Cross-posted from World Bank:,,pagePK:84540...

  • 122589
  • Senior Human Development Specialist
  • Human Development
  • Professional & Technical
  • GG
  • Yangon
  • International Hire
  • English [Essential]
  • 27-Nov-2012

The East Asia and Pacific Region Human Development Sector Unit (EASHD) is seeking a senior human development specialist/economist to play a key role in the World Bank’s re-engagement with Myanmar in the human development area.

EAP Regional Context

The East Asia and Pacific 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). 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: lending in FY12 will have exceeded $8 billion; the portfolio consists of nearly 300 operations for about $30 billion; and the TF program is significant (with a portfolio of about $4.3 billion). EAP consists of about 800 staff with 20% in Washington and 80% based in the field offices in the six CMUs.

Myanmar Country Context

Located in a dynamic region with a population of approximately 55 million and richly endowed with natural resources, from fertile soils, deposits of oil and natural gas, gems, hardwood, and abundant fisheries, Myanmar has tremendous economic potential. However, although once among the richest countries of Asia and the world’s largest exporter of rice, Myanmar today suffers from a legacy of economic mismanagement, poor governance and international isolation, resulting in high poverty rates, declining human capital and environmental degradation. Decades of armed conflict between the central government and ethnic minorities, primarily in the country’s border regions, have resulted in particularly poor human development indicators in these areas. International assistance to the country was curtailed following the repression of pro-democracy protests by a military junta in 1988. The Bank stopped new lending to the country in that year, and the country fell into arrears to IDA in 1997, with current arrears totaling about $400 million.

However, the recent past has seen important progress in a range of areas under a new civilian government that took power following elections in 2011. The new government has pursued a policy of national reconciliation (including ceasefire agreements with a range of armed ethnic minorities and releases of large numbers of political prisoners) and economic reform. The latter has included moves to liberalize the economy, including through reform of the exchange rate regime, regulatory reform, and increased transparency. In response to these changes, the Bank has begun re-engaging with the country, focusing initially on a series of diagnostic assessments to deepen understanding of the development challenges as well as preparations for small, targeted interventions in post-conflict areas to contribute to national peace-building efforts.

Going forward, key government priorities are likely to include a broad and inclusive economic reform agenda, selective investment in sectors and infrastructure, continued efforts at peace-building including through an economic “peace dividend,” to increase connectivity at both national and regional levels, along with work to improve governance, reduce corruption, and increase responsiveness of state institutions.

As part of the World Bank Group's re-engagement with Myanmar, the World Bank Group is developing an Interim Strategy Note (ISN) to guide its activities in the country over the next 18 months. The ISN (a draft summary used for consultations is available online) provides a framework for the Bank’s engagement in a country until a full-fledged strategy can be adopted. It identifies three pillars for engagement: transforming institutions; building confidence; and preparing the road ahead.

EASHD Unit Context

The Human Development Department of the EAP Region (EASHD) is organized into three subsectors: Education, Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP), and Social Protection and Labor (SP&L). It has about ninety staff in total, of which more than seventy percent are located in the field. The Department is managed by the Sector Director and three Sector Managers. The departmental leadership team also includes its Lead Economist (LE) and six Country Sector Coordinators (CSCs) who are co-located with the country directors to lead and coordinate the implementation of HD program on the ground.

EASHD has a strong operational and analytical portfolio in Education, HNP and SP&L. The total portfolio has over 40 projects under preparation or implementation, with total commitments of over $3.2 billion. The department also manages multiple trust funds in support of operations and AAA. EASHD employs various lending instruments (investment, programmatic, policy and results based) in response to the needs of the client countries. It has a strong program of analytical and advisory work including programmatic AAA, sector studies, impact evaluation, policy notes, and just in time advisory services. The unit actively supports various south-south exchanges. Fee-based services have also grown significantly over the past few years. The unit’s AAA program is a fundamental pillar of the country engagement in EAP and is often integrated with operational support. EASHD team works closely with other sectors and collaborates with the HD networks on priority thematic areas.

EASHD is seeking a Senior Human Development Specialist/Economist to work in the country office of Myanmar.

The duties and accountabilities of the Senior Specialist include the following:

(a) Strategic leadership - Support the Bangkok-based HD CSC and the HD management to provide strategic leadership across the HD program, including identifying opportunities and facilitating the World Bank’s response to client needs, coordinating with other sectors, and providing inputs to an eventual full-fledged Country Partnership Strategy. He/she will represent the HD sector and interact with the Country Manager on the ground.

(b) Client engagement - Participate in efforts to build a policy dialogue with the client in the human development sectors, including engaging with senior government officials at the national and sub-national levels. He/she will work to expand our knowledge base in the HD sector to enable us to better monitor and identify social and structural reform developments, outlook and risks. He/she will directly provide just in time technical advice to the client where appropriate, or work closely with HD management to mobilize such support.

(c) Partnership development - Liaise closely with development partners, participate in relevant donor coordination efforts to facilitate information exchange and explore opportunities for collaboration. He/she will monitor activities on the ground, and guide/support HD teams in their interaction with various partners.

(d) Task Management – manage relevant HD tasks in Myanmar which, at present include analytical and advisory services but could over time evolve to include operational engagement. He/she will participate in cross-sectoral tasks led by other SMUs where appropriate.

(e) General – Contribute to general country tasks on behalf of HD, including preparation for briefing notes, updates, and assessments (e.g. CPIA), etc. He/she may be asked to contribute to other regional or country tasks where needed.


The successful applicant should have:

Knowledge and experience:
• Advanced degree in education, health and social protection/labor, and/or in economics; demonstrated strong technical knowledge and analytical skills in key areas of human development.
• Minimum of eight years of relevant experience in education, health or social protection/labor; demonstrated ability in translating technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications. Experiences in achieving results on the ground.
• Strong integrative skills. Demonstrated broad perspective and understanding of cross-sectoral issues concerning human development; ability to undertake or effectively support cross-sectoral work in lending and/or non-lending operations.

Client engagement and policy dialogue:
• Strong client orientation and proven ability to effectively manage client relations. Able to work in sensitive situations and challenging policy environments, and when facing conflicting demands or directions. Commitment to results on the ground.
• Proven record in providing prompt and quality response to client requests.
• Proven ability to conceptualize, design and implement major lending and non-lending products. Knowledge of Bank policies and practices highly desirable.

Leadership and teamwork
• Excellent team leadership and interpersonal skills. Dedication to work in teams, both as a team member and as a team leader. Strong track recording in leading teams of professionals in delivering major analytical and operational tasks.
• Strong track record in promoting participation and inclusion. Able to work effectively in the matrix environment and in a decentralized setting. A strong record of working across organizational boundaries.

Time/task management and communication
• Ability to prioritize and manage time efficiently. Can handle multiple tasks effectively and meet deadlines; ability to manage uncertainty and adjust to a changing work program.
• Ability to effectively communicate internally and externally, share knowledge and information with colleagues, clients, partners, and management. Excellent presentational and writing skills. Able to articulate ideas in a clear and compelling way to diverse audiences.
• Willingness and ability to learn and appreciate the unique culture of client countries. Familiarity with the region and country, and knowledge of local language are assets.

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender nationality, culture, and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.


The Sr. HD specialist/economist will be mapped to one of the HD sub-sector based on his/her technical specialization and report to the relevant sector manager. In his/her capacity beyond the technical specialist, he/she will work under the overall guidance of the HD CSC for SEAM countries and work closely with the broad HD management. As the senior HD staff on the ground, he/she will interact closely with the Myanmar Country Manager.

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.


Tags: Myanmar, client engagement, economic reform, economics, education, health, labor, national reconciliation, partnership development, strategic leadership, More…task management

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