Senior Environmental Specialist

The World Bank

Washington, DC, United States 🇺🇸


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. For more information, visit

The Inspection Panel was created in September 1993 by the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank. It is an independent accountability mechanism for people and communities who believe they have been or will likely be adversely affected by a World Bank financed project.  The Panel carries out independent investigations of Bank-financed projects to determine whether the Bank is in compliance with its operational policies and procedures and reports related findings to the Board of Executive Directors. It is an impartial fact-finding body, independent from the World Bank management and staff. The Inspection Panel is supported by a small professional Secretariat. 

The Inspection Panel serves two important accountability functions. It provides a forum for people, including those who are often poor and vulnerable, to seek recourse for harm which they believe result from Bank-supported operations. As such, the Panel is a “bottom-up” or citizen-driven accountability mechanism that responds to grievances and demands for redress. This promotes more inclusive and sustainable development by giving project-affected people a greater voice in Bank-financed projects that impact them. And second, it provides an independent and impartial assessment of claims about harm and related non-compliance with Bank policies as a check-and-balance for the Board and other concerned stakeholders. This contributes towards institutional learning and helps to improve development effectiveness of World Bank operations.

Roles and Responsibilities:

The Inspection Panel is looking for a Senior Environmental Specialist with knowledge of the World Bank or other bilateral or multi-lateral development institutions, projects and operations, especially environmental safeguards and policies and the application of such environmental safeguards to assist the work of the Panel and the Panel Secretariat. 

In this context, the Senior Environmental Specialist’s responsibilities include, but not be limited to the following:

· Assisting the Panel in responding to Requests for Inspection, as assigned by the Chair of the Panel , including:

· Ensuring appropriate communication takes place with potential requesters regarding concerns raised prior to their becoming formal complaints;

· Leading the preparation of background documents of the assigned cases as part of the eligibility and investigation phases;

· Providing expertise through the various phases of site field investigations.

· Conducting field and/or office reviews, of complaints to determine the alleged harm and Bank’s related non-compliance of policies and procedures;

· Assisting the Panel team with logistical arrangements during the planning of missions;

· Traveling to project areas to provide support and technical advice to the Panel on complex cases; ensuring careful records keeping as part of the impartial fact-finding process;

· Assisting the Panel through the review, summary, and analysis of Bank documents (including the application of World Bank environmental and social policies) and present these in a logical and clear format;

· Working with the Panel to identify and interact with experts to be retained by the Panel for investigations and providing input to the Panel as needed;

· Leading the drafting of Panel reports and contributing to the development of high-quality work products that clearly and logically frame the matter at hand;

· Follow up and research Bank financed projects that have been reviewed or investigated by the Panel, including reviewing progress in the implementation of action plans submitted by Management with regard to Panel investigations.

· Carrying out research distilling lessons from the Panel’s findings relating to environmental and social safeguards and provide these in a format as decided by the Panel to Bank staff, Management, and offices of the Executive Directors; 

· Performing, at the request of the Panel Members, detailed research and analysis, and drafting documents on topics related to Panel’s activities or policy papers and on other procedural changes in the Bank policies and procedures, and accurately presenting relevant facts, comments and findings;

· Conducting outreach activities, as requested by the Chair of the Panel, and maintaining communications with stakeholders;

· Interacting with Requesters, affected people, CSOs, NGOs and other stakeholders, but also with Bank Management and the Board;

In the performance of the above responsibilities, the Senior Environmental Specialist will work under the guidance and supervision of the Panel’s Chairperson and Panel Members.

Selection Criteria

– A Master’s or PhD degree in environmental or natural sciences; environmental management/ policy or environmental engineering with an emphasis on international development and at least 8 years’ relevant experience;

– Familiarity with international environmental development issues and challenges in developing countries. Field and/or work experience in developing countries is a plus;  

– Knowledge of  the World Bank Group’s organizational structure, its Policies and procedures including its Environmental and Social Standards. 

– Demonstrated knowledge of the work and operations of the World Bank or other bilateral or multi-lateral development institutions, including environmental and social safeguards, and other operational policies and procedures.

– Strong research and analytical skills to analyze and synthesize information from diverse sources and to draw conclusions from the available data; 

– Experience working with a wide range of stakeholders, NGOs, the private sector, international organizations, development partners and/or with the government will be an advantage;  

– Ability to communicate effectively and concisely in spoken and written English. Additional language skills are desirable;

– Ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously under tight deadlines; and a high degree of initiative;

– Demonstrated ability to adapt to changing circumstances, organize and prioritize deliverables, and maintain attention to detail;

– Strong interpersonal, listening and communication skills including the ability to relate well with a wide range of internal and external parties;

– Proven ability to work effectively as a member of a small multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team with minimal supervision;

– Enthusiasm for, and commitment to development work; willingness to travel.