WFP Food Systems Summit (FSS) - Special Assistant Jobs in Kenya

WFP Food Systems Summit (FSS) - Special Assistant Jobs in Kenya

General Background

  • In 2021, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a Food Systems Summit as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The Summit will serve as a pivotal moment in a decade-long effort to unleash ambitious new actions, innovative solutions, and plans to transform our food systems and leverage these shifts to deliver progress across all of the SDGs. It’s vision, objectives, work streams, and outcomes continued to be refined and advanced in strategic collaboration with member states and other stakeholders.

  • The Secretary-General has appointed a Special Envoy for the Food Systems Summit, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, who will provide leadership, guidance and strategic direction towards the Summit. The Special Envoy will be responsible for cooperation with key leaders, including governments, the RBAs and entire UN system, and other strategic stakeholder groups, to galvanize action and leadership for the Summit. The Special Envoy will also assist with outreach and represent the Secretary-General in many global and regional consultative events related to food systems during 2020 and 2021.

  • A Summit Secretariat will be responsible for supporting the efforts of the Special Envoy and all governance mechanisms of the Summit. The Secretariat headquarters is in Nairobi where the Special Envoy is based, but it also includes satellite offices in Rome and New York to facilitate key connections with the UN, Rome-based agencies, permanent representatives, and other stakeholders.

  • WFP has been appointed as the administrative agency for the Summit on behalf of the UN system. It is hosting and managing a multi-donor trust fund on behalf of the Summit and in alignment with international best practices for full accountability and transparency to stakeholders. WFP is also supporting all operations of the Secretariat in terms of finance, budget, HR, recruiting, IT and beyond.

    Recruitment Context

  • In partnership with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Summit, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, a first wave of recruitment was completed between February and May of 2020. The first wave focused on filling the leadership positions of the Secretariat, including a Deputy, a Chief of Staff, and all initially-envisioned unit leads across the organizational structure. Targeted recruitment was completed between the Special Envoy and RBAs in order to quickly identify and onboard individuals with essential capabilities and networks. The Secretariat and WFP also worked closely across the RBAs to draw on the opportunity for seconded positions from FAO, IFAD, and WFP as agreed between the Special Envoy and RBA Principals in the initiation of the Summit. As of the end of the start of June, 2020, the Secretariat has in place 10 individuals, inclusive of the Special Envoy.

  • The Secretariat has now prioritized a next wave of roles as the Summit work will quickly begin scaling up following the first meetings of the Advisory Committee and other support structures this month. The Secretariat and RBAs are mobilizing funds to the Trust Fund in parallel to these efforts, and so this next wave of roles would be expected to be brought onboard around September following the summer holidays as more funds
    are received and available. This Special Assistant, P4 role based in Nairobi is part of this second wave of recruitments and is an essential position to insure the success of the Food Systems Summit.

    Job Purpose & Key Accountabilities (not all-inclusive)

    As the Special Assistant,

  • You will provide critical support to the Special Envoy across their full range of work to help ensure prioritization, increased bandwidth, and effective coordination of all engagements and work products.

  • You will serve as liaison between the Special Envoy and others both within the Secretariat and externally to foster information flow, communication, and coordination, as well as acts as the President’s proxy in key internal and external meetings and outreach.

  • You will drive external and internal engagements of the Special Envoy from start to finish, leading with team members and partners on public remarks, meetings, and briefings, staffing the Special Envoy where required.

  • You will lead special projects and initiatives for the Special Envoy where they are taking more direct ownership.

  • The role reports to the Chief of Staff who oversees the office of the Special Envoy and support their engagement on an overall strategic level.

  • The role will also provide support to the Chief of Staff on priorities and initiatives as required.

    Desired Experiences for Entry into the Role

  • A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible experience in project or programme management, administration, international relations, security, political affairs, or related area is required. Of these, a minimum of three (3) years of experience at the international level is required.

  • Experience in policy analysis and development is desirable.

  • A minimum of two years of experience working in a front office environment providing substantive and administrative support to senior level UN officials, or equivalent principals in the public or multilateral sector, is desirable.

  • The Special Envoy and Secretariat seek an individual who is an experienced Special Assistant and accustomed to managing and supporting the complex priorities of a senior principal.

  • A strong preference will be placed on an individual with experience in diplomacy and protocol on some level, as well as with written and spoken French language capabilities.

    Standard Minimum Qualifications


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in business administration, public administration, management, international relations, security, political science, or a related field. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

  • Fluency (level C) in English language. Intermediate knowledge (level B) of a second official UN language: French, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, and/or Arabic

    How to Apply

  • For more information and job application details, see; WFP Food Systems Summit (FSS) - Special Assistant Jobs in Kenya

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