Senior Environmental Specialist, Washington, United States

Organization: The World Bank

Country: United States

City: Washington

Office: World Bank in Washington, United States

Closing date: Friday, 21 January 2022

Senior Environmental Specialist

Job #: req14514

Organization: World Bank

Sector: Safeguards

Grade: GG

Term Duration: 4 years 0 months

Recruitment Type: International Recruitment

Location: Washington, DC,United States

Required Language(s): English, Portuguese

Preferred Language(s): French

Closing Date: 1/21/2022 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank Group provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty, increasing shared prosperity and promoting sustainable development. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. For more information, visit

Eastern and Southern Africa (AFE)

Home to about 700 million of Africa’s people, the World Bank’s Eastern and Southern Africa Region is a geographically, culturally and economically diverse region of 26 countries stretching from the Red Sea in the North to the Cape of Good Hope in the South. The region, which includes the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has an estimated gross domestic product of $945,567 million in 2019. South Africa, an upper middle-income country, is the region’s largest economy, followed by Angola, Kenya and Ethiopia. Seychelles and Mauritius are the region’s only high-income economies. The region boasts some of the world’s richest natural resources. DRC produces much of the world’s mined cobalt, and Angola leads the region in the production of crude oil. For many Eastern countries, agricultural products are the main commodity; Ethiopia and Uganda lead the region in coffee exports, while Kenya is the largest tea exporter. For Southern countries, precious metals and minerals are the biggest exports, including gold and diamonds from South Africa and platinum from Zimbabwe.

While much of Africa’s population lives in rural areas, Eastern and Southern African cities continue to grow. In South Africa, nearly half of the population lives in urban areas, such as Johannesburg, the country’s largest city. This does not translate into a reduction in poverty however; South Africa, remains a dual economy and is one of the most unequal countries in the world. The region harbors some of Africa’s protracted conflicts, rendering many of its countries fragile, while significant gaps in education, health, and skills development continue to keep people from reaching their full potential. This creates huge development challenges, and impacts heavily on the lives and livelihoods of people, and hinders regional integration and trade. Additionally, locust swarms are ravaging crops and jeopardizing food security across East Africa, including Kenya, Somalia and Uganda. The Horn of Africa, which already has 22 million severely food insecure people and more than 12 million internally displaced, is facing a critical food security emergency. Estimates are that and damages and losses could amount to as much as $9 billion in 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on human life, strained health systems and with contracting agricultural production, Sub-Saharan Africa could face a severe food security crisis. These challenges also create an opportunity to work closely with country leaders, civil society, development partners, and young people to chart a brighter course for the future, as well as regional economic organizations, which play a strong role in helping countries reach their development potential. The World Bank Group (WBG) has been helping countries realize their considerable development potential by focusing on priorities detailed in the World Bank Africa strategy, including building up the digital economy, creating jobs and transforming economies. The strategy also prioritizes regional integration and research to maximize development impact for clients.

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The World Bank is committed to helping countries to realize their considerable development potential and become more competitive in the global economy by focusing on the following priorities:

Creating Jobs and Transforming Economies: We are working with countries across Africa to stimulate job creation and economic transformation by leveraging all sources of finance, expertise, and solutions to promote investment.

Building up the Digital Economy: We are supporting Africa’s vision to ensure that every African individual, business, and government is connected by 2030.

Institutions more Efficient and Accountable: Our support is helping governments strengthen public policy processes, manage resources effectively, and reinforce fair and reliable delivery of public services.

Investing in People: We are at the forefront of helping African countries accelerate human capital gains and empower women by improving their access to education and skills acquisition, sexual and reproductive health services, and employment opportunities.

Supporting Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption: In the face of increasing climate-related risks, we are working with African countries to advance efforts to adopt renewable energy, climate-smart agriculture, and green infrastructure.

Addressing the Drivers of Fragility, Conflict and Violence: Given the cross-border nature of conflicts in Africa, we are employing an approach that simultaneously focuses on the drivers of fragility while also supporting well-targeted regional initiatives to create opportunities for peace and shared prosperity.

Building Partnerships and Working across the African Continent: We are scaling up our work on regional integration, taking a holistic view of the continent that covers both East and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The World Bank is a dedicated partner for East and Southern African countries, helping them deliver strong development outcomes for their people. A brighter future for the region is a better future for the world.


The Regional Environment and Social Standards Adviser (RSA) within the Office of the Regional Vice President for the East and Southern Africa Region ensures that lending operations supported by the Bank comply with applicable safeguards policies for investment lending. The RSA’s primary role is to advise regional Bank management and Task Teams on all proposed lending operations across the World Bank to ensure that project design is consistent with the requirements of the Bank’s environmental and social policies and that projects are implemented in accordance with policy requirements. The RSA provides support to high risk /high profile operations under preparation and implementation as part of the unit’s corporate risk management function.

The RSA work program also includes: collaborating with Bank regional management and Global Practice Groups to address environmental and social issues in operations; executing the mandate and accountability of the Safeguards Advisors as defined in the ADM Framework; conducting training workshops on social and environmental policies and standards for Bank staff and clients; carrying out periodic thematic studies of environmental and social policies management during project implementation; contributing to corporate initiatives such as the safeguards reform process and the development of dissemination of technical good practice guidance materials for Bank staff as well as contributing to the capacity building of Bank staff and borrowers.

In the case of Investment Lending projects, the RSA review process assesses the potential environmental and social impacts, and the adequacy of proposed measures to address these impacts and compliance with the Bank’s Safeguard Policies. For high-risk or projects with a corporate risk profile, the RSA retains review and clearance authority, supporting teams with the preparation of Environmental Assessments and Management Plans and Frameworks, Social Assessments and Indigenous Peoples and Resettlement Plans and Frameworks. The RSA is seeking an experienced and hands-on Senior Social Development Specialist whose primary role is to support the RSA in overseeing the application of the ESF policy and standards, and compliance with the social safeguard policies in the Bank’s investment lending operations and Program for Results operations (PforRs).

As part of the RSA Team, the Senior Social Development Specialist will also interact regularly with colleagues in Headquarters and in field offices, in the effective conduct of her/his work. A willingness to share knowledge, draw on expertise and help create a supportive work environment is therefore critical.

Duties & Accountabilities

As part of the multi-disciplinary team of Environment & Social specialists, the Senior Social Development Specialist will support the Regional Environmental and Social Standards Advisor (RSA) in overseeing the application of the ESF policy and standards and compliance with the social safeguard policies to the Bank’s IPF and PforR operations in particular. The Specialist also will support E&S risk management across the lending portfolio, assist in interpreting the social policies, promote building social sustainability into project design and implementation, support the use of sound social assessments methodologies across sectors and countries, and participate in knowledge and learning initiatives. The Sr. Social Development Specialist will report to the Manager for Development Effectiveness and for day-to-day coordination will work under the direction of the RSA. The Sr. Social Development Specialist will have the following responsibilities:

Reviewing new Bank investment project proposals to ensure that social development issues are properly addressed as required by the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework policy and standards, as well as the Bank’s safeguard policies and international good practice documents;
Reviewing new Bank PforR proposals to ensure that social issues are properly addressed as required by the World Bank’s PforR policy;
Supervising (implementation support) Bank operations related to E&S policies and project-specific social requirements;
Provide expert advice to task teams on social impact assessments, and on stakeholder engagement, consultation plans; labor, gender, indigenous peoples‘ frameworks and plans, vulnerable groups, gender-based violence, land tenure and access, resettlement plans, human security, crime and violence, economic and social impacts, and occupational health and safety.

Providing expert guidance to Task Teams on social risk management, impact assessments and mitigation measures as well as current good international practice on social issues,

Providing comments and guidance on project social assessment instruments and documentation; provide support for the development of required Bank documentation, if needed;
Providing comments and guidance on PforR documents, including the E&S Systems Assessment (ESSA).

Carrying out periodic thematic studies of environmental and social policies management during project implementation.

Coordinating and sharing information with Bank staff, clients and consultants providing environmental risk management project support and training as well as contributing to the capacity building of Bank staff and borrowers.

Selection Criteria

The Sr. Social Specialist must be a team oriented professional with proven ability to carry out complex tasks as part of multi-disciplinary teams, capacity to work under pressure, meet strict deadlines; and ability to work with and advise task teams and key stakeholders on social risks and impacts.

Advanced degree (Masters or PhD) in social sciences, law, economics, or other relevant discipline;
At least eight years of full-time relevant experience with a sustained record of achieving high quality substantive results

Experience in social risk management, preparation and/or review of project social risk and impact assessments, social management plans, capacity assessments and institutional strengthening measures;
Proven ability to conceptualize, design and implement major projects and to produce major/complex reports or studies; c4CiM7p Dh7qKS

Thorough knowledge of social risk management in operations, including policy framework and operational methods, tools, and databases of the World Bank’s E&S policies and standards including social safeguard policies on Involuntary Resettlement, Indigenous Peoples, Labor, Human Rights, Citizen Engagement, Access to Information, Land Acquisition;
Proven ability to apply the social safeguard policies in all operations, including complex and high risk, with minimal supervision.

Demonstrated maturity and sound judgment, attention to detail, and ability to convey complex messages succinctly and diplomatically;
Proven capacity to work with a wide range of stakeholders, and ability to represent the Department with internal and external partners and interact effectively with Senior Management.

Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English and Portuguese (French desirable);
Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work in multi-disciplinary teams.

Excellent workflow management and task organization skills; able to coordinate all aspects of the workflow of assigned responsibilities.

Proven ability to coach others in the application of the interventions and mentor more junior staff.

Ability to conduct social development analyses, deriving results that resonate with the client.

Required Professional Competencies:

Social Development Policy, Strategy and Institutions - Solid understanding of social development policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations;
Social Sciences and Law - Demonstrates strong knowledge of one relevant thematic areas of social development, and social risk management; deep experience in applying knowledge to policy-related decisions and advice;
Policy Dialogue Skills - Possesses political judgement, diplomatic acumen and negotiating skills; builds and sustains key stakeholder relationships with government and other key stakeholders;
Integrative Skills - Demonstrates ability to think and work across WBG practices and sectors; integrates divergent viewpoints of multiple external and internal stakeholders into a coherent strategy/program/project;
Participation and Consultation Skills -Proven ability to conduct social development consultative and participatory approaches, deriving results that resonate with the client.

Analytical Tools for Social Sustainability -Demonstrates ability to conduct social development analyses, deriving results that resonate with the client and apply the results of social analyses and interventions to Bank operations and sector policies and institutions.

Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena - Fully understands the Bank’s development initiatives and policies and practices related to lending and non-lending; Guides research and translates technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies; interacts with clients at the policy level.

Social sustainability - Demonstrates solid understanding of the kinds of policies and strategies needed for the success of the operation and to support social sustainability across the sector.

WBG Core Competencies

Lead and Innovate - Develops innovative solutions with others.

Deliver Results for Clients - Achieves results and identifies mission-driven solutions for the client.

Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries - Initiates collaboration across boundaries and broadly across the WBG and brings differing ideas to the forefront.

Create, Apply and Share Knowledge - Creates, applies and shares knowledge from across and outside WBG to strengthen internal and/or external client solutions.

Make Smart Decisions - Recommends and takes decisive action.

World Bank Group Core Competencies

The World Bank Group offers comprehensive benefits, including a retirement plan; medical, life and disability insurance; and paid leave, including parental leave, as well as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

Learn more about working at the World Bank and IFC, including our values and inspiring stories.

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