International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Senior Environmental Specialist (GEF International Waters) (Deadline: 13 MAY 22)

The GEF Secretariat is looking for a dynamic and experienced Senior Environmental Specialist, with a passion for oceans, transboundary marine and freshwater conservation and regional cooperative management contributing to sustainable use of shared water resources. The chosen candidate will work towards the promotion of integrated and transformative approaches to reverse the environmental degradation of transboundary freshwater and marine natural resources, which will provide the necessary conditions to allow humanity and life on earth to keep evolving within the planetary boundaries.


Senior Environmental Specialist

Job #: req17098
Organization: World Bank
Sector: Environment
Grade: GG
Term Duration:  2 years 0 months
Recruitment Type: International Recruitment
Location: Washington, DC,United States
Required Language(s): English
Preferred Language(s): French, Spanish, Portuguese - Highly desirable
Closing Date: 5/13/2022 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank Group provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty, increasing shared prosperity, and promoting sustainable development. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. For more information, visit 

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a multilateral financial mechanism created in 1991 to provide grant and concessional funds to recipient countries for projects and programs that address biodiversity loss, climate change mitigation and adaptation, degradation of international waters, land and forests, ozone depletion, elimination or reduction of persistent organic pollutants and mercury, all within the framework of sustainable development.

The GEF unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. An independently operating financial organization, GEF is the designated financial mechanism for five international environmental conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Minamata Convention on Mercury. GEF is also a designated financial mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.

In the years since its establishment, the GEF has funded over 4,500 projects in 170 countries, and many thousands more through the GEF Small Grants Program, providing $20.5 billion in grants that leveraged $112 billion in co-financing. The GEF Secretariat, construed for administrative purposes as a Vice Presidential Unit (VPU) within the World Bank, has approximately 100 professional and administrative and client support staff.

The Secretariat is seeking a Senior Environmental Specialist to support the GEF Programs Unit with a series of program management, analytical and policy needs.  

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, renewable against performance standards and business needs.  The selected candidate will report to the GEF Programs Manager.

Duties and Accountabilities

The GEF Secretariat is looking for a dynamic and experienced Senior Environmental Specialist, with a passion for oceans, transboundary marine and freshwater conservation and regional cooperative management contributing to sustainable use of shared water resources.  The chosen candidate will work towards the promotion of integrated and transformative approaches to reverse the environmental degradation of transboundary freshwater and marine natural resources, which will provide the necessary conditions to allow humanity and life on earth to keep evolving within the planetary boundaries. 

The Senior Environmental Specialist will have a key role in the on-going implementation of the GEF-7 International Waters Strategy, the launch of the GEF-8 Oceans and International Waters Strategy, corresponding Integrated Programs and formulation of future strategies. The Sr. Specialist will support the ongoing portfolio of Oceans and International Waters investments, among others through project and program reviews, active engagement with IW: LEARN and generally work towards harnessing and disseminating results and achievements from the existing portfolio. Further, the Sr. Specialist will support the GEFSEC’s mandate to deliver global environmental benefits by supporting developing countries in their commitments towards several Multilateral Agreements.

The selected candidate will also ensure that generally recognized methodologies to estimate, monitor and report on the Global Environmental Benefits related to Oceans and International Waters focal area that are appropriately included in and applied to GEF projects and programs.

The ideal candidate should have a workable understanding of the complexity of the GEF partnership arrangement and of the dynamics of a complex set of GEF client countries. The candidate should have strong interpersonal skills, experience with multisectoral transboundary marine and freshwater conservation projects in developing countries, along with political acumen and the capacity to work effectively on sensitive issues with senior management, the GEF Council and across different implementing agencies and partners of the GEF.

Reporting to the GPU Manager, the selected candidate will provide support to the GEF Programs Unit and work across regions and thematic focal areas, as required.

Project Review and Regional Team(s) Participation

Under the supervision of the Manager of the GEF Programs Unit, the selected candidate will:

  1. Participate in and support the GEF work within the International Waters Focal Area Team and activities determined by that team.
  2. Engage in the evaluation, review, implementation, and monitoring of projects developed under the GEF-7 Oceans and International Waters Focal Area Strategy, and in the future GEF-8 Oceans and International Waters Focal Area Strategy and associated Integrated Programs.   This engagement includes the providing guidance and monitoring the application of appropriate methodologies for the estimation of the GEBs associated with this focal area.
  3. Manage reviews of project proposals to be financed by the GEF Trust Fund, according to the agreed project review criteria, provide guidance on major issues involved in the development of project proposals and assist in overall preparation of work programs to be presented to council.
  4. Represent the GEF in International Conferences and Summits related to the IW, including conferences and other themes related to the program.
  5. Participate in the GEF work within Regional Teams on GEF issues, including participation in country dialogues, expanded constituency workshops, and the GEF Country Support Program. 
  6. Provide cross-support for international waters activities across other GEF focal areas and programs, including the use of non-grant instruments for financing global environmental benefits.
  7. Participate in the political outreach to relevant countries in international fora, with the relevant international platforms and events related to International Waters.
  8. Provide quality inputs to the CEO and GPU Director on country and thematic briefings, talking points, speeches, analytical/strategic documents.
  9. Support the design and development of knowledge management products, brochures, outreach and communication material, and provide inputs on the revision of operational processes and procedures, as requested. 
  10. Support the development and delivery of GEF reports, Council documents, engagement plans, and other work products related to the Climate Change Mitigation Focal Area, as needed.
  11. Undertake additional duties as required by Director and Manager of the GEF Programs Unit.

Selection Criteria

  • The candidate should possess a Master’s with at least eight years of professional experience, or a Ph.D., with seven years of experience in the field of landscape management, climate change, natural resources management/environmental sciences, economics, or other relevant discipline.
  • The candidate should demonstrate an excellent knowledge of achieving conservation outcomes for transboundary marine and freshwater ecosystems, preferably within an international context.
  • In addition to the required skills above, the following skills would be desirable:
  • Experience with large-scale, multi-country programs in international waters;
  • Experience with projects and programs in developing countries, Asia, Latin America and/or Africa;
  • knowledge of existing inter-governmental and private initiatives to combat wildlife trade.
  • Ability to deal with a range of stakeholders, international organizations, development agencies, scientific and technical bodies, private sector entities, developing country counterparts, and NGOs would be an advantage.
  • Ability to think analytically, strategically, and programmatically.
  • Excellent technical and working knowledge in various sectors.
  • Proven record of constructive and positive engagement in leading a program and policy dialogue with client Governments, donors and other stakeholders;
  • Proven ability to work in teams, both as a team leader and team member
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English, including ability to communicate complex issues to a wide range of audiences. Second language (French, Spanish or Portuguese) is highly desirable.
  • Ability to work independently on complex tasks on tight deadlines.        
  • Demonstrated ability to function as a team player within and across teams.
  • Ability to work in a multicultural environment in an international setting;
  • Working knowledge of the operations of the Global Environment Facility and its Agencies is preferable.

Required Competencies:

Deliver results for clients:

  • Adds value by constantly looking for a better way to get more impactful results; sets challenging stretch goals for oneself.
  • Immerses oneself in client experiences and perspective by asking probing questions to understand unmet needs.
  • Demonstrates accountability for achieving results that have a development impact and financial, environmental and social.
  • sustainability. Identifies and proposes solutions to mitigate and manage risks. Lead and innovate:
  • Appropriately involves others in decision making and communicates with key stakeholders
  • Approaches conflicts as common problems to be solved. Actively seeks and considers diverse ideas and approaches displaying a sense of mutuality and respect
  • Integrates WBG perspective into work

Collaborate within teams and across boundaries:

  • Applies critical thinking to current approaches, identifies areas for improvement, and tries new solutions that drive results
  • Considers own behavior in context of WBG’s values and mission and recognizes impact one has on others 
  •  Operates in ambiguity and changing needs and supports others to do the same

Create, apply and share knowledge:

  • Leverages department’s expertise and body of knowledge across WBG to strengthen internal and/or external client solutions
  • Seeks to learn from more experienced staff to deepen or strengthen their professional knowledge and helps others to learn
  • Builds personal and professional networks inside and outside the department unit

Make smart decisions:

  • Seeks diversity of information and inputs, researches possible solutions, and generates recommended options
  • Identifies and understands risks and proposes recommendations
  • Based on risk analysis makes decisions in a timely manner within own area of responsibility, considering the interests and concerns of stakeholders

World Bank Group Core Competencies

The World Bank Group offers comprehensive benefits, including a retirement plan; medical, life and disability insurance; and paid leave, including parental leave, as well as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

Learn more about working at the World Bank and IFC, including our values and inspiring stories.