Senior Environmental Specialist

The World Bank
Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
8-9 Years
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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The vision of the WBG is to eradicate extreme poverty by reducing the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day to 3 percent by 2030, and promote shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40 percent in every country. To achieve this vision, our strategy has three components: (1) maximizing development impact by engaging country clients in identifying and tackling the most difficult development challenges; (2) promoting scaled-up partnerships that are strategically aligned with the goals; and (3) crowding in public and private resources, expertise and ideas.

Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2018, the WBG committed $67 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $24 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. 

The WBG consists of five specialized institutions: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The World Bank is organized into six client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions, and fourteen Global Practices as well as five Global Themes to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.

Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS) plays a pivotal role in achieving the World Bank Group’s mission. OPCS assists frontline staff in delivering results to clients through sound operations policy and strong country support. In the World Bank Group structure, OPCS is at the center of operations and delivery, and serves as the link between the Global Practices and the Regions. OPCS develops and oversees the Bank’s operational policies for country strategies, lending operations, advisory services and analytical support, financial management, procurement, and environmental and social safeguards. It oversees the Bank Group’s Corporate Scorecard; manages interactions with the Bank’s oversight units; and co-leads the results measurement and evaluation stream in the Bank Group. OPCS teams provide advice and support to World Bank management and staff as well as hands-on assistance to help teams leverage the Bank’s policies, processes, and risk management tools for our country clients. Working in OPCS helps World Bank professionals gain broad exposure to strategic operations issues and develop a deeper understanding of the Bank’s business. OPCS’s staff are organized in three departments:

  • Operations Policy and Quality (OPSPQ) consolidates the corporate support and oversight of country strategies and all financing instruments as well as managing operational learning and the Operations Help Desk;
  • Operations Standards, Procurement, Financial Management (OPSPF) is responsible for ensuring technical excellence in the financial management, procurement, and environment and social (E&S) risk management functions across the Bank, and manages selected aspects of the anticorruption in operations agenda, the UN agencies engagement in operation program and the Grievance Redress Service (GRS);
  • Operations Strategy, Risk and results (OPSRR) supports Bank staff and Management in strengthening the focus on results and risk to achieve the Bank’s strategic objectives.

Under the technical leadership of the Chief Environmental and Social Standards Officer, and two E&S managers, the OPSPF environmental and social team oversees compliance with the Bank’s E&S policies (safeguard policies) in the design and implementation of Bank-supported operations, advises and promotes harmonization in implementation of these policies across the Bank, and reports to Senior Management on compliance and high risk E&S policy issues. The team collaborates closely with OPSPQ and OPSRR, the Global Practices (particularly the Environment and the Social Development Global Practices), the Regions, and the Legal and External and Corporate Relations units within the Bank.

Duties and Accountabilities

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

  • Reviewing new Bank investment project proposals to ensure that environmental and social 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;
  • Supervising (implementation support) Bank operations related to E&S policies and project-specific environmental requirements;
  • Provide expert advice to Task teams on environmental impact assessments, including regional, strategic and cumulative assessments; environmental management frameworks and plans, including those for monitoring, reporting and evaluation; stakeholder engagement consultation plans; and measures related to natural habitats conservation, natural resource management, pest management, forest management, dam safety and international waterways management, occupational health and safety, pollution control, and environmental remediation 
  • Providing expert guidance to Task Teams on environmental risk management, impact assessments and mitigation measures as well as current good international practice on environmental issues,
  • Providing comments and guidance on project environmental assessment instruments and documentation; provide support for the development of required Bank documentation, if needed;
  • Coordinating and sharing information with Bank staff and consultants providing environmental risk management project support and training; and
  • Contributing as required to the broader work of OPSPF on improving environmental sustainability.

Selection Criteria

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

  • Advanced degree (Masters or PhD) in environmental or natural sciences, engineering or other relevant discipline
  • At least eight (8) years of full-time relevant professional experience with a sustained record of achieving high quality substantive results
  • Experience in environmental risk management, preparation and/or review of project environmental risk and impact assessments, environmental 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
  • Good knowledge of the World Bank’s environmental and social policies and standards
  • 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; French or Arabic 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
  • Ability to coach/mentor more junior staff

Required Professional Competencies

  • Environmental Policy, Strategy and Institutions - Solid understanding of environmental policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations
  • Environmental and Natural Sciences – Demonstrates strong knowledge of one relevant thematic areas of climate change, and environmental 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
  • 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

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.