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Sustainable Cities Director, China Sustainable Transition Center

World Resources Institute

World Resources Institute

Beijing, China
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Overview and Job Summary

WRI China is seeking a creative and talented expert as Director of China Sustainable Cities Program. In this role, you will direct WRI China’s efforts to influence governments, as well as the private sector and civil society, to participate in the development and implementation of innovative and transformative sustainable solutions for Cities Program across China. You will lead a professional team to implement the on-the-ground, concrete improvements for sustainability in major cities. You will be responsible for working with WRI global Cities leaders and WRI China peer program leaders in developing a common vision; providing strategic leadership; diversifying and expanding the funding; overseeing the growth of the work; and playing a national and global leadership role in the development and implementation of sustainable urban solutions. As a member of WRI China’s Management Team, you will be responsible for collaborating with other programs in WRI China, following a cohesive global strategy across multiple solutions. You will be part of the WRI Ross Center’s leadership team, a senior advisor and thought partner for the Global Director of the program. You will be a member of the WRI Ross Center Executive Team.

Job Responsibilities

Strategic and Operational Leadership and Program Management

  • Manage and develop China Sustainable Cities Program, align with WRI, WRI Ross Center and WRI China long term strategies.
  • Lead strategically for the Cities Development work stream, with a research agenda and work plan, in coordination with other work stream leads.
  • Bring creative thinking and develop innovative solutions to address complex urban challenges.
  • Grow and coordinate a community of practice and experts across the China and globe, managing and mentoring a cadre of professional staff in WRI China.
  • Work on the connections with different WRI China programs such as Climate and Energy, Sustainable investment and Food and Nature resources to improve the urban environment and scale up WRI’s impact.
  • Provide strategic direction to China Cities team to ensure a coherent, high-impact, evidence-based, results-oriented strategy that provides development, environmental, governance, and public health benefits.
  • Represent China Sustainable Cities Program externally on key topics of expertise, at conferences or meetings, in writing, and with media. In partnership with the Global teams, represent the WRI Cities approach on innovative and transformative sustainable solutions for cities across China through direct engagement and interaction with cities, national governments and other global actors.
  • Collaborate with multiple teams across WRI Ross Center network to ensure proper alignment with the Cities Strategy.

Fund-raising and Develop Long-term Funding

  • Lead the development and implementation of the fundraising strategy related to the Cities program, in coordination with WRI Ross Center Global team and WRI China.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with existing and prospective donors.
  • Identify fundraising opportunities and prepare funding proposals for corporate donors, private foundations, government agencies, bilateral donors, and other funders.

Qualifications and Requirements

· Master’s degree or above in planning, urbanism, or economic/urban development with an excellent understanding of urban transport, land use, climate, energy, water, vulnerability, and governance.

· Minimum of 15 years of full-time work experience in a relevant field, with a track record of leadership combined with effective stewardship and management experience.

· Well-established China Sustainable Cities expert with known track record on national Cities works. Experience on mitigation is required while adaptation is a plus.

· In-depth understanding of China’s Sustainable Cities agenda both domestically and in relation to the international Sustainable Cities regime, as well as bilateral/multilateral relationships.

· Proven ability to provide vision and superb strategic thinking skills to identify strategic projects, drive transformative change, and bring outcomes to scale.

· Track record on raising large-scale, multi-year funds with broad connections with funders, both domestically and internationally.

· Excellent communication skills and command of written and spoken both Chinese (Mandarin) and English. Strong public speaker in both languages.

· Superior management skills, including project management, staff supervision, and financial management. Demonstrated ability to successfully motivate and manage teams.

· Familiar with the operation models of NGOs/research institutions.

· Willingness and ability to travel within China and internationally.

How to Apply

Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

Final candidate will be required to take a writing test.


Report to Sustainable Transition Center Director

Salary and Benefits: Salary is commensurate with experience and skills. WRI offers a generous, comprehensive benefits package

Duration: Full-time

Location: Beijing, China, Preferred

Application Deadline: Open till filled

About WRI China

WRI China was established in 2008 as WRI’s first international office. Currently, WRI China has more than 50 full-time staff members working on Climate, Energy, and Cities & Energy, Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Investment, and Food & Nature Resources. We engage with businesses, policymakers and civil society at the local, national and international levels to advance transformative solutions for sustainable development and “ecological civilization”. WRI China recently registered as a foreign NGO under the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

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, Energy, and Cities 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.

The World Resources Institute (http://www.wri.org) is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI's policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.

About WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities is WRI’s program dedicated to shaping a future where cities work better for everyone. Together with partners around the world, we help create resilient, inclusive, low-carbon places that are better for people and the planet.

Our network of local and international experts work in more than 150 cities across 75 countries. We produce practical, data-driven research on how fast-growing urban areas can deliver core services like transport, housing, clean water and sanitation to all residents while simultaneously restoring nature and stabilizing the climate. We work hand-in-hand with local leaders to advance solutions ranging from electric mobility to resilient water systems to better public transit and urban land use. And we forge long-term partnerships and coalitions to ensure that cities not only create change but sustain it.