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Development Law Specialist


  • Organization: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Location: Dakar
  • Grade: Consultancy - Consultant - Contractors Agreement
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: Closed

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, nationality, background and culture.
  • Qualified female applicants, qualified nationals of non-and under-represented Members and person with disabilities are encouraged to apply;
  • Everyone who works for FAO is required to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and professional conduct, and to uphold FAO's values
  • FAO, as a Specialized Agency of the United Nations, has a zero-tolerance policy for conduct that is incompatible with its status, objectives and mandate, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination  
  • All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks
  • All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality

Organizational Setting

The FAO Sub-Regional Office for West Africa is responsible for leading FAO’s response to sub-regional priorities for food security, agriculture and rural development through the identification, planning and implementation of focused, multi-disciplinary projects and programmes. It identifies priority areas of action for the Organization in the sub-region, in collaboration with departments and divisions at Headquarters, and promotes the value and deliverables of the FAO’s New Strategic Framework within the context and outputs of work to help our Members achieve Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life for all – leaving no one behind.
The visibility of FAO’s successes in delivering its good public works within the framework of the abovementioned “Four Betters” is critical to the benefit of our Members and our resource partners. The sub-regional Office aims to raise visibility of its supporting role for regional policy dialogue on food security, agriculture and rural development issues, in its own right, and through the development, facilitation and emergence of regional Partnerships, to support capacity development and resource mobilization for food security, agriculture and rural development across the region.
The Legal Office of FAO ensures that FAO's activities are carried out in accordance with its Constitution and the other Basic Texts of the Organization, consistent with its status as an intergovernmental organization of the United Nations system, and that its relations with governments, organizations and individuals are based on a sound legal basis.

The Development Law Service of the Legal Office (LEGN) has the mandate under Administrative Manual section 107.3.3 to provide technical legal assistance to FAO members upon their request. LEGN provides legal advisory services to governments on food and agriculture and natural resources (including land, water, fisheries and aquaculture, plants, animals, food, forestry, wildlife, environment, climate change and biodiversity), as well as general agricultural issues (institutions, trade, economic reform) under the mandate of FAO.

LEGN works closely with the technical units and decentralized offices on legal (legislative) matters, using interdisciplinary and multisectoral approaches. It is anticipated that LEGN will need external specialists (also named 'consultants') to help provide legal technical support for several FAO projects and other activities in the Africa region and its different sub-regions. The purpose of this call for expression of interest is to identify appropriately qualified specialists who may be invited to undertake short-term assignments for LEGN.

This call is aimed at Development Law Specialist, to support LEGN's work in the areas listed in the Technical Skills below. The specialists will be located at the FAO sub-regional office for West Africa (SFW), in Dakar, Senegal. Under special circumstances, the specialist can be home-based, with travel to SFW. Functions can cover a number of activities or be dedicated to a specific project or other activity.

Candidates who have responded to previous calls are encouraged to resubmit their applications if they wish to be considered in this call.

This call for expression of interest is for the identification of regional and national specialists to work on different locations that cover countries in Africa in a specific or multiple projects implemented by FAO. Consultants may be identified for different assignments that will vary in length, scope, content, and type of contract.

Apart from this call for expression of interest, individual vacancy announcements may be issued for specific tasks when deemed appropriate.

Reporting lines

The Development Law Specialist reports to the LEGN Legal Officer covering SFW. The Development Law Specialist will work under the technical supervision of the Chief Development Law Service (LEGN), the overall supervision of the FAO Representation, in close coordination with the regional officers and other members of the project team, and in collaboration with the relevant governmental entities in the country.

Technical Focus

Legal research and advisory services to Governments in relation to agriculture, food and nutrition and the management of renewable natural resources in the Africa region in general, and West and Central Africa sub-regions in particular.

LEGN seeks to identify candidates who may cover one or more of the technical areas under the Development Law Service per FAO's mandate:

• Agricultural law, including agricultural health (food safety, phytosanitary and veterinary legislation; antimicrobial resistance), sustainable agricultural production (seeds, pesticides, organic farming and other marketing systems) and other areas of agricultural law (supply chain regulation mechanisms, contract farming, agricultural finance, cooperatives and other farmers' organisations, agricultural insurance schemes);
• Food and nutrition security, right to adequate food, school meals and nutrition;
• Climate change laws in relation to agriculture, fisheries and forests;
• Enabling environment for responsible investments in agriculture and food systems. Fisheries and aquaculture;
• Food systems transformation;
• Forests, wildlife, grazing;
• Gender mainstreaming within legal frameworks;
• Social protection in rural areas and decent rural employment;
• Sustainable land management, sustainable water management, sustainable Wildlife production.

LEGN is particularly interested in identifying qualified candidates to support its work in the areas of:

• Food and nutrition security, parliamentary alliances, gender, climate and the human right to adequate food, in particular to support the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines in support of the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.
• Fisheries and aquaculture laws to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, including through the implementation of the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA) and instruments related to IUU fishing.

Tasks and Responsibilities

The tasks and responsibilities of each selected Development Law Specialist will be defined in the Terms of Reference for the specific assignment. Specialists working with LEGN are normally called upon to provide advice to contribute to the progressive development of national legal systems, to review draft laws, to participate in or lead legislative drafting projects, to analyse, evaluate and explain various laws, legal systems or alternative legal approaches. The specialist will carry out his tasks within FAO's strategic framework for the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the FAO Policy on Gender Equality.

The Development Law Specialist will work under the supervision and close guidance of the Legal Officers. The nature of the tasks and responsibilities that will usually be assigned to them are:

• prepare project concept notes;
• support the design of projects involving different relevant technical units, as well as regional, subregional and national FAO offices;
• prepare, review and update work plans;
• support the development and implementation of training and capacity-building activities;
• prepare materials, conduct legal research, prepare legal notes, reports and written advice;
• prepare or contribute to legal publications and analyses; and
• attend internal and external meetings, and report to the designated LEGN Legal Officer and the Head of LEGN on the results achieved.


Minimum Requirements

• University degree in Law;
• At least one (1) year of relevant legal work experience;
• Working knowledge (level C) of either French or English, and limited knowledge (level B) of the other language (whether English or French) for COF;
For PSA.SBS, working knowledge of French or English.

FAO Core Competencies

• Results Focus
• Teamwork
• Communication
• Building effective relationships
• Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement

Technical/functional skills

Applicants must have demonstrated interest in the technical areas listed above, as well as strong analytical, legal research and writing skills.

Selection Criteria

• Advanced law degree will be an asset
• Knowledge of Portuguese and/or Spanish will be an asset
• Degree of knowledge and experience in legal issues related to a relevant technical area in the Africa region;
• Degree of experience in developing national legislative and regulatory measures to implement international agreements, codes, guidelines or other instruments;
• Ability to conduct legal research and analysis;
• Ability to write clear and concise reports and draft legal texts, legislative and regulatory instruments;
• Degree of experience of different legal and work and residence systems in different countries, including developing countries and countries in the Africa region ;
• Experience working with international or regional organizations or other entities in a relevant field;
• The experience of working and living in low- or middle-income countries is an advantage.

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

This vacancy is now closed.
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