Information Technology/Data Management Specialist

Food and Agriculture Organization

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Experience: Above 10 years

Skill Required: IT and ICT

The main aim of the FAO country offices, which are headed by an FAO Representative is to assist governments to develop policies, programs and projects to achieve food security and to reduce hunger and malnutrition, to help develop the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors, and to use their environmental and natural resources in a sustainable manner.

The mission of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is to work to eradicate hunger and promote global food security together with balanced and complete nutrition. Our mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy.

Our three main goals are: the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; the elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and, the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Ethiopia is striving to tackle the challenges of Climate Change and to achieve middle-income status by 2025, within the framework of a carbon-neutral growth and development plan. The forest sector is a key element in a low-carbon growth strategy of Ethiopia projected to address half of the national emission reduction target in 2030. The sector has been affected by deforestation and forest degradation due to agricultural expansion, livelihood diversification, increasing need for fuel and construction wood (all aggravating climate change). Ethiopia has chosen Reducing Emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) as a climate change mitigation mechanism for the forest sector.
The four REDD+ readiness requirements are in place during the REDD+ readiness phase, with some improvements still needed in the reference scenarios and the (measuring, Verification and Reporting (MRV) system established through FAO Technical Assistance (FAO TA). The assessments of Ethiopia’s current forest MRV and monitoring capacities after Phase I project and other interventions indicate a significant progress in developing Ethiopia’s National Forest Monitoring System and MRV (NFMS /MRV capacities especially at national level (capacity for National Forest Inventory (NFI), mapping activities, forest-area change detection, construction of Forest Reference (Emission) Level (FREL), and MRV Labs). MRV Labs are also established in four REDD+ pilot regions. However, the MRV capacity is still weak in terms of system linkages between national MRV institutions for data exchange and communications, knowledge gap on the MRV framework, inadequate technical skills of MRV units at federal and regional levels, weak coordination among the MRV institutions and weak web-portal links to the monitoring systems for facilitating access to international and local stakeholders. 

Therefore, to address these gaps and requirements UTF/ETH/118/ETH Phase II project titled ‘National REDD+ MRV Capacity Consolidation and Strengthening’ is formulated. This project will strengthen and make NFM/MRV system fully functional and enhance the MRV capacity to implement and monitor REDD+ activities by consolidating and building on Phase I achievements and inform decision-makers about the status and change of Ethiopian forest. Specifically, the project will deliver two outcomes: 1) Ethiopia’s forest sector MRV capacity strengthened and fully integrated into the national GHG accounting systems; 2) Fully functional NFMS capable of informing decision-makers about the status and change of Ethiopian forests is in place.
These outcomes will contribute to Component 4 of the REDD Readiness Wheel (RRW): “Design a Monitoring System for Emissions and Removals and Other Benefits and Impacts” by providing the monitoring tools required to measure the impact and revert the effects of this pressure.

Reporting Lines

Under the general guidance  of the FAO Representative in Ethiopia, the overall supervision of  the International Programme Officer and the Assistant FAO Representative for Programme Implementation;  and direct supervision of the Chief Technical Advisor, in consultation with the FAO National Forest Management (NFM) and Ethiopian Forest Development (EFD) Information Technology  (IT) Teams, and working in close collaboration with the UTF/ETH/118/ETH-MRV - National REDD+ MRV Capacity Consolidation and Strengthening project focal person in Ethiopian Forest Development (EFD), National Information Technology (IT)/Data Management Specialist will Perform his/her responsibilities.

Technical Focus 

The National IT Specialist provides software engineering expertise to the project by focusing support on data management systems for forest data (principally open source tools developed by FAO’s NFM team, mainly Open Foris Collect/Collect Mobile/Sepal). Will ensure smooth implementation of data acquisition and storage as well as develop a user interface to share aggregated results.
The incumbent will support the installation and management of data management systems for storage, analysis and sharing of forest inventory data. The data management system will be linked to and be compatible with that of the Greenhouse Gas intensity (GHGi) Unit responsible for reporting the data. He/she will work closely with International IT Consultant at FAO HQ as well as with the senior IT expert and other country counterparts in EFD and Measuring Reporting Verification (MRV) national and regional institutions. He/she will provide hands-on technical training with particular emphasis on: 1) data cleansing 2) database management and 3) data processing (R studio, Open Foris Calc). The National IT Specialist will coordinate this support with the Chief Technical Advisor (CTA), Lead Technical Officer (LTO), International IT consultant and programme officer of the project.

Tasks and responsibilities

  • Put in place a cloud-based IT/data management system (server) for MRV data archiving, management and sharing system that is operational and interoperable with that of the GHGi Unit (and with the potential to link to monitoring systems for biodiversity (SIS) to be accessed by international and local stakeholders);
  • Support establishment of two new MRV labs in Gambella and South West Ethiopia regions;
  • In consultation with respective regions, identify MRV laboratories IT equipment needs and prepare technical specifications based on the needs;
  • Troubleshoot any potential issues with making labs fully functional by liaising with country counterparts and FAO Ethiopia procurement officer;
  • Train national and subnational staff in the use of the MRV Lab server and equipment;
  • Produce training instructions in the form of a manual and video of instructions available online on accessing data management system and data storage/management protocol;
  • Secure connectivity between national & sub-national MRV Units through sustained internet connectivity and the utilization of the cloud-based server; 
  • Establish forest information accounting system for locating and monitoring A/R activities – database with tree planting/enclosure sites (FIS); 
  • Develop data dashboard of aggregated emission results (national and regional) linking to cloud based database and making available to teams responsible for reporting in GHGi team as well as international and local stakehoDevelop a user interface to share aggregated results to support in enhancing natural resources management and agricultural production system;
  • Develop a platform for a back-up of disaggregated datasets  to be accessed and downloaded by non-commercial entities (i.e. research organizations);
  • Liaise with IOs, GOs and NGOs working in MRV related institutions as appropriate; 
  • Perform other related duties as required.

Candidates Will Be Assessed Against The Following

Minimum Requirements 

  • Candidate should be national of Ethiopia
  • Advanced university degree in Information Technology (IT) and data management system or other related fields. 
  • 12 years of relevant experience in IT and data management system 
  • Working knowledge (level C) of English and working knowledge of the official language of Ethiopia. Limited knowledge of one of the official FAO languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish ) would be an asset.