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Legal Specialist (P-4), FT, # 00021680, Nutrition Section, PD - NYHQ

Apply now Job no: 535404
Contract type: Fixed Term Appointment
Level: P-4
Location: United States
Categories: Nutrition, P-4

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

One of the critical goals of UNICEF for child survival and development is to improve child nutrition and prevent associated mortality and morbidity. Although significant progress has been made, there are still 149 million children under 5 with stunting and almost 50 million with wasting. Meanwhile overweight and obesity in children and young people are continuing to rise, and increasingly among the poor. To address this, UNICEF will be launching a new nutrition strategy (2020-2030 inspired by the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which recognizes the right of children – all children, without exception, from birth to age 18 years – to adequate nutrition as a human right. 

For every child, good nutrition….

The Legal Specialist will work in the Programme Area on Early Childhood Nutrition under the guidance of the Senior Nutrition Advisor. The Legal Specialist will work closely with other members within the Programme Area as well as members of the Nutrition Section, particularly with Programme Area on the nutrition of school children, adolescents and women, and members of Programme Division more widely. The Legal Specialist will supervise the work of three regional Legal Consultants (for EAPRO, EASARO, and WCARO) and will also work closely with UNICEF’s implementing partners and donors. The position involves frequent travel.

You will be responsible for providing technical and legal support in all aspects of childhood and maternal nutrition, with a particular focus on the protection of early childhood nutrition, including infant and young child feeding, and the prevention of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents through the adoption and implementation of appropriate legislative frameworks and policies, in furtherance of UNICEF’s Nutrition Strategy 2020-2030 and guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, World Health Assembly Resolutions, and relevant WHO and UNICEF policy guidance and recommendations.

How can you make a difference?

Technical and legal advice for policy and programming on early childhood nutrition, including infant and young child feeding, and the prevention of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents

  • Provide legal and technical information and advice, including comments on draft legislation, to governments seeking to develop and implement policies and laws protecting breastfeeding and regulating marketing practices of breastmilk substitutes and other foods for infants and young children, and reducing overweight and obesity in children through:
  • the implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes,
  • ratification and implementation of the ILO Maternity Protection Convention and Recommendation of 2000.
  • Restrictions to protect children from the harmful impact of food marketing
  • Adoption of taxes for ‘junk’ food and sugary and sweet beverages and subsidies on healthy foods
  • Adoption of front-of-pack nutrition labelling requirements that identify High in Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS) foods and beverages
  • Reformulation of processed foods including portion sizes
  • Policies and standards on food, nutrition in preschools, primary and secondary schools and for the sale of foods and beverages in and around schools

This will include the following:

  • Coordinate with and provide programmatic, legal and technical support to UNICEF field and regional offices, including analysis and evaluation of prospective legislative/regulatory policies, and contribute to their further development and advocate for their adoption.
  • Provide guidance on the use of a child rights approach
  • Review and monitor country level progress towards legislative goals and prepare the necessary follow-up to ensure that project objectives are achieved with equity.
  • Contribute to the organization’s policy development in private sector collaboration to ensure that potential relationships do not undermine programmes in infant and young child nutrition.

Technical and legal support related to food industry and NCDs, conflict of interest in nutrition programmes and policy making and international trade implications of regulatory and policy interventions.

  • Provide technical and legal support and policy guidance to Chief of Section, Director, Programme Division and Office of the Executive Director on the organization’s relationships with the food and beverage industry.
  • Provide technical advice and guidance in legal and regulatory matters related to the avoidance of conflict of interest in nutrition programmes and policy making and in relation to international trade implications of regulatory and policy interventions.
  • Work with PDDO, Private Fundraising and Partnerships and National Committees to bring UN agencies and other partners on board with UNICEF's approach to dealing with food and beverage industry.

Knowledge management and sharing

  • Maintain country and general files on legislative / regulatory / policy developments and contribute to breastfeeding / complementary feeding/ overweight and obesity / nutrition databases
  • Organize legislative and legal research on issues such as nutrition and equity, maternity rights and legislation, applicability of the Convention on the rights of the Child and the Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights to programming on maternal and child nutrition and childhood overweight and obesity,
  • Prepare planning and monitoring documents relating to implementation of nutrition regulatory measures; analyze data; prepare monitoring reports, written reports, progress and status reports as necessary.

Networking and partnership

  • Represent UNICEF, as appropriate, at meetings and through coordination and collaboration with the relevant national and international agencies, particularly WHO, ILO and the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the relevant NGO professional partners,
  • Act as Human Rights focal point for the section and liaise with relevant bodies (Committee on the Rights of the Child, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food).

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in Advanced Law Degree, with specialization or experience in International Health/Public Health/Public Health Nutrition and relevant international regulatory policies and their application to the national context, or other related field is required.
  • A minimum of 8 (eight) years of professional experience, at the national and international levels in the area of provision of legal advice and support, advocacy for improved regulatory frameworks and their monitoring and enforcement is required, including for example:
    • Provision of legal advice and support in the context of public health and drafting of national regulations
    • Advocacy for strengthened public health policy frameworks to close existing loopholes and ensure full alignment with international recommendations
    • Capacity building of policy makers, lawyers and/or health professionals to critically appraise existing regulations and be aware of best practices in application of regulations
    • Monitoring of regulatory initiatives
  • Knowledge of international trade agreements in order to provide guidance and support to countries around international legal obligations and regulatory space
  • Fluency in English (written and verbal) is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s core values of Care, Respective, Integrity, Trust and Accountability.

Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

For more information on remuneration and benefits, please visit UNICEF’s Entitlements’ page.  If you would like to find estimates for entitlements, you may use the online Salary Estimate Calculator

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, race, sexual orientation, nationality, culture, appearance, socio-economic status, ability, age, religious, and ethnic backgrounds, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.

Advertised: Eastern Standard Time
Deadline: Eastern Standard Time

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