Internships

UNEP RONA’S Internship Programme

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is located in the heart of downtown Washington DC. We have been welcoming interns from around the world for more than five years and offer programmes in the following areas:Communications, Government Affairs, Environment Research, Environment Policy, Ecosystems Management and the Scientific Technical Advisory Panel (STAP)/Global Environment Facility (GEF).

It is our goal to ensure that each intern has a challenging and fulfilling experience while working at UNEP. As a result, supervisors assign interesting and challenging projects based upon the intern’s background, experience, interest and skills. Interns work very closely with staff on current and diverse topics to help accomplish UNEP’s mission.

We recruit interns three times a year (see schedule below). Electronic applications are accepted from graduate and exceptional senior-level undergraduate students. Internships are expected to be full-time and range from a minimum of three (3) to a maximum of six (6) months.

 

Internship Period Start Date End Date Application Deadline
Summer May August 15 March
Fall September December 15 July
Spring January April 15 October

 

Application Process 

All internship applications must include the information below. Failure to provide a complete internship application may result in the application not being considered.

  • Detailed CV
  • Completed internship programme application form
  • Written statement explaining why an internship is sought and what is expected from the experience
  • Cover letter indicating specific dates of availability and other relevant information

Applicants will receive a standard reply confirming receipt of their internship application. Due to the volume of applications we receive and the highly competitive nature of the programme, you will be further contacted only if your application is being actively pursued.

You may be requested to supply documentary evidence supporting the statements in your application. Do not, however, send documents until you have been requested to do so. Do not submit the original references or testimonials unless they have been obtained for the sole use of UNEP/RONA.

Applications will not, as a general rule, be valid or be retained by UNEP Washington for more than six months from date of receipt.

Please send applications for Communications, Government Affairs, Environment Research, Environment Policy and Ecosystems Management to Ms. Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox at Elisabeth.Guilbaud-Cox@unep.org

Please send applications for STAP/GEF to Ms. Robin Burgess at Robin.Burgess@unep.org

 

Internship Responsibilities and Qualifications

All interns will be required to occasionally assist in UNEP RONA administrative responsibilities such as working at the front desk, taking meeting notes and participating in the kitchen clean-up programme.

All interns should have the following qualifications:

  • Demonstrated interest in the environment
  • Excellent communication and writing skills
  • Strong research and analytical skills
  • Computer literacy, especially with MS Word and Excel
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to work creatively, independently and as a team member
  • Good time-management skills
  • Knowledge of a other official UN language is an asset

The following describes the responsibilities and qualifications in each of the various internship areas:

Communications

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting the Director, the Head of Communications and other staff in the timely delivery of materials and information to members of the media and other key stakeholders
  • Assisting the Head of Communications in the organization and preparation for special events
  • Assisting with outreach programmes and activities
  • Undertaking research for speeches and presentations
  • Preparing advocacy materials
  • Updating and maintaining mailing and/or contact lists of media, civil society and other UNEP partners
  • Checking daily media coverage for relevant issues
  • Attending briefings or relevant meetings on Capitol Hill and other institutions
  • Writing memos and taking minutes

Qualifications:

  • Background in communications and/or journalism preferred
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Knowledge of U.S. and Canadian media desired

Government Affairs

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting the Director and other staff with outreach to U.S. and Canadian governments
  • Assisting staff with the organization and of government affairs-related events
  • Assisting with outreach to various UNEP stakeholders
  • Undertaking policy and/or legal research
  • Preparing advocacy materials
  • Drafting memoranda and researching a variety of topics
  • Attending briefings or relevant meetings on Capitol Hill and other institutions
  • Writing memos and taking minutes

Qualifications:

  • Background in environmental studies, international relations, international development, political science, environmental policy or law
  • Experience working with either the U.S. or Canadian government is an advantage
  • Knowledge of the U.S. Congress and Canadian Parliament, their structures and processes is also an advantage

Ecosystems Management Internship

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with ecosystems management projects and activities, including UNEP’s work on coastal and marine ecosystems, freshwater, biodiversity and migratory species
  • Assisting with the organization of events
  • Assisting with outreach to governments, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions engaged in ecosystems management issues
  • Attending and reporting back in writing on meetings or conferences
  • Conducting research and drafting short reports & summary memos
  • Assisting staff in the development of presentations
  • Writing memos and taking minutes

Qualifications:

  • Background in international policy, environmental science, natural resource management, marine/coastal affairs, 
  • Knowledge of coastal and marine ecosystems is an asset
  • Strong research, writing, and analytical skills 
  • International experience & field-work a plus.

Environmental Policy

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with climate change and resource efficiency projects including sustainable consumption and production, sustainable buildings and cities
  • Assisting with outreach to various UNEP stakeholders
  • Attending and reporting back in writing on meetings and/or conferences
  • Undertaking research on a variety of topics and drafting reports
  • Writing memos and taking minutes

Qualifications:

  • Background in environmental studies, international relations, international development, political science, or environmental policy preferred 
  • Strong organizational skills and administrative capabilities

Environmental Research

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting the UNEP DEWA Chief and other staff members with advanced academic research on environment-related topics, staff projects and/or presentations
  • Attending and reporting back in writing on relevant briefings and/or meetings
  • Assisting in outreach to the academic, governmental and NGO communities
  • Drafting memoranda
  • Writing memos and taking minutes

Qualifications:

  • Background in advanced environmental studies and sciences
  • Understanding of cross-cutting scientific and major environmental issues
  • Ability to create scientific reports on wide-ranging environment-related topics
  • Computer literacy to undertake basic statistical data analysis
  • Ability to create charts/graphs for reports and presentations
  • Knowledge of other relevant software such as GIS is an advantage, but not required

STAP/GEF

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting the STAP Secretary and other staff members with research related to the focal areas of the GEF (biodiversity, climate change mitigation, climate adaptation, chemicals, land degradation and international waters). This may include:
    • Background research supporting the preparation of STAP periodic publications – including terms of reference – and preparation of project reviews
    • Assisting in preparing speaking notes and presentations for the STAP Chair and Panel Members
    • Contributing to the organization and delivery of STAP workshops and meetings
  • Contributing to preparation/design updates of STAP website
  • Participating in the development of communication and outreach materials

Qualifications:

  • Background in the natural or social sciences specifically related to international environmental management issues addressing one of the GEF focal areas 
  • A keen interest in science and its influence on policy
  • Website content management systems considered an asset

Important Internship Information

Payment
The UN Internship Programme operates on a non-remunerative basis. All costs connected with internships must be borne by the interns or their sponsoring institutions or governments, including travel and transportation, living and accommodation.

Visas
For applicants accepted into a UNEP internship who are not citizens of the United States, you must obtain a visa. It is UN policy that obtaining visas is the sole responsibility of the intern. UNEP will not assist beyond providing letters of acceptance and copies of internship agreements. Be mindful that obtaining a visa can be a lengthy process and failure to secure a visa will void your internship acceptance. Do not delay in pursuing your visa(s).

Insurance
UNEP accepts no responsibility or liability for costs arising from damages, travel, accident and/or illness incurred during an Internship. Interns are asked to submit:

  • A medical certificate stating that he/she is in good health 
  • Valid proof of coverage by a medical insurance plan

Internship Agreements
Once selected by UNEP, applicants will be required to sign the following:

  • UN Administrative Instruction ST/AI/2000/9 governing all UN internships
  • UNEP Washington DC Internship Agreement governing the local internship programme