one of the main reasons why freight costs are higher in Equatorial Guinea than other countries. Therefore, getting fully compliant with the ISPS Code will help attract shippers to Equatorial Guinea while also dropping freight costs.

The current strategy to pursue the diversification of Equatorial Guinea’s National Economy is based on two phases. The first phase will seek the most immediate opportunities and can be described as “Leveraging Existing Maritime Capacity and Infrastructure.” This portion is focused on working to maximize the revenue generation of the infrastructure that Equatorial Guinea has already developed, particularly its ports. That will require getting the ports to be compliant with the ISPS Code; efficient, effective management of the ports to optimize economic yield; and marketing to ensure the maritime industry is aware of the opportunities in Equatorial Guinea.  In addition to creating rapid increase in revenue, this will also help to create jobs, reduce economic inequalities, and set the stage for longer term structural economic transformation.  It will also serve as a signal that Equatorial Guinea is pursuing its maritime potential. In a second phase the focus will not just be on the maritime economy, but more broadly on the blue economy focusing on a series of opportunities already identified by the recent studies done and the outcomes of the mission. However, this will require a significant and genuine long-terms commitment to sustainable, inclusive and environmentally friendly maritime economic activity. 

It is within this context and more specifically for the successful implementation of the first phase of this strategy that UNDP is looking for an experienced international expert to support the country to achieve full compliance with the ISPS Code. As mentioned, ISPS compliance will be the key building block on which Equatorial Guinea can build the future of its blue economy.

Duties and Responsibilities
The main objective of the work will be to guide and oversee the successful implementation of the IMO recommendations, so that to achieve full compliance with the ISPS Code and contribute to the country blue economy transition.

Summary of key functions/results expected:

  1. Support planning and programming for the ISPS compliance;
  2. Manage the implementation of the IMO and ISPS compliance roadmap and work-plan;
  3. Provide technical support in the implementation of the recommendations identified;
  4. Provide and/or coordinate relevant capacity enhancement activities. 

A. Support planning and programming for the ISPS compliance

  • Review and assess the 2018 IMO Report on ISPS Code Compliance and the recent assessment of ports legislation
  • Review and assess the existing security management systems and the technical security measures, both pre-planned and already existing
  • Identify a date by which the country can reasonably expect to be in compliance and establish clear benchmarks to that end;
  • Develop an operational security concept outline as basis for the ISPS compliance
  • Prepare a detailed annual workplan with detailed activities and costing;
  • Identify potential technical/constructional weak points of the ports;
  • Supporting ports / port facilities with the execution of Port Facility Security Assessments (PFSA) and the development of a tailor-made Port Facility Security Plans (PFSP);
  • Identify and anticipate risks and present solutions/contingencies
  • Identify quick wins through additional activities/reforms that could already be implemented in parallel and synergy with the compliance of ISPS code for smarter/greener port facilities.  

B. Manage the implementation of the IMO and ISPS compliance roadmap and work-plan

  • Monitor the implementation of IMO recommendations
  • Assist in the identification and retentions of consultants in ports management
  • Organize workshops/meetings as required to accelerate implementation of planned activities
  • Ensure compliance with the commitments made for the planned activities
  • Prepare monthly and by-weekly reports on the implemented activities
  • Regularly brief relevant stakeholders on developments, challenges and opportunities as they arise and requiring attention

C. Provide technical support in the implementation of the recommendations identified

  • Providing advice for Port Facility Security Officers (PFSO) in planning security duties
  • Provide technical input and conduct quality control of the planned activities
  • Provide close and regular technical backstopping as required
  • Support the recruitment of consultants (drafting of TORs, advertisement, screening, long and short listing, interviews, etc)
  • Advise of any deviation from the project plan

D. Provide and/or coordinate relevant capacity enhancement activities. 

  • Provide training to port and shipping operators to build technical capacity to maintain ISPS compliance and more broadly to deal with ISPS matters.
  • Develop training material for the newcomers to ensure long term sustainability of the results achieved
  • Conducting mandatory security training for PFSOs as well as other port personnel assigned with security-relevant duties
  • Share knowledge on the implemented activities and ISPS issues by documenting lessons learnt and best practices
  • Ensure technically empowerment of the core national team implementing the plan and maximize learning by doing

Institutional Arrangement
The Expert will be embedded in the Ministry of Transport, Mail and Telecommunication, and work under the overall direction and supervision of the UNDP Resident Representative in Equatorial Guinea and the RBA Chief Economist, in close collaboration with both the UNDP Senior and the National Economist, and the UNDP programme team.

Fundamental to the success of this work is that the expert be able to capture and reflect in its strategic and technical support the Government's requests, ideas and eventual concerns, while leading the work of the Government technical team with whom the ISPS recommendations will be implemented, to finally allow the country to reach and maintain ISPS compliance. The expert will be part of a UNDP flagship intervention fully owned by the Government at the highest level. Therefore, the expert needs to ensure the necessary visibility in all the work and activities being undertaken.This position is based in Equatorial Guinea in the capital Malabo with regular visits to Bata.


Core Competencies

  • ACHIEVE RESULTS - LEVEL 3: Set and align challenging, achievable objectives for multiple projects, have lasting impact.
  • THINK INNOVATEVELY - LEVEL 3: Proactively mitigate potential risks, develop new ideas to solve complex problems.
  • LEARN CONTINUOUSLY - LEVEL 3: Create and act on opportunities to expand horizons, diversify experiences.
  • ADAPT WITH AGILITY - LEVEL 3: Proactively initiate and champion change, manage multiple competing demands.
  • ACT WITH DETERMINATION - LEVEL 3: Think beyond immediate task/barriers and take action to achieve greater results.
  • ENGAGE AND PARTNER - LEVEL 3: Political savvy, navigate complex landscape, champion inter-agency collaboration.
  • ENABLE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION - LEVEL 3: Appreciate benefits of diverse workforce and champion inclusivity.

Cross-Functional Competencies

    • NEGOTIATION AND INFLUENCE: Ability to reach an understanding, persuade others, resolve points of difference, gain advantage in the outcome of dialogue, negotiates mutually acceptable solutions through compromise and creates win-win situations.

Technical Competencies

    • LEGAL WRITING SKILLS: The ability to analyse fact patterns and present argumentation in written form. This includes the ability to draft memoranda, legal briefs and other submissions to external parties, in both an advocacy and objective format, and legal opinions. It also includes the ability to convey legal analysis and recommendations to internal parties in written form, with a particular view towards communicating for the particular audience who may not be a lawyer or have legal background.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Advanced university degree (Master's or equivalent degree) in engineering, maritime economics and logistics, maritime law and management, statistics and related fields OR Bachelor’s degree with 9 years of relevant experience will be accepted in lieu of Master’s.


  • At least 7 years with master’s degree, or 9 years with bachelor’s degree, of professional experience in subjects related to socio-economic development work, with demonstrated research and substantive capacity to analyze critical blue/maritime development issues such as transport, logistics fisheries, security; economic transformation and diversification; international trade and regional/spatial/network integration among others.
  • Well proven analytical and writing skills.
  • Demonstrated abilities and contributions to policy and guideline formulation, resource mobilization, team leadership and management.
  • Experience in the use of computers and office software packages (MS word, Excel, etc) and knowledge of spreadsheet and database packages.

Desired Criteria:

  • Proven expertise in maritime security and law enforcement aspects, as well as maritime governance and legal requirements for blue economic development.
  • Familiarity with the Central African maritime space and regional context, such as the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) and the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (OMOC).
  • Experience in working with port and shipping authorities, in establishing inter-organizational networks and partnerships at both strategic and operational level.
  • Experience with UNDP or other United Nations agencies.
  • Experience in handling of web-based management system an asset.

Required Languages:

  • Fluency in Spanish and either French or English is essential.

UNDP will cover the cost of travel of the individual from the lieu of recruitment to the duty station, as well as their return to their home upon completion of their services. Travel costs are covered only in the event that the function will be undertaken physically in the duty station, the lieu of recruitment differs from the duty station and excludes working from home arrangements. UNDP will also cover any official travel expected to be associated with performing the functions.


Applicant information about UNDP rosters
Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

Workforce diversity
UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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