Senior Communications Officer (Climate Change)

Washington, DC, United States 🇺🇸

Background / General description:

Developing countries have an unprecedented opportunity to end extreme poverty within a generation. Inspired by this prospect, the World Bank Group (WBG) has set two overarching goals: to end extreme poverty by 2030, and promote shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40 percent in every country.

To achieve this, the organization combines the strengths of the five WBG institutions: finance, global knowledge, convening services, and the ability to work with both public and private sectors. Underpinning the approach is a recently established architecture that includes 14 Global Practices and 5 Cross-Cutting Solutions Areas that, in concert with the Bank Group regional units, design customized solutions that address our clients’ most pressing development challenges.

The 14 Global Practices (GPs) are: Agriculture; Education; Energy and Extractives; Environment and Natural Resources; Finance and Markets; Governance; Health, Nutrition and Population; Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management; Poverty; Social Protection and Labor; Trade and Competitiveness; Transport and ICT; Urban, Rural and Social Development; and Water. The five Cross-cutting Solution Areas (CCSAs) are: Climate Change; Fragility, Conflict and Violence; Gender; Jobs; and Public-Private Partnerships.

The External and Corporate Relations (ECR) Vice-Presidency’s mandate is to strengthen the World Bank Group’s development impact by increasing public support for, and awareness of, the mission and work of the Group. ECR manages corporate communications and global engagement with key stakeholders, including media, civil society, private sector, donor countries, and international organizations, as well as staff communication within the Group. ECR publishes the WBG’s research and knowledge products, and manages the Group’s corporate identity and branding. ECR is responsible for the Group’s corporate online and social media presence, and produces content for a wide variety of platforms, including print, broadcast, and web. ECR also provides support to operations through specialized communication services, and leads the management of reputation risk.

ECR’s Global Practices communications department — established to meet the communication needs of the Global Practices (GPs) and Cross Cutting Solution Areas (CCSA) – is looking for a dynamic and experienced senior communications professional to lead communications for the Climate Change Cross-Cutting Solutions Area (CCSA), which is part of Sustainable Development Vice-Presidency, together with the Agriculture; Environment & Natural Resources; Social, Urban, Rural & Resilience; Transport & ICT; and Water Global Practices and the PPP CCSA.
The WBG sees tackling climate change as critical to the pursuit of its mission, given the intrinsic link between climate change and poverty. The challenges of low carbon development, of building resilience into economic growth and development and coping with the impacts of unmitigated climate change will shape the opportunities for all WBG clients now and in the next decades.

This is also not an ordinary time. The international community is now focused on efforts to implement the historic Paris climate change agreement reached at COP21. In the wake of the Paris accord, the WBG developed and released its Climate Change Action Plan in April 2016, to help its member countries and ensure that WBG activities are contributing to a lower carbon, more resilient pathway of development. The WBG is also actively working with the UNFCCC and the Government of Morocco on accelerating the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The WBG has also pledged a one third increase in climate financing to 28 percent by 2020, which could see annual funding total $29 billion.

The Climate Change CCSA, made up of more than 250 professionals, works across the institution and with external partners, providing technical support and intellectual leadership on many issues, with experts on climate and carbon finance, climate investment and climate change mitigation and adaptation policy and practice.

Note: If the selected candidate is a current Bank Group staff member with a Regular or Open-Ended appointment, s/he will retain his/her Regular or Open-Ended appointment.   Others will be appointed a Term appointment of 3 year duration.

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background.  Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.  All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Note: If the selected candidate is a current Bank Group staff member with a Regular or Open-Ended appointment, s/he will retain his/her Regular or Open-Ended appointment. All others will be offered a 3 year term appointment.


The Senior Communications Officer, also known as the Climate Change Communications Lead (CL), will be embedded in the front office of the CCSA to manage strategic communications of the practice.  The CL will be responsible for managing communications within the CCSA and will report directly to the ECRGP Manager for the Sustainable Development Practice Group, and will also have a dotted line to the Senior Director of the CCSA.
The CL’s main role is to plan, develop, and implement effective communications and outreach strategies in order to raise awareness and understanding of the WBG’s climate work. The CL’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
• Design, implement, monitor and assess a comprehensive, results-oriented communications strategy and plan for the CCSA that will include effective positioning, messaging stakeholder engagement, advocacy, creating and leveraging communications opportunities, and horizon risk scanning and management.

• Provide strategic and timely advice to the CCSA Senior Director and GP leadership team on high-profile or sensitive internal or external communications issues, including potential reputational risk issues, and keep abreast of relevant developments in the climate change arena.

• Manage media relations by proactively cultivating global, regional and national media relationships, including looking for opportunities to leverage the CCSA’s leadership in the media and through speaking opportunities; pitching stories; and handling incoming media queries.

• Proactively manage relationships and communications with a wide array of stakeholders, opinion leaders, influencers, and partners in global climate change agenda, and identify opportunities to build and sustain understanding and support of the WBG’ priorities in the CCSA.

• Develop and implement diverse and sometimes complex global communications and advocacy campaigns, including engagement with global partners.

• Develop and/or oversee development of an array of communications products, including (but not limited to) speeches and talking points for senior management; events or launches; news releases;  stories; op-eds; blogs; multimedia products; etc.

• Work in close partnership with online communications officers to ensure a strong and growing digital presence for the CCSA across WBG and partner websites, blogs, and social media channels.  

• Coordinate the day to day work of CCSA communications team, providing task management support, guidance and mentoring to other team members.

• Work closely with other World Bank Group corporate, GP, CCSA, country and regional communications staff to align, coordinate and support communications around climate change issues, initiatives, projects or programs.

Specific duties may include the following:
• Within the practice’s communications strategy framework and overall objectives, is responsible for overall planning, designing, executing, and monitoring and evaluating the impact of communications strategies, activities, and campaigns about the Bank Group’s work in climate change. Also leads broader strategy development with regard to the unit’s overall work program.

• Determines the types of information and communications activities which are best suited to addressing issues or problems and identifies relevant information sources. Accordingly, writes and/or oversees the preparation, production and dissemination of both routine and complex outreach products that promote the strategic and timely flow of information and key messages about the Bank Group, its policies and operations to key internal and external audiences.

• Initiates and sustains effective professional relationships with key internal and/or external constituencies (including the media, civil society, academia, businesses, government agencies, parliamentarians, etc.). Identifies opportunities for and forges strategic partnerships both inside and outside the Bank to improve dialogue and outreach and to strengthen the practice’s overall effectiveness and image.

• Monitors and analyzes current events and public and press opinion with a view to risk management. Advises management and other relevant Bank Group staff on trends, news developments, or changing/unexpected circumstances that may impact the CCSA’s work, and helps to determine appropriate strategic responses to address them.

• Oversees planning, coordination, scheduling and logistics, often across multiple teams, for press briefings, major conferences and seminars, public or broadcast appearances, and other communications-related activities sponsored by the Bank Group (including some that involve the Bank Group President). May assign work and provide guidance to others charged with developing various communications products for specific deliverables.

• Actively seeks opportunities to collaborate with other Global Practices and CCSAs to mutually amplify and deepen the impact of communication.

Selection Criteria:

Master’s degree (Communications, International Relations/Public Affairs, Economics or other related field) plus a minimum of 8 years of relevant work experience or a Bachelors with at least 13 years of relevant work experience.
• Demonstrates substantial and current knowledge of issues and developments in the global climate change arena, with proven understanding/experience working in climate change or one or more of the following areas: energy policy, environment, development.
• Demonstrates excellent English language skills and proficiency to write and edit complex communications products for purposeful structure, clarity of ideas, and logical, persuasive presentation.
• Demonstrates ability to nurture and maintain relationships and communications with critical internal and external constituencies and stakeholders.
• Demonstrates ability to think strategically and rapidly analyze diverse information from varied sources.
• Solid understanding of development topics and ability to identify communications-related opportunities and risks in an international environment.
• Demonstrates ability and the necessary personal organization skills to take initiative, personal ownership, and accountability to meet deadlines, work under pressure, and achieve agreed-upon results.  
• Experience using digital and social media to stimulate conversations with stakeholders, develop strategies to position across websites, blogs and other channels.
• Demonstrates ability for teamwork in a multicultural environment.
• Experience working with senior executives
• Capacity in other languages is desirable.
In addition to the above, successful candidate must demonstrate the following competencies:
• Communication in International Development – High-level ability to communicate with internal and external partners, based on understanding their communication needs and possessing significant experience with international development topics and issues.
• Social Media, Information Channels, and Communication Tools Awareness – Able to assist, consult, or lead others in assuring existing or new, upcoming communication tools and media channels are fully leveraged to assure proper communication.
• Access to Information Policy – Recognized as an authority in information access, and in the distribution, design, and delivery of communications products and in other information dissemination activities.
• Content Development – Has significant experience in and/or demonstrates broad, in-depth proficiency in this competency and is therefore able to clear for internal or external use material that is developed.
• Content and Style Editing – Has significant experience in, leads others and demonstrates in-depth proficiency in rewriting or editing complex communications products for purposeful structure, clarity of ideas, and the logical persuasive presentation of content.
• Communication Strategy, Planning, and Execution – Has significant experience in and/or demonstrates in-depth proficiency at a level sufficient to assist, consult, or lead others in the planning, development, and execution of communication strategies for complex projects.
• Relationship Management and Political Awareness – Has significant experience and/or demonstrates ability to lead and manage relationships with critical internal and/or external high-risk constituencies to foster strategic partnerships and to strengthen the Bank’s image or mitigate reputational risk.
• Client Orientation – Maintains client relationships in the face of conflicting demands or directions and provides evidence-based advice and solutions based on sound diagnosis and knowledge.
• Drive for Results – Identifies the needed resources to accomplish results involving multiple stakeholders and finds solutions to obstacles affecting key deliverables.
• Teamwork (Collaboration) and Inclusion – Shows leadership in ensuring the team stays organized and focused, and actively seeks and considers diverse ideas and approaches.
• Knowledge, Learning and Communication – Leads in the sharing of best practice, trends, knowledge and lessons learned across units and with clients and partners, articulating ideas verbally and in writing in a clear and compelling way across audiences of varied levels.
• Business Judgment and Analytical Decision Making – Gathers inputs, assesses risk, considers impact and articulates benefits of decisions for internal and external stakeholders over the long term.