Social Development Specialist

World Bank Group , Buenos Aires, Argentina

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
1st September, 2019

Job Description

Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2018, the WBG committed $67 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $24 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188-member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with more than 16,000 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 global development community is at an auspicious turning point in history. Thanks to the success of the past few decades and favorable economic growth, developing countries now have an unprecedented opportunity to end extreme poverty within a generation. This is the vision of the WBG: to eradicate extreme poverty by reducing the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day to 3 percent by 2030 and promote shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40 percent in every country.

To achieve this vision, the WBG Board of Governors approved a strategy for the organization that utilizes the combined strength of the WBG institutions and their unique ability to partner with the public and private sectors to deliver customized development solutions backed by finance, world class knowledge and convening services. The strategy has three components:

  • maximizing development impact by engaging country clients in identifying and tackling the most difficult development challenges;
  • promoting scaled-up partnerships that are strategically aligned with the goals; and
  • crowding in public and private resources, expertise and ideas.

The architecture underpinning the strategy and instrumental to its success is the establishment of Global Practices and Cross-Cutting Solution Areas that, in concert with the WBG Regions, will design solutions that address clients’ most pressing developmental challenges, and ultimately, enable the WBG to meet its twin goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

The Sustainable Development Practice Group helps countries tackle their most complex challenges in the areas of Agriculture, Climate Change, Environment and Natural Resources, Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience, and Water.


The Social Development theme addresses issues related to: (a) social inclusion of the poor, vulnerable, and the excluded; (b) promoting accountable institutions; (c) supporting socially cohesive communities and groups with a focus on prevention of conflict, crime and violence, as well as supporting post-conflict development; (d) using community driven development as a tool for developing local infrastructure and delivering services; and (e) addressing issues related to social risk management, including those covered by the World Bank’s social safeguard policies on Indigenous Peoples and involuntary Resettlement, and by the Environmental and Social Standards (ESSs) in the new Environmental and Social Framework. The work on inclusion of vulnerable and excluded group covers, among others, issues related to Gender, LGBT, Disability, ethnic minorities, Indigenous Peoples, and displaced populations.


The World Bank Group serves 30 client countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region (LCR). Clients range from large rapidly growing sophisticated middle-income clients to IDA countries, to small Caribbean states, and to one fragile state. Despite immense resources, dynamic societies, and an average annual per capita income of about US$4,000, deep inequalities persist in most LCR countries, with nearly a quarter of the Region's people living in poverty. The World Bank Group’s support to the LAC Region is focused on investing in human capital, strengthening the economic recovery, improving infrastructure, and protecting the poor.

The LCR Social Development Unit is looking to recruit a Social Development Specialist for the World Bank Office in Argentina to support social development through social safeguards and the new Environment and Social Framework work in the CMU. The Social Development Specialist will work under supervision of the Social Development Practice Manager for LCR, in close coordination with the Regional Social Safeguards Coordinator.

Duties and Accountabilities:

  • Serve as a Social Development Specialist, advising task teams and clients on the Bank’s Environmental and Social Standards and supporting the conceptualization of approaches to mitigate social risk, and maximize social benefits through the preparation and supervision of lending operations across sectors.
  • Work under the general direction of the Practice Manager, LCR social development team (GSU04), and in collaboration with the Regional Social Safeguards Coordinator [RSC] and the focal point for Argentina CMU in supporting country Social Safeguards in the Social Risk Management and Quality Assurance of the Regional Social Safeguards/Environment and Social Framework (ESF) Project Portfolio.
  • Provide guidance to Clients on social risk management so that not only the Bank’s social risk management standards are fully complied with, but that, in addition, the impact and sustainability of Bank-supported operations are enhanced.
  • Provide direct operational support to Task Teams during preparation and implementation on all aspects related to social risk management.
  • Ensure that, at any time, the relevant reporting systems are updated with high quality information to allow pro-active monitoring, management, and reporting of social risk across the portfolio.
  • Participate in cross-practice teams responsible for the preparation of policy notes, sector studies, and research and policy development activities on the full range of social development topics; advise on the social sustainability of the portfolio, including gender, beneficiary feedback and safeguards issues, etc.
  • Provide technical, institutional and program implementation support to solve issues regarding Social Development and lead the pertinent dialogue with counterparts.
  • Participate in Regional efforts in the rolling-out of the ESF, and related capacity building for Bank Social Development and Environment Specialists and similar undertakings involving the Client.
  • Engage in policy dialogue with clients on social risk, social inclusion, and social sustainability issues, ranging from upstream inputs into country Systematic Country Diagnostics and Country Partnership Frameworks, to advising counterparts on related policies or on risks and opportunities in relation to Bank-supported operations.
  • Support other Social Specialists in handling complex technical, institutional and program implementation issues regarding social development.
  • Conduct portfolio reviews on selected social risk and social development issues, as needed.
  • Prepare management briefs of relevant issues social safeguards issues.
  • Develop and build relations within the Bank and with clients and contribute to generating new business for the Bank.
  • Contribute to ongoing and emerging corporate initiatives related to social standards, through participation in the Global Solutions Group on Social Sustainability and Safeguards. In this context, improve feedback mechanisms through participating in and contributing to high quality training and other learning events related to social assessments, social safeguards and broader social development issues. A special emphasis will be placed on the roll-out of the Bank’s newly approved Environmental and Social Policy Framework as part of the ongoing safeguards policy reform.
  • Build capacity with clients on issues related to safeguards and broader social issues, including clients’ monitoring and evaluation of social development activities and outcomes.
  • Participate in the broader social development work of the team.
  • Work independently under general direction of the Practice Manager.

Selection Criteria

  • Master's degree with 5 years’ experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience in a related social science (e.g., Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, etc.).
  • Demonstrated analytical capacity, through written work and dialogue, of in-depth knowledge of social issues, including social assessment and consultation/participation methodologies, working with vulnerable groups, resettlement, and Indigenous Peoples.
  • Relevant experience in social development issues in the region, preferably with prior experience in Argentina and Uruguay.
  • Relevant experience with operations addressing critical social development issues (social inclusion, crime and violence prevention, gender equity, social resilience in face of climate change, etc.).
  • Proven capacity to translate analytical work into policy advice and operational, actionable, recommendations.
  • Working knowledge of World Bank’s operations including ESF. This includes experience with Involuntary Resettlement in different socio-economic contexts and tenure systems; extensive experience with analyzing social risks and impacts on different population groups; coordination of transparent consultative processes; and integration of relevant planning instruments such as Resettlement Action Plans and Indigenous Peoples Plans in overall project planning and implementation; experience working on Indigenous People’s issues and preparation of relevant planning instrument; experiences managing contractor construction-related impacts, such as Labor, Community Health And Safety issues; experiences in designing Grievance Redress Mechanisms.
  • Ability to present complex Social Development and 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.
  • Excellent Oral and written fluency in Spanish and English. Strong oral and written presentation skills in English and Spanish.
  • Excellent communicator, creativity and problem-solving skills.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work in multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Willingness to travel regularly in the region.


  • Social Development Implications on Policy, Institutions, and Operations - Familiarity with the implications of social development on policy, institutions, and operations.
  • Analytical Tools for Social Sustainability - Solid experience conducting social development analyses, producing meaningful results, and applying the tools during an operation.
  • Participation and Consultation - Solid experience conducting social development consultative and participatory approaches and their use in operations.
  • Environmental and Social Standards - Familiar with and can apply (under supervision) the ESF to diverse situations, quickly identifying key issues, risks, and opportunities.


  • 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.


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