Senior Environmental Specialist

The World Bank

Washington, DC, US

Background / General description:

Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS) plays a pivotal role in achieving the World Bank Group’s mission. OPCS assists frontline staff in delivering results to clients through sound operations policy and strong country support. In the new World Bank Group structure, OPCS is at the center of operations and delivery, and serves as the link between the Global Practices and the Regions. OPCS develops and oversees the Bank’s operational policies for country strategies, lending operations, advisory services and analytical support, procurement, and environmental and social safeguards. It also oversees the Bank Group’s Corporate Scorecard; manages interactions with the Bank’s oversight units; and co-leads the results measurement and evaluation stream in the Bank Group. OPCS teams also provide advice and support to World Bank management and staff as well as hands-on assistance to help teams leverage the Bank’s policies, processes, and risk management tools for our country clients. Working in OPCS helps World Bank professionals gain broad exposure to strategic operations issues and develop a deeper understanding of the Bank’s business. Some of the major initiatives OPCS is currently working on include: implementing the new Environmental and Social Framework; simplifying processes and procedures to help clients get faster results; implementing the new country engagement model and the new operations risk framework; implementing the new procurement framework; and measuring client feedback and progress towards the Bank Group’s goals.  OPCS’s 140 staff are organized in three departments: 

• Operations Policy and Quality (OPSPQ) consolidates the corporate support and oversight of country strategies and all financing instruments as well as operational learning and managing the Operations Help Desk and the Operations Committee; 

• Operations Standards, Procurement, Financial Management (OPSPF) is responsible for safeguards, procurement, and financial management, and 

• Operations Strategy, Risk, and Results (OPSRR) focuses on Bank strategy; risk management in operations, strengthening results and effectiveness throughout the institution, including the Corporate Scorecard; support to the country directors’ and management communities; and portfolio monitoring and oversight.

Under the direction of the Chief Environmental and Social Standards Officer and the Manager Environmental and Social Standards, the Environmental and Social Standards Advisory Team (ESSAT) within the OPSPF Department of OPCS ensures that lending operations supported by the Bank comply with applicable safeguards policies.  ESSAT’s primary role is to oversee the compliance and risk management of the Bank’s environmental and social policies.  It is carrying out the review and update of the environmental and social safeguard policies the development of the proposed environmental and social safeguard standards.   Another key role is to advise regional Bank management and Task Teams on all proposed and on-going lending operations across the World Bank to ensure that project design is consistent with the requirements of the Bank’s environmental and social safeguard policies, and that projects are implemented in accordance with policy requirement. As part of it corporate risk management function, ESSAT provides support to high risk high operations under preparation and implementation.  The ESSAT work program also includes: formulating Bank environmental and social policy; collaborating with Bank regional management, the Legal Department and Global Practice Groups to address environmental and social issues in operations; executing the mandate and accountability of the Safeguards Advisors as defined in the ADM Framework; conducting professional development events on social and environmental policies and standards for Bank staff and clients; carrying out periodic thematic portfolio studies of environmental and social policies management during project implementation; leading corporate initiatives such as the recently approved Environmental and Social Framework; and the development of technical good practice guidance materials for Bank staff.

ESSAT leads the Bank’s work on strategic, macro level engagement with donors, other multi-lateral development Banks, member government representatives at the Board, CSOs and other stakeholders related to social and environment policies and practices. In the case of Investment Lending projects, the ESSAT review process assesses potential environmental and social impacts, and the adequacy of proposed measures to address these impacts, and compliance with the Bank’s Safeguard Policies. For high-risk projects with a corporate risk profile, where the ESSAT retains review and clearance authority, supporting the teams working with Borrowers for the preparation of Environmental Assessments and Management Plans and Frameworks, Social Assessments and Indigenous Peoples and Resettlement Plans and Frameworks.

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.

Duties and Accountabilities:

ESSAT is currently recruiting a Senior Environmental Specialist (Health and Safety) with expertise in labor and working conditions with particular emphasis on Health and Safety to ensure compliance with and promotion of awareness for the Bank’s Environmental and Social Standards, particularly Environmental and Social Standard 2 on Labor and Working Conditions.

The Senior Environmental Specialist with expertise in labor and working conditions (health and safety) will support ESSAT in its work on the application of Social Standards to the Bank’s investment lending operations and will support ESSAT in its other core functions of policy formulation, risk management and knowledge and learning initiatives. As part of a multi-disciplinary team of environmental and social specialists, the Senior Environmental Specialist with expertise in labor and working conditions (health and safety) will play an important role in the interpretation and application of the Bank’s Social Standards across sectors and countries.  

The Senior Environmental Specialist will report to the Manager for Environmental and Social Standards and, under the direction of the Chief Environmental and Social Standards, will have the following responsibilities: 

• Provide advice and guidance on the implementation and application of ESS 2 on Labor and Working Conditions, primarily issues pertaining to:

– occupational health and safety,and also, in support of the Lead Social Specialist on Labor, the following ESS2 issues;

– terms and conditions of employment,

– non-discrimination and equal opportunity,

– worker organizations,

– protecting the workforce;

– workforce related grievance redress mechanisms;

• Train Bank staff and borrowers on compliance of ESS 2 on Labor and Working Conditions, including preparing and disseminating guidance and good practice material such as information notes, toolkits, and checklists;

• Provide specialist input on other tasks undertaken in ESSAT as directed by the Chief Officer and Manager, for example guidance on practice under current safeguard provisions, and preparing briefs on health and safety issues;

• Work with Environmental Specialists in OPSPF and the Global Practices to develop, promote and support implementation of methodologies and approaches that integrate social and environmental assessment and risk mitigation;

• Liaise with members of the Social, Urban, Rural & Resilience Global Practice and the Social Protection & Labor Global Practice, as well as relevant groups within IFC and MIGA, to develop and promote the use of consistent approaches to social risk assessment

• Provide guidance on the interpretation of the Bank’s policies relating to assessment and mitigation of social risks and impacts.  This includes supporting the compliance review and advisory services function of ESSAT through provision of high quality and timely reviews of the social dimensions of complex and or high risk investment lending operations;

• For complex and high risk projects retained by OPSPF for which OPSPF is providing direct oversight, support the Regional Safeguards Advisors (RSA) to ensure coordination, timely distribution, completion and follow up on the social review processes including the appropriate integration of technical advice on labor and working conditions into Project documents (Integrated Safeguards Data Sheets, PADs, ISRs, etc.);

• Participate in periodic Thematic Reviews and other analytical work on social development policy applications to support portfolio performance and implementation, particularly on labor and working conditions;

• Support on-going and emerging corporate initiatives related to social safeguards and standards within OPSPF.

Selection Criteria:

This is a challenging position suited to constructive, highly motivated team player with an eye for detail, understanding the bigger picture context of operations, and creative problem-solving abilities. The successful candidate should have substantial exposure to the complexities and challenges of integration of environmental safeguard issues and standards (especially on health and safety) in development projects.

The Sr. Environmental Specialist must be a team oriented professional with proven ability to carry out complex tasks as part of a multi-disciplinary team and capacity to work under pressure and to meet strict deadlines; capacity to work with and advice task teams and external clients on the identification of systemic issues on environmental issues and safeguards. Experience working in complex and challenging settings is highly desirable.

• A Masters or PhD Degree in environmental sciences, social development or other relevant discipline;

• A minimum of eight years of full-time relevant experience including the preparation and/or review of project environmental impact assessments, environmental management plans, labor management procedures, capacity assessment and institutional strengthening ;

• Proven ability to conceptualize, design and implement major projects and to produce major/complex reports or studies;

• Demonstrated professional leadership and ability to lead a team of professionals in the execution of tasks;

• Ability to coach/mentor more junior staff.

• Knowledge of World Bank’s operations including existing environmental safeguard policies on environmental assessment, natural habitats, pest management, forests, safety of dams, and projects on international waterways.

• Proven capacity to work with a wide range of stakeholders, international organizations, development agencies, government counterparts, beneficiaries of Bank projects, and civil society organizations.

• Strong oral and written presentation skills, creativity and problem-solving skills.

• Outstanding interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work in multi-disciplinary teams and multicultural environments.

• Excellent oral and written communications skills in English; knowledge of Spanish/ Portuguese/French/Russian would be an advantage. 

As a Sr. Environmental Specialist the candidate will demonstrate the following core competencies:

• Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena especially labor issues – 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 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. 

• Environmental and Social Policy, Strategy and Institutions – Solid understanding of environmental and social policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations. 

• Labor issues- Deep experience applying knowledge to policy-related decisions and advice. 

• 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. 

• 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. 

• Tasks and Workflow Management – Has excellent workflow management and task organization skills; able to take responsibility for all aspects of coordination of the workflow of assigned responsibilities. 

• Transactions Processing and Quality Control – Has ability to resolve complex transactional issues requiring interpretation of policies and procedures. 

• Environmental and Social Safeguards – Experience successfully applying the environmental safeguard policies to category B and C projects, with minimal supervision. 

• Communicating and Sharing Findings, Knowledge & Expertise in Monitoring and/or Evaluation – Demonstrates skilled knowledge of evaluation process and procedure in order to provide advice to other parts of the organization and external partnerships; contributes to articles and reports, taking into consideration wider context.