Senior Communications Officer

Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level/Senior (8-9 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 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 Global Environment Facility (GEF) was created in the run up to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. GEF’s work focuses on ensuring the continued growth and prosperity happen in a way that does not compromise the global commons – the world’s oceans, atmosphere, land, forests, etc. Building on its role as financial mechanism of several multilateral environmental conventions the GEF provides financing to more than 140 developing countries for projects and programs that address biodiversity loss, climate change mitigation and adaptation, degradation of international waters, land and forests, ozone depletion, elimination or reduction of persistent organic pollutants and mercury. GEF is a partnership of 18 organizations, including the World Bank, regional development banks, UN agencies, international NGOs and selected national agencies in recipient countries. GEF's "2020 Strategy", adopted in 2014, outlines an ambitious vision for the GEF to enhance its role and impact by proactively seeking to address the drivers of environmental degradation, delivering integrated solutions across a range of environmental domains, and building effective multi-stakeholder coalitions. In June 2018, 29 donors committed a total of US$4.1 billion to the GEF’s four-year investment program, covering 2018-2022 (“GEF-7”). The GEF Secretariat is for administrative purposes established as a Vice Presidential Unit within the World Bank Group. It has approximately 75 staff and has recently been reorganized into three units: a GEF Programs Unit (GPU), a Policy, Partnerships and Operations (PPO) Unit, and the CEO Front Office, which also houses the GEF Communication and Outreach unit (GEFCO). The GEF is seeking to hire an experienced communications professional to serve as a Senior Communications Officer in the GEF Communication & Outreach unit (GEFCO).

Duties and Accountabilities: 

The Senior Communications Officer will report to the GEF Head of Communications. The position is an integral part of a small but dynamic communications team that serves internal clients and works closely with external partners on a technically diverse work program and an ambitious mandate. The position will lead various aspects of the design, planning, development, execution, and monitoring of the GEFCO’s communications and outreach work. It requires a wide range of skills and competencies, and the ability to conceptualize and execute creative ideas, lead teams, and make decisions and solve problems with minimal supervision.

The Senior Communications Officer will perform the following:

Strategic messaging and risk management

  • Develop strategic messaging around GEF priority issues, activities, and events.
  • Help anticipate critical communications/stakeholder and reputational risk issues; contribute to the formulation of the GEF's public position on sensitive issues, and risk management.

Products and writing

  • Conceptualizes and produces communication products (e.g., media packets, news releases, brochures, Q&As, presentations, briefing notes, etc.) about the GEF, its policies and operations.
  • Write and edit speeches, presentations, articles, forwards, blogs, news articles and feature stories for the GEF website, social media channels, events, and external media.
  • Produce timely, relevant, quality stories focused on GEF innovation, impact and results.

Project management and partnerships

  • Manage projects with GEF implementing agencies, and other partners, to deliver strategic communication products and campaigns.
  • Identify opportunities for and forge strategic partnerships to improve dialogue and outreach and to strengthen the GEF’s overall effectiveness and image.
  • Lead engagement activities to strengthen the GEF Partnership and leverage the professional network of GEF communications specialists, and media contacts.

Events and media relations

  • Develop and deliver communications strategies for priority issues and events.
  • Oversees planning, coordination, and logistics, often across multiple teams, for major conferences, and other communications-related activities.
  • Serves as principal liaison for media organizations.

Internal communications and planning

  • Contribute to the broader strategy development and effective implementation of complex communications plans, project management, editorial planning, reporting and results.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with internal clients to ensure and promote a collaborative communications culture within the organization.
  • As required, support the Head of Communications in supervising staff, interns, consultants and contractors working on various aspects of the team’s work program.

Selection Criteria

  • Typical candidates will possess a relevant Master’s degree with 8 years of experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Excellent written and spoken command of English. Fluency in other languages is a plus.
  • Solid experience of communication on global environment issues, and media relations.
  • Excellent planning, writing and editing skills; ability with minimum supervision to prepare and edit high-level communication products.
  • Solid understanding of project management concepts to propose and execute complex communications plans, strategies and campaigns with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to identify and mitigate corporate risks as well as manage project issues.
  • Experience working in an international organization and on conservation and sustainable development issues.
  • Strong diplomatic, interpersonal, and teamwork skills; sensitivity to working in a multicultural environment.
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines, juggle multiple tasks, and work effectively under stress.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively with internal and external partners in a multicultural environment.
  • Acute eye for detail.

The candidate will also be expected to have the following competencies:

Deliver Results

  • Achieves results and identifies mission-driven solutions for the client
  • 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

  • Initiates collaboration across boundaries, and brings differing ideas into the forefront
  • 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 GEF 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 the GEF’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 the GEF, clients, and partners
  • Is known across the GEF in their subject area and is sought out by the GEF 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 GEF 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 GEF 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 Communication Strategy
  • Demonstrates an 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.
  • Interacts effectively with higher-level stakeholders/audiences to build consensus on difficult issues. 

Content Development and Editing

  • Leads others in content development, writing, and editing of complex communication and/or knowledge products.
  • Helps ensure that products or product series are strategic, meet institutional needs, and align with innovation and industry trends in specific media; helps conceptualize new products or series to address communications opportunities.
  • Helps manage the resourcing of content and product development activities; contributes to selection of production tools, tool upgrades, and related procurement.

Relationship Management, Political Awareness, and Diplomacy

  • Anticipates and manages critical communication and reputational issues pertaining to GEF relations.
  • Demonstrates broad, in-depth proficiency sufficient to be recognized as an authority or master performer in managing critical relationships with civil society, media, and other high-impact stakeholders.
  • Mentors others and is recognized as expert in managing critical relationships.
  • Advises senior management and contributes to mitigation of reputational risk.