Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist

The World Bank
Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Country and position context

The Global Practice for Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land (GPURL)

GPURL covers a wide gamut of issues including: (i) supporting the development of green, inclusive, resilient and productive cities, including harnessing urbanization to contribute to growth and poverty reduction, and strengthening local governments’ capacity to plan, finance and deliver services and infrastructure investments; (ii) promoting efficient, well-coordinated spatial and territorial development processes including strengthening rural-urban linkages and developing lagging regions; (iii) strengthening disaster risk management policies, institutions and regulations and mainstreaming resilience across development sectors including risk assessment and mapping, risk reduction (including urban flood management, stormwater drainage, coastal management, and retrofitting of infrastructure), disaster preparedness (including hydromet services, early warning systems, and civil defense), risk financing (including CAT-DDO), and resilient reconstruction and recovery (including post-disaster damage and needs assessment); (iv) post-conflict reconstruction and recovery; (v) strengthening land tenure, management and information systems; and (vi) supporting the development of national and sub-national spatial data infrastructure and supporting the development of geospatial information. 


Africa Urban and resilience Context:

Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa is occurring at an unprecedented pace. The share of Africans living in urban areas is projected to grow from 38 percent in 2016 to almost 60 percent by 2040, translating to an additional 40,000 new urban citizens every day until 2040. The region’s urbanization rate, one of the highest in the world, can lead to economic growth, transformation and poverty. However, many cities in Africa still have not fully captured the benefits of urbanization and poorly managed urbanization has exacerbated existing infrastructure challenges, resulting in increased inequality, urban poverty, proliferation of informal settlements and vulnerability to hazards. Adverse natural events present a serious obstacle for achieving sustainable social and economic development, particularly in vulnerable regions as Sub-Saharan Africa. Disaster affect the poor most severely; unplanned human settlements, unsafe building practices, high population densities, economic growth, and accumulations of assets in risk prone areas has dramatically increased exposure to hazards and increased disaster loss. Climate change has the potential to significantly worsen the situation.

Eastern and Southern Africa (E AFR) Region:

Home to about 700 million of Africa’s people, Eastern and Southern Africa is a geographically, culturally and economically diverse region of 26 countries stretching from the Red Sea in the North to the Cape of Good Hope in the South. The sub-region boasts of some of the world’s richest human and natural resources and, apart from South Africa, the countries are predominantly raw material exporters.

The sub-region harbors some of Africa’s protracted conflicts, rendering many of its countries fragile. This creates a huge development challenge which compounded with other natural shocks like floods and droughts, impacts heavily on the lives and livelihoods of people. But it also creates an opportunity to work closely with country leaders, civil society, development partners, and young people to chart a brighter course for the future. The WBG’s experience in Africa offers important source of insight, drawing on an array of lessons learned from multi-sector operations in FCV or disaster-conflict nexus situations, such as in Somalia, South Sudan and Zimbabwe where at times no IDA funding could be provided to government due to their non-accrual status and the direct and innovative use of UN agencies maybe warranted.

For more information on Eastern and Southern Africa Region:

Unit and Country Context:

The Sub Saharan Eastern and Southern Africa Urban, Resilience and Land Unit (SAEU3) covers the Country Management Units of Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa. It brings together a wide range of important and interrelated development and financing instruments to support national and sub-national clients to: harness urbanization and enable effective land management in support of both growth and poverty reduction; foster social inclusion of marginalized groups; support the responsiveness and fiscal, financial, and management capacities of local governments – cities, municipalities, and rural districts – to deliver local infrastructure and decentralized services; strengthen resilience and disaster risk management related to natural hazards; reduce conflict and violence; scale-up access to finance for sub-national governments; and reduce the carbon footprint of cities.

The position:

SAEU3 is seeking a highly qualified and motivated individual for an internationally recruited position of Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist to help deliver the ongoing and pipeline program. While the position is mapped to SAEU3, the candidate is expected to work across the Africa Region (that is, serving both the East-South and West-Central VPUs). In particular, she/he will lead and/or participate in analytical and advisory services, preparation and implementation support for lending investments, and policy dialogue in the areas of disaster risk management in FCV context, working at the DRM-FCV nexus. 

Duties and accountabilities:

* Lead and/or participate in disaster risk management operations and analytics in the Africa region, including day-to-day management of our relationships with internal stakeholders (including CMUs), local governments, financial intermediaries, and national government authorities at the policy and operational level.

* Lead and/or participate in task teams to deliver investment, operations, prepare analytical and advisory activities, and help enhance the capacity of our clients to respond to disaster risk management issues (including in the areas of disaster risk reduction, preparedness, institutional development for disaster risk management, risk assessment, urban resilience, hydromet, and/or disaster risk finance) through programs and projects, in particular in FCV environments;

* Provide support, as needed, to emergency response, recovery and reconstruction planning especially in contexts of multiple crises;

* Lead and/or contribute to cross-sectoral engagements such as Risk and Resilience Assessments, Systematic Country Diagnostic and Country Partnership Framework and support other Global Practices in mainstreaming DRM across WB engagement in AFR, especially in FCV contexts;

* Lead and/or contribute to the sector policy dialogue and technical discussions in the country and provide just-in-time advisory work in business development and policy reform; 

* Help adapt global good practice to local context and advise government counterpart and Bank teamson matters related to in DRM, urban resilience, resilient, green and nature-based infrastructure, risk assessment and in mainstreaming and incorporating disaster risk considerations in investments/components, through analytical findings, climate-related project screenings, etc. in the design or early stages of project implementation;

* Supervise the work of consultants and technical specialists to ensure consistency and conformity to Bank standards; evaluate studies and sector-related project documentation.

* Provide guidance to government counterparts and implementing agencies by, identifying potential problems and advising on required actions, contract management and value for money for infrastructure works

* Provide coaching mentoring on-the-job to junior team members, extended term consultants and junior professional associates in the unit.

* Participate in professional development and knowledge sharing activities in the Global Practice and contribute specific knowledge both within the assigned countries and in the World Bank;

* Manage Trust Fund (TF) activities including preparation and review of grant proposals, consultation on technical issues, preparation of progress reports, project briefings, disbursements and quality control of deliverables;

* Perform other duties and functions as assigned by the Practice Manager.

Selection Criteria

 · Advanced university degree (Masters) in technical fields relevant to DRM and urban resilience, such as civil engineering, architecture, urban infrastructure, infrastructure management, urban studies and planning, economics, political science, public policy or a related field

 Demonstrated leadership skills leading complex teams for emergency response, including contexts with multiple crises, in fragile environments.

 Versatile and have the experience and skills to independently handle various climate strategy and operational matters, facilitating effective collaboration across the institution, including engagement with GPs and Regions,.

 Demonstrated experience working with Humanitarian Organizations, UN Agencies etc

 Excellent interpersonal, diplomatic and partnership skills required for building and maintaining collaborative relationships with stakeholders. 

 Strong communication skills, including the ability to communicate succinctly, quickly, and in a well-structured manner complex messages on a variety of topics to a wide range of audiences, including to the Board.

 Strong presentation skills, including the ability to convey clear messages to senior management.

 Ability to work under pressure and with very tight timelines.

 Excellent workflow management and task organization skills; able to anticipate and take responsibility for all aspects of coordination of the workflow. 

 Demonstrated ability to work flexibly on a range of assignments, adjust to changes in schedule and priorities, and juggle concurrent tasks effectively and efficiently.

 Strong teamwork spirit including an open and collegial work style and a high level of energy.


The position has the following core competencies and requirements:

* Integrative Skills - Working to develop an integrated view across all facets of current sector.

* Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena - Understands policy making process; distills operationally relevant recommendations/lessons for clients.

* Policy Dialogue Skills - Identifies and assesses policy issues and plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders.

* Business Judgment and Analytical Decision Making – Gathers inputs, assesses risk, considers impact and articulates benefits of decisions for internal and external stakeholders over the long term.

* DRM policy, strategy and institutions - Understands the institutions and governance issues related to DRM, with specific firsthand experience on engaging institutions as well as assessing their respective capacities. Specific elements include: Institutional Assessment; Reconstruction Policy and Planning; International Cooperation; Legislative Framework; Institutional Capacity Building; Transparency and Accountability.


* Experience in managing GFDRR and/or other trust funded program;

* Written & Verbal Communication Skills: Tailors communication style to meet audience needs and deliver information effectively in support of team or workgroup.

* Excellent and effective command of English both in verbal and written forms required.

* Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work sensitively in multi-cultural teams

* Proven track record of delivery of high-quality outputs while working under pressure and within tight deadlines

* High motivation, agility, ability to work independently and under pressure

* Ability to think out of the box, solve problem solving and develop win-win situations in critical situations

The five WBG Core Competencies for all staff (use this one for external postings)