Senior Economist

The World Bank

Washington, DC, US


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank Group (WBG) 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

Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2018, the WBG committed $67 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $24 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). The WBG is organized into six client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions and thirteen Global Practices to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.

Sustainable environment and natural resources management (ENRM) is at the heart of the WBG poverty agenda. Biodiversity and natural resources constitute the social safety net of the poor, representing a food bank and often their only source of livelihood. Sustainable ENRM promotes a green, clean, and resilient world where natural resources—from forests to fisheries, freshwater, oceans, coastal zones and ecosystems—are managed to support livelihoods and strong economies. Sustainable ENRM builds a world better prepared for shocks and global challenges, helping countries limit their exposure to resource scarcity, more-volatile weather patterns, and the long-term consequences of climate change.

Green: Forests, Watersheds & Sustainable Landscapes – managing renewable natural capital across landscapes;

Blue: Marine, Coastal & Aquatic Resources – unlocking the wealth of marine, coastal and fresh water economies;

Brown: Pollution Management & Environmental Health – reducing pollution to improve environmental conditions;

Clean and Resilient Growth: Fostering economics and institutions for sustainable and sustained growth; and

Environmental Risk Management and Sustainability: Managing risks and creating opportunity to advice sustainable development in accordance with the Bank’s Operational Policies and, since October 1, 2018, the Environmental and Social Framework (ESF).

The Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy (ENB) Global Practice (GP) has close to 300 operations, representing $7 billion, and a growing pipeline of new investments and ASAs under active development. The ENB GP Global Platform Unit (SENGL) comprises about 30 staff, most of them based in Washington, DC. The team reports to the Practice Manager also based in DC. SENGL is primarily responsible for (i) designing and leading the global programs for the GP whose implementation in country rests with the GP’s regional units, including alignment to key business areas and crosscutting solutions; (ii) resource mobilization and donor coordination, including trust fund management, planning and reporting; (iii) conducting key global studies to advance the environmental agenda globally and internally; and (iv) knowledge management of SENGL’s key outputs.

This position will be based in Washington DC and will be part of the Environmental Economics Team within SENGL.  The work program for this position will focus on managing an analytical work program (studies) and supporting policy dialogue as well as the preparation and implementation of investment projects, related to the environment, natural resources management and sustainability, particularly with respect to the Global Program on Sustainability (GPS).  The GPS objective is to strengthen the production and use of quality data (economic and financial) on natural capital and ecosystem services to inform government and financial market decisions.

The position will have a combination both global level activities and country specific activities.  This will include providing technical,  and policy advice (of relevance to World Bank-financed projects) to county-based teams and to client governments.     


The Senior Economist will have the following key responsibilities as agreed with his/her Practice Manager based on an annual Result Agreements: 

Analytical Work Program

The Senior Economist is expected to be a thought leader for the World Bank in the area of environmental and natural resource economics.  This will include being up to date on the latest developments in the field.  The position requires the flexibility and adaptability to use economic tools to solve a range of practical problems in areas such as and related to valuation of ecosystem services, environmental fiscal reform, green jobs transition, Natural Capital Accounting, climate change, forests, biodiversity, protected areas management, restoration of degraded landscapes, blue economy (including fisheries management and coastal zone management), pollution management circular economy and clean-up of contaminated sites. This will include an ability to:

– integrate economic analysis and bio-physical modeling in the assessment of ecosystem services;

– apply macro-fiscal models and analytical tools to evaluate and help design environmental and natural resource management policies.

– Lead/co-lead studies on selected economics issues on the critical path to solving global problems in the areas listed above.

– Effectively communicate to senior leaders in governments and institutions of the results of these studies in written and verbal form

– Identify practical ways in which the analytical work being supported by the GPS program can inform and influence the World Bank’s pipeline of projects in client countries

Technical Advisory work in support of  country teams

As part of the GPS program, the Economics team in SENGL provides technical support to the ENB teams operating in the Regions (Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Middle East and North Africa, Europe and Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific) to integrate environmental sustainability considerations in policy dialogue and World Bank operations.

The Senior Economist is expected to support and advice regional teams on how GPS-supported work can be designed and executed to ensure its relevance and practical applicability to policy reform and/or to World Bank investment and policy lending, thereby promoting the achievement of the GPS objectives. This support function includes joining missions, contributing to the preparation of GPS-financed reports, reviewing and quality assuring the work of consultants, etc.

Global Outreach

The Senior Economist will be expected to provide input into the World Bank’s global outreach on environment and climate change issues. This will include preparing briefs and presentations for the Bank’s senior management for engagement in international conferences, negotiations and bilateral cooperation.  The Senior Economist will also be expected to present the Bank’s work at technical conferences and workshops.

Program Administration and Fundraising

Working with the GPS coordinator, the Senior Economist will be expected to manage trust funds that finance the World Banks environmental economics program. This will include supporting development partner relations, trust fund oversight/ day to day management, preparation of annual workplans (and tracking their implementation), supporting the monitoring and evaluation of Trust Funds in accordance with results frameworks agreed upon with Trust Fund donors.  The Bank administers large trust funds that fund activities in environment, natural resources, and pollution management.  

Knowledge Management

The Senior Economist is expected to lead relevant communities of practice in the World Bank and maintain effective communication with the broader environmental economics community including NGOs, academia, civil society, the private sector as well as specialized international organizations.Active participation in communities of practice and global level technical innovation and knowledge sharing in the areas listed above will be an important component of this position.  

The Senior Economist is expected to learn World Bank Group procedures, and contribute to their improvement, by participating in training offered, by developing a personal training program, keeping abreast of research and development knowledge in the environment and natural resources sector, and relevant safeguard management process.

Coordinate and carry out other tasks as requested by the relevant Manager such as for example, contribute to the organization of training or knowledge sharing events.

Selection Criteria

In addition to meeting Bank-wide Grade GG level positions (see below), it is expected that the successful candidate will meet the following selection criteria:

The following are required:

* PhD in Economics, Applied Economics, Environmental Economics, Finance or related field.

* Rigorous quantitative training in economics, econometrics or quantitative economic modeling.  

* Minimum of 8 years of full-time relevant professional experience in research and applied policy or project work as an economist on natural resource management or environmental issues (time in a PhD program counts toward this professional experience)  

* Proven understanding of the key issues in the current debates on economics of environmental sustainability

* Strong interpersonal and communication skills.

* Excellent communication skills in English (both orally and in writing) are required, knowledge of additional languages a plus.

* Proven teamwork and successful experience working with multi-disciplinary teams.

* A strong sense of teamwork and ability to work independently with limited supervision.

* Willingness to travel extensively, including to remote rural areas.

The following would be an advantage but not required:

* Experience and training in areas such as modeling/ measuring ecosystem services, and valuing them in economic terms; macroeconomic and fiscal management focused on environment and natural resources policy.

* Familiarity and some work experience with Natural Capital Accounting, particularly in the context of the System of Economic and Environmental Accounts (SEEA).

* Experience working in developing countries, understanding the institutional and political context and exposure to the national environmental policy challenges.

Competencies Level GG, Senior Economist

· Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena – Translates technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies; interacts with clients at the policy level.

· Policy Dialogue Skills Anticipates needs and requests in the field and conducts policy discussions with representatives of the government and non-government partners.

·Environmental Policy, Strategy and Institutions – Solid understanding of environmental policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations. 

·Environmental Sciences – Solid understanding of fundamental concepts of natural science (soil science; water; ecosystems; conservation; agriculture concerns, etc.).

·Biodiversity – Solid understanding of biodiversity with ability to apply knowledge to projects and analytical work. 

·Environmental Economics – Advanced  technical knowledge in the application of economic concepts relevant to environment.

·Team Leadership – Leads teams to achieve challenging outcomes, providing a role model and enhancing the team-leadership skills of team members. 

·Client Orientation – Maintains client relationships in the face of conflicting demands or directions and provides evidence-based advice and solutions based on sound diagnosis and knowledge. 


Lead and Innovate – Develops innovative solutions.

Deliver Results for Clients – Proactively addresses clients’ stated and unstated needs.

Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries – Collaborates across boundaries, gives own perspective and willingly receives diverse perspectives.

Create, Apply and Share Knowledge – Applies knowledge across WBG to strengthen solutions for internal and/or external clients.

Make Smart Decisions – Interprets a wide range of information and pushes to move forward.

Poverty has no borders, neither does excellence. We succeed because of our differences and we continuously search for qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds from around the globe.





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development