Local hire: Water Resources Specialist

Beijing, , CN

Background / General description:


Established in 1944, the World Bank Group (WBG) is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2016, the World Bank Group committed $64.2 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $16.2 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 189 member countries and delivers services out of more than 130 offices with 11,000 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.

Global Practices and Cross-Cutting Solutions Areas:

The World Bank’s 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) promoting shared prosperity for the bottom 40% of the population in every developing country.

The Water Global Practice: Context  

Water resources globally are under unprecedented and increasing pressures, driven by population and economic growth, land use changes, declining quality of ground and surface waters and greater climate variability.  With cross-cutting impacts on agriculture, education, energy, health, gender equity, and livelihoods, water is an essential resource for all life on the planet and is at the center of economic and social development.  Successful water management requires accurate knowledge of the resource available and an assessment of competing demands for its usage. Making best use of available supplies requires complex and sensitive economic, environmental and socio-political trade-offs. Planning for a more uncertain and more constrained water environment in the future only makes the situation more complex.

The world will not be able to meet the great development challenges of the 21st century – human development, livable cities, climate change, food security, energy security, and universal access to services – unless we ensure a water-secure world for all. To achieve this goal the Global Practice will need to work on both water resource management and service delivery issues but in a context where we focus on the role that water plays in the broader economy.    

The WBG is in a unique position to help governments take such an integrated and strategic approach to solve water supply, sanitation, water resource, hydropower, and irrigation problems through partnership, finance and knowledge.  The Water GP places Water Resource Management (hydrology, economics, storage, groundwater use, rivers and deltas), Service Delivery (to households, businesses and farmers), and an understanding of water in the context of the broader economy at the center of its efforts to help countries address the challenge of managing water.  The Water GP seeks to ensure that water issues are effectively addressed in all related sub-sectors, such as agriculture (ensuring sustainable water availability for irrigation; managing the trade-offs around the agricultural use of water), disaster risk management (floods and droughts), energy (hydropower; energy cooling systems), management of rivers and deltas, and water supply & sanitation (rural and urban; utility performance; wastewater management; targeting the poor).  In each sub-sector an integrated approach is adopted which considers investment and operations in the context of governance, institutions and policies.  Finally, we recognize that any focus on water will need to address and take into account the complex context of climate change.

The Water Global Practice is organized with: (a) a senior Director and 2 Directors who oversee the delivery of the operational program in the regions; (b) region-facing Practice Managers (PMs)  covering Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, East Asia/Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia; and (c) five cross-cutting Global Solutions Groups (GSGs) covering water supply and sanitation, water resources management, water for agriculture, water and hydropower, and water, poverty and the economy.

Water Sector in China

The World Bank’s water program has a portfolio of about 4.9 billion in the East Asia Region, of which about $ 1.8 billion is in China. There is also a robust program of analytical work and technical assistance, including a recently launched flagship report on water governance.  The Water Resources Specialist based in China will report to the East Asia Practice Manager for Water.    In addition, this position is expected to work closely with colleagues in other practices that intersect with the Water program, and with the Country Management Unit in China.

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 3 year term appointment.

Duties and Accountabilities:

Working under the supervision of the Practice Manager, and in direct collaboration with specified Task Team Leaders (TTLs), the successful candidate will:  

• Support Bank operations in project preparatory and appraisal work and analytical and advisory activities including formulation of background documents, monitoring progress of projects, and undertaking regular field visits.

• As appropriate, provide similar operational and analytical services in other countries where the Bank operates.

• Generate knowledge reports and participate in economic sector work for the Water Global Practice.

• Maintain liaison and dialogue with development partners, research institutions, non-Government organizations, the private sector and other sector-related institutions.

• Supervise the appointment and work of short-term consultants and firms ensuring consistency and conformity to Bank standards; and evaluate studies and sector-related project documentation.

• Provide technical support to the task teams, as needed, liaising closely and coordinating the water related activities with other Global Practices and the China Country Management Unit (CMU); and

• Monitor and provide advisory support for the adherence to World Bank’s operational policies and quality requirements in technical and fiduciary due diligence.

The candidate will be expected to working independently with guidance on complex projects/issues from senior specialists.

Selection Criteria:

The preferred candidate will meet the following criteria:

• At least 8 years of work experience in relevant fields, including water resources management, hydrological analysis and modeling.

• A  Master’s level degree in a field relevant to water resources management including civil and environmental engineering, hydrology, water resources management and other related field.

• Broad-based work experience and thorough knowledge of the water sector; ability to develop, analyze and articulate project related issues; and a demonstrated ability to diagnose problems and propose reliable solutions.

• Practical experience of working closely on project preparation and implementation.

• A broad understanding of China’s water sector policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations relevant to operational or analytical work.

• Ability to influence the design and execution of policy and/or research initiatives; conception and promotion of innovations in water resources policies, project design, organization and management to improve operational and sector work.

• Proven track record of intellectual leadership and ability to integrate analytical work with operational expertise to formulate policy advice.

• Proven ability to integrate and bridge between operational and technical assistance programs.

• Fluency in oral and written English is required.

Required Competencies:

• 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.

• Integrative Skills – Working to develop an integrated view across all facets of current sector.

• Water Policy and Strategy – Basic understanding of water policies and strategies and their role in delivering outcomes to end users/customers.

• Water Institutions – Basic understanding of water sector institutions (ministries, regulators, service providers, community organizations) and how they are best organized to deliver services to end users in a sustainable manner.

• Public Private Partnerships – Basic understanding of the various models for partnering with the private sector in the delivery of sustainable services.

• Water Financing – Basic understanding of approaches to sector financing of both capital and O&M costs.

• 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 to strengthen solutions for internal and/or external clients.

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