NPSA - National Legal Expert Ghana

Location : Homeb-based, GHANA
Application Deadline :01-Nov-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction
Type of Contract :NPSA (Short-Term)
Post Level :NPSA-5
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :120 days / over 12 months
Expected Duration of Assignment :120 days / over 12 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.


Instructions to Applicants:  Click on the "Apply now" button. Input your information in the appropriate Sections: personal information, language proficiency, education, résume and motivation. Upon completion of the first page, please hit "submit application" tab at the end of the page. Please ensure that your CV or P11 and the cover letter are combined in one file.

Personal CV or P11, indicating all past positions held and their main underlying functions, their durations (month/year), the qualifications, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the applicant, and the contact details for three (3) most recent professional references which may include previous supervisors and peers.

A cover letter (maximum length: 1 page) indicating why the candidate considers him-/herself to be suitable for the position.


UNDP is the knowledge frontier organization for sustainable development in the UN Development System and serves as the integrator for collective action to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNDP’s policy work carried out at HQ, Regional and Country Office levels, forms a contiguous spectrum of deep local knowledge to cutting-edge global perspectives and advocacy. In this context, UNDP invests in the Global Policy Network (GPN), a network of field-based and global technical expertise across a wide range of knowledge domains and in support of the signature solutions and organizational capabilities envisioned in the Strategic Plan.


Within the GPN, the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) has the responsibility for developing all relevant policy and guidance to support the results of UNDP’s Strategic Plan.  BPPS’s staff provides technical advice to Country Offices; advocates for UNDP corporate messages, represents UNDP at multi-stakeholder fora including public-private dialogues, government and civil society dialogues, and engages in UN inter-agency coordination in specific thematic areas.  BPPS ensures that issues of risk are fully integrated into UNDP’s development programmes and assists UNDP and partners to achieve higher quality development results through an integrated approach that links results-based management and performance monitoring with more effective and new ways of working.  BPPS supports UNDP and partners to be more innovative, knowledge and data driven including in its programme support efforts.


Climate change mitigation – or reducing greenhouse gas emissions - is essential to fulfilling commitments to the Paris Agreement and limiting the global mean temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. UNDP, with more than 280 climate change mitigation projects and programs in over 110 countries, is a key actor supporting countries in their emission reduction plans, contributing to ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions.  Activities in energy, as well as forests and agriculture, will be critical to meeting global mitigation objectives. 


UNDP’s approach to forestry aligns with the SDG 15 and contributes to UNDP's 'signature solution' on environment and nature-based solutions for development. Deforestation and forest degradation accounts for more than 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and it is clear that the stabilization of global temperatures cannot be achieved without reducing emissions from the forest sector. UNDP's Climate and Forests programme supports countries to conserve and sustainably manage forests and ensure sustainable and equitable development paths that lead towards carbon neutrality. More information here:


Forest support up to 80% of terrestrial biodiversity and can offset up to one-third of the carbon emissions to reach the climate commitments. However, forest sector receive about 1% of total climate finance. The engagement of private sector companies with ambitious mitigation targets related to forests can contribute to cover this gap.

On 24th September 2018, a global Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Eni s.P.a and UNDP. The MoU provides a framework of cooperation and facilitates and strengthens collaboration between the two institutions. Stemming from this global MoU and following a meeting between the CEO of Eni and the President of the Republic of Ghana on October 3rd, 2018, Ghana became the first country to operationalize the MoU and initiate concrete collaborations.


Through a Development Services Agreement with Eni,  the UNDP’s Climate and Forests Programme Team based on its expertise garnered over the last 10 years with REDD+  will  develop, for Eni,  a large climate mitigation programme in the AFOLU (Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use) and energy sectors in Ghana. This integrated REDD+ programme will address the drivers of deforestation, forest degradation and the barriers to the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks while also promoting energy efficiency in Ghana.


As REDD+ or other forest-based climate funding schemes become an important resource for forest conservation and development, issues pertaining the legal title to emission reductions/ carbon rights need to be considered by developing countries implementing REDD+ programs.


Duties and Responsibilities

Carbon rights have been defined by some experts, as a form of property that ‘commoditize’ carbon and allow it to be traded in voluntary and regulatory markets (Lisa Ogle, Environmental legal expert). Carbon rights are also considered as intangible rights created by people carrying out certain activities under relevant laws or contracts. Therefore, carbon rights could rather be compared to intellectual property rights that are intimately associated with an activity (Streck, C., 2008). As such, it can be reasonably asserted by analogy that forest carbon or carbon in trees is owned by the person/entity who owns forestlands, encompassing the category of usufruct rights and forest user rights. In referring to forest carbon rights, laws and contracts may also distinguish between sequestered carbon, carbon sink, carbon sequestration potential, carbon stock or carbon credits (FAO, 2012). Carbon rights have also been defined as “a new and unprecedented type of property right” (LaViña, 2010).


Regardless of whether it is a new property right, reducing carbon emissions in the forest sector through REDD+, will invariably result in some restriction on the rights of land and forest owners to maximize benefits from their property. REDD+ will have an impact on owners of land and trees depending on whether they are deemed to own the carbon in their trees (FAO, 2012).


Market-based programs and standards for REDD+ have requirements related to the legal title/ ownership of emission reductions. Developing countries’ existing legal frameworks in some cases encompasses legal instruments that may satisfy these requirements. In other cases, additional regulation may be required to provide enough assurances to those paying for emission reductions that these emission reductions are under the domain of the country that is receiving the payments and that these will not be sold twice. In other cases, when there is a transfer of rights to the carbon, legal title is needed, so national legislation needs to be assessed for this provision. Market-based finance for REDD+ in the future depends on their ability to meet these requirements.


As part of its participation in the Carbon Fund, a report on emission reductions (ER) rights and benefit sharing in the context of REDD+ was prepared.  This report highlights that the Government of Ghana has not passed any legislation that clarifies ER rights. The current understanding of ER rights is based on the contractual arrangements to be signed with collective bodies representing the interests of relevant local stakeholders, in accordance with the designation of beneficiaries in the benefit-sharing plan. The general perception is that the GoG doesn´t intend to regulate ER rights. The current arrangements nevertheless were deemed satisfactory for the Methodological Framework of the World Bank Carbon Fund, and presumable the ART-TREES standard, if the framework agreements to be signed between the GoG and the collective bodies-local group of actors (Sub-HIA, CSC Consortium, Governance Board) clarifying the share of responsibilities and benefits while entitling ERs to the GoG, are effectively signed with a large number of stakeholders representing a consistent portion of the intervention area.       


The activities to be carried out and outputs to be achieved are:


1.     Assess if the proposed legal framework established under the World Bank Carbon Fund, more specifically the framework agreement for implementation of the Ghana Cocoa forest REDD+ Program in the Juabaso/ Bia Hotspot Intervention area, complies with the VCS JNR Version 4 standard legal requirements. To do that the consultant should anticipate any issues regarding the integration between non-state stakeholders’ rights and jurisdictional rights  as it concerns/for the purposes of developing a jurisdictional REDD+ initiative that can generate ERs to be transacted with Eni.


2.     Assess if local representative bodies could enter into agreements with the jurisdictional proponent, and/or if the rights of non-state stakeholders refer to land rights only or are linked to other bundle of rights (e.g., beneficiaries’ rights).


3.    Map the relevant stakeholders in the proposed jurisdictional program area (landowners, community member, etc.) and propose a participatory process for the signature of sub-agreements and estimate how much time and resources this would take.


4.    Propose a regulatory solution for the operationalization of the sub-agreements proposed under the World Bank Carbon Fund for the specific project area with Eni in order to ensure complementarity between both programs and avoid double claims of RBPs and analyze this in relation to ongoing development of Ghana’s legal framework pertaining to carbon market mechanisms.


5.    Assess options to foster a stronger and more direct involvement of farmers as beneficiaries receiving monetary compensations through the benefit-sharing and signature of sub-agreements.


6.     Review the mandate and assess the functional adequacy to improve institutions ‘intervention in the territory  currently responsible for forest and land tenure, land use planning and forest management in the program area ; and


7.    Organize a national workshop to present and validate the outcomes of the legal review in conjunction with the Forestry Commission and other stakeholders considering that a strong civil society and an active private sector involvement may be central to successful sector reforms and sustainable development.


Insitutional Arrangement


The selected candidate will be supervised by, and report to the Global Advisor, Climate and Forests Programme, UNDP BPPS.  S/he will work closely with the Ghanaian Government counterparts, and especially colleagues at the Forestry Commission working on legal issues,  the UNDP Country Office, the Ghana Eni country Office, and the Climate and Forests Regional Technical Specialist.  Payments will be made on a monthly basis. A Certificate of Payment (CoP) together with a timesheet will be submitted to the Global Advisor, Climate and Forests Programme who will review and clear the CoP, and for approval by the Principal Technical Advisor.

If required, UNDP will cover travel costs to field missions within Ghana, and will be processed in accordance with UNDP travel policy.






Professionalism: Shows pride in work and 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.


Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; Asks questions to clarify and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; Tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience; Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.


Client Orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be "clients " and seeks to see things from clients' point of view; Establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; Identifies clients' needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; Monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients' environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; Keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; Meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.


Required Skills and Experience

Min. Academic Education

Law Degree or master’s degree specialized in international and/or environmental law, or climate legal, policy and regulatory framework.

Min. years of relevant Work experience

Minimum of 5 years progressive working experience in Ghana with environmental law issues, including legal aspects related to climate change, forest carbon and REDD+.

Required  skills and competencies

  • An understanding of forest carbon markets and associated voluntary carbon market standards and their legal requirements;
  • Knowledge of legal aspects related to the World Bank Carbon Fund, UNFCCC, REDD+;
  • Demonstrated strategic technical and intellectual skills in substantive area;
  • Full computer literacy;  
  • Good organizational, time management and strong interpersonal skills

Desired additional skills and competencies

  • Experience working with UNDP or an international organization is an advantage; and
  • Familiarity with forest carbon markets and associated standards.

Required Language(s) (at working level)

  • Full proficiency in English is essential


The following documents shall be required from the applicants:

  1. Personal CV or P11, indicating all past positions held and their main underlying functions, their durations (month/year), the qualifications, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate, and at least three (3) the most recent professional references of previous supervisors. References may also include peers.

  2. A cover letter (maximum length: 1 page) indicating why the candidate considers him-/herself to be suitable for the position.


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