Senior Environmental Specialist

The World Bank

Washington, DC, US


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank Group provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty, increasing shared prosperity and promoting sustainable development. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. Visit
Within the World Bank Group (WBG), The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region serves twenty countries. Of these countries, three are IDA countries (Djibouti, Syria and Yemen) while eight are high-income non-borrowing countries among the oil-exporters, particularly in the Gulf.
Recent protests across the MENA region are indicative of the fact that the region is nearing a pivotal turning point, one that ushers in a new time of both hope and uncertainties. One century after the grand – and externally driven – reconfiguration of the region, the high-speed tectonic shifts that started in 2010-2011 are altering old and tired social contracts. From Morocco to Iran, passing by almost every single one of the 20 MENA countries, young people are now taking to the streets again to challenge the status-quo, showing distrust in their governments and calling for more, immediate and positive change. Their priorities are respect for their dignity, jobs, more transparency and good governance.
In 2015, the MENA Region embarked on a new strategy that seeks to promote peace and stability in the region based on four pillars: (i) renewing the social contract; (ii) regional cooperation; (iii) resilience to refugee shocks; and (iv) recovery and reconstruction. It enlarged its approach in 2019 to propose a new positive vision for MENA, one that is “Open for Business” and accelerates reforms towards more contestability and a thriving, technology-enabled and job-creating private sector, which also harnesses the region’s underachieving human capital. This allowed the World Bank to remain a strong partner of MENA countries, owing to sustained support during a first wave of difficult yet necessary reforms. This includes support for macroeconomic stabilization in countries like Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq; support for refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon; a push for bottom-up private sector development in Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt; ongoing technical assistance to countries in the Gulf and Algeria as they continue to seek ways to diversify their economies; and life-saving emergency programs in Yemen. Partners also look to the Bank for analytical leadership even in contexts where it cannot operate, as for Syria and its impact on the region. Today it seeks to usher a new wave of reforms to strengthen governance, rationalize the role of the state, create opportunities for MENA’s youth, and help to rebuild not only the infrastructure but also social fabric of conflict-affected countries.
For more information about the region:
Duties and Accountabilities
As part of the multi-disciplinary team of E&S specialists, the Senior Environmental Specialist will support the Regional Environmental and Social Standards Advisor (RSA) 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 Senior Environmental Specialist will report to the Manager for Development Effectiveness and for day-to-day coordination will work under the direction of the RSA. The Senior Environmental Specialist will have the following responsibilities:
  • Reviewing new Bank investment project proposals to ensure that environmental 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 related 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 and/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 and Engineering – Demonstrates strong knowledge of one or more relevant thematic areas of environmental engineering, civil engineering, environmental science, ecology, zoology, botany occupational health and safety related to infrastructure, or environmental risk management; and deep experience in applying this 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.