Local hire: Environmental Specialist

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Sustainable environment and natural resources management (ENRM) is at the heart of the World Bank Group’s (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.

Forests play a key role in the national development of African countries and are central to poverty reduction efforts and economic development. Forest products provide a significant share of the livelihoods of the poorest people. They create employment and have the potential of creating more and better jobs. If managed well, the share of the forestry sector in GDP and tax revenues could increase considerably. This would require improved governance, stricter law enforcement, but also more investments in the forestry sector. In addition, key economic sectors such as agriculture, mining and transport can become more forest-friendly so that forests can occupy a more secure place in the landscape and national development plans.

The Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Global Practice has been set up to deliver on the opportunities, benefits and outcomes offered by enhanced management of the environment and natural resources. The ENR GP has close to 300 operations under management, representing $7 billion, and a growing pipeline of new investments under active development.

ENRM activities in Sub-Saharan Africa represent a substantial part of the ENR GP Portfolio. Sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of around 875 million people in 47 countries, is home to 36 of the world’s poorest countries.  Making headway against poverty in sub-Saharan Africa continues to present the world with its most formidable development challenge.  

The World Bank’s Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice unit for Africa (GEN07) covers the following business lines:
     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 & Sustainability: Managing risks and creating opportunity to advice sustainable development, in application of the existing environmental and social safeguard policies and the new Environmental and Social Framework (consisting of the Environmental and Social Standards), when the Framework enters into force.
Within the ENR Global Practice, the GEN07 unit covers West and Central Africa and Indian Ocean islands. This unit develops and manages operations in a variety of areas such as natural resources management, coastal zone management, forestry, pollution, landscape and terrestrial and marine natural resources. More specifically, the mission of GEN07 is to work with national and local governments and with communities to improve sustainable management of natural resources and improve preparedness to natural disasters in about 26 countries grouped in seven Country Management Units (CMUs).

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.

Duties and Accountabilities:

The World Bank is recruiting an Environmental Specialist primarily to provide environmental safeguards support to investment operations under preparation and supervision by other Global Practices, primarily in the CMU consisting of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic. This support typically includes the following duties and accountabilities, which will be fulfilled in coordination with, and following guidance from, more senior ENR staff:

• During project preparation: Make an assessment of the project’s potential environmental footprint and determine which of the Bank’s safeguards policies, and later Environmental and Social Standards, will be triggered; guide the borrower/project implementation agency in process of preparing the necessary safeguard instruments and review them for quality; contribute well-written summaries of key safeguards instruments for inclusion in project documentation. This will also entail providing assistance to staff or client to assure the quality of project documentation before submission to the GEN07 Regional Safeguards Coordinator for approval;

• During project implementation: Supervise compliance with the Bank’s safeguards policies, and later Environmental and Social Standards, as finalized in the safeguards documents by participating in project technical discussions, field visits, reviewing project reports and building effective working relationships with the borrower/project implementation agency to ensure proper understanding and implementation of the policies; guide the borrower/implementing agency apply the safeguards policies effectively. This will entail building capacity of client in improving implementation;

• During both preparation and implementation:

o    Go beyond narrow policy compliance to look for opportunities to improve the environmental outcomes of the project work closely with the project task team and especially the Social Safeguards Specialist assigned to each operation and provide back up support as required;
o    Participate in review meetings and represent GEN07 in relevant Bank-wide initiatives; represent the Bank in donor meetings on the environment; and contribute to knowledge generation and diffusion within the region and beyond;
o    Regularly complete all project-related reporting requirements in Bank systems and provide project-related synopsis to management as and when required;
o    Develop ENRM business opportunities in the CMU, in coordination with other ENR staff working in these countries;
o    Contribute to the roll-out of the new Environmental and Social Framework, including building capacity of the clients.

• Perform other duties at the request of the GEN07 Manager.

Selection Criteria:


•    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;

•    Environmental Policy, Strategy and Institutions – Familiarity with environmental policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations;

•    Environmental Sciences – Depth in at least one area: water; ecosystems; forests; conservation; agriculture concerns, etc.;

•    Lead and innovate – Develops innovative solutions;

•    Deliver Results for Clients – Proactively addresses the 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.

Other Selection Criteria

In addition to the above the above core competencies the following criteria will have to be satisfied for the position of Environmental Specialist:

•    Master’s degree or equivalent academic qualification in a relevant discipline, e.g., engineering, environmental science, environmental economics, biology, international studies or equivalent;

•    Minimum of 5 years of professional experience in the environmental sector;

•    Good knowledge of environmental legislation and institutions in African countries;

•    Experience with the application of the World Bank’s environmental safeguards policies;

•    Familiarity with social safeguards issues.

In addition, the following skills will be particularly considered during the selection process:

•    Strong client orientation with the ability to build an understanding with implementing agency counterparts on the value-added of Bank operations;

•    Ability to work in multidisciplinary teams on diverse and complex tasks;

•    Drive for results while working with limited supervision and under tight timelines;

•    Ability to solve problems rather than merely identify them;

•    Ability to think innovatively and negotiate effectively;

•    Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English and French;

•    Willingness to travel internationally as necessary.