Senior Disaster Risk Management

Washington, DC, US

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 2014, the WBG committed $65.6 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $22.2 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 – 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.


The 14 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) promote shared prosperity for the bottom 40% of the population in every developing country.


Urbanization is occurring at an unprecedented pace. Cities generate 80% of global GDP and are key to job creation and the pursuit of shared prosperity.  Yet one billion city residents live in slums today, and by 2030 one billion new migrants will arrive in cities.  This concentration of people and assets will exacerbate risk exposure to adverse natural events and climate change, which affects the poor disproportionately.  The absence of secure land tenure underpins deprivation and is a major source of conflict in the urban and rural space.  One and a half billion people live in countries affected by repeated cycles of violence.  In the absence of services, participative planning and responsive institutions, these trends will result in increased poverty, social exclusion, vulnerability and violence.  Finally, avoiding a 4-degree warmer world requires drastically reducing the carbon footprint of cities.

The WBG is in a unique position to support national and sub-national clients to: harness urbanization and enable effective land management in support of both growth and poverty reduction; foster social inclusion of marginalized groups; support the responsiveness and fiscal, financial, and management capacities of local governments – cities, municipalities, and rural districts – to deliver local infrastructure and decentralized services; strengthen resilience and risk management related to natural disasters; reduce conflict and violence; scale-up access to finance for sub-national governments; and reduce the carbon footprint of cities.  The WBG brings a combination of lending ($7-8 billion in annual lending to cities), analytical and advisory services (e.g., social inclusion flagship, urbanization reviews, Sendai dialogue), its growing portfolio of reimbursable advisory services, its convening power (e.g., understanding risk and the land conferences), its leveraging capacity (e.g., guarantees and risk mitigation), and its ability to work with the private sector to tackle the challenges at scale and to effect.

The SURR GP covers a wide gamut: (i) developing green, inclusive and resilient cities; (ii) addressing the social inclusion of the poor, vulnerable and excluded groups through accountable institutions, and ensuring compliance with social safeguards; (iii) enhancing urban and rural development through supporting and managing the urban-rural transition, assisting local development through developing land tenure, management and information systems; and (iv) assisting in disaster risk management through issues of risk assessment, risk reduction (including flood management, urban drainage, coastal management, and retrofitting of infrastructure), disaster preparedness (including hydromet services, early warning systems, and civil defense), risk financing (including CAT-DDO), and resilient reconstruction (including post-disaster and post-conflict damage and loss assessment). A key responsibility of the GP is to provide professional expertise and operational support to other GPs to implement the WBG social policies (the WB’s safeguard policies and the IFC’s Performance Standards) to deliver sustainable development results that ensure that any adverse impacts of WBG interventions are limited and mitigated.

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


The Middle East and North Africa Region (MNA) at the World Bank serves 21 client countries with a total population of about 335 million.  Clients range from upper middle income countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which are more interested in the Bank’s Reimbursable Technical Assistance, analytical and advisory services; to IBRD middle income countries such as Egypt, Iraq and Morocco, and two IDA countries, Yemen and Djibouti where more traditional Bank services are required.  Hence the range of needs for advice, support and cross-fertilization of experiences is wide and challenging. The MNA Social, Urban and Disaster Risk Management Unit (MNA SUR) consists of 30 team members including in four country offices (Cairo, Sanaa, Riyadh and Jerusalem).  The portfolio comprises a diverse set of projects under supervision and has an active lending pipeline which is poised for further growth.  

In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the MNA Region is undergoing radical transformations with impacts throughout the Region. Given the ongoing fragility and conflict in the region, the World Bank Group has prepared a new regional strategy for the Middle East and North Africa. Instead of taking conflict and violence as given and working around it, this new strategy, entitled – “Economic and Social Inclusion for Peace and Stability in the Middle East and North Africa: A New Strategy for the World Bank Group” – puts the goal of promoting peace and social stability in the MENA region at its center. The strategy is built around four pillars (“the 4 R’s”) that respond to both the underlying causes of conflict and violence as well as the urgent consequences though development interventions that foster inclusion and shared prosperity. The four pillars of the strategy are as follows:

(i) Renewing the social contract – to generate a new development model that is built on greater citizen trust; more effective protection of the poor and vulnerable; inclusive and accountable service delivery; and a stronger private sector that can create jobs and opportunities for MENA’s youth;

(ii) Regional cooperation – particularly around regional public goods and sectors such as education, water, and energy so as to foster greater trust and collaboration across MENA countries;

(iii) Resilience – to refugee and migration shocks by promoting the welfare of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and host communities by focusing on building trust and building their assets; and

(iv) Reconstruction and recovery – through a dynamic approach that brings in external partners, leverages large scale financing, and move beyond humanitarian response to longer-term development wherever and whenever conflict subsides.

In implementing this strategy, the WBG will rely heavily on both deepening and expanding partnerships with national, regional, and global actors.

On the basis of the above, the MNA GSURR Team works across a complex institutional environment, in partnership with many different units within the Bank given the cross-cutting nature of social issues, and task managing Economic Sector Works (ESWs), technical assistance programs and projects that focus on youth, social accountability, local governance, as well as directly supporting specific Bank Operations on social development and social safeguard aspects.  The span of work of GSURR extends to all active clients in the region, and across a variety of financial and technical assistance support. This includes IBRD/ IDA financial and technical assistance to client countries, as well as the provision of Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) from the Bank to the GCC countries.

The thematic work of the unit the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Practice cover an active portfolio of over $1 billion, an equal amount in pipeline lending, a large and growing RAS and TF program. The portfolio covers a range of urban and social development programs, support to social safeguards and a growing risk management and resilient recovery agenda, given the vulnerability of most of MNA countries to a wide range of risks, including disasters, climate change, and most prominently, conflict. The DRM team is responding with an array of tools, including a first program for results focusing on DRM risk in Morocco, technical assistance to resilient planning in several countries, and a growing program of in-conflict assessment of damages and preparing for resilient recovery of the affected populations.


The selected candidate will be expected to play a role as senior technical specialist covering resilience in a broadly defined way (DRM, crisis recovery and urban resilience) in the MENA region. The Senior DRM and Resilience Specialist will work under the direct supervision of the MENA GSURR Practice Manager.

Specific Duties:

Lead the analytical work on in-conflict damage and needs assessments and preparing the WBG to better respond to crisis affected countries in the region, and provide technical advice for crisis recovery process.

Advise and assist in the adaptation of DRM tools to conflict situations and man-made disasters including building capacity of national institutions to mitigate risks of such disasters and their management and setting up relevant fiscal arrangements.

Lead the development of innovative solutions utilizing technological advancements to support the effective implementation of MENA GSURR activities in the area of crisis assessments, building on Post-Disaster

Needs Assessment (PDNAs) and Disaster Recovery Frameworks (DRFs).
Contribute to the implementation of MENA regional strategy with particular focus on how DRM, crisis recovery and urban/social resilience can contribute to the four “Rs” of the strategy.

Lead and/or participate in task teams to deliver and implement lending operations, prepare analytical and advisory activities, prepare and lead the implementation of trust funded or reimbursable advisory services to client countries, and develop new business opportunities in the DRM, crisis recovery and urban resilience, in the region.

Support MENA GSURR in business development in the areas of urban infrastructure, urban governance, urban resilience and municipal performance grants.

Manage the dialogue with international development partners and sector institutions in the MENA region working on managing displacement, crisis recovery and urban resilience.

Participate in professional development and knowledge sharing activities in DRM, crisis recovery and urban resilience and contribute to specific knowledge both within the assigned countries and across the World Bank Group.

Provide coaching mentoring to junior team members, extended term consultants and junior professionals in the unit.

Provide peer review to regional and global products in the sector.
Perform other duties and functions as assigned by Practice Manager and the Lead DRM and Resilience specialist in the team.

• Advanced degree (PhD or Master’s) in economics, public policy, urban planning/development, engineering, disaster risk management or related field with a minimum of 8 years of relevant experience.  

• Demonstrated project/program management skills and aptitude to lead teams in the preparation and implementation of projects.

• Demonstrated ability to conduct research and analysis on complex, but well-defined tasks, articulating issues and recommending sound solutions to achieve results.  

• Experience in working with and leading cross-sectoral teams.

• Strong track record on delivering high quality products on time and efficiently.  

• Experience in policy dialogue in DRM, conflict and/or urban resilience.

• Experience with post conflict, in-conflict & post disaster assessments is an asset.

• Proven ability to build client relationships involving multiple stakeholders.

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

• Fluency in English. Ability to speak French or Arabic would be an advantage.


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

• Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena – Translates technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and practice strategies; interacts with clients at the policy level.

• Policy Dialogue Skills – Anticipates needs and requests in the field and conducts independent policy discussions with representatives of the government and non-government partners.

• Post-disaster/crisis reconstruction and recovery – Good understanding and experience in post-disaster reconstruction and recovery including post-disaster/post conflict and in-conflict needs assessment, institutional and implementation arrangements.

• Disaster Risk Management and Risk Reduction – Solid understanding of DRM and DRR policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations. Ability to link crisis recovery as an entry point for long term disaster risk management.

• Urban Resilience – Understanding of resilience in urban context vis-a-vis external shocks, and medium- to long-term stresses, and the links to the climate agenda.

• 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 WBG, and brings differing ideas into the forefront.