TOR: Restoration Project Database Consultant

TOR: Restoration Project Database Consultant

July – October 2021


About GRO — The Global Restoration Observatory (GRO) is a multi-stakeholder initiative of leading data providers, think tanks, and restoration experts convening to fill data and information gaps, and increase the impact of existing initiatives such as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, the IUCN Restoration Barometer, and Restor. The GRO was conceived during the New York Declaration on Forests Progress Assessment consultations in 2019. More than twenty universities, civil society organizations, international organizations and research institutes have since come together to harmonize efforts to monitor, track and report progress on forest and landscape restoration. The improved coordination and consistency resulting from the GRO, in close collaboration with the taskforce under the Framework on Ecosystem Restoration Monitoring and other partners, will increase the impact of existing restoration initiatives.

The Problem — Restoration pledges have proliferated in recent years, and a plethora of initiatives and platforms have developed to support the ambition, funding, implementation, and monitoring of those efforts. As a result, a handful of restoration project databases seek similar core information about restoration projects to monitor progress against targets and goals based on existing and measurable indicators. Yet, while the goals of these initiatives are in strong alignment, further coordination on the monitoring methods, data and definitions is needed.

The Solution — The ability to share information between platforms would eliminate redundancy and reduce reporting burden on practitioners, thereby increasing the ability of these platforms to provide essential services to restoration implementers, donors, and the research community. The GRO is seeking to aid the global restoration community in supporting the harmonization of monitoring progress towards restoration goals under various international agreements and pledges, taking into consideration existing sub-national to global frameworks. As part of this effort, we are exploring the potential to formulate the minimum technical requirements to build an environment/architecture of interoperable platforms (e.g. project and data related). In the initial phase, GRO aims to: map existing restoration project databases; assess the feasibility and design options for developing a model for collecting and sharing data between restoration project databases, taking into account international standards (e.g. IATI, ISO), data licensing, and IT solutions. This is part of a larger scope of work that also includes developing a common set of restoration indicators that are applicable at local to global levels.

Activities and Outputs

1. Identify and assess existing restoration project databases and related platforms -- based on mapping previously completed by Climate Focus -- to understand scope and functionality, with a focus on ability to share data. This will include assessing and cataloguing the following: database software, language(s), query processors, size, data and metadata standards, quality assurance (accuracy, integrity, and completeness), data licensing, data storage and preservation, data security (access, erasure, privacy policies), and procedures used to process, upload, transfer, and share data.

2. Identify compatibility between existing databases and related platforms for restoration projects as well as opportunities, gaps, technical barriers, development needs, and appetite for participation among key stakeholders. Considerations include but are not limited to the following:

  • Existing system interoperability (syntactic interoperability/semantic interoperability);
  • Existing technical and information compatibility;
  • Gaps to sharing data between existing databases.

3. Conduct a feasibility assessment of linking existing project databases, including identification of barriers and technical solutions. The analysis must consider the scope, functionality, interface design, architecture, APIs, and translation tools.

Optional add-on activity:

4. Perform a systematic analysis of existing barriers to and incentives for participation from restoration projects -- technological, financial, language, political, etc. The analysis must be informed by primary research and a series of interviews with behavioral experts, restoration implementation organizations, and restoration practitioners.

Expected Deliverables

1. Technical report of findings on the feasibility of data sharing, including a set of recommendations on the appropriate data architecture to support this goal. The report should include the following:

  • Characterization of existing databases, including database software, language(s), query processors, size, data and metadata standards, quality assurance, data licensing, data storage and preservation, data procedures, and data security;
  • Assessment of technical and information opportunities, and challenges to achieving data sharing;
  • Suggested scope, functionality, interface design, architecture, APIs, translation tools – including associated timeframe and estimated cost to implement.

2. Template with minimum technical requirement to ensure the compatibility and interoperability between platforms.

3. Set of recommendations on strategies and incentives to promote participation of restoration practitioners with data platforms. (Linked to add-on activity #4)

Project Duration

The expected duration of the consultancy is four months, July – October 2021.

Required qualifications

The consultant or firm should meet at least the following:

  • Academic qualifications or equivalent work experience in database development/management, and Information Technology.
  • Proven experience in scoping and developing database solutions that retrieves data from various sources and translates them into a standardized usable format.
  • An ability to understand front-end user requirements in the environmental space.
  • Experience working in forest and landscape restoration is desirable.
How to Apply

Interested consultants or firms are required to submit a technical and financial proposal, including methodology and timeline to carry out the consultancy products, and information describing relevant experience and qualifications in the field of the assignment.

Please submit the files, via email to: j.gladstone [at] on or before July 16, 2021.

Release Date

30 June 2021

Key Contacts

Jillian Gladstone
Senior Consultant