Soil and Water Resources / Land rehabilitation / reclamation specialist

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

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Organizational Setting

The Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) and FAO are implementing the project Mainstreaming Sustainable Land Development and Management in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana (SLDM). The project aims at establishing an enabling environment for promoting sustainable and climate-resilient land development, management and reclamation in support of Guyana’ s Green State Development Strategy through activities working at (i) streamlining policy, regulation and governance; (ii) developing institutional and human capacities; and (iii) strengthening local governance in the 3 regions where project is implemented. Implemented at three levels – national, regional and local – the SLDM is designed to create enabling legal and policy frameworks informed by policy feedback loops nurtured with ground reality and inclusive participation.

The Soil and Water Resources / Land rehabilitation / reclamation specialist will work under the direct supervision of the FAO Representative in Guyana and the SLDM project Chief Technical Advisor. S/he will work in collaboration with the Commissioner and Board of the GLSC and other team members, and under the overall technical guidance of the Lead Technical Officer (LTO) and the concerned task force members.

S/he will also work closely with the Land Resources Planning and Management and the Cadastral Survey / Mapping Specialists, and as appropriate with the other specialists on Land tenure and governance, Land Policy and legislation, Land Administration, Institutional reform / finance – business planning, Land Valuation, Gender / Social development, Monitoring and Evaluation as well as the PMU staff.

Reporting Lines

The Soil and Water Resources / Land rehabilitation / reclamation specialist will work under the direct supervision of the FAO Representative in Guyana and the SLDM project Chief Technical Advisor. S/he will work in collaboration with the Commissioner and Board of the GLSC and other team members, and under the overall technical guidance of the Lead Technical Officer (LTO) and the concerned task force members.

Technical Focus

The Soil and Water Resources / Land rehabilitation / reclamation specialist will work with the concerned GLSC Divisions and partners to address specific land and water problems occurring in the three targeted Regions, such as drought, salinization, sea-water intrusion, mangrove / wetland and other species loss, land mining, soil and water contamination and other degradation problems, taking into account experiences in Guyana and the LAC region.

Tasks and responsibilities

S/he will be based in the PMU office in GLSC premises during his/her work in the SLDM project in Guyana and will be supported by the FAO country office as required. S/he will undertake the following tasks:

A. Field level diagnosis and LDN implementation in target regions (conservation – restoration hierarchy)

  • Conduct a rapid review with sectors and stakeholders of the main environmental and socio-economic impacts of specific environmental and natural resources problems occurring in different land-use systems such as forest, pasture/ rangeland, rainfed and irrigated cropland, watershed as well as mined areas and peri-urban areas. The review will be conducted in the target regions, and include different issues such as salinization, due to sea-water intrusion, and irrigation, riverine degradation, loss of wetlands, change of land-use, land mining, contamination, and soil and water degradation due to management practices (i.e. soil erosion, compaction, nutrient imbalance, loss of organic matter, acidification / alkalinisation).
  • Support the land planning and management expert in the conduct of a participatory expert assessment and mapping of land degradation (type, severity and extent, drivers, impacts) and of SLM practices (extent, effectiveness and impacts in terms of conservation, sustainable use and restoration) in the main land classes and land use systems with land users and sectoral experts in the 3 target Regions for the main land use systems, backed up by SLM knowledge bases and the LADA-WOCAT toolbox.
  •  Build on-the-job capacity of a multidisciplinary team of experts (GLSC and others) and a local team with support of the University of Guyana, in the conduct of soil and land resources survey in 1-2 selected target landscapes in each of the 3 target regions using a selection of available tools for: i) field diagnostics using the LADA-WOCAT toolbox (mapping questionnaire, LADA local manual and Questionnaires for assessing land management practices); ii) soil survey and sampling for laboratory analysis and soil digital mapping (using interoperable standards and methods) using GSP tools including the protocol for evaluating sustainable soil management iii) survey of land impacts on water resources with support of a water quality expert from the national authority
  • Conduct a capacity needs assessment for LDN implementation (conservation-restoration hierarchy) in the 3 target Regions of available knowledge and tools of service providers in target landscapes and Regions and organize training and experience sharing to select, adapt and implement measures to prevent the main degradation process and restore degraded lands and adapt to climate change at farm/plot, catchment /territorial level.
  • Conduct a local on-the-job capacity building process with land governance specialists, in mapping/analysis in degraded areas and reclamation sites, of land tenure status, land use changes & conflicts and situations of informal occupation etc. and identify opportunities for enhanced tenure security, access/user rights, and reduced conflicts
  • Establish with land governance specialists a local level multistakeholder process for effective dialogue and dispute resolution between those causing degradation and those affected on- and off-site, and identify needs and opportunities in terms of technical support for implementing reclamation measures, conflict resolution, intersectoral collaboration, co-financing and regulations and grievance mechanisms in target intervention areas.
  • Guide the development of 2-4 year plans in target landscapes, with the land planning expert, to pilot and/or monitor recommended conservation, sustainable use and reclamation practices including public awareness raising, collaboration with concerned sectors and actors, analysis of cost and benefits of piloted practices, monitoring of impacts towards the SDGs 2, 6 and 15 using agreed indicators and as a basis for a better-informed policy-making process.
  • Evaluate and document 10 “Best” land management and reclamation measures in pilot landscape in each of the main land use systems in the target regions using the WOCAT/PRAIS -UNCCD database for easy access to the case studies/technical reviews by experts and practitioners across Guyana and for exchange of experiences with other countries facing similar problems

B, National level

  • With the GIS mapping specialist and land planning and management expert, advise the establishment of a low-cost permanent system for monitoring land cover and land use and SLM extent and effectiveness at national and regional level and on a yearly basis at least (land cover change, land degradation/restoration, ecosystem types, health and ecosystem services) as a basis to understand the trends in relation to drivers of degradation, trade-offs and impacts.
  • Conduct a participatory review of capacities and experiences in Guyana of successful soil and water management practices to prevent/ reverse degradation processes and restore degraded lands, and where there are gaps in knowledge identify relevant soil and water conservation/restoration experiences in similar agroecological zones in the LAC region and organise experience-sharing webinars. 
  • Organize a national workshop, with the land planning and management expert, to share experiences, methods, tools and modern technologies for promoting SLDM including: i) land appraisal and mapping at different scales/ decision making levels ii) soil and water resources surveys, iii) LDN assessment using geospatial tools, land degradation and SLM assessment on the ground, iv) conservation, sustainable use and restoration best practices documentation in WOCAT-UNCCD database, v) indicators, monitoring progress and evaluation of costs, benefits and impacts on ecosystem services and livelihoods v) integration of land governance dimensions.
  • Document the participatory land diagnostic methodology and proposed LDN implementation mechanisms (dispute resolution, regulations, incentives, penalties (based on the field experiences and workshop) as well as mechanisms for promoting their wider application through awareness raising, knowledge sharing and policy support (national, Regions, civil society).
  • Organise a national peer review of the methodological guidance, implementation mechanisms and the 10 documented restoration practices from the target regions, with GLSC staff, sectoral experts and service providers
  • Organise virtual webinars to share Guyana experiences (from the national workshop) and LAC experiences in implementing the UNCCD, and to share progress and tools for the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration, for example, best practices, monitoring impacts using SDG targets and indicators, assessing ecosystem services, scaling out through the aligned NAP and land planning and governance tools, and synergies with UNFCCC processes (NDCs, adaptation and mitigation plans) and CBD processes (towards Aichi biodiversity targets)
  • Prepare a final report documenting the process and results for adoption, further capacity development and implementation by GLSC and partner institutions. 


Minimum Requirements

  • Advanced university degree in a discipline relevant to natural resources management, Agronomy, soil and water conservation and related areas.
  • At least 5 years of relevant experience in soil and water management and restoration in Guyana or similar agroecological zones
  • Working knowledge of English, French or Spanish and limited knowledge of one of the other two or Arabic, Chinese, Russian
  • Working knowledge of English, French or Spanish in the case of PSA.SBS

FAO Core Competencies

  • Results Focus
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Building Effective Relationships
  • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Selection Criteria

  • Extent and relevance of experience in soil and water resources, land rehabilitation and management and cross-cutting issues impacting on natural resources with particular emphasis on developing countries and knowledge of the Caribbean context and particularly of Guyana.
  • Extent and relevance of experience of technical assistance provision to field projects on land rehabilitation and management including negotiated participatory approaches.
  • Extent and relevance of experience in reviewing national processes and undertaking diagnostic studies and field research related to soil and water conservation, land rehabilitation and management.
  • Proven ability to redact clear and concise technical reports.
  • Extent and relevance of designing and implementing participatory approaches and to provide assistance in the organization of workshops, consultations, awareness, technical meetings and learning events.
  • Proven ability to work in multidisciplinary team and including multiple partners.
  • GIS and digital soil mapping expertise