Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Advisor Job (GS 13 or 14) USG only USDA-Foreign Agriculture Service

Job description

Grade: GS-13 or 14

Type of Appointment: Excepted Service (Time Limited) Appointment

Length of Appointment: Up to 5 Years

Area of Consideration: USG

Duty Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Opening Date of Announcement: November 22, 2013

Closing Date of Announcement: December 13, 2013

The advisor will work with local and international organizations, USAID field missions, and technical staff from the USAID Washington, and USDA offices to promote the development, design, and implementation of projects, programs, policies and strategies needed to support the program efforts and USG Mission.

The position is located in Nairobi, Kenya at the USAID Regional Mission and will involve extensive travel throughout the region of assignment. It is a limited-term appointment subject to the availability of funding. The incumbent will work under the supervision of the Branch Chief, Regulatory and Policy Capacity Building Branch (RPCB), and carries out assignments under delegated authority, using a high degree of sound judgment, motivation and initiative. In line with the terms of the agreement with USAID through which funding for this position is provided, the SPS Advisor will also serve under the general direction of the USAID Mission Director designee on a daily basis. S/he will be a part of the USAID regional mission team and as such will participate in regular meetings and regularly update the Office Chief regarding all activities. The incumbent will collaborate with the FAS/Trade and Scientific Capacity Building Division (TSCBD) office in Washington and the FAS Officers in his/her assigned region and meet with both groups on a regular basis to develop deadlines, projects, and tasks to be done.

The East Africa Advisor will serve as the regional contact for PASA SPS program and collaborate with USAID Mission Leaders, other Embassy staff, and other stakeholders to identify opportunities to improve SPS infrastructure within the assigned region. These projects are complicated in themselves because they involve officials of the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of State, as well as officials and stakeholders of foreign countries with varied national interests and priorities, which must be considered along with USDA policies and interests, as well as those of other U.S. Government department and agencies and international organizations.

As the SPS technical Advisor on detail to a USAID mission in sub-Saharan Africa, s/he will serve as a technical expert to USAID (at the regional mission, bilateral missions in the region of assignment, and Washington) on SPS regulatory issues that affect agricultural development and trade. S/He will provide direct support to highly complex, diverse and high profile projects of vital significance to the Department's support of USG food security efforts. This will include developing and managing a work plan for the region of assignment that fits with the USDA and USAID regional and country-level objectives. Other duties include consulting with stakeholders on how strategy correlates with and supports USDA and USAID joint efforts on agricultural development. The SPS Advisor/Coordinator will not serve as COR/AOR.

The SPS Advisor will provide senior level leadership for the design, implementation, and evaluation of technical assistance programs, training and workshops in the realm of plant health, animal health, and food safety in his/her assigned region. Activities will support several U.S. Government efforts such as the Trade Africa Initiative, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Feed the Future Initiative (FTF), in which U.S. government efforts seek to promote economic growth, development, and food security in sub-Saharan Africa. These efforts will focus on bringing agricultural policy, legislation, regulations and production methods within the assigned region into compliance with international obligations and strengthening SPS regulatory infrastructure. These efforts will also support agricultural development and assist in meeting international standards, which will enable agricultural commodities produced in sub-Saharan Africa to become eligible for export to new markets while maintaining existing markets.

Desired Skills and Experience

Experience in foreign cultures, preferably sub-Saharan Africa, i.e., living and working under difficult conditions, either through several short-term assignments or long-term residential postings. Competency in a foreign language, especially French, is preferred.

The position requires important coordination, communication and management skills related to a broad-based technical assistance program involving many actors and government departments in highly visible and politicized sectors. The incumbent will provide specialized skills and services related to improving governmental capacity in Sanitary and Phytosanitary systems.

Technical knowledge:

·         Advanced experience in the field of study and experience with sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) and/or agricultural policy programs is preferred.

·         Significant experience in addressing issues related to sanitary and phytosanitary systems through technical assistance is desired. The candidate should have experience working in the field of international development, implementing technical assistance programs, and solving complex problems overseas.

·         Demonstrated knowledge related to international trade issues concerning agricultural issues related to sub-Saharan Africa, such as Trade Africa, AGOA, the Feed the Future Initiative, and socio-economic/political factors as they pertain to sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in a government-to-government context. Familiarity with USAID-funded programs preferred.

·         Demonstrated understanding of the roles, functions, activities and goals of USDA and international organizations involved in regulating agricultural trade, their relevant scientific and technical disciplines and program areas in order to utilize expertise to implement technical assistance and training activities in partner countries;

·         A working knowledge of USG positions and approaches to SPS infrastructure and regulatory frameworks, agriculture, trade, capacity building and economic development, demonstrated knowledge of the complex linkages in SPS policy and programs, and knowledge of the USG and international organizations involved in setting SPS regulatory standards;


·         Experience with contributing to a team within a complex management structure, and ability to communicate and work collaboratively and effectively cross-culturally with USG agencies, staff members of international organizations and foreign governments as well as officials and staff at all levels of USG agencies;

·         Ability to prioritize, define and initiate/coordinate priorities and to weigh various approaches to achieve objectives, foresee possible impact of actions taken and to motivate changes in approach as warranted; and to analyze project activities and administrative processes and initiate action for improvements in developing, conflict, and post-conflict societies.


·         The ability to quickly and effectively identify, articulate, and diplomatically present positions favorable to USG SPS interests and communicate technical issues to a broad range of audiences, including speaking authoritatively at technical levels with a wide range of decision-makers in a cross-cultural setting.

·         Knowledge and understanding of social, economic, language and cultural differences and the ability to employ such knowledge in sensitive negotiations with U.S. and international partners, where programs may involve substantial resources, sensitive cultural differences, and conflicting goals and objectives.

About this company

This East Africa SPS Advisor position is funded under a Participating Agency Service Agreement (PASA) established by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Africa Bureau in Washington, which is intended to provide assistance to improve the public and private sector Sanitary and Phytosanitary infrastructure (systems and personnel), promote regional agricultural integration in sub-Saharan Africa, and initiatives under the Feed the Future Initiative through a Government-to-Government program of programmatic and technical assistance.

The mission of the Office of Capacity Building and Development (OCBD) of the Foreign Agricultural Service is to assist the entire U.S. Department of Agriculture, other federal agencies, and associated institutions, industries, and organizations with global responsibilities to strengthen food and agricultural systems and natural resources in developing and middle-income countries and, at the same time, strengthen U.S. agricultural competitiveness and leadership through collaborative programs.

Within OCBD, TSCBD implements programs to assist developing countries and other emerging markets in meeting their World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations and strengthening policy and regulatory frameworks, especially on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures (including food safety), to promote agricultural trade flow and food security and, conversely, to avoid or eliminate unjustified technical barriers to international trade.

The TSCB Regulatory and Policy Capacity Building Branch is implementing an SPS capacity building program for sub-Saharan Africa to address the regulatory needs of countries that are eligible for trade preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and targeted to receive assistance under the Feed the Future Initiative (FTF). Through an ongoing interagency agreement between TSCB and the USAID, TSCB is initiating new projects with partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa to enhance food security and support international trade through compliance with and implementation of SPS regulations. The SPS capacity building program for sub-Saharan Africa includes selection and management of project staff, determination and provision of targeted technical assistance and/or technical cooperation, project implementation, and assessment.


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