Principal Environmental Specialist

The World Bank

Washington, D.C., USA 🇺🇸

Job #:req19093
Term Duration: 3 years 0 months
Recruitment Type:International Recruitment
Location:Washington, DC,United States
Required Language(s):english
Preferred Language(s):
Closing Date:9/30/2022 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC


IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2022, IFC committed a record $32.8 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of global compounding crises. For more information, visit

IFC is committed to increasing proactivity, problem-solving, and institutional responsiveness to stakeholder complaints and concerns related to the E&S impacts of IFC’s investments.  The Stakeholder Grievance Response (SGR) team within CES has a central role to play in helping to shape IFC’s approach and deliver on the corporate mandate to promote more responsive and effective grievance resolution for project-affected communities. 

CES works in close collaboration with IFC’s investment departments and the ESG Sustainability Advice and Solutions Department (CEG) which has 150 professionals and is housed in IFC Operations. Details can be found at

CES is looking for a highly motivated development professional with proven leadership skills and 20 years of relevant technical experience to lead its Stakeholder Grievance Response function.  This is a high-profile role with an opportunity to shape IFC’s approach to grievance response and make a meaningful impact.  The successful candidate will work closely with CES policy, knowledge and risk officers, operational teams and Management to engage effectively with the CAO, the Board, IFC clients, CSOs and project stakeholders to help facilitate timely response and resolution of E&S concerns and complaints, including CAO cases.  She/he will serve as team lead for SGR; support the implementation of the CAO policy and champion complaints responsiveness; manage the complaints handling process, contribute to relevant policy work and knowledge products; and lead the development of staff training, lessons learned and guidance relating to grievance response and CAO cases. The SGR lead will report to the Senior Director,CES, and is part of the CES Leadership Team.

The Environmental & Social Policy and Risk Department (CES) is a relatively new oversight department with about 30 E&S staff.  It was established in July 2019 and reports directly to IFC’s MD and EVP. CES is responsible for:

•  Policy: maintaining IFC’s E&S policies, procedures, and systems.

•  Knowledge: developing knowledge products, training, and E&S accreditation for IFC staff.

•  Risk: providing E&S policy and risk oversight of the high-risk projects in IFC’s investment and advisory pipeline, and high-risk and non-performing projects in IFC’s investment portfolio.

•  Grievance Response: Supporting operational teams in responding to E&S complaints from stakeholders related to IFC’s investments, as well as to the Compliance Advisory Ombudsman (CAO), IFC’s independent accountability mechanism.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Lead SGR Team, strategy, advocacy, and work program:

•  Oversee SGR work program, lead SGR strategy and prioritization 

•  Ensure high-quality outputs by team; manage budgets and timeline

•  Mentor staff and support career development

•  Champion grievance response at all levels of the institution; advocate for culture change, proactivity and problem-solving approaches

•  Represent IFC externally and engage with external stakeholders

Manage Complaints Response Function & Reporting:

•  Manage complaints caseload including SGR team’s engagement with operational teams, risk officers, legal and comms.

•  Advise management, teams and clients on complex, high-profile cases.

•  Support the preparation and clearance of IFC’s Management responses to CAO compliance investigations, including independent Peer Review.

•  Oversee Quarterly Reporting on Complaints Portfolio to Management

•  Provide thought leadership and develop “external-facing” grievance response function for IFC

•  Oversee the implementation of reprisals work program

•  Liaise with Board advisors, Management and Operations

Manage Development & Delivery of Training, Guidance & Lessons:

•  Lead updating of complaint response procedures and guidance.

•  Lead analytical work based on complaints portfolio; identify and disseminate lessons learned.

•  Lead portfolio reviews and capacity development work to strengthen grievance response mechanisms in IFC financed projects.

•  Drive roll-out of l training on complaints responsiveness.

Contribute to establishment of strong CES department and internal functioning:

•  Lead SGR engagement with and contributions to the CES Risk and Policy/Knowledge and Learning work programs as relevant.

•  Contribute to departmental strategy and performance as member of the CES Leadership Team.

•  Support CES management in corporate, board, and external engagements related to grievance response, and prepare briefing notes, and statements.

Selection Criteria

•  Advanced degree in social or environmental sciences, international development, policy, human rights, dispute /conflict resolution or other relevant discipline.

•  Minimum of twenty years of relevant operational experience, including private sector experience in areas such as: E&S risk assessment and management, social or community development, stakeholder engagement and/or dispute resolution.

•  Knowledge of IFC’s Sustainability Framework & Performance Standards or equivalent.

•  Familiarity with independent accountability mechanisms and multilateral institutional complaints response approaches. 

•  International experience required with focus on developing countries. 

•  Creative and strategic thinker with the ability to conceptualize ideas, translate these into actions and drive their implementation / uptake

•  Excellent people skills including the ability to listen, understand different perspectives and relate well with a wide range of internal and external parties in potentially tense or conflictive situations.

•  Practical, problem-solving mindset and consensus building orientation

•  Effective and persuasive communicator (both oral and written English language skills) able to clearly and concisely articulate positions 

•  Exemplary project management skills and ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously under tight deadlines.

•  Ability to work effectively as a member of a multi-disciplinary team

•  High personal integrity and emotional intelligence, with demonstrated ability to handle sensitive matters in a discreet and respectful manner.

•  Diplomatic approach and calm under pressure.

World Bank Group Core Competencies

The World Bank Group offers comprehensive benefits, including a retirement plan; medical, life and disability insurance; and paid leave, including parental leave, as well as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

Learn more about working at the World Bank and IFC, including our values and inspiring stories.