Green Infrastructure Economist, Water Program

World Resources Institute
Mitch, Louisiana, US
Jul 22, 2021
Jul 29, 2021
Employment Type
Full time
Salary Type
This position can be based in either of these locations: Bogota, Colombia; Mexico City, Mexico; Washington DC

Job Summary

The Cities4Forest team at WRI seeks a full-time Economist specialized in nature-based solutions (NBS), water resource management, and/or infrastructure development, to lead economic and financial evaluations of NBS, build the capacity of key stakeholders to understand NBS investment opportunities, and contribute to related project activities. The position will lead economic work for the Cities4Forests team globally with an immediate focus on Latin America and the Caribbean and the United States. The successful candidate will have exemplary quantitative skills and writing skills, an ability to communicate highly technical material to policy makers and other lay audiences, and an ability to cultivate and manage productive relationships with external partners. The successful candidate will also have a strategic and entrepreneurial spirit. You will work with the global Cities4Forests team of 25+ staff across the world. You will report to the Senior Associate for Natural Infrastructure, and interface daily with WRI-Global and the international offices. This is envisioned as a 12-month position with a strong possibility for extension based on performance.

This position is remote due to Covid-19, but you can be based at WRI's office in Washington, DC or the WRI Mexico Office or WRI Colombia office once restrictions have lifted.

Job Responsibilities

Research & Knowledge Development (75%)
  • Lead a team of researchers and partners to conduct complex and decision relevant analysis of NBS investment options (some of this will be economic analysis; some will be other types of analysis)
  • Produce impactful policy research and economic analysis of natural infrastructure, such as cost-benefit analysis of green infrastructure options for water supply management or flood control
  • Devise innovative solutions to address data limitations
  • Author and coauthor knowledge products (e.g. reports, briefs, data products)
  • Identify and contribute to shared research agendas with external partners
  • Conduct outreach and communications including presenting at internal/external meetings and conferences, co-authoring blog posts, and other activities

Program Management and Operations (25%)
  • Lead strategy development and management of a collection of economic studies across the Initiative
  • Devise communications and engagement approaches to integrate WRI's analytic results into city and national strategies, priorities, and commitments
  • Develop relationships and manage multi-sector partnerships to produce project outcomes
  • Support fundraising, including cultivating new project opportunities and prospective donors as well as preparing proposals
  • Organize internal and external meetings, workshops, and other data gathering and research dissemination activities
  • Liaise with internal staff and project stakeholders to problem solve and generate solutions to project implementation issues
  • Additional ad-hoc program management and operational duties as needed

Job Qualifications
  • Master's in economics, environmental management, business, finance, or similar
  • Minimum 5 to 7 years of relevant full-time work experience is required
  • Excellent quantitative economic or financial research skills
  • Experience with ecosystem valuation, natural infrastructure project analysis, and cost-benefit analysis; experience in conceptualizing and executing impactful cost-benefit analysis involving natural systems
  • Comfort with imperfect data and ability to transform qualitative results into decision-relevant recommendations
  • Experience working in Latin America and the Caribbean preferred
  • Ability to present complex information in a clear and concise manner
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work with diverse teams of individuals and colleagues
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, particularly when it comes to communicating technical concepts to non-technical audiences
  • Ability to juggle multiple tasks and deadlines while setting and delivering on clear priorities
  • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision and demonstrated strong work ethic
  • Flexibility to travel
  • Fluency in English and Spanish required

How to Apply

Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered. Only applications in English with Cover Letters will be considered. Specify in your cover letter if you are legally authorized to work in either Mexico, Colombia, and/or the United States.

Program Overview

Over the past decade, WRI has been at the forefront of increasing investment in well-designed NBS for water security, disaster risk reduction, and climate and community resiliency. We have developed guidance on best practices for evaluating enabling conditions for NBS and appraising NBS projects. We have pioneered an economic method for analyzing NBS investment opportunities and applied it with utilities in several watersheds around the world including in Portland Maine, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Monterrey Mexico, Bogota, Colombia and other locations. We supported the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank in their NBS strategies. We have advanced the first green bond standard for water infrastructure and worked with a utility to issue the first-ever green bond for forest-based water infrastructure. And, we developed and piloted an multi-stakeholder finance platform, known as the Forest Resilience Bond, resulting in an unprecedented pipeline of blended finance NBS deals. Our Learning Guide on Social Equity Considerations supports cities to advance inclusive and equitable NBS projects. Our work with Caterpillar Foundation, Loreal, FEMSA, and Nestle have resulted in significant investment in watershed stewardship as well. The Cities4Forests program at WRI spearheads a voluntary coalition involving 60+ city's mayors' offices globally that are committed to implementing NBS. Cities4Forests members receive technical assistance and participate in peer-to-peer learning to advance NBS strategies in cities, nearby forests that supply cities water, and far-away forests important for climate change. Building on this progress, we now aim to scale up bankable NBS deals that leverage blended finance in the United States and globally through the Cities4Forests network.

WRI Overview

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence and respect.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps and analysis to solve the world's greatest environment and international development challenges , and improve people's lives. We work with leaders in government, business and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years and our operating budget is now $150 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of 1,000+ people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa , Brazil , China , Europe , India , Indonesia , Mexico and the United States as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.