Senior Water Supply and Sanitation Specialist

Washington, DC, United States 🇺🇸

Background / General description:

The World Bank Group (WBG)

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 WBG committed US$64.2 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which US$16.2 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 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 Role of the World Bank Group in Water

Water resources are under unprecedented and increasing pressures, driven by greater climate variability, population and economic growth, land use changes, and declining quantities and qualities of both ground and surface waters.  With cross cutting impacts on agriculture, education, energy, health, gender equity, and livelihood, water is an essential resource for all life on the planet and is at the center of economic and social development.  Climate change expresses itself through water and sound water management lies at the heart of the resilience agenda. 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 water in the context of 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, the WBG sees the WTR GP to play a pivotal role as an implementation arm of all water-related SDGs, and in particular SDG 6, as well as a global player in the interface of water, resilience and climate change.

Recognizing these unique opportunities, the Water GP has enjoyed a scaled up program both in lending (about US$4-5 billion of new lending per year moving into programmatic approaches, PforRs, and building country systems), RAS, innovative ASA, and a global partnership agenda.  However, the portfolio has also faced persistent implementation challenges that need to be resolved.

The Water Global Practice 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 (this position); and (d) five cross-cutting Global Solutions Groups (GSGs) led by 5 Global Leads.  The regional PMs report to one of 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 Practice comprises around 300 staff.

Reflecting its leadership in the global water agenda, the Global Water Practice also sustains and manages over 100 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 benefited from two major Multi Donor Trust Funds – the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) and the Water Partnership Program (WPP).   Both these programs will close in this coming calendar year, and will be replaced by a single overarching program – Global Water Security and Sanitation Program (GWSP), that will consolidate the previous programs, with 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 GWSP is now legally established and accepting contributions, but will need to be formally launched and operationalized with the donors and the Practice in the coming years.

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in race, gender, nationality, culture, and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.

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 selected candidate will support the growing portfolio of lending and analytical activities in the areas of water supply and sanitation and water resources management in South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, with the following duties:

• Lead several Bank Task Teams and/or participate as a team member in projects providing technical support in the identification, preparation and supervision of water supply and sanitation projects and programs.

• Contribute to the preparation and implementation of water resources management projects.

• Provide guidance and implementation support to various clients’ project implementation units and coordinate closely with fiduciary and safeguards colleagues.

• Contribute expertise and inputs to other projects managed by other Global Practices with components/activities on water supply and sanitation and water resources management.

• Lead and contribute to analytical and advisory work on water supply and sanitation priorities, including the development of country-specific and regional activities.  

• In collaboration with the Water Global Leads and the Lead Technical Specialists of the LAC Water Team, lead policy dialogue with clients and stakeholders on strategic water supply and sanitation issues.

• Support the formulation and implementation of programs and initiatives of the various Water Global Solutions Groups with the aim of facilitating knowledge generation and sharing through projects and programs in the LAC region.

• Develop and forge partnerships with other development partners and organizations that can inform the development and implementation of the overall water agenda in LAC countries and facilitate knowledge exchange.

• In collaboration with the Practice Manager, coach and mentor junior staff working in the water programs.

Selection Criteria:

The preferred candidate will meet the following criteria:

• A Master’s level degree, in a field relevant to water supply and sanitation, including civil, sanitary, environmental, water resources engineering; finance; economics; or other related fields.

• A minimum of 8 years of relevant work experience in water supply and sanitation, including proven track record in designing and implementing complex operations and demonstrated knowledge of operational procedures of lending operations.

• Knowledge and experience in water resources management will be a plus.

• Excellent oral and written communication skills in English and Spanish.

Required Competencies

• 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 independent policy discussions on subjects such as climate change and resilience/adaptation with representatives of the government and non-government partners.

• Integrative Skills – Understands relevant cross-sectoral areas how they are interrelated; able to undertake cross-sectoral work in lending and non-lending operations.

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

• Water Institutions – Good understanding of WSS 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 – Good understanding of the various models for partnering with the private sector in the delivery of sustainable services

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

• Water Supply and Sanitation Infrastructure and Technologies – Deep experience in at least one subtopic; develops novel approaches to mitigate risk or overcome difficult challenges.

• 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 GPs and 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.

• Work Independently – Meets commitments and accepts account