Senior Environmental Specialist

The World Bank

Washington, DC, US


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 thirteen Global Practices to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.

The World Bank Group (WBG)’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity reflect a new global landscape: one in which developing countries have an unprecedented opportunity to end extreme poverty within a generation

The Environment and Natural Resources and Blue Economy Global Practice (ENB GP): Sustainable environment and natural resources (ENB) management, including support to the blue economy, is at the heart of the World Bank Group (WBG) poverty agenda. Natural resources and biodiversity often constitute the social safety net of the poor, representing a food bank and often their only source of livelihood. The world Bank promotes green, clean, and resilient development where natural resources–from forests to fisheries, freshwater, oceans, coastal zones and ecosystems–are managed to support livelihoods, strong economies, and a world better prepared for shocks and global challenges. The ENB GP has been established to deliver on the opportunities, benefits and outcomes offered by enhanced management of the environment and natural resources. One specific ENB GP responsibility is to support effective environmental risk management, and to ensure good environmental management across the Bank’s work in part through the implementation of the Bank’s environmental policies and its Environmental and Social Framework (ESF).

The ENB GP team is also leading analytical work, policy dialogue, and lending operations in a range of areas such as pollution and waste management, air quality improvement, integrated coastal zone management, forest and fisheries management.

On August 4, 2016, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) to help protect people and the environment in the investment projects it finances. This effort is one of several key initiatives, including procurement reform, and the climate and gender strategies, recently undertaken by the Bank to improve development outcomes.

The ESF responds to new and varied development demands and challenges that have arisen over time.  It brings the World Bank’s environmental and social (E&S) protections into closer harmony with those of other development institutions, and makes important advances in areas such as transparency, non-discrimination, social inclusion, public participation, and accountability – including expanded roles for grievance redress mechanisms. The framework helps to ensure social inclusion, and explicitly references human rights in the overarching vision statement.

The ESF is made up of the World Bank’s vision for sustainable development, the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Policy for Investment Project Financing, and ten Environmental and Social Standards (ESS). These set out the mandatory requirements for the World Bank, in relation to the projects it supports through Investment Project Financing (IPF), and for Borrowers.

ENB GP is seeking to recruit a highly skilled Senior Environmental Specialist with expertise in any or all of the following fields: cumulative impact assessment, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and Biodiversity. 

The Senior Environmental Specialist will report to the ENB Practice Manager for the South Asia Region (SAR). While based in Washington, DC the candidate is expected to work across all countries in the South Asia Region. The position requires frequent travel across countries in the Region. The primary responsibilities for the tasks are listed below. 

Duties and Accountabilities:

The Senior Environmental Specialist will have the following tasks:

• Serve as a point person for environmental safeguards policies and/or environmental and social standards (ESSs) in DC and provide leadership on environmental safeguards/ESSs and enhancement activities in Bank-financed projects, work closely with Task Team Leaders, project team members, Accredited Environmental Specialists (AESs), other specialists and consultants responsible for projects’ environmental safeguards/ESSs management. 
• Provide expert guidance and support for the screening and risk and impact assessment of Bank-financed projects for environmental risks (especially for projects with high risk ratings) and identify risk management opportunities/strategies/plans/measures including in labor influx, occupational and community health and safety, biodiversity and climate change adaptation and mitigation in Bank operations. 
• In accordance with the Bank’s ESF, determine the appropriate environment risk classification (ESRC) of projects taking into account all relevant information such as the type, location, sensitivity and scale of the project, the nature and magnitude of the potential E&S impacts, the capacity and commitment of the Borrower (and any other entities responsible for project implementation) to manage risks and impacts in a manner consistent with the ESSs.  In determining and managing E&S risk, use the ESSs, related guidance and good practice notes, as well as internationally accepted good industry practice for informed decision making. 
• Review the risk classification assigned to projects on a regular basis, ensuring, prompt notification to the PM during preparation and implementation of a project where there is a proposed change in risk classification to or from High Risk, or for a Project where E&S Standards Advisor (ESSA) corporate advice is being provided. 
• Review, at the concept and appraisal stages, the Bank’s Environmental and Social Review Summary (ESRS), Environmental and Social Risk Classification (ESRC) and E&S instruments disclosed prior to appraisal for all Projects, for ESSA clearance and concurrence. Review, during the implementation stage, environmental instruments prepared following Board approval for Projects classified as Substantial, Moderate or Low Risk. For projects with High risk rating, review environmental instruments and recommend them for submission for ESSA clearance. 
• Provide training on the ESSs and their provisions and implications for project preparation and implementation to World Bank Clients, WBG staff and other interested / relevant parties (e.g. NGOs, academia). 
• Disseminate lessons learned and best practices from specific Bank projects for research, knowledge and learning purposes.
• Resolve project related questions from Bank staff and clients related to the interpretation of the Bank safeguards policies/ESSs, especially related to OP 4.01 and/or the Environmental and Social Standards 1 (ESS1) under the guidance of the Regional Safeguard Coordinator. 
• Lead the development of ESS related guidance and technical support materials, such as guidelines, knowledge materials as applicable.
•Provide guidance to Task Teams, Accredited Environmental Specialists, Task Team Leaders, consultants and support staff on meeting the requirements of the ESF and ESSs, technical concerns and ESF/safeguards process flow. 
• Collaborate with World Bank GPs and IFC/MIGA colleagues on joint projects as well as other colleagues from multilateral development institutions when supporting same projects, understanding and implementing a common approach.

Selection Criteria

• Masters or PhD degree in environmental science, natural resources management, environmental or civil engineering, or related disciplines.
• Minimum of 8 years’ of proven experience as environmental assessment and management professional.
• Sound knowledge of World Bank’s safeguards policies, the ESF, ESSs and/or IFC Performance Standards/MIGA Environmental and Social policies or similar standards as well as its stakeholders, especially the challenges and opportunities for borrowing countries would be an advantage.
• Sound knowledge of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change GHG accounting methodologies, or similar standards, is an advantage.
• Field experience in both assessing project site vulnerabilities and environmental risks, as well as supervising/ inspecting/monitoring projects during implementation to mitigate and monitor environmental impacts is required.
• Demonstrated ability to lead high quality analytical tasks that include environmentally-related analytics and studies.
• Experience in developing countries / emerging economies is a strong advantage. Ability and willingness to travel frequently, including to developing countries and possibly remote, fragile and conflict affected areas, is required.
• Collaborate with a range of stakeholders, including project-affected parties, government officials, non-governmental organizations / civil society, as well as project investors and their staff.
• Excellent verbal and written English language skills are essential; French or Spanish or Arabic language proficiency is highly desirable. Knowledge of other languages will be an advantage.
• Good team player who can work as a member of a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team, motivate and lead group efforts and network effectively across boundaries.


Environmental Policy, Strategy and Institutions 
Has a solid understanding of the environmental policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations needed to support development and for the success of the project. Knows the client’s strategy and structure and can assess risks and impacts of projects. Can credibly and effectively engage with a range of environmental institutions to support project outcomes. Explains to clients and other stakeholders the risks to the project when environmental laws and regulations are deficient or not enforced. Supports client efforts to address such weaknesses.

Environmental Sciences 
Has direct experience in the environmental sciences and related fields, including deeper experience in at least one area. Has extensive experience with applying this knowledge to projects, studies, and other deliverables. Develops novel approaches to mitigate risk or overcome difficult challenges. Has experience applying this knowledge to policy-related decisions and advice.

Has ability to translate technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies. Interacts with clients at the policy level and organizes and manages policy development initiatives in collaboration with other development agencies and donors. Ensures consistency and conformity to Bank standards.

Mentoring and Developing People:
Builds informal mentoring network within own immediate work unit, and proactively provides mentoring and coaching to others within team or in other departments. Assists with onboarding of new Bank staff (including any specific onboarding programs). Contributes to training exercises. Manages behavior to have a positive impact on others.

Due Diligence:
Demonstrates understanding of the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework and applies the Framework to identify and address environmental issues and risks. Works independently to undertake environmental due diligence and provides input to the project team on environmental issues/risks with minimal supervision. Proactively determines risk mitigation measures. Demonstrates effective time and resource management skills. Provides effective and timely guidance to clients on environmental issues/risks, and actively participates in discussions with clients on environmental matters.

Portfolio Monitoring:
Leads the monitoring of the environmental performance of assigned projects. Anticipates potential issues and formulates corrective plans for identified environmental problems. Engages effectively with clients to achieve compliance and leads discussions on environmental matters.

WBG Competencies
• 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.