Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist

World Bank

Job #: req27477
Organization: World Bank
Sector: Disaster Risk Management
Grade: GG
Term Duration:  3 years 0 months
Recruitment Type: Local Recruitment
Location: Lilongwe,Malawi
Required Language(s): English
Preferred Language(s): English
Closing Date: 5/23/2024 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? Working at the World Bank provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. The World Bank consists of two entities – the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). It is a global development cooperative owned by 189 member countries. As the largest development bank in the world, the World Bank provides loans, guarantees, risk management products, and advisory services to middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries, and coordinates responses to regional and global challenges. For more information, visit


GP-URL covers a wide Range: (i) developing green, inclusive and resilient cities; (ii) 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 (iii) 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 Development Policy Loan with Catastrophe Deferred Draw-Down Option CAT-DDO), and resilient reconstruction (including post-disaster damage and loss assessment).


Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa is occurring at an unprecedented pace. The share of Africans living in urban areas is projected to grow from 38 percent in 2016 to almost 60 percent by 2040, translating to an additional 40,000 new urban citizens every day until 2040. The region’s urbanization rate, one of the highest in the world, can lead to economic growth, transformation and poverty. However, many cities in Africa still have not fully captured the benefits of urbanization and poorly managed urbanization has exacerbated existing infrastructure challenges, resulting in increased inequality, urban poverty, proliferation of informal settlements and vulnerability to hazards. Adverse natural events present a serious obstacle for achieving sustainable social and economic development, particularly in vulnerable regions as Sub-Saharan Africa. Disasters affect the poor most severely; unplanned human settlements, unsafe building practices, high population densities, economic growth, and accumulations of assets in risk prone areas has dramatically increased exposure to hazards and increased disaster loss. Climate changed has the potential to significantly worsen the situation.

To this end, the Africa Urban and Disaster Risk Management Unit (SAEU2), brings together a wide range of important and interrelated development and financing instruments 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 disaster 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.

Duties & Accountabilities:

The selected candidate will be based in Lilongwe and is expected to perform the following duties:

  • Lead and/or contribute to cross-sectoral engagements such as Sustainable Development Practice Group works, Systematic Country Diagnostic and Country Partnership Framework and other CMU-led activities;
  • Help adapt global good practice to local context and advise government counterpart and Bank teams on matters related to green, resilient and inclusive urban development;
  • Supervise the work of consultants and technical specialists to ensure consistency and conformity to Bank standards; evaluate studies and sector-related project documentation.
  • Lead operational aspects of the preparation, appraisal, and negotiations of Urban/DRM lending operations, including Sector Investment Projects and Technical Assistance activities in the portfolio.
  • Lead project supervision for Urban/DRM investment operations, including reviewing Terms of Reference (TORs), specifications and bidding documents, and lead supervision missions and the preparation of internal report documentation – with a particular emphasis on the engineering aspects.
  • Manage Trust Fund (TF) activities including preparation and review of grant proposals, consultation on technical issues, preparation of progress reports, project briefings, disbursements and quality control of deliverables;
  • Contribute to the overall strategic program development within the Africa Urban and DRM programs
  • Provide guidance to government counterparts and implementing agencies by, identifying potential problems and advising on required actions as well as overall project/program implementation;
  • Participate in professional development and knowledge sharing activities in the URL Global Practice, the GSGs, and contribute specific knowledge both within the assigned countries and in the World Bank;
  • Coordinate closely with Bank teams across different GPs and the Country Management Unit (CMU) as well as with Development Partners investments and contract administration to support the program described above.
  • Provide coaching mentoring on-the-job to junior team members, extended term consultants and junior professionals in the unit; and
  • Perform other duties and functions as assigned by the Practice Manager.

Selection Criteria

  • Master’s or Ph.D. degree in technical fields relevant to DRM and urban resilience such as civil engineering, hydrology, geology, physical sciences, disaster risk management, or equivalent
  • At least eight years of relevant experience on urban infrastructure, urban drainage, municipal financing, urban development or related field;
  • Experience working on flood risk management, risk reduction, and climate change;
  • Knowledge of urban development and urban infrastructure. Experience working on supporting decentralization policies and strengthening of local governments;
  • Experience working on complex urban programs involving high safeguards and fiduciary risks, and multi-sector coordination;
  • Demonstrated skills to engage and effectively lead dialogues with both local communities affected by urban risks as well as city leaders and decision makers;
  • Applies cross-country development knowledge to discussions with clients and development partners.
  • Conducts independent policy discussions with representatives of the government and non-government partners on selected policy issues. Leads task teams, participate in formal negotiations, and assist government in establishing priorities;
  • Possesses political judgment, diplomatic acumen, and negotiating skills;
  • Understands policy making process and the role of own sector of expertise in that process;
  • Demonstrates a foundational familiarity with the urban resilience and DRM policies, strategies, local government and institutions relevant to the project or analytical work;
  • Experience and/or understanding of the World Bank’s operations and full range of Bank products and services, and up-to-date knowledge of the Bank’s operational policies and processes is desirable;
  • Tailors communication style to meet audience needs and deliver information effectively in support of team or workgroup;
  • Has excellent analytical writing ability;
  • Fluency in English (spoken and written) is required.

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