Local hire: Senior Disaster Risk Management and Resilience Specialist

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Background / General description:


Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2014, the WBG committed $65.6 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $22.2 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). IBRD and IDA are commonly known as the World Bank, which is organized into six client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions, and – as of July 1, 2014 – has introduced fourteen Global Practices (GPs) as well as five Cross-Cutting Solution Areas (CCSAs) to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.


The 14 GPs are: Agriculture; Education; Energy and Extractives; Environment and Natural Resources; Finance and Markets; Governance; Health, Nutrition and Population; Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management; Poverty; Social Protection and Labor; Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience; Trade and Competitiveness; Transport and ICT; and Water. The 5 CCSAs are: Climate Change; Fragility, Conflict and Violence; Gender; Jobs; and Public-Private Partnerships.  The new operating model is part of a broader internal reform aimed at delivering the best of the World Bank Group to our clients, so that together we can achieve the twin goals of (1) ending extreme poverty by 2030, and (2) promote shared prosperity for the bottom 40% of the population in every developing country.


Urbanization is occurring at an unprecedented pace. Cities generate 80% of global GDP and are key to job creation and the pursuit of shared prosperity.  Yet one billion city residents live in slums today, and by 2030 one billion new migrants will arrive in cities.  This concentration of people and assets will exacerbate risk exposure to adverse natural events and climate change, which affects the poor disproportionately.  The absence of secure land tenure underpins deprivation and is a major source of conflict in the urban and rural space.  One and a half billion people live in countries affected by repeated cycles of violence.  In the absence of services, participative planning and responsive institutions, these trends will result in increased poverty, social exclusion, vulnerability and violence.  Finally, avoiding a 4-degree warmer world requires drastically reducing the carbon footprint of cities.

The WBG is in a unique position 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 risk management related to natural disasters; reduce conflict and violence; scale-up access to finance for sub-national governments; and reduce the carbon footprint of cities.  The WBG brings a combination of lending ($7-8 billion in annual lending to cities), analytical and advisory services (e.g., social inclusion flagship, urbanization reviews, Sendai dialogue), its growing portfolio of reimbursable advisory services, its convening power (e.g., understanding risk and the land conferences), its leveraging capacity (e.g., guarantees and risk mitigation), and its ability to work with the private sector to tackle the challenges at scale and to effect.

The SURR GP covers a wide gamut: (i) developing green, inclusive and resilient cities; (ii) addressing the social inclusion of the poor, vulnerable and excluded groups through accountable institutions, and ensuring compliance with social safeguards; (iii) enhancing urban and rural development through supporting and managing the urban-rural transition, assisting local development through developing land tenure, management and information systems; (iv) assisting in disaster risk management through issues of risk assessment, risk reduction (including flood management, urban 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 (including post-disaster damage and loss assessment); and, leading and coordinating in-conflict and post-conflict recovery readiness agenda (including leading in-conflict and post-conflict damage and needs assessments, coordinating and contributing to Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessments (RPBAs), contributing to Economic and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs), and coordinating/contributing to recovery planning and design and implementation of reconstruction programs/projects). A key responsibility of the GP is to provide professional expertise and operational support to other GPs to implement the WBG social policies (the WB’s safeguard policies and the IFC’s Performance Standards) to deliver sustainable development results that ensure that any adverse impacts of WBG interventions are limited and mitigated.


The Middle East and North Africa Region (MNA) at the World Bank serves 21 client countries with a total population of about 335 million.  Clients range from upper middle income countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which are more interested in the Bank’s Reimbursable Technical Assistance, analytical and advisory services; to IBRD middle income countries such as Egypt, Iraq and Morocco, and two IDA countries, Yemen and Djibouti where more traditional Bank services are required.  Hence the range of needs for advice, support and cross-fertilization of experiences is wide and challenging. The MNA Social, Urban and Disaster Risk Management Unit (MNA SUR) consists of 30 team members including in four country offices (Cairo, Sanaa, Riyadh and Jerusalem).  The portfolio comprises a diverse set of projects under supervision and has an active lending pipeline which is poised for further growth.  

In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the MNA Region is undergoing radical transformations with impacts throughout the Region. Given the ongoing fragility and conflict in the region, the World Bank Group has prepared a new regional strategy for the Middle East and North Africa. Instead of taking conflict and violence as given and working around it, this new strategy, entitled – “Economic and Social Inclusion for Peace and Stability in the Middle East and North Africa: A New Strategy for the World Bank Group” – puts the goal of promoting peace and social stability in the MENA region at its center. The strategy is built around four pillars (“the 4 R’s”) that respond to both the underlying causes of conflict and violence as well as the urgent consequences though development interventions that foster inclusion and shared prosperity. The four pillars of the strategy are as follows:

A. Renewing the social contract – to generate a new development model that is built on greater citizen trust; more effective protection of the poor and vulnerable; inclusive and accountable service delivery; and a stronger private sector that can create jobs and opportunities for MENA’s youth;
B. Regional cooperation – particularly around regional public goods and sectors such as education, water, and energy so as to foster greater trust and collaboration across MENA countries;
C. Resilience – to refugee and migration shocks by promoting the welfare of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and host communities by focusing on building trust and building their assets; and
D. Reconstruction and recovery – through a dynamic approach that brings in external partners, leverages large scale financing, and move beyond humanitarian response to longer-term development wherever and whenever conflict subsides.

In implementing this strategy, the WBG will rely heavily on both deepening and expanding partnerships with national, regional, and global actors.

On the basis of the above, the MNA GSURR Team works across a complex institutional environment, in partnership with many different units within the Bank given the cross-cutting nature of DRM/resilience, urban and social issues. The span of work of GSURR extends to all active clients in the region, and across a variety of financial and technical assistance support. This includes IBRD/ IDA financial and technical assistance to client countries, as well as the provision of Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) from the Bank to the GCC countries.

The thematic work of the MNA unit of the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Practice cover an active portfolio of over $1.5 billion, a growing pipeline for lending, and a large RAS and TF program. The portfolio is growing to respond to the demands articulated by the MNA strategy, and covers a range of activities supporting resilience, disaster risk, urban and social development and support to social safeguards.  Risk management is a basic approach given the vulnerability of most of MNA countries to a wide range of risks, including disasters, climate change, and most prominently, conflict. The World Bank’s resilience/urban/social portfolio in Lebanon is expanding and it includes a diverse range of projects, analytical work and policy dialogue. One of the key area of engagement is supporting Lebanon in responding to the challenges resulting from the large inflows of refugees and displaced as a result of the Syria crisis.  The ongoing engagement on Beirut Comprehensive Urban Resilience master plan uses natural hazards as an entry point to identify gaps in urban resilience and preparedness and formulate an integrated, multi-sector strategy to enhance city’s resilience. Municipal Services Emergency Project is addressing some of the most immediate needs for host communities and the displaced in areas most affected by the Syrian crisis.  A new operation to support economic and social development in the lagging central region of the country is at an early stage of development.  Other engagements include support to culture heritage and land administration modernization. Moving forward, the New Global Concessional Financing Facility for Refugee Response would play a key role in supporting refugee crisis in the country and provide enhanced support for local infrastructure and service delivery coupled with a forward-looking, local economic development oriented engagement.

The selected candidate based in Beirut will be expected to play a role as senior technical specialist covering resilience in a broadly defined way (DRM, crisis recovery and urban resilience) in the MENA region. The Senior DRM and Resilience Specialist will work under the direct supervision of the MENA GSURR Practice Manager.

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background.  Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.  All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Note: If the selected candidate is a current Bank Group staff member with a Regular or Open-Ended appointment, s/he will retain his/her Regular or Open-Ended appointment. All others will be offered a 2 year term appointment.


The selected senior DRM and resilience specialist will be locally recruited and will be based in Beirut, Lebanon.  S/he will be expected to lead or support teams/projects and work on the unit’s portfolio in Lebanon and potentially other countries in the region.  In this role the candidate:
• Leads or supports the preparation and supervision of implementation of resilience and disaster risk reduction analytical work and investments, emergency recovery loans, technical assistance programs and advisory activities.
• Leads and participates in policy dialogue with relevant national and local government agencies, international agencies, non-governmental organizations and their project support teams; handles complex technical, institutional and program implementation issues in managing displacement, DRM, crisis recovery and urban resilience.
• Coordinates, leads and/or provides support to teams, as needed, in an event of disaster or crisis affecting the countries in the region, including providing advice to the unit and country management on a potential Bank assistance in following natural or human caused  crises.
• Supports analytical work preparing the WBG to better respond to the effects of regional crisis on Lebanon.
• Produces major/complex reports; generates ‘think pieces’ and ‘best practice’ papers; leads the development of proposals.
• Plays key role in design and implementation of practice and sector strategy; contributes to the inclusion of the DRM and resilience agenda in Systematic Country Diagnostics (SCD) and Country Partnership Framework (CPF), advises borrowers and colleagues on technical matters, supervises the work of consultants and technical specialists to ensure consistency and conformity to Bank standards; evaluates studies and practice-related project documentation.
• Contributes to practice and sector policy; makes recommendations on strategies and policy options for the government; leads the interface with governments and agencies in policy reform and addressing key sectoral challenges including mainstreaming resilience and DRM across sectors.
• Support GSURR team in business development in the areas of urban infrastructure, urban governance, urban resilience, municipal services and social development.
• Work with the Bank’s DRM and Resilience Practice and GFDRR at the corporate level, and help develop knowledge products and/or training activities to improve best practice in the sector.
• Conducts regular and as needed missions related to lending project preparation and implementation support and analytical/policy advisory work.
• Coordinates day-to-day Bank activities in DRM and resilience including investments, institutional development, capacity building and analytical and advisory assistance.
• Works independently under general direction of unit manager, and guides and mentors more junior staff. Contributes to business development together with manager and lead specialists.  Works closely with CMU staff and collaborates effectively with other Global Practices active in Lebanon.

Selection Criteria:

Selection criteria:
• Advanced degree (PhD or Master’s) in public policy, disaster risk management, urban planning, engineering, economics, or related field with minimum 8 years experience.
• Sought after areas of experience include: Disaster risk assessment and financing; urban resilience; post-disaster/post-conflict reconstruction and recovery; urban development as well as risk reduction and flood/drought risk management.
• Past experience in lending operations/investment projects in DRM and urban resilience issues is required.
• Past experience in policy dialogue and analytical work in complex DRM, crisis/conflict assessments and recovery, and urban resilience issues and in the area(s) of focus is required.
• Ability to travel extensively in the country and region.
• Strong ability to collaborate across sectoral boundaries, to work effectively in teams and with a diverse range of counterparts and stakeholders including government officials and donors.
• Excellent organizational and task management skills, with appropriate attention to details and ability to prioritize work among multiple competing demands, and under tight deadlines.
• Written and spoken fluency in English and Arabic is a must. French is desirable.

• Integrative Skills – Understands relevant cross-practice areas how they are interrelated; able to undertake cross-practice work in lending and non-lending operations.
• Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena – Translates technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and practice strategies; interacts with clients at the policy level.
• Policy Dialogue Skills – Anticipates needs and requests in the field and conducts independent policy discussions with representatives of the government and non-government partners.
• 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 WBG, and brings differing ideas into 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.
• 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