Senior Climate Change Specialist

The World Bank
Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2017, the WBG committed $59 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $19 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188 member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with nearly 15,000 staff located globally. For more information, please visit

The GEF unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. An independently operating financial organization, GEF is the designated financial mechanism for five international environmental conventions: The Convention on Biological Diversity, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Minamata Convention on Mercury. GEF is also a designated financial mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. The GEF Secretariat, construed for administrative purposes as a Vice Presidential Unit (VPU) within the World Bank, has approximately 100 professional and administrative and client support (ACS) staff. The GEF operates two funds to support adaptation to climate change: the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). In May 2002, the GEF Council approved the arrangements for establishment of these funds. To date, the LDCF and SCCF have provided over $1.5 billion in grant financing for over 300 adaptation projects in vulnerable developing countries. The two funds are also mandated to serve the Paris Agreement. In June 2018, the LDCF/SCCF Council approved the GEF Programming Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change for the LDCF and SCCF and Operational Improvements for July 2018 to June 2022. In line with this new strategy as well as the GEF 2020 vision, the GEF is seeking greater emphasis on private sector engagement and innovation in its adaptation portfolio during this phase. The GEF Secretariat is seeking a dynamic and experienced Senior Climate Change Specialist to join its climate change adaptation program to support the GEF programming in developing countries to address their commitments and contributions towards UNFCCC. The ideal candidate should have a workable understanding of the complexity of the GEF partnership arrangement and of the dynamics of a complex set of GEF client countries. The candidate should have strong interpersonal skills, experience with climate change adaptation and resilience building in developing countries, along with political acumen and the capacity to work effectively on sensitive issues with senior management, the LDCF/SCCF Council and across different agencies of the GEF. S/he will: be responsible for boosting private sector engagement and innovative financing models in the adaptation portfolio; conduct technical reviews that ensure high quality project proposals for GEF Council approval and CEO endorsement; engage with the UNFCCC; contribute to formulation of operational policies/strategy documents of relevance to the LDCF and SCCF; coordinate with the Implementing Agencies, the Trustee and the Convention Secretariat; and report to the Council and the Convention. S/he will also provide support to the GEF Programs Unit and work across regions and thematic focal areas, as required. 

Duties and Accountabilities:

Under the joint supervision of the Manager of the GEF Programs Unit (GPU) and the LDCF/SCCF Manager, the Senior Climate Change Specialist will have the following duties:

  1. Conduct in-depth, high-quality technical reviews of adaptation and multi-trust fund project concepts received for LDCF/SCCF Council Approval and of proposals received for CEO Endorsement, and contribute to the mainstreaming of climate adaptation considerations and resilience into the GEF portfolio.
  2. Coordinate the effort to seek and catalyze opportunities for private sector engagement and innovative partnerships in the adaptation program. Work with GEF Agencies, countries, GEF non-grant program and other partners to encourage inclusion of innovative financing models in projects/programs for the LDCF and SCCF, and explore mainstreaming and integration opportunities with the GEF Trust Fund as well as other climate funds.
  3. Under the guidance of the GPU Director and Lead for Multilateral Environmental Agreements, contribute to effective coordination of GEF’s strategic engagement related to the UNFCCC and other international negotiations for the climate change. This may include UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) as well as other Convention meetings as relevant, consultations on draft guidance preparations and ensuring GEF responses, and support to the CEO and GPU Director for their engagement.
  4. Engage in donor relations activities as appropriate, including fundraising efforts to mobilize resources, in the context of the LDCF and SCCF.
  5. Establish and maintain a productive dialogue with GEF Agencies and countries, providing information and guidance consistent with GEF decisions to: (i) assist LDCs in the development of project proposals; (ii) support the development of programs and strategies for addressing climate change adaptation, including in the context of integrated, multi-focal area projects/programs; (iii) maintain consistency with, and responsiveness to, the Convention guidance; and (iv) build synergies across GEF focal areas.
  6. Contribute to enhancing complementarity with other adaptation-related funds and financial leverage, through outreach efforts to countries, implementation of coordinated engagement initiatives, sharing of experiences and lessons learned, and other means. Represent the LDCF and the SCCF, and the GEF at relevant international, political, scientific, and operational fora.
  7. Coordinate budgetary matters for the LDCF and SCCF, and contribute to results monitoring and reporting of the LDCF/SCCF program. Also support the development and delivery of Council and guidance documents to facilitate productive operations of the funds, in line with the COP guidance to the GEF with respect to the adaptation financing through the LDCF and SCCF.
  8. Undertake additional duties as required by the GEF senior management.

Selection Criteria

  1. Masters or a Ph.D. with at least 10 years of relevant experience in the field of climate change adaptation, climate finance, innovation management, natural resource management, or other relevant discipline.
  2. Experience relevant to climate change adaptation required. Background with private sector engagement within the context of climate change adaptation and/or mitigation strongly preferred. Must demonstrate an excellent knowledge of global climate financing architecture and familiarity with mainstreaming climate resilience in the context of multiple development sectors, including natural resources and infrastructure. Experience in addressing climate change in the context of developing countries, particularly LDCs, strongly preferred.
  3. Ability to engage with a range of stakeholders, international organizations, development agencies, scientific and technical bodies, private sector entities, developing country counterparts, and civil society organizations would be an advantage.
  4. Must be able to think analytically, strategically, and programmatically.
  5. Must have proven ability to work in teams (within and across), both as a team leader and team member.
  6. Must have excellent verbal and written communication skills in English, including ability to communicate complex issues to a wide range of audiences. Second language (French, Spanish, Arabic) is highly desirable.
  7. Must be able to work in a multicultural environment, and also independently on complex tasks on tight deadlines.
  8. Working knowledge of the operations of the GEF preferable.


Deliver Results for Clients:

  • Develops and implements solutions that show understanding of how clients and/or own work achieves results that are financially, environmentally and socially sustainable
  • Shares new insights based on in-depth understanding of the client and recommends solutions for current and future needs of clients
  • Holds self and team accountable for risk management and outcomes. Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries
  • Collaborates across organizational boundaries, internally and externally with a sense of mutuality and respect
  • Consistently engages others in open dialogue, brings out any conflicting viewpoints and incorporates viewpoints into solutions, giving credit where credit is due. Leverages expertise of all team members to ensure successful outcomes
  • Makes choices and sets priorities with a WBG corporate perspective in mind

Lead and Innovate:

  • Encourages and works with others to identify, incubate and implement relevant solutions
  • Identifies opportunities in changing circumstances and energizes others to continuously improve, using intentional strategies to boost morale, team spirit, and productivity in context of WBG’s values and mission
  • Helps others to understand problems, client needs and the underlying context

Create, Apply and Share Knowledge:

  • Ensures systematic sharing of good practice and learning from lessons from across WBG, clients, and partners
  • Is known across WBG in their subject area and is sought out by WBG colleagues to advise, peer review, or contribute to knowledge products of others
  • Seeks mentoring opportunities with more experienced staff to deepen or strengthen their professional knowledge and mentors junior staff
  • Builds networks across the WBG and as part of external professional groups/networks

Make Smart Decisions:

  • Applies critical thinking and seeks inputs and experience from others to recommend a course of action consistent with the WBG’s strategy
  • Evaluates risk and anticipates the short and long term implications of decisions 
  • Commits to a decision and takes action once a decision has been reached