Land and Water Officer

Food and Agriculture Organization

Rome, Italy

FAO's Land and Water Division (NSL) foresees a future whereby governments, development partners, civil society, academic institutions, and the private sector and farmers, all work together to ensure that land, soil, and water resources are wisely used, conserved, and restored for sustainable and resilient agrifood systems that support food security, nutrition, and human wellbeing. NSL provides policy guidance, technical and financial assistance to Members in developing policies, programmes, best practices and management tools for ensuring productive and efficient use of land, soil and water resources to meet present and future demands for agricultural products, while ensuring the long-term sustainability of these resources. It promotes equitable access to and sustainable management of these natural resources with a view to enhancing productivity, livelihoods, equity, health and ecosystem services.
Under the new Strategy, NSL will work towards a core set of five integrated and strategic Objectives and Action Areas that have been elaborated to cut across the thematic areas of land, water, soils, and geospatial areas of work of the Division: (1) Good Governance; (2) Wise use and restoration; (3) Mitigation and resilience; (4) Integrated solutions; (5) Data, digitalization, technology and innovation.
The post is located in the Land and Water Division (NSL) at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.
Key Functions:
  • Plans and leads components of multidisciplinary teams, leads and/or participates on Organization-wide, cross-divisional committees, project teams, and working groups and/or provides specialized expertise on technical networks and/or international technical policy and/or international technical policy and standard setting bodies;
  • Develops technical, analytical, monitoring and reporting frameworks, and related methodologies, tools, systems and databases etc. to support the planning, implementation/delivery and monitoring of programmes of work, projects, products and/or services;
  • Designs and conducts research, data collection, validation, analysis and/or reporting activities to support the development of technical standards, international instruments, innovative approaches and strategies, new tools, technologies, technical reports/publications, and/or policy proposals as well as the provision of technical/policy/specialist/advice and expertise;
  • Responds to country requests for technical and policy assistance, provides technical advice, assistance and solutions to Decentralized Offices and provides technical backstopping to field projects;
  • Collaborates in, provides technical backstopping to and ensures the quality/effectiveness of capacity development and knowledge sharing activities within Members such as policy support, organizational development and individual learning events including preparation of related information, learning materials, on-line tools;
  • Promotes international cooperation/advocates best practices, increased policy dialogue and provides technical expertise at international/intergovernmental meetings;
  • Participates in resource mobilization activities in accordance with the FAO Corporate Strategy.
Specific Functions:
  • Provides comprehensive technical support on soil mapping and information systems, including data assessment, standardization, digital soil mapping, and decision support system development;
  • Coordinates soil data collection and management, develops and implements soil data collection methodologies, including sampling design and establishment of monitoring sites, and oversee the collation, digitization, and harmonization of soil legacy;
  • Supervises soil surveys and sampling, plans and conducts soil surveys, including field data collection and laboratory analysis, and ensures adherence to quality control and safety procedures during soil sampling activities;
  • Supports soil analysis activities, collaborates with laboratory personnel to conduct soil analysis using wet and dry chemistry methods, and contributes to the establishment of soil databases and spectral libraries;
  • Develops digital soil mapping methodologies, designs and implements innovative digital soil mapping techniques to create high-resolution soil maps, and evaluate and select appropriate data sources, including remote sensing, terrain data, and legacy soil data for soil mapping; and designs soil sampling schemes for the project countries;
  • Leads the creation of digital soil maps and data products on national soil nutrient, nutrient budget, soil property, and crop suitability maps at local, national and global scales;
  • Disseminates project outputs through various channels, including reports, technical publications, platforms, tools, meetings, web, and training courses;
  • Collaborates with colleagues across teams to enhance integrated project and soil resources management;
  • Facilitates multidisciplinary task forces for cross-cutting soil issues, supporting FAO's Programme Priority Areas;
  • Plans and participates in communications, outreach, and collaboration with relevant entities, partners, and stakeholders, along with the communication and programme specialists of the team;
  • Contributes to divisional planning, programming, and implementation efforts, and performs other relevant duties as required;
  • Manages and assesses project progress, quality, and impact, while addressing risks and challenges proactively, within the technical specific field of expertise;
  • Leads and supervises teams as required, by providing feedback, mentoring, and development opportunities;
  • Collaborates with partners and facilitates stakeholder communication and engagement, particularly within the SoilFER Project framework;
  • Ensures project compliance with FAO policies and guidelines and evaluates project outcomes for effectiveness;
  • Participates in the writing of reports on project progress, prepares other types of reports and communicating outcomes and lessons learned;
  • Participates in the organization of capacity development workshops and promotes knowledge exchange in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America.
Minimum Requirements:
  • Advanced university degree in soil science, agricultural sciences, geography or geoscience with a focus on soil;
  • Seven years of relevant experience in progressively responsible professional experience including supervisory positions in international organizations, government departments or private enterprises dealing with soil information and data;
  • Working knowledge (proficient – level C) of English and limited knowledge (intermediate – level B) of another official FAO language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish).
Technical/Functional Skills:
  • Work experience in more than one location or area of work, particularly in field positions;
  • Work experience in formulating and implementing comprehensive programmes and field projects;
  • Extent of experience in multi-sectoral, multidisciplinary work and in facilitating collaboration and managing partnerships;
  • Extent of knowledge of soils, soil mapping and digital soil information systems, soil analysis and assessment, and relevant tools and methods and related policies;
  • Extent and relevance of experience in digital soil mapping, soil data and information system, remote sensing and GIS applications related to soils;
  • Extent and relevance of experience in conducting technical and feasibility studies of soil resources and soil projects;
  • Extent and relevance of experience in capacity building programmes, leading or participating in, multidisciplinary teams meetings and conferences;
  • Excellent and effective oral and written communications;
  • Demonstrated ability to mobilize and manage resources;
  • Knowledge of system approaches and digital applications in soil resources management. 
  • Ability to plan, evaluate and organize work; takes initiative, and maintain good working relations with people of diverse national and cultural backgrounds.