Local hire: Water Resources Specialist

Islamabad, Pakistan 🇵🇰

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 2016, the World Bank Group committed nearly $64.2 billion in loans, grants, equity investments, and guarantees to its members and private businesses. The Bank’s Board approved approximately $45.9 billion in financial assistance, comprising about $29.7 billion in IBRD lending and about $16.2 billion in IDA support.

The institution is governed by 189 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 World Bank is organized into six client-facing Regional Vice-Presidencies, several corporate functions, and fourteen Global Practices as well as five Cross-Cutting Solution Areas to bring best-in-class knowledge and solutions to regional and country clients.


The world will not be able to meet the great development challenges of the 21st century – human development, livable cities, climate change, food security, and energy security – without improving how countries manage their water resources. The World Bank (WB) seeks to help governments take an integrated and strategic approach to solve water supply, sanitation, water resource, hydropower and irrigation problems through finance and knowledge.  The WB’s Water Global Practice (GP) is mandated to ensure that water issues are effectively addressed in all related sub-sectors, such as agriculture (ensuring sustainable water availability for irrigation), disaster risk management, energy (hydropower), and water supply & sanitation (rural and urban, assisting utilities on efficiency and financial sustainability; targeting the poor). In each sub sector an integrated approach is adopted which considers investment alongside issues such as governance, institutions and policies. The WB is today the largest external source of financing for water supply and sanitation (WSS) projects, while also carrying a large and growing portfolio in irrigation and water resource management (WRM).

The Water GP is organized around: (a) a Senior Practice Director and two Practice Directors in the Front Office; (b) 9 region-facing Practice Managers (PMs) covering Africa, Europe and Central Asia, East Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia; (c) two Global PMs: a  PM for Strategy and Operations, who brings together Operations, Knowledge, and Communications, and a PM for Global Programs; and (d) five cross-cutting Global Solutions Groups (GSGs) led by 5 Global Leads.  The regional PMs report to one of the two Directors in the Practice, while the two global PMs and the Global Leads report to the Senior Director to reinforce the globality of the Practice. The Water GP comprises of approximately 315 staff.   

Reflecting its leadership in the global water agenda, the Global Water Practice also sustains and manages several external partnerships, including the convening of the High Level Panel on Water, and a close association with the Sanitation and Water for All.  In addition, the Water Practice has recently launched the Global Water Security and Sanitation Partnership (GWSP), which will provide support across the full water cycle agenda and with a consolidated results framework fully integrated with all other operational engagements of the Water Practice.

The Water GP places Water Resource Management (hydrology, economics, storage, groundwater use, etc.) at the center of its efforts to help countries adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.  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), disaster risk management, energy (hydropower), and water supply & sanitation (rural and urban, assisting utilities on efficiency and financial sustainability; targeting the poor).  In each sub-sector an integrated approach is adopted which considers investment alongside issues such as governance, institutions and policies.

The World Bank is the largest external source of financing for water supply and sanitation projects, and also has a large and growing portfolio in irrigation and water
resource management.  The Water GP supervises a portfolio of over US$ 20 billion and another US$ 7.1 billion of water-related operations are managed by other GPs. The Water GP also manages a large program of analytical and technical assistance activities.

The South Asia Region (SAR) comprises eight extremely diverse client countries, with a population of over 1.7 billion people. South Asia remains the world’s fastest-growing region although recently capital inflows have declined, inflation has been on the rise, and remittances from oil-exporting countries have started to weaken. Economic growth rose to 7.0 percent in 2015, up from 6.8 percent in 2014, and is projected to accelerate to 7.1 percent in 2016 and 7.2 percent in 2017. Strong growth has translated into declining poverty and impressive improvements in human development. The proportion of people living on less than $1.90 a day was estimated at 18.8 percent as of 2012. Hundreds of millions still live slightly above the poverty line. In addition, many countries in the region suffer from extreme forms of social exclusion and huge infrastructure gaps, and the larger countries are experiencing increases in inequality. Development in the region will be key to meeting global poverty and prosperity goals.

South Asia is home to about a quarter of the global population but has less than 5% of the world’s renewable water resources. Low per capita availability, coupled with a very high relative level of water use makes South Asia the most water-insecure region of the world, with increasing impacts on economic development. Water stress continues to increase, water management is challenged by weak governance and limited institutional capacity, as well major gaps in key water resources infrastructure. Groundwater is over-exploited in key agricultural areas and major and difficult cross-sectoral reforms are required. To add to the complexity, South Asia is highly vulnerable to climate change, the impacts of which will manifest themselves significantly through the water sector. Building resilience in the water sector though structure adaptation to climate change, population growth and urbanization is an increasing priority for the country.

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


The World Bank is currently looking for a Water Resources Specialist in Islamabad, Pakistan. In Pakistan, the World Bank has a vibrant and growing portfolio of lending and analytical activities in the water sector.  The World Bank’s active water portfolio in Pakistan is approximately $900 million of lending in water resources management, irrigation and capacity-building projects. In addition, the Water team is building a pipeline including significant engagements in urban and rural water supply and sanitation; non-revenue water reduction and support to utility reform; and support to the national and provincial governments in areas related to policy formulation.  In close collaboration with the Bank’s Urban GP, the Water team is working to improve water supply and sewerage in Karachi and other cities; working with provincial governments and utilities to improve service delivery in water and to help governments better understand and address the linkages between water supply, sanitation, nutrition and health outcomes.  Similarly, in close collaboration with the Bank’s Agriculture GP, the Water team is supporting investments and policy reforms in irrigation and other water-related aspects of agriculture (e.g. groundwater and irrigation service fees).

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:

The SAR Water Practice seeks to appoint a Water Resources Specialist to support operations, policy dialogue and analytical work in the Bank’s Water program in Pakistan. Reporting to the SAR Water Practice Manager (GWA09), the selected candidate will be based in Islamabad, Pakistan, and will work closely with other Water GP staff based in Pakistan and at HQ in Washington, DC, as well as with staff in other GPs and the Country Management Unit based in Islamabad.

Selection Criteria:


• Master’s degree in economics, finance, engineering, public policy or a related discipline and a minimum of 5 years’ relevant experience in one or more professional disciplines, or equivalent combination of education and experience.

• Demonstrated ability to effectively work with multi-disciplinary teams and organizational units, as well as to maintain high service standards and high quality assurance under pressure, meet deadlines, and accommodate simultaneous demands from various sources.  

• Excellent oral and written communications skills. Strong client orientation, diplomatic skills, and drive for results are essential.

• Excellent command of spoken and written English and Urdu.   

Required Competencies

• Integrative Skills
Works to develop a broader view across all facets of current sector. Understands core issues and knows where to get additional expertise when needed. Task team member in integrative products and provides analytical written inputs.

• Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena
Understands policy-making process and the role of own sector of expertise in that process. Able to find relevant information/data and examine similar policy questions in multiple regions and to distill operationally relevant recommendations/lessons from this analysis for clients.

• Policy Dialogue Skills
Identifies and assesses policy issues and communicates findings/points of view verbally and through reports and papers. Plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders as part of Bank teams.

• Water Policy, Strategy and Institutions
Has a foundational familiarity with relevant water policies and strategies, with water institutions and the roles each institution would play, and with water laws and regulations. Understands impacts on the operation or analytical work.

• Lead and Innovate
Contributes new insights to understand situations and develops solutions to resolve complex problems. Adapts as circumstances require and manages impact of own behavior on others in context of WBG’s values and mission. Identifies and pursues innovative approaches to resolve issues.

• Deliver Results for Clients
Adds value by constantly looking for a better way to get more impactful results; sets challenging stretch goals for oneself. Immerses oneself in client experiences and perspective by asking probing questions to understand unmet needs. Demonstrates accountability for achieving results that have a development impact and financial, environmental and social sustainability. Identifies and proposes solutions to mitigate and manage risks.

• Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries
Appropriately involves others in decision making and communicates with key stakeholders. Approaches conflicts as common problems to be solved. Actively seeks and considers diverse ideas and approaches displaying a sense of mutuality and respect. Integrates WBG perspective into work.

• Create, Apply and Share Knowledge
Leverages department’s expertise and body of knowledge across WBG to strengthen internal and/or external client solutions. Seeks to learn from more experienced staff to deepen or strengthen their professional knowledge and helps others to learn. Builds personal and professional networks inside and outside the department unit.

• Make Smart Decisions
Seeks diversity of information and inputs, researches possible solutions, and generates recommended options. Identifies and understands risks and proposes recommendations. Based on risk analysis makes decisions in a timely manner within own area of responsibility, considering the interests and concerns of stakeholders.