Location: Port Vila, Vanuatu
Duration: 2 years
Closing Date: 29 Jun 2012
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The economic vulnerability of small island states has largely been attributed to their inherent characteristics and problems which include physical isolation and distance from main markets, minimal share of world trade, low productivity and insufficient supply, inability to diversify production, high transport and transit costs, difficulties in attracting foreign investment and low competitiveness. International Trade has been increasingly recognised as an underpinning determinant of economic growth and developments in the Pacific Region.
The first Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) was opened for signature on 18 August 2001 and entered into force on 3 October 2003. In June 2009, Pacific Forum Trade Ministers agreed to the establishment of the Office of the Chief Trade Adviser (OCTA) forthwith. Ministers also recommended to Leaders to commence PACER Plus negotiations at the August 2009 Leaders’ Meeting. In August 2009 the Pacific Forum Leaders welcomed the Ministers decision to establish the OCTA. Leaders also agreed to recommendations from Forum Trade Ministers to commence PACER Plus negotiations to develop a more comprehensive framework of trade and economic cooperation with Australia and New Zealand. In October 2009, Ministers agreed that the provision of policy advise and capacity building to Forum Island Countries (FICs) in relation to PACER Plus will be the responsibility of the OCTA.
This project responds to remaining critical gaps in regional integration, trade capacities, trade policy and implementation, and trade agreement negotiations amongst the Pacific Forum Island Countries (FICs) negotiating PACER Plus.
This project will seek to address existing gaps in the OCTA related to its current level and make-up of human capacities to implement its work programme, including in providing policy advice and capacity building for the FICs, and in performing its regional coordinating and supportive role. The office is currently staffed by a core group to be led by the new Chief Trade Adviser; however specific capacity gaps exist in the availability of advanced economic and legal expertise. To support the PACER Plus process decision-makers require advice to outline the specific issues faced by each FIC. The OCTA also requires support to develop its role as a regional coordinator.
The immediate beneficiaries will be the OCTA and consequently Pacific FICs that are Members of the OCTA, which will gain a body of relevant and high-quality analysis and advice on trade issues relevant to Pacific FICs alongside tools and strategies to affect progress towards PACER Plus. Ultimately citizens of the Pacific FICs will benefit from improved economic growth, investment, cooperation and development assistance and employment opportunities on the basis of closer relations with Australia and New Zealand.
The purpose of this project is to enhance the capacity of OCTA to provide technical support and capacity building to the Pacific Forum Island Countries (FICs) in their PACER Plus negotiations. The support will include analysis of international trade and policy issues, engagement of relevant stakeholders, provision of advise on the development and coordination of negotiating positions and ensuring adequate and capable FIC representation in the PACER Plus negotiations.
PACER Plus Agreements are expected to improve economic growth, investment and employment opportunities for Pacific FICs on the basis of closer trade relations with Australia and New Zealand.
Expected Responsibilities (to include, but not necessarily limited to):
The project will provide two technical advisers under this project – an Economic Adviser (Trade) and a Legal Adviser (Trade). Both advisers will be based at the OCTA based in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Advisers will also engage in extensive regional consultations with OCTA members and relevant stakeholders including other regional organisations.
The project will be managed by the Technical Cooperation & Strategic Response Group (TCSRG) of the Commonwealth Secretariat, with technical support provided by Economic Affairs Division (EAD).
Monitoring and Evaluation of the project will take place during the course of its implementation. The Adviser will be expected to provide an Inception Report within two month followed by 6-monthly progress reports thereafter. There will also be a mid-term review conducted jointly by TCSRG and EAD. All reports will be submitted to the designated Project Manager at the Commonwealth Secretariat and signed by the Reporting Officer in the host organisation. A final Project Completion Report which combines evidence from all review mechanisms will be completed at the end of the project.
Chief Trade Adviser
Office of the Chief Trade Adviser, Port Vila, Vanuatu
The Commonwealth Secretariat attaches particular importance to the transfer of expertise and knowledge to counterparts. The adviser in his/her discussions with the Reporting Officer should draw attention to the need for key staff to be assigned as counterparts at the beginning of the assignment. This should be reported on in the Inception Report. A training programme for key counterpart staff should be produced by the adviser and agreed with the Reporting Officer. An update should be provided on this in the first Progress Report.
The successful candidate should possess the following experience and qualifications to be considered for this post:
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