Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist

The World Bank

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 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.

Latin America and Caribbean Disaster Risk Management and Urban Unit
The World Bank Group serves more than 20 client countries in the Latin-American and the Caribbean (LCR) region. Clients range from middle-income countries (MICs) such as Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, with demand for cutting-edge knowledge services and technical assistance in addition to lending, to IDA countries like Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Bolivia, with an emphasis on poverty reduction and programs that support equitable and enhanced access to social and economic opportunities.

The Latin America and Caribbean Region contains 17 of the top 50 countries identified in the World Bank-sponsored Hotspot study with highest GDP exposure to natural disasters.  With an increasing concentration of assets in urban or semi-urban areas, human and physical losses from floods, landslides, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and other natural events are on the rise and important development gains are being erased overnight.  Population growth and the ever-increasing concentration of infrastructure in urban or semi-urban areas have been clear drivers of the growth in human and physical losses from adverse natural events.  This trend is now being exacerbated by increasing climate variability, bringing disaster risk management and climate change adaptation to the forefront of the Region’s development agenda.

The Disaster Risk Management team of GSU10 provides technical, analytical and financial support to regional clients in the fields of: i) risk identification; ii) risk mitigation and preparedness; iii) risk financing; and iv) post disaster reconstruction.  Examples include flood protection in Argentina; reducing the financial vulnerability of the State through risk mitigation and risk transfer in Colombia; vulnerability reduction in OECS; the CAT bonds emission in Mexico and the development of the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility.  GSO10 provides support to client countries with IBRD and IDA financing, as well as through significant partnerships with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the Climate Investment Funds.  

In addition to DRM, GSU10 also provides support to clients on urban development, working with national and local governments and with communities to reduce urban poverty, expand access to services for all, especially the poor, and make cities more economically productive, environmentally sound and livable and resilient. These objectives are pursued through: (i) financing investments, (ii) providing technical assistance, and (iii) undertaking non-lending analytical and policy advisory work, in response to client demands.

In the context outlined above, and in order to ensure quality support to our clients, the team is expanding through the hiring a Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, to be based in Washington D.C.
Overview and reporting arrangements 

The Sr Disaster Risk Management Specialist will support task teams and lead tasks working in Latin America and the Caribbean on DRM. A particular focus of the position is on disaster risk finance. The Sr Disaster Risk Management Specialist will report to the Practice Manager for DRM and Urban Development.

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 3 year term appointment.

Duties and Accountabilities

The duties involve focus on operational aspects of our financial services, including leading preparation and implementation support related to project preparation and supervision, as well as technical assistance, with a particular focus on disaster risk finance, in Latina America and the Caribbean:

• Lead and/or participate in task teams to deliver deliver disaster risk reduction investments/components, emergency recovery loans, CAT-DDO operations, DRM technical assistance programs, 
• Lead and/or participate in preparing analytical and advisory activities, and develop new business opportunities in the DRM and urban development areas, in Risk Financing, Risk Identification or other DRM related area;
• Lead and/or contribute to policy dialogue and just-in-time advisory work disaster risk management, emergency responses, and urban development; lead or contribute to in-country stakeholder coordination in the sectors.
• Lead trust fund proposal preparation, manage trust funds, lead supervision of grant financed activities; Lead technical assistance related to risk management; 
• Provide operational leadership on projects in a dynamic environment where there is client demand for solutions to disaster risk management and urban development; keep updated of the needs of clients and be proactive to provide better, faster and better targeted client response; and engage with clients and other stakeholders to increase their support and understanding of project-related Bank’s policies.
• Lead and/or contribute to the sector dialogues in the country and provide just-in-time advisory work in business development and policy reform; 
• Participate in professional development and knowledge sharing activities in the SURR Practice and contribute specific knowledge both within the assigned countries and in the World Bank;
• Contribute to the urban and DRM team in LAC, facilitating team building, learning and knowledge sharing, collaboration and synergies.
• Provide coaching mentoring on-the-job to junior team members.

Selection Criteria

• Advanced degree (PhD or Master’s) in disaster risk management, water resource management, urban planning, engineering, infrastructure, economics, insurance or related field with eight years’ experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience. 
• Past experience in lending operations/investment projects in DRM issues including emergency management, risk financing, risk reduction would be an asset.
• Past experience in policy dialogue in complex DRM and urban development issues and in the area(s) of focus would be an asset. 
• Excellent organizational and task management skills, with appropriate attention to details and ability to prioritize work among multiple competing demands, and under tight deadlines.
• Written and spoken fluency in English and Spanish is a must.