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Vacant Position of Law Officer - Public Health Advocacy

Background:

Non communicable Diseases (NCDs) kills nearly 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally. NCDs disproportionately affect people in low and middle income countries where more than 3 quarters of the global NCDs deaths occur. With no exception to Pakistan, the burden of NCDs is on the rise. According to the NCD Steps Survey 2014-15, more than four out of ten (41.3%) are obese or overweight, while 37% have hypertension. According to International Diabetes Federation 2021Atlas, Pakistan has the 3rdhighest burden of type 2 diabetes worldwide with more than 33 million cases. The impact of this high burden of obesity and related NCDs is evident. The diet related risk factors are top human risks contributing to increased morbidity and mortality. Diet is one of the strongest determinants of health and nutritional status. Inappropriate and unhealthy dietary practices are responsible for the increased prevalence of nutritional deficiencies and disorders, overweight and obesity, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, cancers and other chronic diseases. Unhealthy food consumption patterns and excessive use of salt, sugars, saturated and trans-fatty acids have devastating effects on health of the masses.

Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) is working to advocate evidence based policies to reduce the consumption ultra-processed food and beverage products (UPPs) high in salt, sugar, saturated fats and trans-fatty acids. These policies include; 1) Taxing Sugar Sweetened Beverages, 2) Front-of-package labels and warning signs (FOPWL), 3) Marketing restrictions, and 4) Healthy school food environment – School Food Policy. To fulfil this objective, PANAH is seeking to hire a legal professional to support legal initiatives for the its healthy diet projects. The legal position will play a crucial role in providing legal expertise, conducting research, and supporting in advocacy efforts to achieve the project’s objectives.

Responsibilities:

  1. Provide legal expertise and support in drafting and amending regulations aimed at reducing consumption of ultra-processed food and beverage products, including taxing sugar sweetened beverages and imposing FOPWL on UPPs.
  2. Conduct legal research and analysis on relevant provincial, national and international laws, regulations, and policies related to UPPs, to better understand the legal framework, and strengthen advocacy efforts. (Formulation and implementation phases).
  3. Support in collaborating with stakeholders, including government agencies, legal experts, and advocacy groups, to advance legislative, regulatory and policy changes.
  4. Support in the development of advocacy materials, including legal briefs, tax proposals, cut motions, calling attentions, position papers, and policy recommendations for reduction of consumption of UPPs through priority policy measures advised by PANAH.
  5. Support PANAH’s efforts in drafting legal instruments and in mapping the legislative pathway for the imposing FOPWLs through legal avenues. This involves evaluating opportunities and risks, as well as collecting evidence from national and international best practices.
  6. Explore litigation opportunities to advance best policies standards and to support the advocacy efforts where appropriate
  7. Collaborate with project team, participate in meetings, workshops, and conferences related to the project and provide legal input as necessary.
  8. Any other tasks assigned by the PANAH within the scope of projects related to healthy diet. 

Scope of Work: Mapping the Legislative and Regulatory Process:

Mapping the legislative and Regulatory process includes the decision-making steps necessary to draft, approve, pass, and assent legislations and/or regulations aimed at taxing UPPs, imposing FOPWLs, marketing restrictions and school food policy. This comprehensive mapping effort will identify each stage in the legislative and/or regulatory pathway, from inception to enactment as law, regulations and provide a detailed roadmap for navigating the legislative and/or regulatory pathways.

The following key elements will be addressed:

  1. Identification of Steps for Legislation and Regulation: Determine the sequential stages involved in the process, spanning from the initial drafting of the legislation and/or regulation to its final enactment.
  2. Stakeholder Analysis: Identify the primary factors involved in the drafting of the legal instrument. If governmental entities are involved, outline the procedural steps for drafting and approval processes.
  3. Anticipating Opposition: Identify and assess potential opposition from parliamentary members, Civil Society Organizations and industry stakeholders, and their fronts groups, and devise strategies to address and mitigate potential challenges.
  4. Assess industry participation in the different stages of the policy cycle and whether is regulated by any mandatory or voluntary policy. For instance, are there any laws, regulations, or guidelines that favour or prevent industry participation in political spaces such as technical committees, parliament committees, etc.
  5. Identify the existence or lack of laws or regulations regarding conflict of interest of parliamentarians, political parties and regulatory bodies.
  6. Public Consultation: Assess whether a public notice and comment process exists that could influence the legislative or regulatory process.
  7. Committee Oversight: Determine which parliamentary committee holds oversight over the bill in case of legislative pathways.
  8. Committee-to-Floor Transition: Detail the process by which the bill progresses from committee review to floor vote.
  9. Decision-Making Dynamics: Identify key decision-makers at each stage of the legislative process, including during floor votes and readings.
  10. Voting Requirements: Determine the requisite voting thresholds at each stage of the legislative process.
  11. External Influences: Assess the influence exerted by political parties, governmental bodies, and external stakeholders on the legislative and regulatory processes.
  12. Contingency Planning: Develop strategies to address potential rejection or disputes at any stage of the legislative and regulatory journey.
  13. Implementation Procedures: Outline the post-enactment steps required for the implementation of the law, and/or regulations.

This mapping exercise will provide a comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape, enabling informed decision-making and strategic planning throughout the legislative and regulatory process. This would be a living document that should be updated constantly.

Qualifications:

  1. Master’s degree in law or related field.
  2. Minimum of 2 years of experience practicing law, with a focus on public health, food law, or related areas.
  3. Knowledge of national and international legal frameworks related to food safety, nutrition, and public health law.
  4. Strong research, analytical, and drafting skills, with the ability to interpret complex legal documents, legislation and regulations.
  5. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to effectively engage with diverse stakeholders.
  6. Proficiency in relevant computer applications and legal research tools.

Duration and Location:

  • The position is available for full time or part-time employment, with the possibility of extension based on funding availability and performance.
  • The position will be based at Islamabad, with occasional travel to project areas and meetings as required.

Application Process:

  • Interested individuals can send their detailed CV/Resumes along with cover letters to panah84@gmail.com. Last date for application is April 12th,2024.
  • Please mention your current and expected salary in the cover letter.
  • Please mention the post applied for in the subject line.
  • Please do not attach your degrees or any other supporting documentation.
  • PANAH can share the data of applicants with the partner organization to complete the interview and recruitment process by maintaining the transparency.

Timeline:

Recruitment process completion and candidate on boarding targeted by April 21st, 2024.