Social Development Specialist, Belgrade, Serbia

Organization: The World Bank

Country: Serbia

City: Belgrade

Office: The World Bank in Belgrade

Closing date: Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Social Development Specialist

Job #: req21685

Organization: World Bank

Sector: Social Development

Grade: GF

Term Duration: 3 years 0 months

Recruitment Type: Local Recruitment

Location: Belgrade,Serbia

Required Language(s): English, Serbian

Preferred Language(s): Albanian

Closing Date: 3/28/2023 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? 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 and promoting shared prosperity. 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

The Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Region

The Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region comprises 30 extremely diverse countries, with a population of nearly 500 million people. Although 10 of our clients have joined the EU and 7 of these have graduated, most continue to remain active recipients of knowledge and/or lending services. Furthermore, in the midst of a crisis like the pandemic that we are experiencing now, some of the advanced countries re-engage with the Bank for additional support, including financial. ECA has a strong lending pipeline as well as a large and growing portfolio of Reimbursable Advisory Services. Knowledge is critical to the Bank’s value proposition to client countries in the ECA region in both lending and advisory services.

A predominantly middle- and high-income region, ECA continues to be at the forefront in confronting the numerous development challenges that countries face in the evolving global economy. The region is at the vanguard of building regional connectivity while having to manage the changing structure of the labor market. At the same time, digital technologies are changing the nature of work, populations are aging, and large migration flows have generated social tensions that have contributed to increased political polarization. These emerging trends threaten to reverse the region’s achievements in regional integration, poverty reduction and shared prosperity.

The ECA region is also one of the most vulnerable to climate change. It has a large potential to strengthen climate change resilience and improve energy efficiency, thereby reducing its contribution to climate change. Other important challenges affecting parts of the region include frozen conflicts and domestic political instability.

In February 2020, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak interrupted the incipient recovery and the impact on growth remains highly uncertain and in a downside scenario of prolonged shutdowns, output in ECA could contract by nearly 8 percent in 2020. The pandemic also poses medium-term risks, particularly if global value chain linkages are lost or if extended school closures have a significant impact on learning, dropout rates, and human capital development.

The near- and medium-term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis serve to re-emphasize the critical importance of ECA’s medium-term strategic agenda on raising productivity and boosting resilience. This focuses on three priority areas:

Boosting human capital to raise productivity

Building solid foundations and resilience for growth

Enabling markets to achieve high productivity in the private sector

The Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Region: ttps://

The Sustainable Development (SD) Practice Group (PG) helps countries tackle their most complex challenges in the areas of Agriculture and Food, Climate Change, Environment, Natural Resources & Blue Economy, Environmental and Social Framework, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience & Land, Social Sustainability and Inclusion, and Water.


The Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice helps countries tackle deep rooted social problems stemming from fragility, climate change, exclusion, and the digital age with people centered solutions that build on local values and institutions. The Practice engages with citizens, communities and governments to deepen resilience, build inclusion, and empower vulnerable and marginalized groups to have influence and voice. It prioritizes participatory, multi-sectoral approaches that build on norms and informal institutions to address social challenges and to build more inclusive, empowered communities. The Practice also works across the Bank’s portfolio to implement the Environment and Social Framework (ESF) standards. The ESF offers an overarching platform for fostering inclusive approaches to ensure vulnerable groups benefit from Bank investments and mitigate against related risks.

The Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice has adopted a new strategy that aims to promote inclusive sustainable development anchored on three pillars:

Social Inclusion: Enhancing opportunities for equality and inclusion of all people irrespective of income level, geography, gender, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexual orientation or other grounds of discrimination; Advancing inclusive laws, regulations, policies and institutions; and investing in access to markets and services for hard to reach and marginalized groups living in lagging regions.

Social Resilience: Strengthening social risk management for social sustainability and inclusion; Enhancing social cohesion and opportunities in fragile communities; Strengthening social resilience to climate extremes and natural hazards; and Supporting emergency response and an inclusive recovery from COVID-19.

Social Empowerment: supporting community empowerment for more effective service delivery; Fostering accountable governance including from the bottom up; and Promoting community-driven women empowerment and livelihood support programs.

Regional Management Unit Context

The SCASO team is responsible for: (i) undertaking social analysis during project preparation and implementation, to mainstream social development issues throughout the Bank’s work in the region; (ii) supporting clients to manage project-level social risk; (iii) ensuring that Bank-financed projects meet the requirements of the Environmental and Social Framework (ESF), including: social assessment; labor and working conditions; community health and safety; land acquisition, restrictions on land use and involuntary resettlement; Indigenous Peoples; stakeholder engagement (with a focus on vulnerable groups); grievance redress and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse/Sexual Harassment; (iv) undertaking Analytical and Advisory Activities (ASA) in the form of thematic studies on social development issues, country social analysis, and Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS); (v) leading the preparation and supervision of lending operations, with a particular focus on promoting the inclusion of vulnerable groups (including youth, the elderly, Roma, women, internally displaced persons, refugees, etc.), and citizen engagement; and (vi) facilitating partnerships and dialogue with civil society through outreach and engagement with a broad range of actors. To this end, the ECA Social Development Unit works closely with staff across all Country Management Units and Global Practices in ECA.

Serbia Country Context:

Serbia is located in Central and Southeastern Europe on Balkan Peninsula, with a population of approximately 7.2 million citizens. It has a rapidly evolving political and economic background after having passed through dramatic transitions and is now a candidate country for accession to the European Union. Since 2016 there is a strong political will and commitment to reforms across the key sectors including health, education and energy. Despite strong policies, many key development indicators remain challenging due to under-performance of infrastructure and services on the ground. While there is commitment to inclusion of marginalized groups, there are limited programs on the ground that have delivered on this agenda.

The World Bank has a wide portfolio in Serbia which spans infrastructure (water, energy, agriculture, transport), health, education and support to the economic and financial sectors. These programs need to build on good social analysis so they can be adapted to benefit the most marginalized and vulnerable groups as well as ensure sustainable social development outcomes. Groups like the Roma, minority groups, returnees and the informally employed need to be better integrated into service delivery and information systems so they can better benefit from the range of development programs in the country and region.

Duties and Accountabilities

The Social Development Specialist (SDS) will be based in Belgrade, Serbia and will support the Serbia portfolio’s work on social risk management including managing issues related to the old Bank safeguards policies and the new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF). The SDS will also provide technical support on broad social development themes including gender, social accountability and youth centered activities. The SDS will report to the ECA SSI Practice Manager and work in close collaboration with the Regional Safeguards Coordinator and Western Balkans ESF CMU Coordinator.

The SDS will have the following main tasks and responsibilities:

Provide guidance to clients on social risk management so that not only the Bank’s social risk management standards are fully complied with, but also the impact and sustainability of Bank supported operations are enhanced.

Work in close collaboration with the ESF CMU Coordinator for the Western Balkans CMU, the Regional Safeguards Coordinator and the ECA SSI Practice Manager.

Primarily provide implementation support to the Bank’s operations in Serbia, and to other countries in Western Balkan CMU as required.

Advise task teams and clients on the Bank’s Environmental and Social Standards and supporting the conceptualization of approaches to mitigate social risk and maximize social benefits through the preparation and supervision of lending operations across sectors.

Provide guidance and direct operational support to task teams and staff on responses to social safeguards and ESF related topics and during preparation and implementation on all aspects related to social risk management.

Ensure that, at any time, the relevant reporting systems are updated with high quality information to allow proactive monitoring, management, and reporting of social risk across the portfolio.

Support other STCs working on social risk management and supervise the timeliness and quality of their work.

Advise and participate in project teams to help develop operational designs and mechanisms to assess social opportunities, impacts, constraints and risks related to Bank supported operations; develop and evaluate proposed technical solutions and assist in the preparation of project documentation.

Contribute to management briefs of relevant social safeguards issues.

Support policy dialogue with clients on social risk, social inclusion, and social sustainability issues, ranging from upstream inputs into country Systematic Country Diagnostics and Country Partnership Frameworks, to advising counterparts on related policies or on risks and opportunities in relation to Bank-supported operations.

Develop and build relations within the Bank and with clients and contribute to generating new business for the Bank.

Contribute to ongoing and emerging corporate initiatives related to social standards, through participation in the Global Solutions Group on Social Sustainability and Inclusion. In this context, improve feedback mechanisms through participating in and contributing to high quality training and other learning events related to social assessments, social safeguards, and broader social development issues.

Build capacity with clients on issues related to safeguards and broader social issues, including clients‘ monitoring and evaluation of social development activities and outcomes.

Selection Criteria

At least advanced university degree (Masters or PhD) in relevant social science (e.g., Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, and Political Science) or related fields.

Minimum of 5 years of professional experience in social development topics, including social safeguards, social inclusion, gender integration and ethnic minorities.

Knowledge and experience in addressing issues covered by the World Bank Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) and social safeguards policies, particularly social assessment, involuntary resettlement, labor and working conditions, community health and safety, Indigenous Peoples, stakeholder engagement and information disclosure and/or similar policies in other international finance institutions in complex and challenging settings, and across sectors. Experience with grievance redress mechanisms.

Experience with involuntary resettlement and integration of relevant planning instruments such as Resettlement Action Plans (RAP) in overall project planning and implementation.

Strong operational (task management) and analytical skills and demonstrated ability to translate analytical work into policy advice and actionable, practical recommendations.

Proven experience in engaging in policy dialogue with government, development partners in at least 2 relevant social development areas.

Demonstrated ability to organize and manage a complex work program; aptitude to lead diverse team, navigate team dynamics, and mentor STCs.

Experience with managing donor-funded projects/programs a plus.

Excellent oral and written communications skills in English and Serbian essential. Knowledge of Albanian desirable.

In addition, the successful candidate is expected to exhibit the following core competencies:

Social Development Implications on Policy, Institutions, and Operations: solid understanding of the implications of social development on policy, institutions, and operations.

Analytical Tools for Social Sustainability and Inclusion: Robust experience conducting social development analyses, producing meaningful results, and applying the tools in operations.

Participation and Consultation: Solid experience conducting social development consultative and participatory approaches, and applying the approaches in operations.

Knowledge and experience in development arena - understands policy making process; distills operationally relevant recommendations/lessons for clients.

Policy Dialogue Skills - Identifies and assesses policy issues and plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders.

Deliver Results for Clients: Proactively addresses client’s stated and unstated needs.

Collaborate within teams and across boundaries: Collaborates across boundaries, gives own perspective and willingly received diverse perspectives.

Lead and Innovate: Develops innovative solutions.

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.

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