National Biodiversity Specialist

Wed, Apr 15 2020 12:34 PM

Publish Date

Closing Date



Issued Date:                                     15 April 2020

Closing Date for Applications:    29 April 2020                    


Functional  Title:

National Biodiversity Specialist  

Type of Contract:

National Project Personnel / Service Contract (NPP/SC)

Grade / Level:


Number of Post (s) :

1 (One)

Duration :

12 Months

Extendable / Renewable:

Extendable, Based on Satisfactory Performance and Budget Availability

Probationary Period:

Initial 3 Months

Project / Programme / Unit: 

Community Based Sustainable Land and Forest Management in Afghanistan (GCP/AFG/084/GFF) – Project

Duty Station:

Kabul – Afghanistan, with frequent domestic travel to provinces

Sub – Station:



Organization Settings:

Through its Country Offices, or FAO Representations, FAO assists governments to develop policies, Programmes and projects to address hunger, food security and malnutrition, and provides technical support for the sustainable development of their agricultural, livestock, animal health, and irrigation and forestry sectors as well as emergency preparedness and response. The activities of the FAO Representation include design and implementation of country-tailored field Programmes, liaison with local donor representatives and active public awareness raising and outreach activities related to the mandate of FAO.

FAO assistance in Afghanistan achieves its objectives through capacity development and direct project implementation in four specific areas of FAO’s technical expertise: 


  • Better governance through improved capacity for policy planning, land reform, decentralization, and management of common natural resources;
  • Fostering expansion of irrigation and field water management; 
  • Intensive agriculture for surplus commercialization, value chains development, and job creation;
  • Supporting vulnerable farmers for improved food and nutrition security, resilience, and emergency response to natural and man-made disasters and climate change.

This position is established under the GCP/AFG/084/GFF Project in Afghanistan, and the duty station is Kabul, with frequent travels to other project locations in the provinces covered by the respective project.

Project Background:

The General Directorate of Natural Resources Management (GD-NRM) of MAIL offers services in Natural Resource Management (NRM) and they promote community-based NRM initiatives so that local communities can benefit from natural resources in a fair and equitable way. The mission of the General Directorate of NRM is restoration, protection, and conservation of forests, rangelands, natural vegetation and ecological areas. They are doing this by introducing prudent use approaches and mechanisms, by training communities in watershed management and soil conservation, by combatting desertification and improve ecological balance. Ideally this will all result in reduced natural disasters, healthy environments, agriculture and livestock sector development and food security.

Climate Change, Gender and Capacity Development are cross-cutting issues across FAO Afghanistan’s Country Programme Framework, and several projects in the CPF focus specifically on these issues. Women, for example, are empowered to have access to productive resources especially through specific projects aimed at transferring technology to female-friendly agricultural businesses. Similarly, climate change adaptation is tackled through Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) projects, improved governance of common resources, or the promotion of renewable energy.

The key outputs of the project are: i) enhanced capacity of national and sub-national government institutions for SLM/SFM; ii) enhanced capacity of local communities in Badghis, Bamyan, Ghazni, Kunar and Paktya Provinces for developing and implementing community based SLM/SFM plans; iii) improved management of 10,000 ha of High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) and 20,000 ha of other forest types to increase biodiversity conservation; iv) improved management of 200,000 ha of degraded rangelands in order to reduce land degradation, increase biodiversity conservation; and, v) improved knowledge to inform planning and implementation of SLM/SFM practices.

FAO holds the ultimate responsibility for the implementation of the project, the delivery of the planned outputs and the achievement of the expected outcomes. The project will be managed and implemented by FAO and directly executed by MAIL and its partners. MAIL/GD-NRM is the lead implementing agency for the project and other line ministries such as the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), the Independent General Directorate of Kuchi (IDGK) and Kabul university will be part of the project steering committee and will be closely involved in the project implementation cycle as per the Project Document and Government Cooperation Project Agreement signed with MAIL.

Purpose of this vacancy announcement:

FAO is looking for qualified national staff fill the position of National Biodiversity Specialist. This position will support the work of the GEF-funded “Community-Based Sustainable Land and Forest Management in Afghanistan” project. The post is located in Kabul with frequent travel to provinces.

Key Result:

The project activities are implemented successfully, timely and effectively in conformity with the objectives of the project. The incumbent is responsible to develop his/her work plan upon joining the duty and based on SMART planning standards and according to project objectives.

Key Objectives:

The main objective of the project, “Community Based Sustainable Land and Forest Management in Afghanistan” is to support the GD-NRM of MAIL in integrating community-based approaches to Sustainable Land Management/Sustainable Forest Management (SLM/SFM) in Afghanistan in order to promote biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and rangeland productivity.

Reporting Lines / Supervision Received/Exercised:

Under the overall supervision of the FAO Representative in Afghanistan, direct supervision of the Senior Technical Advisor (STA) and National Project Manager (NPM), in close collaboration with counterpart authorities and other national and international staff, the incumbent will closely collaborate with the other Project Task Force (PTF) members, FAO staff and government counterparts and technical departments in MAIL/GD-NRM. In order to achieve the project objectives, the National Biodiversity Specialist will be responsible for the following activities:

Tasks and Responsibilities:

Project Planning and Implementation:

  • Identify areas where High Conservation Value Forests (HCVFs) occur in Kunar and Paktya through technical and community consultations;
  • Guide biodiversity assessments in identified areas in Kunar and Paktya, focusing on threatened and rare species as well as economically‑valuable species;
  • Develop technical guidance for provincial staff to help communities manage HCVFs in a manner that provides sustainable socio‑economic benefits while conserving ecosystem functioning;
  • Identify areas to establish community nurseries and woodlots through community participation;
  • Identify suitable land and location for woodlots establishment in close coordination with PAIL and FMAs
  • Identify species’ that can be used as fuelwood and building materials, through expert advice and community consultations;
  • Develop technical guidance for project staff/partners to help them and local communities establish nurseries and woodlots;
  • Develop plans for and oversee the rehabilitation and restoration of 10,000 ha of HCVFs in selected areas to provide habitat for threatened, endangered and rare species;
  • Develop plans for and oversee the rehabilitation and restoration of 20,000 ha of non-HCVFs in selected areas;
  • Support international forest inventory expert in conducting trainings on forest inventory, and mobilize enumerators and community  for forest inventory in Kunar and Paktiya provinces 
  • Develop work plan to carry out forest inventory in project target districts
  • Identify the areas and locations for cultivating non- timber forest products
  • Provide technical inputs while developing community based natural resource management  plan
  • Provide support to national forest monitoring unit in GDNRM
  • Deliver trainings to government staff and community on sustainable forest management at province and district level
  • Provide technical assistance and coordination on: sustainable land and forest management criteria and indicators, land use, land use change and forestry sectors (LULUCF) and Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) activities;
  • Integrate forest and land management plans and carbon monitoring plans into the project;
  • Provide input into the development of alternative livelihood options such as agroforestry programmes and value addition for non-timber forest products.

Project Monitoring and Reporting:

  • Monitor forestry-related sections of project progress as agreed in the Annual Workplan/Budget (AWP/B), and provide remedial actions such as adjusting activities as necessary, speeding up implementation in case of delays, and organizing monitoring missions, if required;
  • Manage and monitor forestry-related risks initially identified and submits new assessment of risks as they arise to the Project Steering Committee (PSC) for decisions on possible actions if required;
  • Work closely with the NPM and NPD and Kabul-based management staff to report on indicators;
  • Build upon the forestry section of the project documentation, as well as the project’s M&E plan the Project Inception Report, meeting/workshop reports, biannual progress reports, gender/youth assessments, the annual GEF Project Implementation Review (PIR), GEF Tracking Tools, co-financing reports, and the terminal report;

Partnership Building and Knowledge Management:

  • Maintain regular, reliable and transparent contact with the FAO Country Office and the National Project Director (NPD) on project implementation issues;
  • Develop and maintain relationships with counterparts in the country to ensure their adequate and timely technical inputs to the project and ensure their co-financing contributions are provided within agreed terms;
  • Working with communications staff, clearly and effectively communicate about, share information about and promote the project to partners, stakeholders, and the FAO national office;
  • Maintain a good network with local stakeholders;
  • Build strategic partnerships and synergies to enhance the impact and sustainability of Project outcomes;
  • Represent the Organization at project meetings and events, identify strategic partnerships, advocate for best practices, increase/improve forestry policy dialogue and develop and negotiate effective working relationships and agreements with national stakeholders.

Other Activities:

  • Perform any other duty as required by STA and NPM.

Expected Outputs:

  • Biodiversity assessments conducted in Kunar and Paktya provinces in line with project indicators;
  • Communities are taught about and supported to implement community-based sustainable forest management plans, in line with project indicators;
  • Nurseries and woodlots are established in line with project indicators;
  • HCVFs and non HCVFs are restored in line with project indicators;
  • The required number of households, as defined by project indicators, are benefiting from agroforestry, alternative energy sources and value addition for timber and non-timber forest products.
  • Technical reports are clearly developed and written, and delivered in a timely manner.



  • Advanced/ Master’s degree in Natural Resource management/Horticulture with bachelor’s degree in agriculture and forestry.

Work Experience and Additional Skills:

  • At least seven (7) years of professional experience bio- diversity and natural resource management;   
  • Previous work experience with UN is an advantage.

Technical/Functional Skills:

  • Demonstrated ability to coordinate capacity-related elements of a large project;
  • Excellent interpersonal communications and coordination skills, and proven ability to work constructively with a variety of stakeholders to achieve common goals;
  • Deep knowledge about climate change and sustainable forest management issues in Afghanistan, including the political, institutional and socio-economic contexts;
  • Excellent writing skills;

Other Desirable Skills:

  • Working experience with ministries, national institutions and the rural sector in Afghanistan;
  • Ability to effectively coordinate a large, multi-stakeholder project with results-based management;
  • Ability to deal with political, technical, and people management challenges, administer budgets and work effectively with all staff and with groups involved in the project;
  • Strong computer skills, especially in GIS-RS and MS Office applications, and proficiency in using internet search engines and other relevant online tools;
  • Experience organizing stakeholder meetings or workshops with national participants;
  • Experience in multi-stakeholder analysis, and in mobilizing or creating awareness about development projects;
  • Familiarity with UN agencies and GEF procedures for project implementation is also an asset.

Language Skills:

  • Excellent knowledge of English and local languages (Pashto and Dari), both spoken and written skills.


  • Core competencies: FAO core competencies include: Understanding FAO’s mandate and its global context; planning, organizing, and delivering quality results; communicating to build understanding and support; working together in teams and partnerships; engaging in continuous learning.
  • Operational Effectiveness: Working independently, structuring tasks, establishing priorities and adhering to deadlines. Show a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail. Contribute ideas and suggestions for process improvement.
  • Client Orientation: Focus on results for the client. Attend to inquiries from internal and external clients in an effective, timely and courteous manner. Treat clients with courtesy and respect even when working under pressure. Express a high level of professionalism.
  • Interpersonal Communications and Teamwork: Work effectively and efficiently with staff at all levels, listen to others and openly share own ideas. Express sensitivity, cultural empathy and respect for diversity. Productively handle differing views and opinions and strive for achievement of shared goals. Respond positively to feedback.
  • Knowledge Exchange and Learning: Share own knowledge and promote a learning culture within the work environment. Actively work towards professional development, including personal learning.  Apply newly acquired skills and support flexibility within the work environment.


Interested Afghan nationals should complete the FAO Personal History Form (PHF) and submit it along with their application letter and CV to the email address below, clearly mentioning the vacancy number and post title (National Biodiversity Specialist - FAO/KBL/PRJ/SC/14-2020) in the subject line of the email, otherwise your email will not be considered for further process.

NOTE: Applicant who failed to attach the FAO Personal History Form (PHF) to their Application will not be considered for further process.

The above required documents can also be submitted in writing (marked “Confidential” and clearly indicating on the sealed envelope the Vacancy Announcement number and position title) to: the Assistant FAO Representative (Administration), FAO Representation, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, Jamal Mina, Opposite Kabul University, Kabul, Afghanistan.

The FAO PH Form can be downloaded using the following internet link:

The last date for receiving applications is 29 April 2020. Please note that applications received after closing date will not be given consideration. Only short listed candidates whose applications respond to the above criteria will be contacted for test/interview.


  • FAO is committed to achieving workforce gender diversity
  • Qualified females are strongly encouraged to apply
  • People with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply
  • 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
  • Candidates endorsed in the selection process for this vacancy announcement will be considered for the FAO NSHR Roster for a period of two years. The Roster is used to fill other similar positions at the same or lower grade, and in the same or another duty station inside the country;
  • FAO reserves the right not to make an appointment, to make an appointment at a lower grade, or to make an appointment with a modified job description.
  • Please note that all candidates should adhere to FAO Values of Commitment to FAO, Respect for All and Integrity and Transparency.


  • FAO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing).
  • Candidates who wish to apply for the positon should indicate their preferred duty station(s) in their application letter (or email).
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for the interview/test.
  • Application received after closing date will not be given consideration.
  • Please make sure to sign the first page of your PHF while applying for the vacant post.
  • Do not forget to write the post title and VA number on subject of your email.
  • Candidates may be requested to provide performance assessments;
  • Email will only be sent to the interviewed candidates.