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National Constitution and Gender Expert on Nigerian House of Representatives
|Location :||Abuja, NIGERIA|
|Application Deadline :||23-Sep-21 (Midnight New York, USA)|
|Additional Category :||Democratic Governance and Peacebuilding|
|Type of Contract :||Individual Contract|
|Post Level :||National Consultant|
|Languages Required :||English|
|Starting Date :|
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
|Duration of Initial Contract :||60 working days spread over 3 months|
|Expected Duration of Assignment :||60 working days spread over 3 months|
UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.
Women in Nigeria face many challenges to entering and remaining engaged in politics. Undemocratic party nomination processes and negative gender stereotypes hinder women from taking on leadership positions in public life. These are deeply entrenched in a patriarchal, male-dominant culture with minimal political will to make the changes needed to improve women’s political participation. Unequal skills and lack of financial capacity amongst other things are all barriers to women’s active engagement in politics. The 2019 polls recorded a decline in the number of women elected into national and state legislatures. For instance, the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) Report revealed that 2,970 women were on the electoral ballot, representing only 11.36% of nominated candidates. Only 62 women were elected representing 4.17% of the elected officials. This figure represents a decline from the 2015-19 period, when women formed 5.65% of elected officials and risks declining further without robust action to reverse the trend. Nigeria is entering into a critical stage of its election cycle, with only two years until the 2023 elections. Support for enhancing women’s participation and leadership in decision-making is critical to Nigeria’s development and recovery processes and ensures that gains made in promoting women’s political representation are not lost.
Against this backdrop, UNDP will be collaborating with UN Women to support legal reforms to promote women’s political participation in Nigeria.
UNDP is the United Nations’ global development network with the mandate of advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience, and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP has been supporting the government and people of Nigeria to address developmental challenges through strengthening and building institutions that promote inclusive sustainable development and democratic governance.
UN Women, on the other hand, grounded in the vision of equality as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Placing women’s rights at the center of all its efforts, UN Women leads and coordinates the United Nations System’s efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It provides strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors.
Women’s political participation and leadership is a priority area of focus for the UN Women Nigeria Country Office. In the same vein, UNDP focuses on the promotion of inclusive governance which entails active participation of marginalized groups such as women in politics and governance. Nigeria has ratified and is a party to several international and regional instruments on women’s rights such as the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, as well as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. However, critical challenges remain in the application and domestication of such frameworks, ranking Nigeria among the lowest in Africa for women’s representation in government.
In line with the above, UN Women in Nigeria is currently supporting the ongoing constitutional review process in Nigeria, which commenced in early February 2020, to improve the normative framework and to strengthen and protect women’s rights. The Senate Constitutional Review Committee’s (SCRC) Plan of Action includes: (1) A call for memoranda which delineates scope of work relating to different thematic areas; (2) The establishment of a technical team of consultants to analyze all submissions and turn them into operations for the relevant sections of the constitution; (3) Virtual and physical outreach to collate views and opinions of Nigerians; (4) The SCRC is to present its report to the Senate Plenary by June 2021.
UN Women’s support to the review process to date has included a gender analysis of the 1999 constitution, highlighting discriminatory provisions and making formulations for amendments. Furthermore, UN Women has supported the development of draft bills to promote gender equality in consultation with key stakeholders such as civil society and the constitutional review committee. In January 2021, UN Women supported the senate constitutional review committee’s technical team of consultants to convene a retreat to analyze memoranda submitted by several interest groups. More recently, UN Women supported to mobilize women groups and male allies to participate in the constitution review public hearings in May 2021, to amplify women’s voices and the need for reforms to promote women’s rights and gender equality. UN Women has deployed a gender and constitutional technical expert who has been supporting the SCRC to ensure gender is mainstreamed in the process and the adoption of gender-sensitive reforms. The expert has so far been an invaluable resource to the SCRC, being the only female in a team of 20 technical consultants supporting the SCRC. The SCRC is currently at the fourth stage of the review process, a critical stage where amendment reforms are being adopted to be presented to the senate plenary.
UN Women has also made notable investments to advance passage of the ‘Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill’ through the provision of both technical and funding support toward passage of the GEO Bill, including funding of the National Coalition on Affirmative Action to mobilize attendance from women’s groups for the public hearing on the GEO Bill in 2018. UN Women facilitated a consultative dialogue with the Senators’ Wives Forum, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Cardinal Onaiyekan and a coalition of women’s religious groups to examine and identify points of disagreement within the Bill and elicit support for its passage. Current efforts include support to a GEOB Technical Working Committee (TWC) established in September 2020 to drive the process of passing the GEOB into law
Against this background, UNDP in collaboration with UN Women will also be providing support to the House of Representatives Committee on Constitutional Review to mainstream gender in the review process and ensure that the adoption of gender reforms to protect women’s rights and promote gender equality by the review committee. Furthermore, the collaboration with UNDP will be geared towards sustaining UN Women’s current support to the efforts by TWC to pass GEOB into law. This partnership between UNDP and UN Women is aimed at strengthening legal reforms to enhance women’s political participation. It is along this line that UNDP and UN Women seek to engage a gender and constitutional expert to provide support to the HoR at this critical stage of the review process, to guarantee that gains made in the review process so far are not lost, and concurrently support efforts towards passage of the GEOB.
Duties and Responsibilities
Purpose and Objectives of the Assignment:
The purpose of this short-term consultancy is to support UNDP and UN Women to provide gender technical expertise to support parallel efforts of the ongoing constitution review process and passage of the GEOB through engagement of a gender and constitutional consultant.
Support the House of Representatives (HoR) review committee to mainstream gender in the constitution review process, particularly in the analysis of constitution review proposals and to make recommendations for the adoption of gender sensitive reforms.
Main Tasks: The consultant will support the constitutional review committee of the National Assembly, and perform the following tasks:
Support to the House of Representatives Constitution Review Committee
Be a part of the technical team of consultants supporting the work of the HoR Constitution Review Committee.
Advocacy for passage of the GEOB
One-on-one outreach to technical consultants of the HoR to sensitize them and advocate for the adoption of gender reforms in the ongoing constitution review process.
Provide monthly updates on all HoR and joint meetings with the SCRC.
Monthly updates on all HoR and joint meetings with the SCRC.
Hiring Agency and Specific Consultancy Requirement:
UN Women in collaboration with UNDP is seeking the services of a national consultant with strong experience in legal framework, the development of gender-sensitive laws in Nigeria, policy review and development and strong knowledge of the Nigerian 1999 constitution. The National consultant should have a background in constitutional law with strong linkages with the Nigerian National Assembly.
Appropriate and Transparent Decision Making: Demonstrate informed and transparent decision making.
Required Skills and Experience
Education and certification:
PhD in legal studies
At least 15 years of experience in law and legal research.
Fluency in written and spoken English is required