Senior Urban Specialist


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).

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.


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.

With over 75 percent of the population living in urban area, LCR is the most urbanized region of the developing world. Moreover, some 60 percent of the Region's poor live in cities and towns that range from remote Andean and Amazonian municipalities to the sprawling mega-cities of Mexico City and Sao Paulo, two of the world's largest cities. It is estimated that about one third of these urban residents live in slums where they suffer from limited access to basic services and transportation networks, substandard housing, insecure land tenure arrangements, environmental degradation, and severe social problems, including unemployment, and crime and violence. Urban areas are also the drivers of growth and innovation in the Region and consequently represent both an opportunity and a challenge for sustainable urbanization, achieving the vision of green cities, and poverty reduction. In this way, sustainable development in the region is critically dependent on sustainability in urban areas.

As LCR started its urbanization process much earlier than other developing regions, the experiences and lessons learned from LCR are considered valuable to other regions that are undergoing a rapid urbanization. Therefore, drawing lessons learned, sharing experiences and promoting south-south collaboration with other regions is an important agenda for the World Bank.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the World Bank works 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.

Within Peru, more than 23.3 million people, or 77 percent of the population (2014), live in cities. Cities are growing on average at an annual rate of 1.55 percent, slightly above the regional average. The Metropolitan Region of Lima, the capital city, is home to 9.13 million people, and concentrates (i) 32 percent of the country’s population; (ii) 40 percent of the total urban population; and (iii) 45 percent of the country’s GDP. Despite the primacy of Metropolitan Lima, about ten million urban dwellers are living in smaller cities that have expanded over the past decades in a rather unplanned and informal manner. Large disparities between the capital and the rest of the country, and between Lima’s affluent neighborhoods and the informal urban dwellings, as well as the demand for more affordable housing, employment, urban infrastructure and social services, create technical and financial challenges for national and local governments.

The LAC Urban and Disaster Risk Management Unit, within the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice (GSURR) is seeking to recruit a qualified and motivated individual for the position of Senior Urban Specialist, based in the World Bank Office in Lima, and will report to the Urban Practice Manager, Latin America Region, based in Washington DC.  S/he will work closely with the unit’s Task Team Leaders, as well as with others outside the unit in the Global Practice for Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience (GSURR).

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:

• Lead and or participate in task teams to deliver investment, programmatic and development policy lending operations, prepare analytical and advisory activities, and develop new business opportunities in the urban sector, mainly in Peru, but also in other LAC countries;
• Lead and/or contribute to lending operations, policy dialog and technical assistance programs related to local government investment planning, municipal management, cadaster development, urban upgrading, regional development, urban resilience, and help enhance the capacity of our clients to respond to urban development challenges through programs and projects; lead or contribute to in-country stakeholder coordination in the sectors.
• Provide operational leadership on projects in a dynamic environment where the clients demand on solutions for urban development challenges; 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;
• Provide coaching mentoring on-the-job to junior team members, extended term consultants and junior professional associates in the unit.


Selection Criteria:

• Advanced university degree (Masters) in a field relevant to urban development such as urban planning, economics, architecture, political science, public policy or a related field; 
• At least eight years of relevant experience.  Analytical work and/or project experience in the urban sector is required, and with substantive experience in Peru.  
• Strong motivation to work in the urban development sector and ability to work flexibly and independently on a range of assignments, adjusting to and prioritizing a variety of complex evolving tasks.
• Substantive work experience in Peru and familiarity with the Government of Peru’s policies in the urban sector.
• Experience in Bank operations and/or project management in the urban sector would be an advantage.
• Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to lead teams and function effectively as a member of a multi-disciplinary team.
• Excellent and effective command of Spanish and English both in verbal and written forms.  
• Proven track record of delivery of high quality outputs while working under pressure and within tight deadlines. 

• Integrative Skills - Working to develop an integrated view across all facets of current sector.
• Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena - Understands policy making process; distills operationally relevant recommendations/lessons for clients.
• Policy Dialogue Skills - Identifies and assesses policy issues and plays an active role in the dialogue with the government and/or other stakeholders.
• Urban and Spatial Economics – Familiarity with key concepts in the fields of urban and spatial economics.
• Urban Policy, Strategy, and Institutions - Familiarity with urban policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations.
• Urban Services Delivery - Foundational knowledge of urban services delivery, with ability to apply to operations and analytical work.
• Lead and Innovate - Develops innovative solutions.
• Deliver Results for Clients - Proactively addresses clients’ stated and unstated needs.
• Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries - Collaborates across boundaries, gives own perspective and willingly receives diverse perspectives.
• Create, Apply and Share Knowledge - Applies knowledge across WBG to strengthen solutions for internal and/or external clients.
• Make Smart Decisions - Interprets a wide range of information and pushes to move forward.

Knowledge and Experience in at least two of the following areas:
• Municipal Finance: Working knowledge of a range of municipal financing alternatives; can conduct a range of financial analyses. 
• Urban and spatial economics: Familiarity with key concepts from the fields of urban and spatial economics, and the application of these concepts to policy analysis; can conduct a range of economic analyses drawing on concepts from these fields as input into operational and analytical work.
• Urban Policy, Strategy, and Institutions: Familiarity with urban policies, strategies, institutions, and regulations.  
• Urban Service Delivery: Foundational knowledge of urban services delivery, with ability to apply to operations and analytical work.  
• Urban Poverty and Slums:  Foundational knowledge of urban poverty, with ability to support operations and analytical work.  
• Land and Housing:  Foundational knowledge of land and housing, with ability to support operations and analytical work.  
• Urban and Regional Planning: Foundational knowledge of urban and regional planning, with ability to support operations and analytical work.  
• Urban Environment and Solid Waste:  Experience in at least one subtopic: environment monitoring, planning and evaluation; air, soil, or water pollution; urban water resources management; solid waste management.

Source: World Bank Group

This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat. 

Deadline/closing date: 
Monday, October 30, 2017