Local recruitment: Water-Climate Specialist

The World Bank

Washington, D.C., USA 🇺🇸

Job #:req13250
Organization:World Bank
Term Duration: 1 year 0 months
Recruitment Type:Local Recruitment
Location:Washington, DC,United States
Required Language(s):English
Preferred Language(s):Spanish or French desirable
Closing Date:9/30/2021 (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 www.worldbank.org

Clients and country management units are increasingly demanding support on climate change. The uptick in requests needed for regions and operations on climate change stems from a global push to mitigate climate change to levels that avoid the most suffering, while also needing to adapt, or increase resilience to the inevitable impacts to which our systems are already committed. The World Bank Group is responding to this by increasing commitments to integrate climate change more rigorously in its operations and country strategies/planning exercises.

The water sector plays a critical role in the adaptation and resilience agenda. As climate change primarily manifests through the hydrological cycle, water is the primary connector on the adaptation agenda. Resilience has emerged as a key attribute to manage the uncertainty of shocks and stressors and design and manage investments able to thrive under change. Resilience is also a necessary condition if countries are to rebuild back better and greener, a key aspect of the GRID framework. Rebuilding from shocks requires a reformulation of the existing water management and service provision model. It means not only short-term adjustments to ensure that services continue to be provided under severe financial constraints, but also ensuring that in the short-, medium-, and long-term, systems are resilient to future shocks and stresses, including those from pandemics.

For close to 10 years, the Water Global Practice has actively contributed to advancing the resilience agenda, with a focus on resilience to climate change. While a range of approaches to plan, design, and manage resilient investments exist (e.g., Decision Tree Framework, Resilient WSS Utility Roadmap, and most recently, the Resilience Design Brief), their uptake in World Bank projects is still insufficient to address the growing challenges. The current corporate climate change commitments related to risk screening and co-benefits have proved crucial for designing Water GP projects that are more climate informed. However, there is now a need to begin moving to “next generation support” to meet the increasing demands for technical advisory services that can more rigorously integrate resilience planning and design into projects.

The water sector has significant potential to contribute to the climate change mitigation agenda, but this remains under-appreciated within and outside the World Bank. Still, the Water Global Practice has demonstrated an increasing scope for climate change mitigation investments in recent years through its existing portfolio.  Ever since GHG accounting became mainstreamed in Water GP IPF projects in FY16, the types of water sector investments  that commonly lead to net emission reductions include: (i) energy efficiency in water supply, wastewater, and irrigation projects; (ii) zero-energy gravity-based systems in water supply, wastewater, and irrigation projects; (iii) renewable energy in water supply, desalination, wastewater, irrigation, and reservoir projects; (iv) reducing methane and nitrous oxide (including methane capture) through wastewater treatment; (v) climate-smart agriculture interventions in irrigation projects; (vi) watershed management and nature-based solutions in water supply and irrigation projects; among others. Mitigation activities that are currently sparingly included in Water Global Practice project designs that can be potentially introduced or further scaled-up in terms of support and promotion throughout Water GP projects include: (i) climate-informed construction materials sourcing, (ii) hydroelectric retrofit, (iii) wastewater reuse, (iv) financial support to farmers for fertilizer use efficiency, and (v) nature-based solutions.

Greater analytical support is required to determine the true mitigation potential of these (and other) types of untapped investments. This includes developing the basic narrative/storyline for how mitigation gains can be realized across different water sub-sectors, quantifying the mitigation potential within a region/country/set of activities, and linking countries and projects to dedicated climate finance to catalyze these mitigation gains.

Beyond project design, however, there are also strategic analytic and planning processes at the country and regional levels that tend to ‘dilute’ the importance of water. Such exercises include the newly announced Climate Change Development Reports (CCDRs), regional climate business plans, and other country-relevant documents and processes, e.g., Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Long-term Decarbonization/Low-Carbon Strategies, among others. The missing emphasis on water in these activities demonstrates an urgency for regional water teams to develop a more coherent water and climate narrative/storyline, including articulating the key linkages with other Global Practices needed areas for collaboration across sectors. Having these narratives in place will help the Water Global Practice be better positioned to deliver climate change outcomes for clients.

Taking this evolving list of needs described above, the Water and Climate Global Solutions Group (GSG) within the Water Global Practice is organized through a Core Team and a Decentralized Support Team (TTLs) to provide support to Task Team Leaders across the regions. The Water and Climate GSG will help with: (i) further integrating resilience and mitigation into project design; and (ii) support on strategic regional and country analytic and planning efforts.

Tasks and Duties

The Water-Climate Specialist will be part of the Core Team of the Water and Climate GSG, and will work independently with guidance from the Water and Climate Global Lead and other members of the Core Team as well as the Lead Water Economist for Eastern and Southern Africa, and will report to the Water Global Practice Manager responsible for the Global Unit and the Lead Water Economist for Eastern and Southern Africa; and will have the following specific duties:

• Provide analytical support and targeted advice to country and/or regional climate change initiatives, such as CCDRs, SCDs/CPFs, Climate Business/Action Plans, including conducting independent research.
• Provide support to regional and local teams in planning, preparation, and supervision of projects and/or advisory services in areas related to resilience design, climate adaptation strategies, management of risks, and uncertainties in water and interconnected systems. Approximately 40 percent of time will be dedicated to providing technical cross-support (e.g., modeling, decision making under uncertainty, data analysis and visualization) to regions and local team members and operations.
• Provide targeted advice to TTLs and their clients through expertise available on demand for designing projects using resilience principles and methodologies (e.g., decision-making under uncertainty and integrated assessment modeling).
• Provide support in the planning, designing, and delivering of training events and other ‘on invitation’ learning and capacity building activities.
• Prepare briefing materials to capture and disseminate lessons learned from integrating resilience and mitigation in Water sector operations, strategic country analytics and processes.
• Support the piloting of new corporate initiatives that relate to project design (e.g., resilience rating system, Paris alignment).

Selection Criteria

The candidate must demonstrate good interpersonal skills and the ability to find practical solutions to problems and think strategically; and must demonstrate technical and professional excellence, and effective communication. The following specific criteria also apply:

• PhD in water resources management, hydrology, climate change, or climate risk from an accredited university.
• A minimum of 5 years of relevant professional experience, preferable in water resources planning under uncertainty, management of climate risks, water resilience and adaptation.
• Track record of leading analytical work that applies bottom-up, uncertainty-based approaches for designing decisions in the water and interconnected sectors.
• Experience working in developing countries (particularly in the Africa and Latin America regions) in sectors of climate change, water risks, water supply, hydropower, irrigation, catchment planning, and resilience.
• Experience in conducting independent research, analyze, synthesize and present results clearly and concisely.
• Uninterrupted publications and policy reports in academic and other peer-reviewed journals and outlets, particularly in topics of water science, water risks, climate change, and similar.
• Demonstrated understanding of policy issues and priorities in relation to climate risks and opportunities for the water sector.
• Excellent writing skills and verbal communication in English and Spanish is a must and fluency in any other of the Bank’s official languages is desirable.
• Experience using GIS packages such as ArcGIS and QGIS applied for risks and hydrology, as well as Business Intelligence software, such as Power BI or Tableau.
• Experience in managing hydrological, climate, land surface, and water systems models, such as TopModel, WEAP, and others.

The candidate will work under the guidance of Sr. Climate Change Specialist (Nathan Engle) and the Lead Water Economist for Eastern and Southern Africa (Diego Rodriguez).

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Note: The selected candidate will be offered a one-year appointment, renewable for an additional one year, at the discretion of the World Bank Group, and subject to a lifetime maximum ET Appointment of two years. If an ET appointment ends before a full year, it is considered as a full year toward the lifetime maximum. Former and current ET staff who have completed all or any portion of their second-year ET appointment are not eligible for future ET appointments.