Local recruitment: Environmental Engineer

The World Bank
Beijing, China
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)
Languages Required: 


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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 www.worldbank.org

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 300 staff across the world plus numerous other staff in other Practices and Cross Cutting SAs that are professionally associated with it. ENR GP also manages the environmental risk aspects of about 2000 projects in the World Bank’s global portfolio. About 150 staff work specifically on environmental risk management / safeguards.

Note: “safeguards” has been the global term for the World Bank’s environmental and social risk assessment and management support for the operations it finances. On October 1st, 2018 the World Bank switched from the safeguards policies to the new Environmental and Social Framework – ESF, and its 10 environmental and social standards (ESS) that govern ES compliance and sustainability in the Bank’s portfolio of investment project financing (IPF). Under the ESF “safeguards” are now defined as “Environmental and Social Risk Management”, ESRM. The safeguards policies still apply to projects that had conceptual designs approved before October 1st, 2018. In this job description, ES risk management and safeguards are used as synonyms, unless explicitly differentiated. 

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. 

ENRM activities in East Asia and the Pacific accounts for a substantial part of the ENR Global Practice’s business: 

• Delivery of about 10 operations per year, amounting to about $500 million annually.
• An active dialogue on regional issues, such as climate change, coastal and marine economies, improving governance of natural resources, watershed management, pollution management, and wealth accounting and valuation of ecosystem services.
• About 61 active projects in the ENB portfolio, amounting to around $1.8 billion, with around 250 active projects in the EAP regional portfolio 
• A key characteristic of the Bank program in the region is a high level of decentralization. In 2019, of the 1000 EAP staff, 75% were located in the country level offices, and about 60% of operations are managed and led from the country level offices. 

Almost all environmental risk management / safeguards staff are based in country level offices outside of the Washington, D.C. headquarters. The underpinning of this decentralization rests on four main pillars: 

• Better integration at the field level to provide greater synergies and integrated responses 
• A decentralized management structure supported by regional and global knowledge 
• Provision of faster responses and management decisions to our clients 
• The need to reposition ourselves in the region given the large urbanization and decentralization trend in almost all countries, the need to incorporate better environment dimensions of the fast growth rates and huge demand for infrastructure, and the need to better deal with governance issues and growing income disparities between urban centers and rural areas and lagging regions. 

Regional Context 

The East Asia and Pacific (EAP) Region presents a dramatic illustration of the global dynamics, opportunities and risks of the 21st century. After making the fastest progress in growth and poverty reduction of any region around the world in the last fifteen years, some countries in the region – such as Mongolia – are poised to become middle-income, and some are preparing to join the small group of high-income countries. Such a rapid transformation is leading to the largest shift in rural-to-urban population in human history, generating rising inequality within and across countries, leaving individuals and regions behind in the dash for prosperity. Meanwhile, the uncertainty in the advanced economies clouds the prospects for countries across the region which are being forced to adjust to changed growth and development prospects while addressing evolving impacts on macroeconomic stability, employment and poverty. 

EAP comprises of more than 20 countries, including China, several MICs, LICs, and fragile states (EAP has the second highest number of fragile states amongst all the Bank regions – 6 of 7 are in the Pacific). The Region is characterized by generally rapid growth, both sophisticated and low capacity borrowers, and some highly dynamic sectors. At the same time, EAP countries are faced with weak governance environments. The Bank's program in EAP is multi-faceted and has grown rapidly in recent years: annual new lending in FY15 exceeded $6.0 billion; the existing portfolio consists of about 250 operations with a value of about $12 billion; and the TF program is significant (with a portfolio of about $1.2 billion). EAP consists of over 1000 staff with 25% in Washington and 75% based in the country offices in the six Country Management Units. 

Unit and Country Context 

China is one of the World Bank’s biggest borrowers. The World Bank’s existing portfolio in China is about 80 projects with a current value of $12 billion.  Most lending is focused on the provincial and local levels, where the Chinese Government works with the Bank to test new ideas and demonstrate approaches that can be scaled up elsewhere. The portfolio performs well with most projects completed in satisfactory status.   

While China is experiencing rapid economic development, it is also facing serious environmental challenges including pollution associated with rapid industrialization and urbanization, the degradation of the urban and rural environment, and the implications of climate change. China’s 13th 5-year plan recognizes the importance of balanced growth, resource efficiency, and improved environmental management.  In response, addressing resource scarcity and environmental challenges is one of the key pillars of the Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) with the Government of China. 

The World Bank has a strong work program on the environment in China from policy dialogue to strategic analytical products and lending operations in the urban and rural environments. In addition to own-managed program, the environment team is also engaged in working across sectors to integrate environmental considerations into analytical products and projects.  The Government of China, with the involvement of the World Bank, are also involved in the implementation of several global and regional environmental conventions and agreements financed through special financing instruments such as the Montreal Protocol Fund, Global Environment Facility, and Carbon Financing.  

An addition to the Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy’s (ENB’s) Global Practice’s own managed portfolio, ENB provides support to the broader World Bank portfolio in China and in East Asia to ensure environmental risk management and safeguards policy compliance.  The Bank’s portfolio in China has substantial lending operations in various sectors such as transport, hydropower, education, health, trade and natural resources management that require support for environmental risk management and safeguards policy compliance. Most staff in ENB are expected to provide at least part-time safeguards support in their area of technical expertise.  About one third of the ENB staff in East Asia work exclusively on environmental risk management. 

The ENB Global Practice for East Asia and Pacific, for China, Indonesia and Pacific is managed by a Manager based in Singapore.  This manager is supported by senior staff who provide day to day technical leadership in their areas of specialization and are responsible for providing technical and quality support for outputs across the region, leading the region-wide communities of practice, connecting staff to international knowledge, leading cutting-edge sector policy and lending work in the region, and mentoring staff mapped to that particular sector on the latest developments in that practice.   The regional management attaches particular importance to creating a supportive work environment based on the values of teamwork, transparency, trust and client services, accompanied by professional excellence.

Duties and Accountabilities 

The ETC (Environmental Engineer) will be based in Beijing, China, and s/he will report to the EAP ENR Practice Manager in Singapore. For day to day coordination, the Environmental Specialist would work under the direction of the Beijing-based Safeguards Focal Point. S/He will work as an integral part of the Beijing-based environment and safeguard teams. S/he would coordinate closely with other Bank staff working across different sectors, countries, and regions as needed. The primary responsibility in this position would be to oversee and support compliance with the World Bank Group’s safeguards policies and the ES Policy and environmental and social standards (ESS, applicable to all investment projects with a concept design approved after October 1, 2018), thus contributing to building environmental sustainability into project design and implementation. 

Your key responsibilities will be to: 

• Work closely with the Safeguards Focal Point in Beijing, China who is responsible for assigning safeguards tasks and ensuring the quality of the safeguards work in the China and Mongolia program. 

• Ensure the effective integration of environmental due diligence as defined by World Bank Group Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) and the ESS therein, as well as safeguards policies and international good practice documents (e.g. Equator Principles) into the design, appraisal, and implementation of WBG supported projects (IPF portfolio and analytical/advisory work). 

• Provide expert advice to client and counterpart organizations, project teams and WBG management with regard to the preparation of environmental impact assessments, including regional, strategic and cumulative assessments; environmental and social management frameworks (ESMF), and environmental and social management plans (ESMP), including the plan for monitoring, reporting and evaluation; Stakeholder

• Engagement Plan (SEP), Environmental and Social Commitment Plan (ESCP); and specific plans related to natural habitats conservation, natural resource management, pest management, forest management, dam safety, and international waterways management; such advice will be based on a thorough analysis of baseline conditions, project scope and impacts, requirements from national legal and institutional frameworks and, and compliance with the WBG’s operational policies. 

• Provide expert guidance to clients in tendering and contracting specialized consultant services for Environmental Risk Assessment and Management tasks, including the preparation of terms of reference (ToR) for environmental safeguard instruments (see para above), and assistance in selection, contracting and supervision of consultants; the ETC will work closely with the task teams’ procurement specialists on this.

• Provide technical training for environmental assessment and management practitioners in client countries on the WBG safeguard policies/ESSs and requirements. 

• Provide environmental input in project documents in accordance with the Bank operational policies including Project Concept Note (PCN), Integrated Safeguards Data Sheet (ISDS under safeguards policies) and Environmental and Social Review Summary (ESRS, under ESF), Project Appraisal Document (PAD) and Decision/Negotiations Packages, and assist with managing timely and proper disclosure procedures and public consultation requirements for all required environmental assessment and management instruments. 

• Participate as a team member in the development and/or supervision of the implementation of environment or natural resources activities or components in various projects, including participation in identification missions; seeking and developing opportunities to integrate sound environmental management and policies in various investment project operations; maintaining regular dialog with the client and enhancing their capacity for understanding of and compliance with environmental policies; and contributing to mission outputs such as back to office reports (BTORs) and Aide Memoires.

• Facilitate and maintain effective communication with the local community of practice, including NGOs, academia, civil society, the private sector as well as specialized international organizations in line with the Bank’s Disclosure Policy and need to harmonize with clients and other international financial institutions in the region. 

• Coordinate all environmental safeguards and enhancement activities within and between projects share information with Task Team Leaders (Project Managers), project team members, staff/consultants responsible for projects’ social safeguards management, and other regional staff working on the environmental and NRM agenda, and in particular, with the EAP regional safeguards advisor, EAP regional safeguards coordinator and China safeguards focal point.

• Participate in and/or possibly lead natural resource or environmental management projects and the policy dialog with the government and other stakeholders on environment or natural resources aspects relevant to China and the region, including climate change. This includes coordination with other financiers, review of sector policies, strategies, and legislation. 

• Elevate questions from clients related to the operational interpretation of the Bank safeguards policies, and the ESF’s ten ESS, for guidance from the China Environmental and Social Safeguard Focal Points, the EAP Regional Safeguards Advisor / Environmental and Social Standards Advisor (ESSA, a new title under ESF), and the Regional Safeguards Coordinator. 

• Actively seek to learn World Bank Group procedures and contribute to their improvement, by participating in training offered, by developing a personal training program, keeping abreast of research and development knowledge in the environment and natural resources sector, and relevant safeguard management process. This will be especially important over the coming 1-3 years during the Bank’s transition from the current framework of safeguards policies to a new environmental and social
framework (ESF) which constitutes a radical overhaul and modernization of the Bank’s policies, standards, and implementation procedures. 

• Coordinate and carry out other tasks as requested by the relevant Manager such as for example, contribute to the organization of training or knowledge sharing events, and help the country office staff with various tasks specific to the management of the office.

Selection Criteria

• Advanced degree (PhD or Masters) in environmental engineering, civil engineering, environmental science or related field, with a strong preference for candidates with good technical training and practical experience in environmental risk management related to large scale civil engineering or industrial engineering projects, pollution management, solid waste management, soil, water and groundwater remediation, and clean-up, or coastal zone management. 

• Knowledge and experience in environmental assessment and management of investment projects involving large scale civil works, extractive or industrial activities. 

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

• A minimum of 5 years of full-time relevant professional experience in the environmental engineering or environmental management sector. 

• Fluency in English and Mandarin (writing, speaking, listening, and reading). 

• Proven teamwork and successful experience working with multi-disciplinary teams. 

• A strong sense of teamwork and ability to work independently with limited supervision. Strong interpersonal and communication skills. 

• Willingness to travel extensively in China and Mongolia and possibly to other countries is necessary, including remote rural areas. 
The following would be an added advantage: 
• Knowledge and experience in one or more of the following areas would be an advantage but not required: environmental sector policy, or integrated development planning in various sectors (e.g., water supply and sanitation; transport, energy, natural disaster management, rural development, health, and education); capacity assessment and institutional strengthening, public consultation, health, and safety plans.

• Experience in the preparation of the environmental assessment and management documents of the lending projects of the WBG or other international organizations.

• Experience working in China and/or Mongolia, understanding of the institutional and political context, and exposure to the national environmental policy challenges.

• Demonstrated project management / operational skills and familiarity with Bank procedures and business practices including occupational health and safety management and the World Bank Group safeguard policies and ESF would be a strong advantage. 

• Experience working with a wide range of stakeholders, NGOs, international organizations, development partners and / or with the governments;