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Biometrics Expert

Rome (Italy)

  • Organization: UN WFP - World Food Programme
  • Location: Rome (Italy)
  • Grade: Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Supply Chain
    • Population matters (trends and census)
    • Criminology, Extremism, Police Affairs and Anti-Corruption
  • Closing Date: 2020-08-09

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WFP seeks candidates of the highest integrity and professionalism who share our humanitarian principles

Selection of staff is made on a competitive basis, and we are committed to promoting diversity and gender balance






The World Food Programme (WFP) has been a member of the UN Legal Identity Agenda Task Force (UNLIA TF) and has engaged in the design of the UNLIA 2020 work plan and more specifically with respect to leading or co-leading the outputs related to Biometrics, Identity Management and Innovation.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development established a specific target within the Sustainable Development Goals Target 16.9: “legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030” and SDG 17.19: ‘support to statistical capacity-building in developing countries’ to monitor the indicator "proportion of countries that have achieved 100 per cent birth registration and 80 per cent death registration". In order to achieve this goal, various UN agencies and departments active in the civil registration, vital statistics and identity management arena were brought together under mandate from the Deputy-Secretary-General to form the United Nations Legal Identity Agenda Task Force, with the aim to support Member States to develop a holistic, comprehensive and interoperable civil registration, vital statistics and identity management system, from birth-to-death.





Biometric technologies are increasingly being used in legal identity systems globally (as well as in many private sector and other applications), to capture additional data to those traditionally captured (such as name and date/place of birth) as part of birth or national ID registration. While the technology is in no way a substitute for the capture of traditional data fields such as name and date/place of birth, the widespread and growing use of biometrics within national ID systems, and as functional identifiers to facilitate individuals access to government systems, humanitarian assistance or private suppliers and to link data, requires a clear position from the UN system.


At present, a broad range of the UN agencies are engaged in some capacity with biometric technology. The UN’s work largely falls under three main categories:


  • Capacity building in the state security and counter-terrorism arena
  • National identity systems and refugee registration
  • Functional identity systems


The UN family also has an important role in advocacy around appropriate use and regulation of biometric technologies and the protection of human rights (via OHCHR and the Special Procedures mechanisms) in both the public and broader private sector applications.


These discussions have largely happened independently across the system. Effectively advocating for the responsible and ethical use of biometrics in any of these areas (or in other public administration applications), however, including in our own work across the UN system, requires consistent messaging on core concepts. Moreover, identifying shared principles and recommendations will allow the system to advocate more effectively with messaging amplified across agencies. This means recognizing the immense potential benefits of biometric technology to support inclusion and ensure “no one is left behind” in the global development agenda; while also addressing the very real risks and concerns – especially for vulnerable populations.


The incumbent will conduct a mapping exercise (applications, standards, risks and benefits) of biometric technologies and associated innovations within the UN system according to the mandate of each agency, the current systems used, programmes and interventions (regional and country-based initiatives), while also looking at relevant innovations with regards to biometric technology outside the UN. In particular, the research will examine the areas of alignment and non-alignment between the agencies, highlighting the gaps, challenges, opportunities and risks (for example regarding data protection and cyber security standards and human rights issues).


The incumbent will be reporting to the TECB Business Engagement Officer.





  • Conducting a mapping of examples on innovations in technology, practices, processes and systems across the United Nations and from around the world on identity management including within contexts of civil registration, vital statistics and functional identity management.
  • Developing simple common messaging from the UN system on the appropriate use of biometrics in legal identity
  • Identifying shared principles across the UN system on the appropriate use of biometrics in legal identity with an intent to formalize these across the UN system
  • Identifying and analysing relevant innovations with regards to biometric technology outside the UN.
  • Identifying the areas of alignment and non-alignment between the agencies, highlighting the gaps, challenges, opportunities and risks (for example regarding data protection and cyber security standards and human rights issues).
  • Identifying definitions/examples of the broad use sectors, including known use cases and actors of interest;
  • Identify areas of agreement and contention (both between the UN system and those adopted by industry or influential groups, and between UN partners):
  • Identify scenarios where use of biometrics’ systems have been restricted, particularly in relation to human rights abuses and vulnerable populations and settings;
  • Identify security and data sharing concerns/issues;
  • Identify specific traits and technologies in biometrics systems use or planned use (with their pros/cons), including directly associated innovations such as tokenization.
  • Identify issues, uses or technology without a clear agreement or where contradictory advice is being offered, within the UN system (or with key partners/ industry bodies);
  • Identify emerging innovation and anticipated impacts (where possible that should be addressed through a principles or best practice guidance document;
  • Develop a preliminary draft of broad principles on the use of biometric systems in public administration contexts.





  1. An Inception Report due by week 2
  2. A summary mapping document due by week 9
  3. A draft synthesis report due by week 11 (to be validated during a workshop with all relevant UN agencies)
  4. Final Synthesis Report due by week 14






Advanced University degree in Social Science, Technologies, Political Sciences or First University Degree with additional years of related work experience and/or training/courses


At least 8 years’ experience of progressively responsible professional experience in a relevant field of work, with a background and interest in international humanitarian development.


Technical Knowledge & Skills:

  • Extensive experience in research, and policy reports, literature summaries, and synthetizing information from a wide variety of sources.
  • Experience with biometric technology systems (either in design, implementation or evaluation of).
  • Experience working with the UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes.
  • Good knowledge of Data Protection and Privacy Policies and Guidelines.



  • Excellent communication skills both verbal and written;
  • Ability to build relationships, networks and credibility;
  • Strong collaboration and teamwork skills;
  • Ability to effectively priorities and execute tasks in a high-pressure environment.
  • Ability to plan, multi-task and manage time effectively.
  • Ethics & Values, Teamwork, Client Orientation, Cognitive Capacity, Interpersonal Relations, Behavioural Flexibility.


 Fluency in oral and written English is essential. Intermediate knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish) or Portuguese (one of WFP’s working languages) is desirable.





WFP offers a competitive compensation package which will be determined by the contract type and selected candidate’s qualifications and experience.

 Please visit the following websites for detailed information on working with WFP.  Click on: “Our work” and “Countries” to learn more about WFP’s operations.




Deadline for applications: 9 August 2020 at 11:59pm Rome time

REF: 123506




Qualified female applicants and qualified applicants from developing countries are especially encouraged to apply.


WFP has zero tolerance for discrimination and does not discriminate on the basis of HIV/AIDS status.


No appointment under any kind of contract will be offered to members of the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), FAO Finance Committee, WFP External Auditor, WFP Audit Committee, Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and other similar bodies within the United Nations system with oversight responsibilities over WFP, both during their service and within three years of ceasing that service.


Saving lives, changing lives

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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