Local hire: Environmental Specialist

Dakar, , SN

Background / General description:

Sustainable environment and natural resources management (ENRM) is at the heart of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) poverty agenda. Biodiversity and natural resources constitute the social safety net of the poor, representing a food bank and often their only source of livelihood. Sustainable ENRM promotes a green clean, and resilient world where natural resources—from forests to fisheries, freshwater, oceans, coastal zones and ecosystems—are managed to support livelihoods and strong economies. Sustainable ENRM builds a world better prepared for shocks and global challenges, helping countries limit their exposure to resource scarcity, more-volatile weather patterns, and the long-term consequences of climate change.

The Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Global Practice has been set-up to deliver on the opportunities, benefits and outcomes offered by enhanced management of the environment and natural resources. The ENR GP has close to 300 operations under management, representing $7 billion, and a growing pipeline of new investments under active development.

ENRM activities in Sub-Saharan Africa represent a substantial part of the ENR GP Portfolio. Sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of around 875 million people in 47 countries, is home to 36 of the world’s poorest countries.  Making headway against poverty in sub-Saharan Africa continues to present the world with its most formidable development challenge.  

The World Bank’s Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice for Africa (GEN07) covers the following business lines:
     GREEN: Forests, Watersheds & Sustainable Landscapes – managing renewable natural capital across landscapes;
     BLUE: Marine, Coastal & Aquatic Resources – unlocking the wealth of marine, coastal and fresh water economies;
     BROWN: Pollution Management & Environmental Health – reducing pollution to improve environmental conditions;
     Clean and Resilient Growth: – fostering economics and institutions for sustainable and sustained growth; and
     Environmental Risk Management & Sustainability: Managing risks and creating opportunity to advice sustainable development.
Within the Global Practice on Environment and Natural Resources, one unit covers West and central Africa and Indian Ocean islands (GEN07) and the other covers Eastern and southern Africa (GEN01). These two units develop and manage operations in a variety of areas such as natural resources management, coastal zone management, forestry, pollution, landscape and terrestrial and marine natural resources. In addition these units, like other ENRM GP units in other regions are in charge of providing environmental safeguards services across all sectors and projects. Considering that most of the projects developed in the different sectors covered by the World Bank’s activities carry significant environmental and social impacts, the ENRM units contribute specialized staff for ensuring that environmental safeguards are addressed in an efficient and credible manner.  

More specifically the mission of the GEN07 unit is to work with national and local governments and with communities to improve sustainable management of natural resources and improve preparedness to natural disasters in the following seven Country Management Units: Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal (AFCF1); Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Togo (AFCF2); Central African Republic, Chad, Mali, Niger (AFCW3); Nigeria (AFCW2); Angola, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe (AFCC1); Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (AFCC2); Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles (AFCS2).

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 2 year term appointment.


The Bank is recruiting an Environmental Specialist to provide environmental safeguards support to investment operations under preparation and supervision by other Global Practices, which may involve:

• During project preparation: identify which of the Bank’s safeguards policies will be triggered; assist the borrower/project implementation agency in preparing the necessary safeguard instruments and review them for quality; contribute well-written summaries of key safeguards instruments for inclusion in project documentation.
• During project implementation: supervise compliance with the Bank’s safeguards policies by building effective working relationships with the borrower/project implementation agency to ensure proper understanding of the policies; help the borrower/implementing agency apply the safeguards policies effectively.
• During both preparation and implementation: go beyond narrow policy compliance to look for opportunities to improve the environmental outcomes of the project s/he is supporting; work closely with the Social Safeguards Specialist assigned to each operation and provide back up support as required.

Selection Criteria:


• 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.
• Integrative Skills – Working to develop an integrated view across all facets of current sector.
• Environmental Policy, Strategy and Institutions – Familiarity with environmental policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations.
• Environmental Sciences – Depth in at least one area: water; ecosystems; forests; conservation; agriculture concerns, etc.
• Lead and Innovate – Develops innovative solutions.
• Deliver Results for Clients – Proactively addresses clients’ stated and unstated needs.
• Collaborate within Teams and Across Boundaries – Collaborates across boundaries, gives own perspective and willingly receives diverse perspectives.
• Create, Apply and Share Knowledge – Applies knowledge across WBG to strengthen solutions for internal and/or external clients.
• Make Smart Decisions – Interprets a wide range of information and pushes to move forward.

Other Selection Criteria

In addition to the above the above core competencies the following criteria will have to be satisfied for the position of Environmental Specialist:

• Master’s degree or equivalent academic qualification in a relevant discipline, e.g., environmental science, environmental economics, biology, international studies or equivalent;

• Minimum of 5 years of professional experience in the environmental sector, including proven experience in forest landscape projects;

• Good knowledge of environmental legislation and institutions in African countries;

• Experience with the application of the World Bank’s environmental safeguards policies;

• Familiarity with social safeguards issues and particularly an understanding of social issues related to forests.

In addition the following skills will be particularly considered during the selection process:

• Ability to work in multidisciplinary teams on diverse and complex tasks;

• Field experience;

• Understanding of the Bank’s policies and financial instruments;

• Capacity to articulate the role of forests to economic development and position forests in national development plans, in relation to other development priorities;

• Strong client orientation with the ability to build an understanding with implementing agency counterparts on the value-added of Bank safeguards;

• A drive for results while working with limited supervision and under tight timelines;

• A penchant for solving problems rather than merely identifying them;

• An ability to think innovatively and negotiate effectively;

• Understanding and experience with programmatic approach to forests;

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English and French;

• Experience of coordinating multi-country program portfolios;

• Willingness to travel within the whole Africa region, as well as internationally as necessary.