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The Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Region
The Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region comprises 30 extremely diverse countries, with a population of nearly 500 million people. Although 10 of our clients have joined the EU and 7 of these have graduated, most continue to remain active recipients of knowledge and/or lending services. Furthermore, in the midst of a crisis like the pandemic that we are experiencing now, some of the advanced countries re-engage with the Bank for additional support, including financial. ECA has a strong lending pipeline as well as a large and growing portfolio of Reimbursable Advisory Services. Knowledge is critical to the Bank’s value proposition to client countries in the ECA region in both lending and advisory services.
A predominantly middle- and high-income region, ECA continues to be at the forefront in confronting the numerous development challenges that countries face in the evolving global economy. The region is at the vanguard of building regional connectivity while having to manage the changing structure of the labor market. At the same time, digital technologies are changing the nature of work, populations are aging, and large migration flows have generated social tensions that have contributed to increased political polarization. These emerging trends threaten to reverse the region’s achievements in regional integration, poverty reduction and shared prosperity.
The ECA region is also one of the most vulnerable to climate change. It has a large potential to strengthen climate change resilience and improve energy efficiency, thereby reducing its contribution to climate change. Other important challenges affecting parts of the region include frozen conflicts and domestic political instability.
The Central Asia region (CA) comprising the countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, is a diverse region with a mix of upper middle and low income countries with major strategic importance due to their geographic location and natural resource endowments. The World Bank is endeavoring for over two decades in supporting the efforts of the countries to improve the living standards of their people, promote economic growth, and ensure that future generations benefit from sound environmental practices and social development. The countries of Central Asia share more than just geography; they also share a similar legacy and, more importantly, a common vision for the future. Hence, the World Bank is increasingly approaching the development challenges of Central Asian countries through a regional lens facilitating cross-border cooperation and knowledge sharing and strengthening dialogue and collaboration among the countries. Social Development issues such as inclusion, transparency & accountability, cohesion, security and empowerment underscore the Bank’s intervention in Central Asia.
In February 2020, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak interrupted the incipient recovery and the impact on growth remains highly uncertain and in a downside scenario of prolonged shutdowns, output in ECA could contract by nearly 8 percent in 2020. The pandemic also poses medium-term risks, particularly if global value chain linkages are lost or if extended school closures have a significant impact on learning, dropout rates, and human capital development.
The near- and medium-term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis serve to re-emphasize the critical importance of ECA’s medium-term strategic agenda on raising productivity and boosting resilience. This focuses on three priority areas:
• Boosting human capital to raise productivity
• Building solid foundations and resilience for growth
• Enabling markets to achieve high productivity in the private sector
The Sustainable Development (SD) Practice Group (PG) helps countries tackle their most complex challenges in the areas of Agriculture and Food, Climate Change, Environment, Natural Resources & Blue Economy, Environmental and Social Framework, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience & Land, Social Sustainability and Inclusion, and Water.
SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY AND INCLUSION GLOBAL PRACTICE
The Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice helps countries tackle deep rooted social problems stemming from fragility, climate change, exclusion, and the digital age with people centered solutions that build on local values and institutions. The Practice engages with citizens, communities and governments to deepen resilience, build inclusion, and empower vulnerable and marginalized groups to have influence and voice. It prioritizes participatory, multi-sectoral approaches that build on norms and informal institutions to address social challenges and to build more inclusive, empowered communities. The Practice also works across the Bank’s portfolio to implement the Environment and Social Framework (ESF) standards. The ESF offers an overarching platform for fostering inclusive approaches to ensure vulnerable groups benefit from Bank investments and mitigate against related risks.
The Social Sustainability and Inclusion Global Practice has adopted a new strategy that aims to promote inclusive sustainable development anchored on three pillars:
• Social Inclusion: Enhancing opportunities for equality and inclusion of all people irrespective of income level, geography, gender, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexual orientation or other grounds of discrimination; Advancing inclusive laws, regulations, policies and institutions; and Investing in access to markets and services for hard to reach and marginalized groups living in lagging regions.
• Social Resilience: Strengthening social risk management for social sustainability and inclusion; Enhancing social cohesion and opportunities in fragile communities; Strengthening social resilience to climate extremes and natural hazards; and Supporting emergency response and an inclusive recovery from COVID-19.
• Social Empowerment: supporting community empowerment for more effective service delivery; Fostering accountable governance including from the bottom up; and Promoting community-driven women empowerment and livelihood support programs.
Regional Management Unit Context
The SCASO team is responsible for: (i) undertaking social analysis during project preparation and implementation, to mainstream social development issues throughout the Bank’s work in the region; (ii) supporting clients to manage project-level social risk; (iii) ensuring that Bank-financed projects meet the requirements of the Environmental and Social Framework (ESF), including: social assessment; labor and working conditions; community health and safety; land acquisition, restrictions on land use and involuntary resettlement; Indigenous Peoples; stakeholder engagement (with a focus on vulnerable groups); grievance redress and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse/Sexual Harassment; (iv) undertaking Analytical and Advisory Activities (ASA) in the form of thematic studies on social development issues, country social analysis, and Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS); (v) leading the preparation and supervision of lending operations, with a particular focus on promoting the inclusion of vulnerable groups (including youth, the elderly, Roma, women, internally displaced persons, refugees, etc.), and citizen engagement; and (vi) facilitating partnerships and dialogue with civil society through outreach and engagement with a broad range of actors. To this end, the ECA Social Development Unit works closely with staff across all Country Management Units and Global Practices in ECA.
Duties and Accountabilities
The Social Development Specialist (SDS) will be based in Almaty, Kazakhstan and will support the Kazakhstan portfolio’s work on social risk management including managing issues related to the old Bank safeguards policies and the new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF). The SDS will also provide technical support on broad social development themes including gender, social accountability and youth centered activities. The SDS will report to the ECA SSI Practice Manager and work in close collaboration with the Regional Safeguards Coordinator and Central Asia ESF CMU Coordinator.
The SDS will have the following main tasks and responsibilities:
• Provide guidance to clients on social risk management so that not only the Bank’s social risk management standards are fully complied with, but also the impact and sustainability of Bank supported operations are enhanced.
• Work in close collaboration with the ESF CMU Coordinator for Central Asia CMU, the Regional Safeguards Coordinator and the ECA SSI Practice Manager.
• Primarily provide implementation support to the Bank’s operations in Kazakhstan, and to other countries in Central Asia CMU as required.
• Advise 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.
• Provide guidance and direct operational support to task teams and staff on responses to social safeguards and ESF related topics and 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 proactive monitoring, management, and reporting of social risk across the portfolio.
• Support other STCs working on social risk management and supervise the timeliness and quality of their work.
• Advise and participate in project teams to help develop operational designs and mechanisms to assess social opportunities, impacts, constraints and risks related to Bank supported operations; develop and evaluate proposed technical solutions and assist in the preparation of project documentation.
• Contribute to management briefs of relevant social safeguards issues.
• Support 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.
• 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 Inclusion. 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.
• Build capacity with clients on issues related to safeguards and broader social issues, including clients’ monitoring and evaluation of social development activities and outcomes.
• At least advanced university degree (Masters or PhD) in relevant social science (e.g., Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, and Political Science) or related fields.
• Minimum of 5 years of professional experience in social development topics, including social safeguards, social inclusion, gender integration and ethnic minorities.
• Knowledge and experience in addressing issues covered by the World Bank Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) and social safeguards policies, particularly social assessment, involuntary resettlement, labor and working conditions, community health and safety, Indigenous Peoples, stakeholder engagement and information disclosure and/or similar policies in other international finance institutions in complex and challenging settings, and across sectors. Experience with grievance redress mechanisms.
• Experience with involuntary resettlement and integration of relevant planning instruments such as Resettlement Action Plans (RAP) in overall project planning and implementation.
• Strong operational (task management) and analytical skills and demonstrated ability to translate analytical work into policy advice and actionable, practical recommendations.
• Proven experience in engaging in policy dialogue with government, development partners in at least 2 relevant social development areas.
• Demonstrated ability to organize and manage a complex work program; aptitude to lead diverse team, navigate team dynamics, and mentor STCs.
• Experience with managing donor-funded projects/programs a plus.
• Excellent oral and written communications skills in English and Russian essential. Knowledge of Kazakh desirable
In addition, the successful candidate is expected to exhibit the following core competencies:
• Social Development Implications on Policy, Institutions, and Operations: solid understanding of the implications of social development on policy, institutions, and operations.
• Analytical Tools for Social Sustainability and Inclusion: Robust experience conducting social development analyses, producing meaningful results, and applying the tools in operations.
• Participation and Consultation: Solid experience conducting social development consultative and participatory approaches, and applying the approaches in operations.
• 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.
• Deliver Results for Clients: Proactively addresses client’s stated and unstated needs.
• Collaborate within teams and across boundaries: Collaborates across boundaries, gives own perspective and willingly received diverse perspectives.
• Lead and Innovate: Develops innovative solutions.
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.
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