Job Description

Summary of Duties and Functions The purpose of the position of Ombudsman is to make available the services of an impartial and independent person to informally address work-related conflicts and problems of FAO personnel. The Ombudsman fosters a harmonious and productive work environment at headquarters and in Decentralized Offices by seeking mutually acceptable solutions through informal means in accordance with relevant policies and procedures, as well as generally accepted international standards of practice for organizational ombudsmen and principles of justice and fairness. The position is independent and does not exercise managerial responsibilities except for the immediate office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman shall have direct access to the Director-General as needed to perform his or her functions. The functions of the Ombudsman will be: Provision of services to FAO personnel:
  • Explore with employees their options and different avenues open to them to address work-related grievances/conflicts, taking into account the interests, rights and obligations existing between the Organization and employees;

  • Provide advice, Counsel and coaching to employees to handle employment-related situations;

  • Assist all parties to informally resolve work-related issues or disputes through fact-finding, discussion or mediation, if appropriate;

  • Assist employees alleging improper treatment and/or non-observance of their terms and conditions of employment;

  • Mediate and conciliate;

  • Assist and advise employees regarding their rights and privileges in their relations with FAO. Promoting a harmonious and engaging workplace:

  • Raise awareness among employees about the importance of preventing and resolving conflicts/grievances at an early stage;

  • Support the development of Conflict Resolution competencies among all employees with particular focus on supervisors and managers;

  • Identify and analyse FAO policies, procedures and practices that cause problems or conflicts;

  • Report to Senior Management on trends observed and provide practical recommendations for systemic improvement;

  • Promote equality and non-discrimination in management processes and facilitate equal participation of employees in relevant work areas regardless of personal background;

  • Travel to field offices as required to respond to conflict or facilitate Capacity Building as a preventative measure.

Developing conflict resolution capacity in the office:
  • Keep abreast of new developments and best practices in Ombudsman services in order to ensure continual enhancement of related FAO policies, programmes, and awareness initiatives;

  • Develop and strengthen informal mentoring/coaching options;

  • Participate in relevant interagency, United Nations and other international fora and discussions. Perform other duties as required.

General Requirements
  • Advanced university degree in Law, public Administration, Human Resources, social sciences, or any related subject. Training or equivalent experience in the area of alternative conflict resolution or mediation would be an asset.

  • Extensive relevant work experience (10 to 12 years) as a mediator/ombudsman/corporate manager, or as a human resources manager involved in conflict resolution in an international environment. Experience in conflict/dispute resolution and alternative dispute resolution is highly desirable.

  • Familiarity with international organizations’ or UN Common System’s rules.

  • Working knowledge of English and limited knowledge of another FAO languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish).

  • Demonstrated knowledge of current best practices in organizational Ombudsman functions and alternative conflict resolution tools and ability to adhere to professional ethical principles (independence, impartiality, confidentiality and informality).

The Ombudsman serves for a five-year term, with the possibility of renewal for one additional term. Upon completion of his or her term of office, the Ombudsman shall not be eligible for other employment within FAO.
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