Local recruitment: Green Cities Assessment Specialist

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Harare, Zimbabwe 🇿🇼

Job Posting: 23/Jan/2023
Closure Date: 07/Feb/2023, 12:59:00 AM
Organizational Unit: FRZIM
Job Type: Non-staff opportunities
Type of Requisition: PSA (Personal Services Agreement)
Grade Level: N/A
Primary Location: Zimbabwe-Harare
Duration: 45 days when actually employed (WAE)
Post Number: N/A
FAO seeks gender, geographical and linguistic diversity in its staff and international consultants in order to best serve FAO Members in all regions.

  • 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
  • FAO staff are subject to the authority of the Director-General, who may assign them to any of the activities or offices of the Organization.

Organizational Setting

The world is becoming more and more urbanized with 55 percent of the population living in cities. The urban population is set to reach 68 percent by 2050, with 90 percent in low-income countries – especially in Africa and Asia. Cities already consume almost 80 percent of the total energy produced in the world and absorb up to 70 percent of the food supply. To address these challenges, cities are taking a more active role in contributing to national governments’ efforts in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. Population growth and rapid urbanization are exacerbating the limits of our current food systems (increased levels of Green House Gases (GHGs,) deforestation, food loss and waste) and increasing competition for natural resources. Local administrations are finding it increasingly challenging to ensure urban and peri-urban populations have access to sustainable and nutritious food, build resistance to zoonotic diseases, develop green spaces and reduce food waste. Maintaining sustainable agri-food systems with green spaces that include urban and peri-urban agriculture and forests are essential for cities, making them more resilient to the impacts of climate change and socio-economic crises. 

To trigger transformative actions for cities to become greener, cleaner, more resilient and regenerative, FAO launched the Green Cities Initiative (GCI) and Action Plan on 18 September 2020.  The FAO Green Cities Initiative focuses on improving the urban environment, strengthening urban-rural linkages and the resilience of urban systems, services and populations to external shocks with an eye towards constructing a robust constituency of actors. The concept will help ensure access to a healthy environment and healthy diets from sustainable agri-food systems, increasing availability of green spaces through urban and peri-urban forestry. The Initiative will also contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as sustainable resource management.   
In Zimbabwe, FAO has launched the GCI through the signing of letters of intent with the City of Bulawayo (COB) and City of Harare (COH). To start the project, FAO is seeking to recruit a specialist to assess the Urban and peri-urban areas of the Cities of Harare and Bulawayo.

Reporting Lines

The incumbent will work Under the overall supervision of the FAO Representative in Zimbabwe and the direct operational supervision of the GCI Focal Person and with guidance from the Lead Technical Officer of the project, and Regional Office for Africa and technical divisions at FAO Head Quarters.  

Technical Focus

The technical areas/profiles covered will be as follows:


•    Assess the extent to which COB and COH are involved in urban peri- urban Forestry and existing networks and initiatives within the cities communities in the urban and peri-urban environment.
•    Identify stakeholders,-universities, research Centre urban forestry and Private Sector players linked to forestry within the Cities and their peri urban areas.
•    Assess roles of youth and women in UPF -Schools, universities, community groups, religious groups and other educative groups.
•    Assess and identify areas of common interest in planning and integrated development between urban peri-urban agriculture and forestry.
•    Assess impact of UPF on carbon emissions and adaptation capacities to climate change and existing monitoring mechanisms that are in place on UPF in the two cities
•    Assess the level of knowledge at local level on impacts on issues such as vulnerabilities to fires, storms and pests and opportunities for UPF regarding afforestation, and forest conservation.
•    Asses influence of human movement (rural –urban migration and intra-urban movement) on UPF. 

Urban Forestry vs Water

•    Assess links between UPF and water agendas for COB and COH
•    Assess the role of urban green areas based on agroforestry and tree systems on water cycles and any linkages between the tree systems and watershed landscape management such as regulation of water cycles, water filtration and purification, stabilization of annual and seasonal water flows.
•    Assess to what level water interested actors are involved in UPF in the two cities and water resource allocation and waste water/reclaimed water reuse under water scarcity conditions and watershed management.
•    Assess health issues aligned to environmental sustainability in terms of minimizing negative impacts on surface and ground water resources coming from urban centers in the two cities.

Policy and Regulation

•    Assess policies/gaps if any that exist on general consciousness about importance of importance UPF and to what extent the two cities consider climate change in their policies and recommend reformulation of existing policies where necessary.


•    Assess and characterize the urban food systems (production, postharvest handling. trade, processing, distribution retailing) for the two cities. 
•    Assess levels of child undernutrition /micronutrient deficiencies/ obesity/overweight and diet related non-communicable diseases because of rapid changes in food demand and consumption patterns in the two cities.
•    Assess potential for COH/COB to drive sustainable food consumption and production through strategies that address the specific nature of food insecurity and malnutrition in urban/peri urban areas of the two cities.
•    Assess changing food security and nutrition needs for the two cities associated with urban development.
•    Assess opportunities for employment creation in terms of agriculture production, storage, processing distribution retailing restaurants and various other food related services.
•    Asses challenges associated with the cash mediated nature of access to sufficient safe, nutritious and adequate food security and nutrition.
•    Assess ease of accessibility in terms of distances between food production and consumption areas, transport options, for the general populace of the two cities to access affordable fresh fruit, veges, fishery products.
•    Assess the role of food systems in breaking the rural urban divide. 
•    Assess impact of concentrations of power in food trade, crises like wars (eg. Russia Ukraine) and functionality of safety nets for low-income urban dwellers.
•    Assess food safety issues in the two cities.

Social Factors:

•    Assess opportunities presented by both cities proximity to rural areas-peri-urban- for achievement of adequate food and nutrition security.
•    Assess level of multi-stakeholders collaboration to support more sustainable urbanization process through safeguarding ecosystems services and provision of goods (such as freshwater, food, timber labour) and level of participatory decision-making processes around urban food systems.
•    Assess presence of national, international initiatives to create political buy –in to support sustainable urban food systems agenda.
•    Assess levels of investment that might be required to set up sustainable food systems architecture and related soft infrastructure to facilitate food flows and strengthen urban-peri urban linkages.

Policy and Regulation

•    Assess the legal, regulatory and policy instruments available to ensure integration of food systems in urban peri urban planning.


•    Characterize the urban agriculture –production of agriculture goods by urban residents for the two cities. 
•    Assess the magnitude of Urban agriculture in terms of household and income contribution in the two cities and the role of Urban Agriculture in addressing food and nutrition security and employment creation in the two cities,
•    Assess drivers of Urban agriculture in the two cities
•    Assess Food consumption patterns linked to Urban/peri urban agriculture in the two Cities.
•    Assess linkages between Urban /peri urban agriculture and urbanization in the two cites
•    Assess Poverty levels and urban/peri urban  agriculture
•    Assess % contribution of Urban Agriculture to Cities food and agriculture requirements 
•    Assess challenges /barriers associated with urban agriculture in both cities; 

•    Assess contribution of livestock to Urban/Peri urban agriculture and its importance.
•    Assess the proportion of UA to National total Agriculture. 

Policy and Regulation

•    Assess the level of integration/collaboration between various stakeholders (inter-governmental, communities, councils, civil societies on issues relating to urban agriculture.
•    Are there clear polices/regulations/by-laws guiding urban agriculture in the two cities

Tasks and responsibilities

•    Assess the two Cities of Bulawayo and Harare and their Peri-Urban areas under the three pillars of Urban-Peri Urban Agriculture, Urban Food Systems and Urban-Peri-urban Forestry.   
•    Conduct workshops to validate findings of the assessment  with stakeholders and develop clear activities to feed into identification of priorities by both cities and key stakeholders
•    Prepare detailed report and policy brief from the engagements with the various stakeholders.
•    Detailed report on findings of assessment and recommendations on the three pillars:
•    List of identified priorities by Cities and key stakeholders and multiyear investment plan for each of the two cities


Minimum Requirements

•    Advanced University degree in Agriculture, Urban Planning, Forestry, Water, Food systems or a related field.
•    At least 10 years of proven experience in carrying out assessments, urban investment analysis and policy advocate and designs for urban systems.
•    Working knowledge (level C) of English. 
•    Working knowledge of Shona and Ndebele will be an added advantage
•    National or resident of Zimbabwe

FAO Core Competencies

•    Results Focus
•    Teamwork
•    Communication
•    Building Effective Relationships
•    Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/ Functional Skills

•    Experience in working with City /urban councils is desirable
•    Experience in working with/or in government departments, national and international NGOs and other UN agencies is desirable.
•    Experience with agro-ecological and sustainable community based natural resources management will be an advantage
•    Good technical writing and communication skills, computer literacy and expertise in urban planning/design 
•    Good interpersonal relationships and ability to relate with communities in Urban and peri urban areas.

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


  • FAO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing).
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered. If you need help or have queries, please contact: Careers@fao.org
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be accepted.
  • Only language proficiency certificates from UN accredited external providers and/or FAO language official examinations (LPE, ILE, LRT) will be accepted as proof of the level of knowledge of languages indicated in the online applications.
  • For other issues, visit the FAO employment website: http://www.fao.org/employment/home/en/
  • Appointment will be subject to certification that the candidate is medically fit for appointment, accreditation, any residency or visa requirements, and security clearances. 

• To apply, visit the recruitment website at Jobs at FAO and complete your online profile. We strongly recommend that your profile is accurate, complete and includes your employment records, academic qualifications, and language skills
• Candidates are requested to attach a letter of motivation to the online profile
• Once your profile is completed, please apply, and submit your application
• Please note that FAO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed at http://www.whed.net/ 
• Candidates may be requested to provide performance assessments and authorization to conduct verification checks of past and present work, character, education, military and police records to ascertain any and all information which may be pertinent to the employment qualifications
• Incomplete applications will not be considered
• Personal information provided on your application may be shared within FAO and with other companies acting on FAO’s behalf to provide employment support services such as pre-screening of applications, assessment tests, background checks and other related services. You will be asked to provide your consent before submitting your application. You may withdraw consent at any time, by withdrawing your application, in such case FAO will no longer be able to consider your application
• Only applications received through the FAO recruitment portal will be considered
• Your application will be screened based on the information provided in your online profile
• We encourage applicants to submit the application well before the deadline date.

If you need help, or have queries, please contact: Careers@fao.org






IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development