Job Opening

Posting Title: Consultancy for Global LCA Data Access network
Department/Office: United Nations Environment Programme
Duty Station: PARIS
Posting Period: 04 July 2017 - 13 July 2017
Job Opening Number: 17-United Nations Environment Programme-81762-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

1. Conversion function (based on format and nomenclature mapping) of the GLAD platform is established and integrated with the other functions of the platform (e.g. search; analytics).

2. Documentation on the conversion function is readily available for the potential use of other IT developers in the open software community.

Work Location


Expected duration

Start date: as soon as possible
End date: 31 March 2018

Duties and Responsibilities

The focus of the consultancy position is to help implement specific web-based activities of the Life Cycle Thinking Unit (LCT Unit) of the Resources and Markets Branch, Economy Division. Life Cycle Thinking and life cycle knowledge are essential to achieving the 2030 Development Agenda for Sustainable Development, and Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) patterns, because they facilitate the identification and prioritization of environmental policies and practices to deliver SCP, while also highlighting potential trade-offs between life cycle stages, geographical areas, or environmental impacts. The availability of life cycle data and interoperability of different datasets is an essential requirement for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and other tools for Life Cycle Thinking.

The LCT Unit is hosting the “Global LCA Data Access” network (GLAD) which aims towards a global network of independently operated and interoperable LCA databases, connecting multiple data sources to support LCA in a way that facilitates sustainability-related decisions. GLAD will enable access by users to various LCA databases and their seamless delivery into LCA software, with sufficient documentation of metadata that allows for assessment of “fitness for purpose” for any end user. GLAD will be a website which provides users an interface to find and access life cycle inventory datasets from different dataset providers.

One of the main functionalities of GLAD will be the conversion function which will allow users to convert a dataset from its native format in the source database (node) into another format convenient for the user. This functionality is based on key metadata descriptors that will be required from datasets to be connected to GLAD in order to allow for interoperability between them, as well as a global mapping of flows nomenclature.

The further development of the GLAD platform requires the design and implementation of the IT environment in which GLAD will operate, and in particular the development of the converter function according to open source standards. The starting point for this component identified by the GLAD Steering Committee and Knowledge Management Team is the openLCA software import/export engine.

The aim of the consultancy work is to assist with the IT development of the GLAD platform. This activity comprises the development, integration, documentation, and initial hosting of the converter function of GLAD. The ability to convert different dataset formats from different dataset providers is one of the main attributes of the GLAD platform as it allows users to access and use datasets for their own purposes.

Specific duties related to this position include:
1. Develop web-based format and nomenclature conversion function for the GLAD platform
a. Develop the web-based format and nomenclature conversion function to enable interoperability of different datasets in close coordination with the Life Cycle Thinking Unit at UN Environment as well as with other partners involved in the development of corresponding functions of the GLAD platform. The development of the converter should be based on the openLCA import and export engine and involve improving conversion for ILCD, EcoSpold2, and JSON-LD formats as needed and adding mapping file handling.
b. Integrate the conversion functionality into the overall GLAD platform and specifically into the Search and Analysis function developed by other project partners who will define technology as well as the platform structure. The converter must comply with such technology.
c. Provide detailed documentation of the conversion coding development according to international open source standards in order to facilitate future maintenance and upgrades by the international community.
d. Host and maintain the server for the conversion during its development phase.

2. Coordination with project partners in charge of the development of the overall platform to ensure the conversion function will match the Search and Analysis function of the GLAD platform, and be integrated properly in the platform.

Qualifications/special skills

Competency: Professionalism: Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of life cycle assessment database management and conversion as well as open source IT coding; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges, and; remains calm in stressful situations.

Teamwork: Takes the initiative to work collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; is flexible to support unexpected or urgent team’s needs that might not be expressed in the workplan; motivates others to provide ideas and feedback and genuinely values this input; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; demonstrates openness and pro-activity in keeping the network of professional and other stakeholders and clients well informed and in receiving feedback concerning areas for improvement; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits genuine interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; respect the communication channels within the organizations including the UN.

Technological Awareness: Keeps abreast of available technology; understands applicability and limitation of technology to the work of the office; actively seeks to apply technology to appropriate tasks; shows willingness to learn new technology; demonstrates working knowledge of technology related to these terms of reference.

Academic Qualifications: University degree in IT development or a related field. Equivalent work experience in IT development together with a suitable University degree is acceptable.

Experience: At least 3 years work experience of progressively responsible experience in IT development with a special focus on open source LCA database development. Experience of not-for-profit (NFP) organizations, a good understanding of Life Cycle Assessment, environmental footprint, eco-innovation, life cycle management topics and their applications, and knowledge of the UN system would be assets.

Language: Fluency in English (oral and written) is required. Mastering of another UN official language is an advantage.

No Fee


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