Technical Officer (GEF - Biodiversity Thematic Adviser), Rome, Italy

Organization: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Country: Italy

City: Rome

Office: FAO Rome

Closing date: Monday, 16 May 2022


Technical Officer (GEF - Biodiversity Thematic Adviser)

Job Posting: 25/Apr/2022

Closure Date: 16/May/2022, 9:59:00 PM

Organizational Unit : Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment (OCB)

Job Type: Staff position

Type of Requisition : Professional Project

Grade Level : P-4

Primary Location: Italy-Rome

Duration : Fixed-term: one year with possibility of extension

Post Number : 2005910

CCOG Code : 1R

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Qualified female applicants, qualified nationals of non-and under-represented Members and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda through the FAO Strategic Framework by supporting the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems, for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

Organizational Setting FAO is a specialized technical United Nations (UN) Agency, bringing unique technical knowledge, information and capacity to bear on one of the world’s great challenges: feeding 9 billion people while conserving the environment. FAO has been an implementing agency of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) since 2006. The FAO-GEF portfolio - currently comprised of over 200 projects worth over USD 1 billion in GEF investments - is growing steadily as countries demand more of what FAO has to offer. As a GEF Agency, FAO works with Members and partners to access GEF financing for strategic projects that help countries to conserve and sustainably utilize biodiversity while improving agriculture production, accessing value chains, reducing hunger and improving nutrition. FAO emphasizes the importance of biodiversity for food and agriculture and the importance of sustainable agriculture and food systems in order to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of wild and agro-biodiversity. The environment and agriculture sectors must work together to conserve biodiversity and eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. The FAO Strategy on Mainstreaming Biodiversity across Agricultural Sectors and the Action Plan to support its implementation, position the Organization to play a leading role in enabling countries to access financing from the GEF to mainstream biological diversity conservation objectives and practices into the critical agriculture sector policies and practices. The GEF-8 Programme is aligned more than ever with FAO’s core competencies and strategic priorities in the areas of sustainable agriculture, fisheries, forestry and land and water management. FAO’s GEF portfolio extends across all five of GEF’s focal areas: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Land Degradation, International Waters, and Chemicals and Waste. The OCB-GEF Unit works closely with colleagues from across FAO to help Members develop projects for financing through the GEF Trust Fund, the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) and the Least Developed Countries Fund (LCDF). The OCB-GEF Unit serves as the funding liaison unit in FAO for the GEF and is responsible for overseeing the FAO-GEF project cycle. As part of this role, OCB-GEF provides thematic advice and guidance to FAO and its Members in the key priority programming areas of the GEF. In addition to serving as a Funding Liaison Officer for a portfolio of projects, this position will serve as the global Thematic Adviser on Biodiversity for FAO’s GEF programme and will provide high-quality thematic guidance and specific technical knowledge to FAO, countries and partners related to GEF’s Biodiversity Focal Area in support of project development and implementation. The post is located in the GEF Unit in the Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment (OCB) at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy and will consult and coordinate with the workstream on Biodiversity (OCBB), which supports the Organization in the implementation of the FAO Strategy on Biodiversity Mainstreaming across Agricultural Sectors and up-scales biodiversity results across FAO, working closely with FAO’s technical units and Decentralized Offices as well as with governing and statutory bodies.

Reporting Lines The Technical Officer (GEF - Biodiversity Thematic Adviser) reports to the Senior Coordinator, GEF Unit, and works in close coordination with the respective OCB-GEF Regional Lead.

Technical Focus a) Strategic thematic advice and guidance on GEF biodiversity programming priorities and approaches as they relate to FAO’s comparative advantages and strategic framework; b) Identification, design, implementation support and monitoring of FAO-GEF projects and programmes. It includes strategic and policy work, with a focus on the nexus between global environmental challenges and sustainable agriculture, including biological diversity conservation and sustainable use, agrobiodiversity, climate change and resilience, land, water, fisheries, forestry, natural capital and ecosystem services.

Key Results Provision of technical expertise for the development, approval and delivery of environmental investment projects for FAO Members in accordance with FAO Strategic Framework, GEF Programming Directions and country priorities.

Key Functions

Provides technical expertise and project design guidance to project proponents in the identification, development and implementation of natural resource/environmental project proposals that address country priorities and further FAO and GEF (or other environmental funds) strategic objectives, programme priorities and operational policies and procedures.

Contributes to the strategic programming of FAO’s GEF work, and assists in coordinating GEF team work for respective region.

Participates in, and potentially leads, multidisciplinary teams to assist governments and Decentralized Offices in the identification and formulation of natural resource and environmental management projects for financing by the GEF Trust Fund, Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) or other environmental funds.

Ensures quality control at all stages of the GEF project cycle in line with GEF eligibility criteria and alignment with GEF Programming Directions.

Coordinates the preparation and approval of project proposals and as required takes a lead role in drafting proposals.

Assists in the management of the FAO-GEF portfolio, monitors and supervises implementation of assigned projects and makes recommendations for improvement.

Keeps abreast of new developments and requirements in the GEF-managed and other environmental funds.

Contributes to the preparation of the annual Project Implementation Reviews (PIR) and to FAO’s reporting to the GEF Secretariat and GEF Council.

Participates in the design and delivery of capacity development activities to FAO technical staff in headquarters and Decentralized Offices on the strategies, priorities and procedures, trends and issues related to GEF, adaptation and other environmental funds.

Performs other related duties as required.

Specific Functions Biodiversity Thematic Adviser

Advises the OCB-GEF Unit and FAO-GEF community to support the development of a robust portfolio of projects and programmes targeting the GEF’s Biodiversity Focal Area and multifocal area initiatives, including Integrated Programs and multifocal area projects by identifying relevant opportunities under the Biodiversity Focal Area and sharpening programmatic priorities.

Works with Senior Coordinator and team to strengthen quality assurance and technical coherence for FAO-GEF proposals as related to best practices in GEF Biodiversity projects.

Serves as the primary point of contact in FAO for GEF Biodiversity work and liaises regularly with the GEF Secretariat Biodiversity Focal Area team and other key partners to inform a programmatic approach for FAO’s global and regional and national initiatives in the GEF’s Biodiversity work.

Provides regular updates and briefings to the FAO-GEF community on developments in the Convention on Biological Diversity, in particular on the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, the GEF Secretariat’s priorities in biodiversity, and advises on use of tools and approaches for biodiversity project design and implementation.

Engages with the FAO lead experts and divisional focal points on biodiversity to ensure synergies with respective FAO thematic strategies and activities, including the workstream on Biodiversity, the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and FAO Focal Points for the CBD, CITES and other MEAs.

Engages and establishes working relationships with partners, including governments, the private sector, and civil society and within FAO, FAO headquarters divisions and offices, Regional and Subregional offices and with FAO Representations in order to build programmes and projects.

FAO-GEF Funding Liaison Officer

Serves as a regional FAO-GEF Funding Liaison Officer for select projects in one region, in balance with global Thematic Adviser responsibilities.

Leads the formulation and implementation of complex GEF programmes and projects within a regional portfolio, ensuring operational viability and due compliance with the FAO policy standards and best practices, as well as convergence with GEF policies and priorities.

Collaborates with GEF Unit colleagues to ensure projects within a regional portfolio are prepared effectively and efficiently within the 12 month project preparation phase from concept approval to project document submission and are managed efficiently to achieve key milestones throughout the entire project cycle in a timely manner, including start up, first disbursement and closure.

Provides critical technical inputs to robust regional portfolio management and the maintenance of programme/project and portfolio information and FAO project information systems.

Provides high quality products, inputs and support to meet the standards of the Project Implementation Reviews, Mid-term Reviews and Terminal Evaluations.


Minimum Requirements

Advanced university degree in natural resources management, or related biological sciences, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, social sciences, international policy or related field.

Seven years of relevant experience in designing and implementing innovative programming at the nexus between agriculture and the environment, including providing policy advice and analysis, applying innovative tools and approaches in environmental, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes.

Working knowledge (proficient - level C) of English and limited knowledge (intermediate - level B) of one of the other FAO official languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish).


Results Focus



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.

Demonstrated analytical and conceptual skills with proven ability to write project documents and papers in English and ability to analyse and integrate diverse information from various sources.

Extent and relevance of experience and success in mobilizing resources and building a GEF Biodiversity mainstreaming portfolio by integrating diverse information from various sources into coherent stories in the form of compelling project proposals and technical papers focused on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.

Demonstrated experience in and knowledge of developing and applying integrated, area-based investment strategies covering large landscape and seascape mosaics, including interventions on biodiversity mainstreaming in production sectors, biodiversity for food and agriculture and associated biodiversity.

Demonstrated knowledge of and ability to apply decision support and knowledge management tools and methods for mainstreaming biodiversity, conservation and sustainable use across land and seascapes, including the priorities of Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and GEF-8 Biodiversity Focal Area.

Extent and relevance of experience in providing technical expertise or advice to project proponents at national, subregional and regional levels with regard to GEF project development, results-based management, monitoring and evaluation planning, and monitoring for project impact.

Working knowledge (proficient - level C) of Spanish.

Please note that all candidates should adhere to FAO Values of Commitment to FAO, Respect for All and Integrity and Transparency. GENERAL INFORMATION

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Appointment will be subject to certification that the candidate is medically fit for appointment, accreditation, any residency or visa requirements, and security clearances. Subject to certain exemptions, vaccination against COVID-19 will in principle be required. Vaccination status will be verified as part of the medical clearance process CONDITIONS OF SERVICE

A competitive compensation and benefits package is offered. For information on UN salaries, allowances and benefits, click on the following link: allowances/salary.htm Other benefits, subject to eligibility, include:

Dependency allowances

Rental subsidy

Education grant for children

Home leave travel

30 working days of annual leave per year

Pension fund entitlements under the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund

International health insurance; optional life insurance

Disability protection

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elements of family-friendly policies

flexible working arrangements

standards of conduct


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