Natural Justice Seeking Francophone Lawyer for Africa

Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment is seeking a Francophone lawyer or legal practitioner for its African projects. The lawyer/legal practitioner would primarily be working on the interface between community rights and environmental law, described as bio-cultural rights, and ideally would have a background in these fields. He/she would be required to assist in regional projects advising communities, community based organizations (CBOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and governments on relevant human rights and environmental law and policy, including  the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The individual should be fluent in English and French and be able to communicate technical legal language to a wide range of audiences, ranging from communities to policy makers and international negotiators. The lawyer/legal practitioner would be based out of the Cape Town, South Africa, office and be required to travel frequently. The full call for applications can be read below.

Position: Legal Advisor for Francophone Africa
Organisation: Natural Justice: Lawyers for communities and the environment
Location: Cape Town, SA
Start date: Immediate
Deadline: December 9, 2011

Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment is seeking a lawyer with experience in Francophone Africa to guide Natural Justice’s work in the region, based out of the organization’s office in Cape Town, South Africa, with frequent travel. The lawyer will primarily work on providing legal advice on international, regional and national human rights and environmental law and policy to Natural Justice and its partners in Francophone Africa. The lawyer will assist in regional projects advising communities, community-based organisations (CBOs), non-governmental organisations and governments on relevant laws and policies that seek to safeguard biodiversity and the role of communities as stewards of biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge, including the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity on Access and Benefit Sharing. The position will initially be for one year with potential for extension.

Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment is an international collective of legal practitioners that was established in South Africa in January 2007 with the vision of using the law to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity through the self-determination of Indigenous peoples and local communities. Natural Justice’s mission is to facilitate the full and effective participation of communities in the development and implementation of law and policy that impacts biodiversity and associated cultural heritage. In order to realize this, Natural Justice works closely with communities on the ground while simultaneously engaging with governmental and intergovernmental processes at the national and international level to ensure the effective representation of community concerns. Natural Justice currently advises and assists communities, CBOs and governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Natural Justice also provides technical support to a number of inter-governmental organizations including the UNEP, UNESCO, FAO and the UNDP. Please refer to our website and our blog for further information. Candidates should submit their CV and a letter of motivation via email to gino[at] by December 9, 2011.


  • Provide legal advice to Natural Justice partners in francophone Africa on relevant human rights and environmental law and policy in international and regional legal frameworks;
  • Research relevant international and national legal frameworks and jurisprudence for Natural Justice partners as necessary;
  • Support communities to develop of bio-cultural community protocols (BCPs)1 through Natural Justice’s African BCP Initiative;
  • Assist NJ in drafting publications based on its work in Africa;
  • Explore new potential areas of work and engage with potential partners and donors in Francophone Africa;
  • Guide the translation of NJ publications and other documents from French to English and English to French;
  • Liaise and share information with the organizations partners in Asia and Latin America;
  • Supporting African governments to draft and/or implement ABS legislation in accordance with the Nagoya Protocol.


  • LLB or equivalent degree or experience as a legal practitioner.
  • Fluent in French and English
  • Knowledge of regional and international human rights and environmental laws, including the Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Ability to travel frequently


  • At least one year experience as a lawyer in francophone Africa, including work utilizing regional and international bio-cultural legal frameworks
  • Experience in drafting, reviewing and/or advising on legislation

For further information on the position, please contact Gino Cocchiaro at gino[at]

Footnote 1: Biocultural community protocols (BCPs) are community‐led instruments that promote participatory advocacy for the recognition and support for ways of life based on the customary and sustainable use of biodiversity, according to standards and procedures set out in customary, national and international laws and policies. In this sense, biocultural community protocols are community‐specific declarations of the right to diversity and claims to social pluralism. Their value and integrity lie in the process that communities undertake to develop them, in what the protocols represent to the community, and in their future uses and impacts.

11 November 2011

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