Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Technical Adviser (Earth Observations for Agricultural Statistics and SDG Monitoring)

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Job Description

  IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note that Closure Date and Time displayed above are based on date and time settings of your personal device The length of appointment for internal FAO candidates will be established in accordance with applicable policies pertaining to the extension of appointments • FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, background and culture • Qualified female applicants, qualified nationals of non-and under-represented member nations and person with disabilities are encouraged to apply • Everyone who works for FAO is required to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and professional conduct, and to uphold our values. FAO has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and FAO, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.

• All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks • All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality • The incumbent may be re-assigned to different activities and/or duty stations depending on the evolving needs of the Organization.

Organizational Setting

Lesotho joined the Organization in 1966 and has enjoyed close cooperation with FAO since the establishment of the country office in 1983. The main areas of assistance have focused on the formulation of policies, programmes and projects aimed at improving agricultural output, natural resources management and food and nutrition security. More recently, important features of cooperation have included responses to agricultural emergencies and resilience building, climate change adaptation and promotion of Sustainable Land Management principles and practices.

FAO Representation in Lesotho (FRLES) facilitates, coordinates and manages all technical and advisory services in the implementation of the project on “Establishment of the Baseline for the Integrated Catchment Management Project in Lesotho”. FAO OCS division at Headquarters is responsible for coordinating the work across FAO projects in the field of spatial data science and Earth Observations based statistics, with a specific focus on data disaggregation techniques using earth Observations and Machine Learning.

The project is a component of the Support to Integrated Catchment Management in Lesotho Programme, jointly co-financed by the Government of Lesotho with its cooperation partners European Union (EU) and Germany, and implemented by GIZ. FAO has been requested to provide its contribution to the implementation of the project, in particular leading the monitoring component.

The project is aimed at delivering better-quality, timely and more complete and disaggregated data to facilitate the formulation of evidence-based policies.

The position is located in Rome, Italy with duty travels to Lesotho.

Reporting Lines

The Technical Adviser reports to the Chief Statistician and the FAO Representative in Lesotho. He/She will work closely with the relevant Government Institutions of Lesotho under the overall guidance of the National ICM Coordinator. He/she works under the functional supervision of the FAO Project Coordinator.

Technical Focus

Capacity development and knowledge management for the development and sustainable management of the Geo Spatial component of the project and Natural resources in Lesotho.

Key Results

Technical leadership and expertise for the planning, development and implementation of geospatial data management and related programmes of work, projects, related-products, and services in accordance with FAO’s Strategic Objectives.

Key Functions

• Leads the development, implementation and evaluation of assigned technical cooperation-related programmes/projects; review of relevant documents and reports; identifies priorities, liaises with relevant parties; identifies follow-up actions; • Coordinates technical cooperation activities and programme-related activities and reviews the assessments of issues and trends for their implementation and leads the preparation of impact evaluation or equivalent studies; • Supervises preparation of various written outputs, e.g. background papers, analysis, substantial sections of reports and studies, inputs to publications; • Contributes to consultative and other meetings, conferences, including proposals for agenda topics, identifying participants, preparation of documents and presentations; • Participates in activities such as structuring of training workshops, seminars; makes presentations on assigned topics/activities; • Leads field missions, including provision of guidance to external consultants, government officials and other parties; • Provides advice regarding the development of policies and strategies related to technical cooperation, as well as regional, subregional and national protocols and guidelines for projects with specific domains related to FAO's work.

Specific Functions

• Supervises the work of the EO data scientists on land cover and land cover change and in the production of inventories of croplands, wetlands, rangelands, dongas; • Leads the work of land cover Mapping and crop type mapping and monitoring of agreed set of ICM indicators using Earth Observation, in situ data and machine learning algorithms; • Leads development and implementation of machine learning algorithms for generating national crop statistics (acreage and yield) for official statistical use, and test solutions in pilot countries.

• Leads and supervises preparation of quarterly and semi-annual project component progress reports, and the terminal report and identifies lessons learned, constraints and issues that require timely resolution and corrective actions and presents recommendations for improving the performance; • Coordinates the design and implementation of field data campaign to support the EO data modelling, as well as the socio economic and environmental studies that will be carried out in joint collaboration with Academia, national and international; • Coordinates capacity development of the Lesotho ICM Monitoring Unit and that of the concerned national institutions and line ministries to help build near real time monitoring capacity of land and water resources for their sustainable and integrated catchment management; • Contributes to the preparation, implementation and management ICM communication strategy and action plan to enhance public awareness on natural resources conservation, sustainable Agricultural Practices, water harvesting in the government of Lesotho; • Ensures alignment of ICM monitoring activities to the SDG reporting framework, and sharing of outputs with the Hand in Hand initiative; • Supports the implementation of the FAO – ESA Memorandum of Understanding, providing technical inputs into crop statistics and coordinating the work of other technical teams involved; • Represents FAO in the United Nations (UN) working group on Use of Earth Observations for Agricultural Statistics and supports the development and dissemination of standardized methods and Training Programs; • Coordinates the development of the methodological guidelines on the use of EO data for measuring and disaggregating SDG indicators; • Supports the calibrating, testing and validation of methods in selected Countries, using in situ data available from existing surveys (e.g. NSO’s, FAO AGRIS, World Bank LSMS, etc.) and/or pseudo ground truth data from Collect Earth, CEO-SEPAL, Geo-Wiki, etc.


Minimum Requirements

• Advanced university degree in environmental science, natural resources management , agricultural science (including forestry and fishery), sustainable agriculture, or a related field; • Seven years of relevant experience in technical cooperation-related activities, policy advice and analysis related to natural resources management, in particular GIS natural resources conservation and management, crop monitoring, and land cover mapping; • Working knowledge of English and limited knowledge of one of the other official FAO languages (French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian).


• Results Focus • Teamwork • Communication • Building Effective Relationships • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement Technical/Functional Skills

• Work experience in more than one location or area of work, particularly in field positions is desirable; • Extent and relevance of experience in developing crop type maps and land cover maps at national level in developing countries using EO data, adopting supervised and unsupervised approaches; • Extent and relevance of experience in leading the development of land and crop information systems for the monitoring of natural resources and agricultural systems; • Extent and relevance of experience in the use of EO data to optimize field survey design, and in the use of best practices for crop and land cover in-situ data collection and georeferencing; • Extent and relevance of experience in the use of EO data and geospatial analysis to support countries in reporting on SDG indicators; • Extent and relevance of experience in the use of cloud based EO platforms (GEE, SentinelHub) as well as GIS desktop software (e.g. QGIS, ArcGIS) and in use of most commonly used cloud services (AWS, GOOGLE, AZURE, etc.); • Extent and relevance of experience in the development and management of technical assistance projects at country level in the field of desertification control, crop monitoring, food security and drought preparedness.

Apply Now