The Partnerships Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is located in the Organization’s headquarters in Rome, Italy. It leads the Organisation’s efforts to strategically engage with the private sector to increase responsible agricultural investments and promotes the adoption of internationally-recognized guidance for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems. This includes the CFS Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI) and the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains.
As part of this work, the Partnerships Division is carrying out activities to engage in and thereby enhance blended finance schemes to ensure that these will increase responsible agricultural investments. In this context, the Partnerships Division seeks expressions of interest from qualified professionals with a background in blended finance and related mechanisms and issues (social finance, impact investment, responsible agricultural investment, etc.).
FAO International Consultants and Call Purpose
The Organization frequently engages experts to work on short-term activities and projects as international consultants or under personal service agreements (PSA). International consultants or PSAs are engaged by the Organization to provide expertise, skills or knowledge for the performance of a specific task or piece of work, which is short-term by nature. The assignment may involve fulltime or part-time functions. The assignment can be from 1 month up to 11 months. The possibility of extension is subject to satisfactory performance and depending on the resources and needs of the Organization.
The objective of the Call is to attract suitable individuals to undertake consultancies and/or PSAs in the areas of work of the division, including:
- Senior blended finance specialist (senior programme consultant, A level)
- Blended finance specialist (programme consultant, B level)
- Blended finance specialist (junior programme consultant, C level)
- Blended finance specialist (due diligence expert, B level)
- Blended finance specialist (non-grant instruments, B level)
Individuals meeting or exceeding the requirements of the Call will be included in the Partnerships Division Roster. Experts who are registered in the Roster are available for consideration whenever relevant opportunities arise matching the required profiles.
The consultants or PSAs (blended finance experts) will work under the general guidance of the Unit Head, Private Sector and Responsible Agricultural Investment Unit. The consultants or PSAs (due diligence consultant) will work under the general guidance of the Deputy-Director, Partnerships Division, and under the direct supervision of the Partnerships Officer. The consultants or PSAs (non-grant instruments) will work under the joint-guidance of the Unit Head, Private Sector and Responsible Agricultural Investment Unit and the Senior Coordinator, CBC-GEF Unit.
Blended finance schemes with a focus on small and medium enterprise development in the agri-food sectors for facilitating responsible agricultural investments, including technical advice, operational support, programme management and due diligence.
Tasks and responsibilities
Blended finance specialist (senior programme consultant, A level)
- Coordinate development of background papers to inform the development and implementation of FAO’s activities in the field of blended finance;
- Provide strategic and operational planning advice and guidance for FAO’s engagement with blended finance mechanisms and SDG compliance;
- Provide advice and guidance to member countries to strengthen and enabling environment that enhances opportunities generated by blended finance to increase responsible investments, and ensure consistency of approach between the different technical assistance interventions;
- Advise and provide guidance on the development and adaptation of different tools, learning materials and other global public goods in fields of expertise;
- Interact and facilitate strategic partnerships with investment funds, banks and investors to catalyze financing and responsible investment in agricultural sectors; and
- Facilitate engagement with private investors, investment funds and private companies in agricultural sectors.
Blended finance specialist (Programme consultant, B level)
- Undertake the preparation of background papers to inform the development and implementation of FAO’s activities in the field of blended finance;
- Provide input to the updates to the FAO Strategy for Partnerships with the Private Sector with a focus on blended finance related considerations;
- Promote, re-purpose and redeploy existing FAO tools, learning materials and other global public goods to ensure readiness for SDG compliance by the private sector, including for certification schemes;
- Support the delivery technical assistance to member countries to strengthen an enabling environment that enhances opportunities generated by blended finance to increase responsible investments, including the delivery of learning events;
- Carry out background studies to identify most critical factors limiting private investments in selected member countries and means by which blended finance could overcome these challenges;
- Participate in regular conference calls with key stakeholders; and
- Organize Information events, discussion fora and workshops.
Blended finance specialist (junior programme consultant, C level)
- Draft background papers on lessons learned from past blended finance activities supported by FAO and other UN agencies;
- Support the preparation of a SDG compliance readiness assessment of existing FAO tools and materials and provide input for adaptation;
- Provide input to international workshops and conferences on blended finance for responsible foreign agricultural investment and provide expert advice on this issue (the activities may include travels to FAO Member countries);
- Support provision of technical assistance to member countries to strengthen an enabling environment that enhances opportunities generated by blended finance to increase responsible investments; and
- Support the development of tools, learning materials and other global public goods that will enhance SDG compliance of private investments benefitting from blended finance mechanisms.
Due Diligence Specialist (B level)
- Analyze requests for partnerships from FAO technical units, strategic programmes, and decentralized offices and undertake a light due diligence analysis, in order to identify practices and policies that may pose a reputational risk to FAO, or otherwise appear to compromise the integrity or independence of the organization;
- Collect information from public data sources, utilities, business lines and clients, all necessary documentation to perform due diligence on potential non-state partners, including the private sector and blended finance actors;
- Draft reports providing concise, objective analysis of key facts and issues on potential partner screening and ongoing monitoring to include conflict checks, background or equivalent searches;
- If adverse information is found, perform background checks on adverse information to ensure validity and further assess risk;
- Review the output generated by the screening and monitoring activities and prepare information to be communicated to the office requesting partnership and\or the partnership committee;
- Undertake periodic due diligence reviews and compliance surveys with ongoing partnerships and blended finance scenarios considering all relevant internal policies and procedures;
- Ensure that due diligence and other required control are performed to standard set of FAO due diligence criteria and other UN standards (if applicable); and
- Prepare periodic documentation packages for review of the Sub-Committee for the review of financial and other arrangements, Partnership Committee or senior management, and
- Ensure databases are up to date, and provide inputs to reference materials and knowledge management systems.
Blended finance specialist (non-grant instruments, B level)
- Support the identification of opportunities to engage with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through Non-Grant Instrument (NGI) projects, in particular GEF’s NGI program under GEF-7;
- Support the development of concept notes and project proposals on blended finance schemes for environmentally friendly responsible agricultural investments, with a focus on GEF non-grant instruments (NGIs), in particular the GEF-7 Non-Grant Instrument Window;
- Work with CBC-GEF Unit to identify entry points for FAO to leverage non-grant instruments to foster greater private sector engagement and attract private sector co-financing;
- Support the identification of opportunities to engage with Member State governments, including investment promotion agencies, to assess and monitor blended finance mechanisms for responsible agricultural investments;
- Support the formulation or improvement of policy and regulatory frameworks in the context of non-grant instruments which can leverage global instruments and assessment tools in FAO streams of work, and discuss with the GEF as needed;
- Undertake background studies and develop concept notes for blended finance schemes promoting climate-smart agriculture, biodiversity, and sustainable fisheries, agriculture and forestry;
- Consider options for blended finance for responsible agricultural investment in developing countries, taking into account relevant agricultural, economic, trade, market, social and/or environmental data; and
- Review draft papers and reports on agricultural investments and/or blended finance scenarios in the context of non-grant instruments and provide written summaries.
- Advanced University degree (for Consultants) / University degree (for PSAs) in economics, finance, social sciences, political science, agricultural economics, environmental studies, climate, biodiversity, or a related discipline;
- Two (C level) / five (B level) / twelve (for A level consultants) or fifteen (for A level PSAs) years of progressively responsible professional experience in blended finance, social finance, rural finance, impact investment or responsible agricultural investment;
- Working knowledge of English, French or Spanish and limited knowledge of one of the other two or Arabic, Chinese, or Russian for Consultants. In the case of PSAs, the requirement is for working knowledge in one of the FAO official languages.
FAO Core Competencies
- Results Focus
- Building Effective Relationships
- Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement
- Extent and relevance of academic qualifications;
- Extent and relevance of experience in planning and monitoring advocacy activities and reviewing policy, institutional frameworks in a wide range of cultural and development contexts as well as in monitoring related systems;
- Extent and relevance of experience in assessing and implementing projects in developing and emerging markets;
- Extent and relevance of demonstrated ability to communicate with a range of public and private actors involved in the implementation of blended and impact financing;
- Experience in engaging with the private sector for development, including analysis and formulation of actions, structured dialogue with the private sector, including the design of innovative financial instruments;
- Extent and relevance of experience in the design, formulation and promotion blended finance instruments in cooperation with a wide range of interlocutors and stakeholders;
- Extent and relevance of experience in the evaluation of financing proposals related to thematic areas under FAO’s mandate;
- Extent and relevance of experience in the preparation and negotiation of financing agreements with financial institutions, including guidance and support to blended finance projects; and
- Extent and relevance of experience in the development of methodological tools, learning materials and events for promoting blended finance and responsible agricultural investment, including for government institutions;
- Excellent writing, analytical and conceptual skills, as well as gender sensitive and cross-cultural competency; and
- Ability to operate effectively in a team, contributing positively to team operations and working relationships.