Senior Environmental Specialist

The World Bank

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.
On August 4, 2016, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) to help protect people and the environment in the investment projects it finances. This effort is one of several key initiatives, including procurement reform, and the climate and gender strategies, recently undertaken by the Bank to improve development outcomes.
The ESF responds to new and varied development demands and challenges that have arisen over time.  
It brings the World Bank’s environmental and social protections into closer harmony with those of other development institutions, and makes important advances in areas such as transparency, non-discrimination, social inclusion, public participation, and accountability – including expanded roles for grievance redress mechanisms. The framework helps to ensure social inclusion, and explicitly references human rights in the overarching vision statement.
The ESF is made up of the World Bank’s vision for sustainable development, the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Policy for Investment Project Financing, and ten Environmental and Social Standards (ESS). These set out the mandatory requirements for the World Bank, in relation to the projects it supports through Investment Project Financing (IPF), and for Borrowers.

ENR GP is seeking to recruit a highly skilled Sr. Environmental Specialist with expertise in cumulative impact assessment, or groundwater/water assessment, or Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), or toxics/chemicals. The primary responsibility for the tasks are listed below. 

These terms of reference cover several locations, including Beirut, Lebanon; Bangkok, Thailand and Lilongwe Malawi. Locations may vary at the time of hiring. Please specify in your application the locations you would be interested in applying to. For a list of all our Country Offices, click here.

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 Senior Environmental Specialist will be required to undertake the following tasks:

• Serve as the point person for environmental safeguards and/or environmental and social standards (ESSs) in a country or CMU and coordinate all environmental safeguards/ESSs and enhancement activities within and between projects, share information with Task Team Leaders (Project Managers), project team members, staff/consultants responsible for projects’ environmental safeguards/ESSs management, and other regional staff working on the environmental and NRM agenda. 

• Provide expert guidance and support for the screening of Bank projects for environmental (especially for projects with high risk ratings) risks, impacts, and vulnerabilities and identify risk management opportunities/strategies including in labor influx, Occupational Health and Safety and climate change adaptation and mitigation in Bank operations. Review the risk classification assigned to the project on a regular basis. 

• In accordance with the Bank’s ESF, determine the appropriate E&S risk classification of projects (including projects involving financial intermediaries) taking into account all relevant information such as the type, location, sensitivity and scale of the project, the nature and magnitude of the potential E&S impacts, the capacity and commitment of the Borrower (and any other entities responsible for project implementation) to manage risks and impacts in a manner consistent with the ESSs.  In determining and managing E&S risk, use the ESSs, related guidance and good practice notes, as well as internationally accepted good industry practice for informed decision making,  

• Ensure compliance of all project-financed activities, including those relating to associated facilities with the WB’s safeguard policies and the ESSs and the Bank’s Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Guidelines, as well as GIIP (good international industry practice).

• Using the ESCP as a key tool, provide expert advice to borrowers / recipients on the assessment of environmental and social risks, evaluate all relevant information, recommend solutions and ensure detailed, targeted management and action plans are developed and steps taken for projects to comply with the Bank’s ESF.

• For projects being supported by the Bank’s ESF, using the ESCP as benchmarking tool, monitor compliance with the ESSs including on OHS guidelines, sector specific guidelines, other relevant policies, and contract specific conditions; flag issues of non-compliance to borrower and Bank management and advise and support the borrower in developing and implementing remedies. 

• Provide technical support to investment projects on climate risk and natural disaster screening, as well as GHG (greenhouse gas) accounting; contribute with technical input to efforts to combat climate change. 

• Provide training on the ESSs and their provisions and implications for project preparation and implementation to World Bank Clients, WBG staff and other interested / relevant parties (e.g. NGOs, academia). 

• Disseminate lessons learned and best practices from specific Bank projects for research, knowledge and learning purposes.

• Monitor the environmental performance of the project in accordance with the ESCP. 

• Resolve project related questions from clients related to the interpretation of the Bank safeguards policies/ESSs, especially the OP 4.01 on Environmental Assessment, and/or the Environmental and Social Standards 1 (ESS1) under the guidance of the Regional Safeguard Coordinator. 

• Lead the development of ESS related guidance and technical support materials, such as guidelines, knowledge materials as applicable.

• Collaborate with World Bank GPs and IFC/MIGA colleagues on joint projects as well as other colleagues from multilateral development institutions when supporting same projects, understanding and implementing a common approach.
 Selection Criteria:

• Masters or PhD degree in environmental science, natural resources management, environmental or civil engineering, or other relevant disciplines (e.g. applied natural sciences).

• Minimum of 8 years’ experience of proven, relevant experience (work or applied scientific research) as environmental assessment and management professional.

• Sound knowledge of World Bank’s safeguards policies, the ESF, and/or IFC Performance Standards/MIGA Environmental and Social policies or similar standards as well as its stakeholders, especially the challenges and opportunities for borrowing countries would be an advantage.

• Sound knowledge of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change GHG accounting methodologies, or similar standards, is an advantage.

• Field experience in both assessing project site vulnerabilities/risks, as well as supervising/ inspecting/monitoring projects during implementation to mitigate and monitor environmental impacts is required.

• Demonstrated ability to lead high quality analytical tasks that include environmentally-related data and information.

• Experience in developing countries / emerging economies is a strong advantage. Ability and willingness to travel frequently, including to developing countries and possibly remote, fragile and conflict affected areas, is required.

• Collaborate with a range of stakeholders, including project-affected parties, government officials, non-governmental organizations / civil society, as well as project investors and their staff.

• Ability to communicate ideas clearly and confidently, articulate issues and recommend solutions.

• Excellent verbal and written English language skills are essential; French or Spanish or Arabic language proficiency is highly desirable. Knowledge of other languages will be an advantage.

• Good team player who can work as a member of a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team, motivate and lead group efforts and network effectively across boundaries.

Bank competencies for Environmental and Social Standards Specialists

• Environmental Policy, Strategy and Institutions 

Has a solid understanding of the environmental policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations needed to support development and for the success of the project. Knows the client’s strategy and structure, and can assess impact on the project. Can credibly and effectively engage with a range of environmental institutions to support project outcomes. Explains to clients and other stakeholders the risks to the project when environmental laws and regulations are deficient or not enforced. Supports client efforts to address such weaknesses.

• Environmental Sciences 

Has direct experience in the environmental sciences, including deeper experience in at least one area. Has extensive experience with applying this knowledge to projects, studies, and other deliverables. Develops novel approaches to mitigate risk or overcome difficult challenges. Has experience applying this knowledge to policy-related decisions and advice.


Has ability to translate technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies. Interacts with clients at the policy level, and organizes and manages policy development initiatives in collaboration with other development agencies and donors. Ensures consistency and conformity to Bank standards.
Mentoring and Developing People:

Builds informal mentoring network within own immediate work unit, and proactively provides mentoring and coaching to others within team or in other departments. Assists with onboarding of new Bank staff (including any specific onboarding programs). Contributes to training exercises. Manages behavior to have a positive impact on others.

Due Diligence:

Demonstrates understanding of the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework and applies the Framework to identify and address environmental issues and risks. Works independently to undertake environmental due diligence and provides input to the project team on environmental issues/risks with minimal supervision. Proactively determines risk mitigation measures. Demonstrates effective time and resource management skills. Provides effective and timely guidance to clients on environmental issues/risks, and actively participates in discussions with clients on environmental matters.

Portfolio Monitoring:

Leads the monitoring of the environmental performance of assigned projects. Anticipates potential issues and formulates corrective plans for identified environmental problems. Engages effectively with clients to achieve compliance, and leads discussions on environmental matters.

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.