Economic Affairs Officer (Food Systems), P-3

8 Min Read

UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

Economic Affairs Officer (Food Systems), P-3 2

Position description

Org. Setting and Reporting

The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) forms part of the United Nations Secretariat and, like the other regional commissions, operates under the supervision of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. ESCWA comprises 21 Arab countries in Western Asia and North Africa. ESCWA provides a framework for the formulation and harmonization of sectoral policies for member countries, a platform for congress and coordination, a home for expertise and knowledge, and an information observatory. ESCWA activities are coordinated with the divisions and main offices of the Headquarters of the United Nations, specialized agencies, and international and regional organizations, including the League of Arab States and its subsidiary bodies, and the Gulf Cooperation Council. This position is located in ESCWA, in the Climate Change and Natural Resource Sustainability Cluster. The Economic Affairs Officer works under the overall supervision of the Climate Change and Natural Resource Sustainability Cluster Leader and reports directly to a Senior Economics Affairs Officer.


Within delegated authority, the duties of the Economic Affairs Officer fall mainly into the three functional areas below.


  • Provide policy advice and technical support to ESCWA member States on the transformation of food systems within the context of accelerating the implementation of sustainable development goals;
  • Develops databases and qualitative information necessary for assignments related to food systems, including issues related to food and water security, climate change, trade, finance, agriculture sustainability and food systems transformation;
  • Interprets, applies and, as necessary, adapts econometric models to determine national and regional trends, patterns and relationships and to analyse the effects of alternative food system policies and assumptions;
  • Drafts specified inputs for technical papers and analytical studies on selected global, regional, national or sector aspects of economic development with respect to food systems that support policy-making processes in member States, with a view to issues related to inequality, vulnerability, and resilience;
  • Identifies and analyses policy proposals for the benefit of member States;
  • Attends international, regional, and national meetings to collect information and to hold discussions on food systems transformation with member States and colleagues in other institutions;
  • Assists in the organization and servicing of expert group meetings, seminars, etc. on development issues;
  • Prepares speeches and other inputs for presentations by senior staff.


  • Prepares inputs for reports to intergovernmental bodies;
  • Follows intergovernmental meetings and prepares summary reports;
  • Assists in the organization of panels, round tables etc. on development issues for intergovernmental processes.


  • Participates in missions on development issues, usually as a member of a team and in support of requests related to food systems received from member States;
  • Organizes training seminars for national experts;
  • Prepares documentation for technical cooperation programmes and projects;
  • Contributes to the preparation of material for the approval and implementation of regional, country or sector technical cooperation projects;
  • Monitors, backstops and assesses the implementation of technical cooperation programmes and projects related to food systems.


  • Performs other related duties as required, including a variety of administrative tasks necessary for the final delivery of the cluster’s services;
  • Undertakes on-the-job and other training activities, both internally and externally.


  • PROFESSIONALISM: Ability to apply economic theories and concepts related to food systems and sustainable development. Ability to conduct independent research on economic topics related to food systems transformation, including trade, finance, climate change, water and food security, and agricultural sustainability as well as issues related to inequality, vulnerability and resilience of food systems, and determine the suitability, validity and accuracy of data provided by different sources. Shows skill in developing sources for data collection. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work;
  • TEAMWORK: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings;
  • PLANNING AND ORGANIZING: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in economics, trade, finance, agriculture, food security, sustainable development or related field is required. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in economic research and analysis, food security/food systems policy formulation, application of economic principles in development programmes or related area is required. At least one year of demonstrated experience writing reports on food systems-related issues is required. At least one year of work experience in the area of food systems or food security in the Arab region is desirable. Demonstrated experience constructing databases and applying economic models to inform policy analysis related to food systems is desirable.


  • English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. In addition, Arabic is a working language at ESCWA. For this position, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of Arabic is desirable. Knowledge of French is desirable. Note: “Fluency” equals a rating of ‘fluent’ in all four areas (speak, read, write, and understand) and “Knowledge of” equals a rating of ‘confident’ in two of the four areas.

Application instructions

Please be sure to indicate you saw this position on

Apply Now
***Show some love and please mention* in your application***
***We also feel loved when you share it***

Share This Article