International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Global Senior Technical Specialist (Natural Resources Management)

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Job Description

  Duty station will be the regional IFAD office in West and Central Africa. The location of the regional office (such as Abidjan and Dakar) will be confirmed soon.

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.

Post's organizational accountability

The Strategy and Knowledge Department (SKD) provides expert guidance on IFAD’s strategic direction, thematic priorities and technical quality of IFAD’s operations. It plays a critical role in providing technical expertise in operational teams to enhance development effectiveness, by generating and disseminating IFAD’s development knowledge and evidence on strategic themes, and encouraging innovative application of cutting-edge global knowledge and intervention approaches in IFAD investments to support countries tackle their most complex development challenges in inclusive and sustainable rural transformation. SKD is composed of the (i) Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division (ECG); the (ii) Sustainable Production, Markets and Institutions Division (PMI); and the (iii) Research and Impact Assessment Division (RIA).

PMI provides Technical Support to IFAD Country Programs to ensure the proper application of corporate quality standards required for achieving development results and impact in key thematic areas, including sustainable food production systems (i.e. fisheries, livestock, and agronomy), land governance and tenure, natural resources management, water and rural infrastructure, financial services, rural markets and enterprises and rural institutions. It contributes to the generation of evidence and knowledge on these themes, and facilitates their use in IFAD projects and policy engagement.

The Senior Technical Specialist – Natural Resources Management (NRM) is a professional with strong experience in supporting rural communities in implementing land and natural resources governance and management solutions in sustainable production systems and wider landscapes sustaining the livelihood activities of small-scale producers and rural communities. S/he technically supports the corporate agenda and country/regional programs by providing state-of-the-art technical support throughout the project cycle (strategic and operational). The accountabilities/key results expected include:
  • Technical leadership and advice to country programmes
  • Policy engagement and partnership
  • Support cooperate policies, strategies and programs
  • Knowledge Management
The Senior Technical Specialist – NRM works under the overall strategic, policy and management guidance, and supervision of the Lead Global Technical Specialist for Land Tenure. As an integral member of delivery teams, s/he works collaboratively with other thematic Technical Specialists, Country Directors (CDs) and Program Officers (CPO) and other staff to ensure consistency, cohesion and synergy in the application of technical support and provision of programme development support with a particular focus on West and Central Africa (WCA).

Key results expected / Major functional activities

The following Key Results Expected/Major Functional Activities are generic and representational; the majority of which will be performed by the Senior Technical Specialist – NRM 1. TECHNICAL LEADERSHIP AND ADVICE TO COUNTRY PROGRAMMES: Based on a planning exercise, and working in close collaboration with the CDs and CPOs, technical experts from PMI and ECG, the Senior Technical Specialist – NRM provides technical advice to selected country programmes primarily in the WCA region in the area of land and natural resources (NR) governance and management in farming systems and landscapes sustaining rural economic transition for small scale producers and communities.

Through participation in project teams and missions, s/he provides technical leadership and advice in NRM as part of rural development approaches for the preparation of project design reports and supporting documents/annexes as well as in project implementation support preparing project supervision reports with concrete guidance and actions to improve project delivery and achievement of impacts. S/he serves as a member of Project Design Teams (PDTs) as a technical specialist or as the Project Technical Lead (PTL) for selected projects that require inputs on climate resilient and sustainable production practices and NR governance and management. As PTL, s/he co-leads the project design and implementation support with the CD and s/he is responsible for the technical quality of the assigned project design across all thematic areas. This includes: drafting terms of reference for technical team members (incl. consultants); selecting and providing over-sight of qualified technical consultants; facilitating technical inputs from other IFAD staff and/or others (i.e. centers of excellence, research institutions); ensuring the technical quality of the project design report; participating in and/or leading selected design missions; ensuring that comments provided through corporate quality assurance processes are adequately addressed; participating in or leading supervision and implementation support missions; organizing and/or contributing to training and/or capacity building activities of project partners as needed; and providing technical inputs to project completion reports. S/he also provides technical support in NRM for selected ongoing projects, for which she may not be a member of the PDT requiring implementation support with particular challenges linked to NR governance and management (e.g. projects-at-risk).

S/he will provide technical support and propose new and/or effective approaches, practices and technologies that allow small-scale producers and rural communities to enhance their resilience capacities from a diversity of sustainable livelihood activities and enhance ecosystem services and the Biodiversity they rely on. Gender equality, social inclusion and opportunities for youth will be considered as crosscutting priorities as well as the use of ICT4D solutions when relevant. Particular emphasis will be on: strengthening institutional and technical capacities for sustainable land and water management and NR governance and tenure security for small-scale producers and rural communities; strengthening extension, advisory and exchange services for famers’ experimental learning and their access to capital and equipment that allows them to adopt regenerative farming, aquaculture and livestock rearing practices ensuring conservation of ecosystems services and biodiversity and efficient use and recycling of resources (water, biomass, nutrients); supporting increase in oncomes through innovations in organizing value addition and connecting small-scale producers to markets and consumers valuing sustainably produced food and other products.

2. POLICY ENGAGEMENT AND PARTNERSHIPS: The Global Senior Technical Specialist – NRM develops and maintains  a  network  of  peer  contacts  and  partners  outside  IFAD  to  keep  abreast  of  recent developments and  trends  and  facilitate  brokering  of  partnerships.  S/he  will  follow-up  on  existing and new partnership discussions with other UN agencies, research institutions, NGOs, private sector funds, etc. interested in working with IFAD in NR governance and management issues including sustainable farming system and territorial landscape approaches, practices and policies.

Working closely with CDs, CPO, other Technical Specialists, and the regional economist, s/he contributes to the development of relevant technical policies and strategies linked to NR governance and management and sustainable farming systems and landscapes. S/he also represents IFAD in technical policy fora that are of relevance in the area of technical expertise, and develops and maintains strategic technical partnerships with organizations, centers of excellence, research institutions and thematic platforms that are relevant for IFAD.

3. SUPPORT COOPERATE POLICIES, STRATEGIES AND PROGRAMS: The Global Senior Technical Specialist – NRM  provides targeted advise in NR governance and management and resilient and sustainable farming systems for the development of corporate initiatives/instruments, policies, procedures, including participating in or leading corporate task forces and technical working groups as required contributing to shaping operational policies, IFAD position papers and cooperate programs as required.

4. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: The Global Senior Technical Specialist – NRM will contribute to the generation and dissemination of knowledge, good practices and innovations in NR governance and management in farming systems and landscapes and ensure there is cross-fertilization between WCA and other regions.  This includes systematizing and disseminating knowledge, good practices and innovations generated through loans and grants across the globe, through specific knowledge products, tool-kits, guidelines and learning events. S/he maintains a global network of peer contacts and partners outside IFAD to facilitate brokering of information and knowledge exchanges. S/he also builds and/or maintains communities of practice as well as roster of qualified/certified consultants with NRM expertise. S/he represents IFAD in global events on technical matters relevant to IFAD.

The Global Senior Technical Specialist - NRM in collaboration with CDs, CPOs and other technical may propose ideas for grant projects addressing gaps and needs mainly in the WCA portfolio for improved NR governance and management. This include proposals for testing and or upscaling innovative approaches and technologies. S/he contributes or takes the lead on developing the competitive process for selecting a grantee and develop the grant document for approval, supervise and support the implementation of the grant including reviewing and approving annual work plans and budgets, project progress reports and fund withdrawal applications. S/he contribute to the preparation of knowledge products based on the grants and organizes learning events for their disseminations.

Impact of Key results / Key performance indicators

Assignments require the provision of authoritative technical expertise in the field of specialization. The impact of work by the incumbent directly affects country programmes and contributes to regional and corporate policy and strategy. The impact on the overall IFAD country and regional programmes is significant in projecting the Fund’s role/capacity as a reliable, viable partner in development.

Work is intricate in that it requires consideration of a wide range of technical factors and related data. Global Senior Technical Specialists also select and provide oversight of external consultants, participate as experts in field missions and in the servicing of intergovernmental and expert group meetings of a technical nature.

Work at this level, is normally not reviewed for technical accuracy. Global Senior Technical Specialists thus exercise independence and initiative in assessing needs and advising governments when on field mission. Decisions are made on the research or analytical strategies to be followed in resolving problems of concern in the technical area. Established methods and procedures are adapted as necessary in order to achieve desired results.

Representation / Work relationships

The work relationships of Global Senior Technical Specialists involve the provision of authoritative technical advice and the negotiation and resolution of problems that arise in technical project design and appraisal, supervision/implementation support and in the preparation of studies and reports. S/he serves as an expert in his/her field of specialization and works with full technical independence in the provision of technical expertise and methodological guidance at the country level, as well as regionally as required.  Contacts are with counterparts and senior officials within other United Nations organizations having related programmes and with officials of governments, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, research institutes and academia.

In servicing inter-governmental bodies, expert groups and other meetings, the Global Senior Technical Specialist provides  technical  expertise  and  recommendations for  policy  formulation  and  official  conclusions  in  a consultative capacity; s/he also may provide information regarding the organization's policies, and act as the representative of the organization. Contacts are maintained to identify and evaluate emerging developments



  • Strategic thinking and organizational development: Personal influence (Level 1)
  • Demonstrating Leadership: Leads by example; initiates and supports change (Level 2)
  • Learning, sharing knowledge and innovating: Challenges, innovates and contributes to a learning culture (Level 2)
  • Focusing on clients: Contributes to a client-focused culture (Level 2)
  • Problem Solving and decision making: Solves complex problems and makes decisions that have wider corporate impact (Level 2)
  • Managing time, resources and information: Coordinates wider use of time, information and/or resources (Level 2)
  • Team Work: Fosters a cohesive team environment (Level 2)
  • Communicating and negotiating: Acquires and uses a wide range of communication styles and skills (Level 2)
  • Building relationships and partnerships: Builds and maintains strategic partnerships internally and externally (Level 2)
  • Managing performance and developing staff: Manages staff and teams effectively (Level 1)

  • Authoritative international technical expertise and operational experience in the area of NR governance and management in farming systems and landscapes sustaining rural economic transition for small scale producers and communities
  • Technical skills in the design and coordination of Natural Resources governance and management in the context of agricultural/rural development projects and interventions and identification of innovative solutions to emerging issues.
  • Ability to share technical guidance/knowledge at the governmental and peer levels as well as to inspire more junior specialists and programme staff in the development of viable programme activities.

Minimum recruitment qualifications


Advanced university degree from an accredited institution in in the field of specialization, e.g. Environmental Science, Natural Resources Management; Biology; Agroecology or other nature friendly farming approaches.


At least 8 years of progressively responsible experience in and demonstrated understanding  of,  development  investment projects and interventions  in  the  field  of Natural Resources governance and management, in farming systems and landscapes sustaining small scale producers and communities of which at least 3 of the 8 years of experience should be  at  the  international level. Experience in international   policy frameworks related to Natural Resources governance and management, climate change, Land Degradation, Biodiversity and transition to sustainable Food Systems is an asset.

Language requirements:    

Excellent written and verbal communication skills in French and English.

Working knowledge of another official language (Arabic or Spanish) is desirable.

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.

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