Senior Social Development Specialist -Social Sustainability and Safeguards

The World Bank
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Aug 25

Position 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.


 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). 

The World Bank has in operation a set of social and environmental safeguard policies over the past two decades to address social and environmental issues arising from its supported development projects.   These policies embody core values of the institution and form the cornerstone of the World Bank’s efforts to protect people, environment and support sustainable development.   In August 2016,  the World Bank board approved a new Environmental And Social Framework (ESF) that preserves the values and protections of the safeguard policies, enhances the coverage of social issues and improves governance, efficiency and accountability in addressing social and environmental issues.  The ESF is expected to be effective in 2018.

A key responsibility of the GP is to provide professional expertise and operational support to other GPs to implement the WBG operational policies (the WB OPs, ESF and the IFC’s Performance Standards) to deliver sustainable development results and ensure that any adverse impacts of WBG interventions are limited and mitigated and the affected population are able to improve or at least restore their livelihoods. 

The SURR GP is recruiting multiple Senior Social Development Specialists who will provide support in meeting the Bank's expanding ESF and social safeguards agenda and promote the social sustainability of its investments. They will report directly to a regional Practice Manager, and will be expected to work closely with country units and Task Teams across the relevant region. The selected candidates will also be expected to work collaboratively and develop good relations with the corporate safeguards team, and the Bank-wide Social Sustainability and Safeguards Global Solutions Group (GSG), coordinated by the Global Lead.  

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 Senior Social Development Specialist – Social Sustainability and Safeguards will have the following responsibilities:
• Work under the coordination of the regional focal point for ESF and social safeguards providing oversight and quality assurance on the project portfolio. This will include direct operational support to high risk and complex operations. 
• Participate in the regional roll-out of the ESF and its future application within the region and with clients in borrower countries.
• Undertake policy dialogue with clients on social sustainability and safeguards issues and advise counterparts on technical options for social development, particularly involuntary resettlement, Indigenous Peoples, labor issues, mitigation plans and institutional development strategies. 
• Serve as social development focal point for 1 or more countries and engage actively and regularly with country units and teams, and identify business opportunities for the social development team in consultation with clients and country units. 
• Participate in cross-practice teams responsible for the preparation of policy notes, Systematic Country Diagnostics, Country Partnership Frameworks, sector studies, and research and policy development activities on the full range of social development topics. 
• Advise and participate in project teams to help develop operational designs and mechanisms to assess social opportunities, impacts, constraints and risks related to Bank supported operations; develop and evaluate proposed technical solutions, and assist in the preparation of project documentation. 
• Handle complex technical, institutional and program implementation issues regarding social development and lead the related dialogue with counterparts.
• Participate and play a leading role in portfolio reviews on selected social development topics. 
• Lead or participate in analytical studies, support other analytical work on different social development topics, and stay abreast of developments in social development globally and on cross-cutting issues. 
• Manage projects mapped to the regional Social Development team. 
• Engage in the Bank-wide professional community of staff in social development and social standards/safeguards by participating in thematic groups, exchanging best practices, and drafting technical notes. 
• Help develop sustainable local and national consultation mechanisms and strategies. 
• Supervise the work of consultants and technical specialists to ensure consistency and conformity to Bank standards.

Selection Criteria:


This is a challenging position suited to constructive, highly motivated team players with an eye for detail, understanding the bigger picture context of operations, and creative problem-solving abilities. The successful candidate should have strong analytical skills, have practical experience with participatory processes of stakeholder engagement, and be able to integrate social development considerations in an operational context. This requires strong technical competency on social issues and safeguards, with demonstrated ability to contribute to project management. Experience working in complex and challenging settings is highly desirable. 

• Master’s degree or PhD in social sciences (anthropology, sociology, political economy, social development, etc.), and a minimum of eight years of professional experience in social sustainability, social standards/safeguards and/or social development (voice and participation, gender, community-driven development, citizen engagement). 
• Knowledge and experience in addressing issues covered by the World Bank’s ESF and social safeguards policies or similar policies in other international finance institutions in complex and challenging settings, and across practices. This includes experience with: social assessments and analyzing social risks and impacts on different population groups; involuntary resettlement in different socio-economic contexts and tenure systems; Indigenous Peoples’ issues; coordination of transparent consultative and stakeholder engagement processes; grievance redress mechanisms, integration of relevant planning instruments such as Resettlement Action Plans and Indigenous Peoples Plans in overall project planning and implementation; labor and working conditions community health and safety; and cultural heritage. Experience in social sustainability and risk management policy development, including dialogue with governments, collaboration in these areas with other international development agencies, corporate reviews and policy development and improvement efforts;
• Experience in areas of social inclusion such as gender; conflict, fragility, and violence; and disability.
• Strong operational (task management) and analytical skills and demonstrated ability to translate analytical work into policy advice and actionable, practical recommendations. 
• Ability to present complex social development and ESF/safeguards issues to task teams and Bank audiences, and to engage effectively with government counterparts, the private sector, project beneficiaries and civil society. 
• Excellent interpersonal, problem-solving, and team skills, and ability to think innovatively and strategically to find balanced solutions to complex development problems, with a strong client focus. 
• Acting with integrity at all times to build trust and to create an enabling work environment, whether as team leader or team member. 
• Very high level of energy, initiative and self-motivation; willingness to travel and work under challenging circumstances.
• Ability to work across practices, work in cross-thematic teams, foster team work, and mentor junior staff. 
• Excellent oral and writing skills. Ability to write well in English is essential.
• Fluent in English. Spanish, French, and/or Portuguese is highly desirable.

• Social Safeguards/ESF - Experience in successfully applying social safeguard and/or ESF policies to both high and low risk projects, with minimal supervision, covering issues of involuntary resettlement, indigenous peoples, labor, community health and safety, stakeholder engagement,  etc.
• Social Development implications on policies, institutions, and operations –Solid understanding of the implications of social development on policy, institutions, and operations. 
• Participation and Consultation - Extensive experience conducting social development consultative and participatory approaches, deriving results that resonate with the client; ability to coach others in the application of the interventions. 
• Analytical Tools for Social Sustainability - Extensive experience conducting social development analyses, deriving results that resonate with the client; ability to coach others in the application of the tools. 
• Integrative Skills - Understand relevant cross-practice areas and how they are interrelated; able to undertake cross-practice work in lending and non-lending operations. 
• Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena - Translate technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies; interact with clients at the policy level. 
• Policy Dialogue Skills - Anticipate needs and requests in the field and conduct independent policy discussions with representatives of government and non-government partners. 
• Lead and Innovate - Develop innovative solutions with others. 
• Deliver Results for Clients - Achieve results and identify mission-driven solutions for the client. 
• Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries - Initiate collaboration across boundaries and broadly across the World Bank Group, and bring differing ideas into the forefront. 
• Create, Apply and Share Knowledge - Create, apply and share knowledge from across and outside WBG to strengthen internal and or external client solutions. 
• Make Smart Decisions - Recommend and take decisive action.

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.

Application instructions

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