Environmental Specialist (International Waters)

Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Washington, D.C., USA 🇺🇸


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About the Global Environment Facility (GEF)

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a multilateral financial mechanism created in 1991 to provide grant and concessional funds to recipient 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, all within the framework of sustainable development. 

The GEF unites 186 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. An independently operating financial organization, GEF is the designated financial mechanism for five international environmental conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Minamata Convention on Mercury. GEF is also a designated financial mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. 

In the years since its establishment, the GEF has funded over 4,500 projects in 170 countries, and many thousands more through the GEF Small Grants Program, providing $20.5 billion in grants that leveraged $112 billion in co-financing. The GEF Secretariat, construed for administrative purposes as a Vice Presidential Unit (VPU) within the World Bank, has approximately 70 professional and administrative and client support staff. 

The Secretariat is seeking an Environmental Specialist to join the International Waters team of the GEF Programs Unit with a series of program management, analytical and policy needs.   

Duties and Accountabilities
The GEF Secretariat is looking for a dynamic and experienced Environmental Specialist, with a passion for ocean conservation and regional cooperative management contributing to sustainable use of shared water resources.  The chosen candidate will work through the International Waters team towards the promotion of integrated and transformative approaches to reverse the environmental degradation of transboundary freshwater and marine natural resources, which will provide the necessary conditions to allow humanity and life on earth to keep evolving within the planetary boundaries.  

The Environmental Specialist, with a special emphasis on marine conservation, will contribute to the on-going implementation of the GEF-8 International Waters Strategy, the design and launch of the GEF-9 International Waters Strategy, corresponding Integrated Programs (IP), and formulation of future strategies. He/she will support the ongoing portfolio of International Waters investments, among others through participating in project steering committees, active engagement with IW: LEARN and generally work towards harnessing and disseminating results and achievements from the existing portfolio. Further, he/she will support the GEFSEC’s mandate to deliver global environmental benefits by supporting developing countries in their commitments towards several multilateral agreements.

The selected candidate will also ensure that generally recognized methodologies to estimate, monitor and report on the Global Environmental Benefits related to International Waters focal area that are appropriately included in and applied to GEF projects and programs. 

The ideal candidate should have a workable understanding of the complexity of the GEF partnership arrangement and of the dynamics of a complex set of GEF client countries. The candidate should have strong interpersonal skills, experience with multisectoral transboundary marine and freshwater conservation projects in developing countries, along with political acumen and the capacity to work effectively on sensitive issues with senior management, the GEF Council and across different implementing agencies and partners of the GEF. 

Reporting to the Manager of Programming, the selected candidate will provide support to the Programming Division and work across regions and thematic focal areas, as required. 

Project Review and Regional Team(s) Participation
Under the supervision of the Manager of Programming, the selected candidate will: 
1. Engage in the evaluation, review, implementation, and monitoring of marine and coastal projects and programs developed under the GEF-8 International Waters Focal Area Strategy, and in the future GEF-9 International Waters Focal Area Strategy and associated Integrated Programs.   This engagement includes providing guidance and monitoring the application of appropriate methodologies for the estimation of the GEBs associated with this focal area. Special focus on Asia and Africa is preferred.

2. Provide technical support to senior leadership on ocean related issues, representing the GEF at important events and meetings on these topics. 

3. Provide thought leadership across the organization on thematic areas relevant for the GEF-8 International Waters as established in the GEF-8 Programming Directions.

4. Manage reviews of project proposals to be financed by the GEF Trust Fund, according to the agreed project review criteria, provide guidance on major issues involved in the development of project proposals and assist in overall preparation of work programs to be presented to GEF Council.

5. Participate in the GEF work within Regional Teams on GEF issues, including participation in country dialogues, expanded constituency workshops, and the GEF Country Support Program.  

6. As required, represent the GEF at high level selected international, political, scientific and operational forums.

7. Participate in the political outreach to relevant countries in international fora, with the relevant international platforms and events related to International Waters.

8. Provide quality inputs to the CEO and Director of Strategy and Operations on country and thematic briefings, talking points, speeches, analytical/strategic documents.

9. Support the design and development of knowledge management products, brochures, outreach and communication material, and provide inputs on the revision of operational processes and procedures, as requested.  

10. Support the development and delivery of GEF reports, Council documents, engagement plans, and other work products related to the International Waters Focal Area, as needed. 

11. Undertake additional duties as required by the Director of Strategy and Operations and Manager of Programming.

Selection Criteria

• The candidate should possess a master’s degree with at least five years of professional experience, in the field of ocean conservation, oceanography, marine biology, coastal policy, or other relevant disciplines with substantial experience on intersectoral transboundary marine resource conservation, international and regional management, natural resources management and knowledge management.
• The candidate should demonstrate an excellent knowledge of achieving conservation outcomes for transboundary marine ecosystems, preferably within an international context.
• The candidate should have strong interpersonal skills, experience with multisectoral transboundary marine conservation projects in developing countries, combined with results management skills to build portfolio results and outcomes.
• In addition to the required skills above, the following skills would be desirable: 
• Experience with transboundary marine projects and programs in developing countries.
• Knowledge of existing inter-governmental and private initiatives related to International Waters.
• Understanding of transboundary water and marine knowledge and results management mechanisms.
• Demonstrable experience in the selection and application of generally recognized methodologies for the estimation of Global Environmental Benefits related to International Waters.
• Ability to deal with a range of stakeholders, international organizations, development agencies, scientific and technical bodies, private sector entities, developing country counterparts, and NGOs would be an advantage.
• Ability to think analytically, strategically, and programmatically.
• Proven record of constructive and positive engagement in leading a program and policy dialogue with client governments, donors and other stakeholders;
• Proven ability to work in teams, both as a team leader and team member
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English, including ability to communicate complex issues to a wide range of audiences. Second language (French, Spanish or Portuguese) is highly desirable.
• Ability to work independently on complex tasks on tight deadlines.         
• Demonstrated ability to function as a team player within and across teams.
• Ability to work in a multicultural environment in an international setting.
• Working knowledge of the operations of the Global Environment Facility and its Agencies is preferable.

Required Competencies:

Deliver results for clients: 
• Sets challenging goals to support the delivery of the GEF mission and is always looking to improve.
• Understands clients’ most pressing challenges and contributes to solutions.
• Takes personal responsibility for producing high quality work, identifying and informing of risks, and delivering results for clients.

Lead and Innovate:
• Applies critical thinking to current approaches, identifies areas for improvement, and tries new solutions that drive results.
• 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 WBG’s values and mission
• Operates in ambiguity and changing needs and supports others to do the same and helps others to understand problems, client needs and the underlying context
• Considers own behavior in context of World Bank Group values and mission and recognizes impact one has on others

Collaborate within Teams and across Boundaries:  
• Keeps others fully informed to ensure integration and work consistency and displays a sense of mutuality and respect
• 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.
• Approaches conflicts as common problems to be solved and leverages expertise of all team members to ensure successful outcomes
• Seeks and listens to input from others to inform own decision making and openly shares information
• Frames thinking/actions with a WBG corporate perspective in mind

Create, apply, and share knowledge:
• Is known in the subject area and is sought out by peers to advise or contribute to knowledge products and is interested in building on personal and professional networks to advance GEF mission
• Actively invests in own knowledge and seeks feedback and interested in contributing to the GEF’s body of knowledge by applying lessons learned and expertise
• Seeks opportunities to mentoring junior staff less to deepen or strengthen their professional knowledge
• Builds networks across the international development/environment community and as part of existing external professional groups/networks.

Make smart decisions:
• Applies critical thinking and contributes to decision making by providing data and relevant risk-analysis and takes initiative and makes decisions in a timely manner
• Seeks and analyzes facts, data, and lessons of past experience to support sound, logical decisions regarding own and others’ work
• Evaluates risk and anticipates the short and long-term implications of decisions and commits to a decision and takes action once a decision has been reached.

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.

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