Technical Officer for the Protected Areas Observatory, BIOPAMA Programme

Unit: Protected Areas Programme
Organization: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location: Cameroon Country Programme Office, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Reporting to: Regional Protected Areas Programme Coordinator
Work percentage: 100%
Function group: P1
Expected start date: 01 August 2014
Type of contract: Fixed-term (18 months)
Closing date: 06 July 2014


Launched by the European Commission in July 2011, the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme is funded through Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries from the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). The four-year Programme is being implemented jointly by IUCN, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) and the ABS Capacity Development Initiative (through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)). The project aims to assist countries in developing a framework for improving technical and institutional approaches to conserve biodiversity, particularly in protected areas, through regional cooperation and capacity building activities. To achieve this aim, the BIOPAMA project proposes to establish in each ACP region, a series of interlinked, but regionally centered, Observatories for Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management. Each Observatory will host a node for a Regional Reference Information System (RRIS), which will work as a platform to facilitate exchange of data/information, as well as to facilitate the planning and implementation of relevant capacity building initiatives for the region among decision makers and managers of protected areas (including MPAs).

The BIOPAMA programme will leverage the Observatories, the RRIS and capacity building to assist partner countries and institutions in developing a framework for improving technical and institutional approaches to conservation through capacity building and regional cooperation. It will contribute to the conservation of indigenous biodiversity and to the maintenance of the ecological services provided by protected areas, particularly for the benefit of local people who are highly dependent on the use of natural resources for their livelihoods, and also for wider social benefits.

A Regional Observatory will be established in the West and Central Africa region in collaboration with the Observatory for the Forests of Central Africa (OFAC) to enable the provision of relevant data and information to assist in better planning and decision making as well as exchanging knowledge. Furthermore, a regional capacity building programme will be developed in partnership with existing institutions, such as regional training centres, in order to train Western and Central African decision makers and protected area managers, increase support for protected areas and put in place capacities that enable effective and equitable management of well governed protected areas.

The current position is to work with IUCN’s Regional Office for Western and Central Africa (PACO). It will be based in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The post holder will contribute to BIOPAMA’s spatial and technical activities related to the Observatory in the Western and Central African region.


The Technical Officer’s (TO) essential function during phase 1 will be to implement the overall ToR of the Observatory. The TO will work closely with the Coordinator for the Regional Programme for Protected Areas, with the Observatory for the Forests of Central African (OFAC) and other associated institutions. She/He will also contribute to technical GIS and database know-how, decision-support tool development and to networking activities in the geo-spatial and conservation sector. The specific responsibilities of the Technical Officer can be grouped into three main categories detailed below:

Networking and Communications
- Build relationships with existing data centres/holders in the West and Central African (WCA) region to identify information and datasets relevant to Protected Areas and biodiversity management (and the needs identified in the region) with the objective of linking to/integrating into the Regional Reference Information System. Relevant datasets would include for e.g. existing PA (site and network) and biodiversity management information and data sets, ecosystem services information, PA/biodiversity valuation information, social and socio-economic data sets, agricultural, fisheries and extractive industries related data sets, infrastructure development planning information;
- Coordinate between stakeholders on existing PA management capacity building initiatives;
- Coordinate delivery of BIOPAMA capacity building action plan across the region;
- Assist with facilitating PA management networks, and/or assist establishment of new networks where needed;
- Communicate relevant science-based PA Management ‘best practices’ to stakeholders/networks;
- Establish structural collaboration modalities with relevant experts, scientists and IUCN specialists groups
- Contribute to fundraising and engage with potential new funding partners.
Data and Information
- Manage the on-line data collection forms from the Observatory website: data quality, source verifications, database updates, analysis.
- Facilitate collection of data and information on biodiversity and protected areas for use in the Regional Reference Information System (RRIS);
- Facilitate connection of data and information on biodiversity and protected areas from datacentres/holders in the region with the Regional Reference Information System (RRIS);
- Actively promote data sharing and data sharing agreements with national and regional governmental agencies, research institutions, NGOs;
- Liaise closely with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the EC to convey user needs from the region to the RRIS developers;
- Develop strategy (in liaison with JRC) to improve user engagement and use of products;
- Facilitate technical support and training to stakeholders based on needs identified and on the use of RRIS and associated tools as relevant;
- Assist with requests from regional and national stakeholders for data analyses, or facilitate requests through JRC in Italy;
- Provide technical support to national governments on improving data access and availability for reporting against CBD PoWPA, WHC and other MEAs;
- Monitor and evaluate the use of information products produced through the Observatory;
The Observatory will provide direct technical support and implementation of activities in some cases (e.g. workshop facilitation and training; data analyses), while other activities and services that may require more expert input or considerable more time than is available from the Technical Officer could be sub-contracted as appropriate.

Administration and Project Management
- Prepare 6-month work plans for the Observatory in liaison with the PACO-PA programme coordinator;
- Prepare six-month and annual written reports on delivery/performance of the Observatory, against the work plan developed for each six-month period and the overall project document.
- Ensure all observatory-related expenditure (including travel, procurement and sub-contracting arrangements) complies with EC financial procedures and regulations, and follows the administrative and financial rules of PACO (in liaison with PACO-PA programme coordinator).
- Maintain close coordination with the BIOPAMA Regional Coordinator for the Western and Central African Region. Monitor and regularly report to the BIOPAMA Coordinator on progress in relation to planned goals and objectives, and agreed milestones in each country and each programme component. Identify and address issues that require attention; identify potential risks and opportunities for project implementation and propose mitigation measures and strategic actions, as needed.
- Maintain linkages with, and contribute to, other relevant programmes and projects undertaken by PACO .
- Participate in Global IUCN bodies and others that fall within the specific scope of protected area information management
- Contribute to IUCN’s regular publications such as newsletters, website and annual report


• Specific skills and experience required
- Minimum of a post-graduate (M.Sc.) qualification in natural resource management - or - a degree, certificate or diploma in an ecology- related discipline and extensive experience (preferably a formal qualification) in GIS and spatial analysis techniques.
- At least 5 years’ experience in biodiversity and/or protected areas information management, ideally involving terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, at national and/or regional levels OR extensive experience in managing an Observatory.
- Demonstrated excellent interpersonal and networking skills, including the ability to work in a multi-cultural environment, and to establish effective working relationships both within and outside the organization with a diversity of stakeholders. An extensive existing network in the geospatial sector across the WCA region would be a great advantage.
- Strong communication and presentation skills and an ability to prepare appropriate and timely reports to a wide range of audiences and cultures. A high level of competency in the French and English language is required. An adequate level of fluency in another language of the region (e.g. Portuguese) is not a requirement but would be an additional asset.
- Time management skills including an ability to work effectively under pressure and to meet deadlines.
General characteristics desired
- Some experience in the management of geographic information systems (GIS), databases, internet user interfaces as well as spatial analysis and development of decision support tools, including experience in developing detailed user requirements in collaboration with stakeholders (i.e. translation of needs expressed by decision-makers into data and information/analysis needs to develop decision-support tools)
- Experience in the development and implementation of capacity building programmes and training on information management, GIS and/or spatial analysis related topics would be an advantage
- Experience in communicating and collaborating with management agencies, academic institutions and local, national and regional stakeholders to achieve agreed collective outcomes
- Demonstrated high level skills in project planning, overseeing implementation and evaluating progress, including work planning, financial management, and monitoring and evaluation.
- Demonstrated commitment to achieving biodiversity conservation and livelihoods goals, in collaboration with others.
- Demonstrated ability to exercise good judgment, to think laterally and to resolve complex issues in a dynamic and changing environment.
- Awareness and an ability to acknowledge and respect different cultures, and to engage appropriately with people of different backgrounds.
- A team player who is able to contribute effectively to collaborative issues, and to demonstrate innovation and leadership, as appropriate.


Applicants are requested to apply online through the HR Management System, by opening the vacancy announcement and pressing the "Apply" button. (

Applicants will be asked to create an account and submit their profile information. Applications will not be accepted after the closing date. The vacancy closes at midnight, Swiss time (GMT+1 / GMT+2 during Daylight Saving Time, DST).

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Work area: 
Protected Areas
West and Central Africa
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