Lead Technical Specialist (Environment and Climate) via ReliefWeb

International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD)

Rome, , IT

Organizational context

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.

Addressing environmental and climate change issues are inseparable from IFAD’s mission to invest in rural people. IFAD’s response to these challenges is reflected in its Strategic Framework, Climate Change Strategy, the Environment & Natural Resource Management Policy and its Social, Environment and Climate Assessment Procedures (SECAP). A key message is that IFAD’s mission of helping poor smallholder farmers is closely linked with the ability to manage environmental and climate risks and therefore cannot be addressed in isolation. IFAD is strengthening its capacity to respond to the threats to global and country environmental commons, while promoting agriculture and rural development in developing countries, through different financial sources and instruments.

Post’s organizational accountability

The Lead Technical Specialist is an expert and knowledge builder on environment and climate themes in the Near East, North Africa and Europe region. S/he works under the overall strategic, policy and management guidance and supervision of the Environment and Climate Division Director and the Director of IFAD’s Near East, North Africa and Europe Region. Furthermore, s/he works collaboratively with the thematic Technical Specialists, Country Programme Managers and other staff, as a part of an innovative and dynamic group of committed professionals, to ensure consistency, cohesion and synergy in the application of technical advice and provision of programme development support.

S/He supports country/regional programs as well as the corporate agenda by providing state-of-the-art technical expertise and strategic guidance on environment and climate mainstreaming throughout the project cycle (strategic and operational). This includes (i) providing technical inputs for the Country Strategic Opportunity Papers (COSOP), project design and Quality Enhancement (QE) processes and project supervision and implementation support; (ii) sharing knowledge in an effective and systematic way within IFAD and with IFAD partners and (iii) supporting mobilisation of environment and climate financing for the Region. . The accountabilities/key results expected may include:

  • Policy and Strategy Advice and Development
  • Programme Advice and Development
  • Knowledge Management and Capacity Building
  • Partnership Building and Resource Mobilization
  • Monitoring and Reporting

The following Key Results Expected/Major Functional Activities are generic and representational; the majority, but not necessarily all, will be performed by the Lead Technical Specialist.

Key results expected / Major functional activities

1. Policy and Strategy Advice and Development

On the basis of the state-of-the-art knowledge and analysis of current thematic conditions, emerging economic challenges, and the state of rural poverty globally and in the regions/sub-regions, the Lead Technical Specialist provides authoritative guidance on environment and climate measures and risks to IFAD’s medium to long-term regional and national strategies. Accountabilities may include:

  • Strengthening IFAD’s country-level programmes by providing state-of-the-art technical advice and strategic guidance or direct support to ensure IFAD’s country-level portfolio is viable, sustainable and addresses environment and climate risks. This includes assisting project and country strategy design teams to fully integrate technical innovations into early identification and design of projects and country strategies.
  • Developing a regional strategy on environment and climate change that commands the support of the Regional Team; and,
  • Enhancing the Fund’s regional portfolio through collaborative technical studies and sharing of country-level strategic innovations on environment and climate best practices.

2. Programme Advice and Development

On the basis of their environment and climate expertise and skills, the Lead Technical Specialist ensures appropriate and up-to-date authoritative technical expertise and strategic guidance to country programmes, project design, development of innovative products, implementation support and monitoring to optimize positive programme results. This can include:

  • Co-leading the design and supervision of new IFAD investments, as an active member in the Country Programme Management Team (CPMT). This includes drafting working papers on environment and climate issues for new designs and addressing all comments at critical milestones; and, sourcing, contracting, supervising and validating experts and inputs to support environment and climate mainstreaming in new IFAD investment designs.
  • Identifying and mobilizing new sources of funding in the areas of environment and climate to strengthen, complement and diversify the Regional portfolio (e.g. GEF, LDCF/SCCF, AF, GCF). Identifying and leading the design of the components to the IFAD-funded projects in collaboration with the relevant Country Programme Managers. This also includes liaising with the Governing Bodies of International Trust Funds and other Agencies to ensure synergies and coordination on relevant projects to maximize opportunities.
  • Providing authoritative technical and strategic environment and climate guidance to staff, field missions and national programmes at all stages of the project cycle, including design, quality enhancement, negotiations, implementation and supervision, and monitoring and evaluation.

3. Knowledge Management and Capacity Building

The Lead Technical Specialist ensures access to the latest sources of knowledge and innovation, strengthens regional and national technical capacity and leads the preparation of knowledge products and advisory partnerships as well as coordinates 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. Accountabilities may include:

  • Sharing knowledge and experiences generated through activities such as analytical studies and regional grants with colleagues in the country programme as well as the division; may manage selected Cooperation and Technical Assistance Grants in support of the same;
  • Identify and develop a new advisory support service for environment and climate for use in project and policy development in the Region. This should lead to new knowledge and advisory partnerships available to the Region to strengthen access to the latest sources of knowledge and innovation on environment and climate change.
  • Participating in IFAD-wide thematic discussions and developing appropriate technical and operation approaches of relevance to the country/divisional strategies and programmes.

4. Partnership Building and Resource Mobilization

The Lead Technical Specialist 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. Accountabilities may include:

  • Building partnerships with complementary technical organizations, NGOs, and specialized departments of other development agencies as potential operational and strategic partners at regional and country levels;
  • Strengthening IFAD’s representation and communication in policy and technical dialogue/processes and strategy issues (including representing IFAD at international, regional, inter-agency meetings, seminars, conferences etc.); and
  • Strengthening coordination among climate actors within country portfolios, and Mobilising additional new resources for IFAD, in collaboration with the RBMO, through partnerships and outreach activities.

5. Monitoring and Reporting

The Lead Technical Specialist supports the Directors in the monitoring of the Division Performance Plan, the Divisional Mid Term Plan and the budgetary resources under their purview. S/He also performs other monitoring and reporting activities to enhance programme and funding decisions. This can include:

  • Supporting the directors/CPMs/Portfolio Advisor in monitoring and assessing projects performance with data collection and management tools based on portfolio needs;
  • Support the Directors/Lead Technical Specialist in his/her reporting of the divisional plans and operational strategies to the senior management.

6. Managerial Functions: The Lead Technical Specialist is accountable for integrity, transparency, and equity in the management of IFAD resources. This includes:

  • People Management through supporting recruitment of technical specialists and technical leadership/capacity development, coaching and mentoring of new and/or more junior staff, supervising and evaluating performance of professionals and general service staff under his/her purview.
  • 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.

Impact of Key results / Key performance indicators

Assignments require the provision of authoritative professional expertise and technical leadership at the global, regional and national levels. Lead Technical Specialists 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. 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.

Representation / Work relationships

The work relationships of Lead Technical Specialists 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 his/her field(s), providing technical leadership and methodological guidance to management, national governments, development partners and other staff in the technical area of specialization.



  • Strategic thinking and organizational development: Strategic leadership
  • 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


  • Authoritative technical environment and climate expertise at the country and regional level/
  • Skill in the design and coordination of technical research and identification of innovative solutions to emerging and evolving 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.
  • Ability to develop new approaches, techniques or policies in relation to client needs.
  • Ability to develop new methodologies and techniques in the field of monitoring and knowledge management related to climate change and natural resource management
  • Clear understanding of IFAD business and market sector; appreciation of strategic implications thereof.
  • Ability to plan, lead, integrate and coordinate the work of a mid-sized team.
  • Ability to interpret data, present rational conclusions and defend recommended actions.
  • Produces well-structured, factually and analytically accurate reports.
  • Captures experience and knowledge from assignment for wider dissemination.
  • Effectively applies project management tools and techniques.
  • Experience in GIS, mapping or vulnerability assessments
  • Experience in monitoring an evaluation of projects and programs
  • Interdisciplinary approach to work – expert in given field, as well as able to collaborate across disciplines with experts in other areas, and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than their own.
  • Ability to work well with multi –cultural teams.
  • Politically sensitive.
  • Ability to set out a coherent argument in writing, presentations and group interactions.
  • Good working knowledge of Windows-based computing, and electronic communication.
  • Experience in GIS, mapping or vulnerability assessments is an advantage

Minimum recruitment qualifications


  • Advanced university degree from an accredited institution in the field of Environmental studies, Environmental economics, Climatology, Rural Development, International development, or closely related field.


  • At least 10 years progressively responsible experience in the field of environment and climate, particularly in the formulation of technical guidance and input to development programmes; of which at least 5 should be at the international level in the region.
  • In-depth technical expertise, demonstrated by substantive work experience, and solid understanding of environment and climate change issues.
  • Experience in policy engagement and negotiation at the national and global level on environment, natural resource management and rural development is an asset.
  • Proven experience in leading complex project design and implementation is desirable.
  • Experience in climate vulnerability assessments is an advantage.
  • Access to a network of technical and professional resources and expertise which can be brought to bear to improve portfolio programming is desirable.
  • Project management and resource mobilization experience relevant to the Global Environment Facility, Adaptation Fund or similar Trust Fund is an asset.

Language requirements:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English, including the ability to set out a clear and coherent argument in presentations and group interactions. Working knowledge of French is an advantage.
  • Working knowledge of Arabic is an asset.

Other information

Applicants should note that IFAD staff members are international civil servants subject to the authority of the President of IFAD, and they may be assigned by him/her to any of the activities of IFAD, including field assignments and/or rotation within 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.

If interested, candidates who had previously applied to VA 1435 should re-submit their applications to this vacancy.