Food Systems Summit (FSS) – Special Assistant, P4 based in Nairobi


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.


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.


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.


  • 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.



  • 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


Locked Contract: Mobility is and continues to be a core contractual requirement in WFP, but please note this is a Locked Contract and is locked specifically to the position and the Food Security Summit project. You shall not be subject to the regular reassignment process. WFP’s policies regarding mobility, Inter Agency movements, promotion, and conversion will not apply to this appointment. Extension or renewal of this appointment will be conditioned upon the availability of continued funding for the post. In addition to the reasons for termination specified in the FAO Staff Regulations and Rules, the appointment may be terminated if the post ceases to be funded.

WFP offers an attractive compensation and benefits package, including basic salary, post adjustment, relocation entitlement, travel and shipment allowances, 30 days’ annual leave, home leave, an education grant for dependent children, pension plan and medical insurance.

Please visit the following websites for detailed information on working with Click on: “Where we work” and “Our work” to learn more about WFP’s operations.


11 August, 2020


WFP seeks candidates of the highest integrity and professionalism who share our humanitarian principles.

Selection of staff is made on a competitive basis, and we are committed to promoting diversity and gender balance.

WFP has zero tolerance for discrimination and does not discriminate on the basis of HIV/AIDS status.

No appointment under any kind of contract will be offered to members of the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), FAO Finance Committee, WFP External Auditor, WFP Audit Committee, Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and other similar bodies within the United Nations system with oversight responsibilities over WFP, both during their service and within three years of ceasing that service.

How to apply…

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