Local hire: Environmental Specialist

Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)

Background / General description:

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

The Environment & 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 close to $7 billion, and a growing pipeline of new investments under active development. The practice consists of some 275 staff across the world plus numerous other staff in other Practices and CCSAs that are professionally associated with it.

The Environment & Natural Resources Global Practice has three broad and distinct functions:

1. Provides clients with lending and non-lending services aimed to support the GP’s three core business lines, namely: (i) Forests, Watersheds and Sustainable Landscapes; (ii) Marine, Coastal and Aquatic Resources; and (iii) Pollution Management and Environmental Health. The GP’s activities also include a focus on Clean and Resilient Growth through its work on environmental economics and support to institutional development.

2. Supports effective environmental risk management and sustainability by managing risk at the project level and creating opportunities to advance sustainable development, in part through the implementation of the Bank’s environmental policies.

3. Works closely with other sectors, including by leveraging GEF grant financing, to mainstream environmental considerations into their policies, strategies, and operations.

ENRM activities in East Asia and the Pacific accounts for a substantial part of the ENR Global Practice’s business:

•    delivery of about 10 operations per year, amounting to about $200 million annually;

•    an active dialogue on regional issues, such as climate change, coastal and marine economies, improving governance of natural resources, watershed management, pollution management, and wealth accounting and valuation of ecosystem services;

•    about 61 active projects in the portfolio, amounting to around $1.8 billion;

A key characteristic of the Bank program in the region is a high level of decentralization.  In FY14, 60% of staff is located in the field, and about 45% of operations are managed and led from the field. The underpinning of this decentralization rests on four main pillars:

•    better integration at the field level to provide greater synergies and integrated responses;

•    a decentralized management structure supported by regional and global knowledge;  

•    provision of faster responses and management decisions to our clients; and

•    the need to reposition ourselves in the region given the large urbanization and decentralization trend in almost all countries, the need to incorporate better environment dimensions of the fast growth rates and huge demand for infrastructure, and the need to better deal with governance issues and growing income disparities between urban centers and rural areas and lagging regions.

Regional Context

The East Asia and Pacific (EAP) Region presents a dramatic illustration of the global dynamics, opportunities and risks of the 21st century. After making the fastest progress in growth and poverty reduction of any region around the world in the last fifteen years, some countries in the region – such as Mongolia – are poised to become middle-income, and some are preparing to join the small group of high-income countries. Such a rapid transformation is leading to the largest shift in rural-to-urban population in human history, generating rising inequality within and across countries, leaving individuals and regions behind in the dash for prosperity.  Meanwhile, the uncertainty in the advanced economies clouds the prospects for countries across the region which are being forced to adjust to changed growth and development prospects while addressing evolving impacts on macroeconomic stability, employment and poverty.

EAP comprises of more than 20 countries, including China, several MICs, LICs, and fragile states (EAP has the second highest number of fragile states amongst all the Bank regions). The Region is characterized by generally rapid growth, both sophisticated and low capacity borrowers, and some highly dynamic sectors. At the same time, EAP countries are faced with weak governance environments. The Bank’s program in EAP is multi-faceted and has grown rapidly in recent years: lending in FY17 exceeded $7.5 billion; the portfolio consists of nearly 88 operations for about $6.5 billion; and the TF program is significant (with a portfolio of about $1.2 billion).  EAP consists of over 1000 staff with 25% in Washington and 75% based in the country offices in the six CMUs.

Myanmar Context

The rapidly evolving Myanmar portfolio consists of about 12 loan and grant-funded operations with total commitments of about $2.5 billion across different sectors including energy, infrastructure, disaster risk management, urban development, agriculture and rural development, water resource management, and social development sectors. The portfolio is comprised mostly of Category B projects and includes a sizable Community Driven Development support. One projects is Category A, and the pipeline has a potential for more Category A projects as the Bank support moves towards larger and more complex operations.
At the same time, the program is striving to promote sustainability, climate resilience and adaptive capacity as the country faces serious risk brought about by climate change and exacerbated by environmental degradation and natural resource depletion. In this context WB-funded programs and projects are often multi-sectoral, bringing together experts from various disciplines within the Bank as well as the government. To respond to these challenges in the fragile, conflict and violence (FCV) circumstances of Myanmar, the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice is seeking to recruit an Environment Specialist with primary responsibilities to provide environmental safeguards support to operations, and with the opportunity to also lead policy dialogue, analytical work and operation on a broad range of environment, natural resources management and climate change issues in Myanmar.

Unit Context

EAP GEN2B unit comprises about 24 staff, of whom about 75% are based in Country Offices in East Asia and the Pacific. The rest of the team is based in Washington DC. All report to a Practice Manager based in DC.  The unit works closely with GEN2A (China, Indonesia and the Pacific Island Countries) and manages a full spectrum of environment, climate change, green growth and natural resource lending and non-lending tasks, as well as the environment safeguards function for the above-mentioned countries.

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 4 year term appointment.


The World Bank Group (WBG) is seeking to recruit an Environmental Specialist to be based in the World Bank Office in Yangon to provide technical, analytical, operational and business development leadership in the areas of environmental management, natural resources, climate change and green growth in Myanmar with a possibility of professional involvement in other countries of EAP. The Environmental Specialist will report to the ENR EAP GEN2B Practice Manager.

The Environmental Specialist will form an integral part of Yangon-based team in Myanmar and will contribute to provide leadership for the Bank’s young environment program in the country. S/he will also be responsible, working with environmental specialist colleagues based in Bangkok and in Washington DC, for building long-term business relationships with national and local government stakeholders, including development partners and NGOs/civil society, through strategic communications and outreach activities. Furthermore, s/he will support efforts in knowledge management to ensure best practices and lessons learned are reflected in our policy and operational advice to the Government of the Myanmar.

The Environment Specialist will have overall responsibility for four key areas:

• Environmental safeguards: Contribute to provide conceptual, operational and technical support on environmental safeguard under World Bank policies and the new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) including: Participating as reviewer or leader of the preparation of selected environmental safeguards instruments and their documentation and supervising their implementation; Assisting Practice Manager in the review and clearance of delegated Bank operations by confirming compliance with environmental safeguard policies, and ensuring the quality of environmental safeguard documents; providing input and reviewing terms of reference for environmental assessments and other safeguards work, advising Client on the requirements of environmental safeguard policies to guide them on delivering quality environmental safeguards project documentation and supporting analysis.

• Engagements and dialogue with government counterparts, other development partners and civil society/NGOs and, in this context, contributing to the development/updating and implementation of the Bank’s environmental engagement strategy and environmental engagement priorities for Myanmar, including the roll-out of the new ESF;

• Task management of select pieces of analytical work and/or projects related to climate change; pollution management and natural resources.

• Collaborate with other Global Practices and contribute to development and implementation of a multi-sectoral World Bank portfolio in Myanmar.

Selection Criteria:

It is expected that the successful candidate will meet the following selection criteria:

• Advanced degree (Masters or PhD) in environmental engineering, environmental economics, environmental science/management or other relevant discipline;

• A minimum of 5 years of professional experience in the environment sector leading environmental safeguard work, analytical work and operations in the environment sector;

• Knowledge and experience in one or more of the following areas: environmental assessment, environmental monitoring, climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, forest management, pollution management and environmental sector policy;

• Ability to identify long-range goals and objectives, develop strategic approaches, and conceptualize a multi-year plan to operationalize these strategies;

• Demonstrated ability to effectively coordinate activities involving multiple disciplines and organizational units, as well as to maintain high service standards under pressure, meet deadlines, and accommodate simultaneous demands from various sources;

• Skill at managing client and partner engagements; and

• Excellent oral and written communications skills in English and Bamar. Knowledge of other languages of Myanmar are a plus.