Resilient and Sustainable Development (RSD) Intern (Climate Finance)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Suva, , FJ



The Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are increasingly becoming aware that multiple hazards impact on their natural capital, which is the cornerstone of their efforts to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty, build resilience, and improve the quality of life for their people. The UNDP Pacific Office Resilience and Sustainable Development team supports work in relation to Disaster Risk Management, Environment, Energy and Climate Change in the Pacific region. This integrated team has the capacities to lead development debates, provide policy advisory and programming design and implementation at the regional, multi-country as well as country levels.

Disaster Risk Management – The Pacific is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. Between 1950 and 2013, 284 major disasters occurred in the Pacific caused mainly by severe storms, including tropical cyclones, affecting over 9 million people with 9,811 reported fatalities and US$3.2 billion in damage In addition, the incremental impacts of small and medium-sized hazards such as droughts, floods and other low-intensity events are equivalent to, or may exceed, those of single large disasters, as they tend to be more frequent and widespread. They affect a comparatively larger number of people, causing damage to housing, land, and local infrastructure, rather than major mortality or destruction of nationally critical economic assets. There is now a realization in the region that the linkages and overlaps between environmental management, climate-related risks, energy security and disaster risk management impact on the resilience of societies and nations to deal with the impacts of natural and economic hazards;

Environment – is the basis for life in the PICTs. The island countries’ natural land, water and marine resources constitute the natural capital that provides for sustainable livelihoods, food security and the social and cultural well-being of communities. The small island countries in the Pacific face major environmental challenges such as: the degradation of their ecosystems – biodiversity, land, marine and freshwater resources – through unsustainable resource management practices; increasing waste and pollution leading to contamination of sub-surface and coastal waters; unsustainable fisheries management, and unplanned urban growth. For sustainability, there is a need to balance the use of land and marine resources for food and water security and economic and social development with ecosystem and biodiversity conservation;

Energy – the Pacific region has the highest dependency on imported petroleum fuels in the world, exceeding that of the Caribbean island states. At present, conventional paths to development remain energy and resource intensive. However, there is a growing awareness that access to affordable energy services, renewable energy and energy efficient technologies, as well as low carbon development are necessary conditions for sustainable development. For example, the preparatory meetings for the 3rd SIDS Conference have called for the “concrete implementation of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative”. The dependency on imported fuels for commercial energy increases the vulnerability of PICTs to external economic shocks caused by increases in petroleum prices and increase energy insecurity. This not only affects the national economy, diverting funds that could be used for development, but also impacts at the household level where scarce income has to be used for meeting energy needs;

Climate change – and sea level rise are considered by the PICTs as the major challenge facing the region as they: “undermine efforts to sustainably develop in a multitude of ways across the Pacific, and threaten the livelihoods and security of the peoples of the Pacific region, as well as the survival, viability and sovereignty of Pacific nations”. This statement is based on the results of climate change models that predict global temperature rise will affect ecosystems, undermine traditional sources of livelihood, threatening the very existence of some PICTs through sea level rise. The major climate change impacts experienced by PICTs include:

  • Problems with water supply as a result of increased drought and altered rainfall patterns that affect sources of ground water;
  • The viability and productivity of coastal and forest ecosystems;
  • Reduction in yields of subsistence and commercial fisheries;
  • Decline in agriculture productivity; and
  • Risks to human health through an increased incidence of infectious vector-borne diseases and non-communicable diseases (NCD).

These negative impacts on the livelihoods and well-being of communities are likely to be greater on vulnerable groups such as the poor, women and the elderly. At the national level, these impacts would also limit options for sustainable development for the country as a whole.
The impacts of climate change are apparent in all areas of DEEC:

  • Disasters – increased incidence and severity of extreme weather events such as storms, cyclones, droughts, floods;
  • Environment – negative impacts on land and marine ecosystems, especially coral reefs, as well as water resources;
  • Energy – in addition to impacts on emissions, sea-level rise and other impacts would impact on energy infrastructure as well as access to energy, especially for the poor.
Duties and Responsibilities

The Research Assistant will provide valuable research support to the members of the Resilient and Sustainable Development team. S/he will work under the direct supervision and guidance of the Team Leader for the RSD Team. S/he will support:

Technical Assistance for Policy and Programming: Provide research support as needed to the members of the Resilient and Sustainable Development team related to Climate Change, Disaster Risk Management, Environment and Energy; this will involve inter alia:

  • Assisting the team to collect/compile/analyse data relevant knowledge products
  • Undertaking/Synthesizing secondary research, as appropriate, to support the development of projects and/or team activities including but not limited to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Adaptation Fund (AF) and disaster response and recovery needs.

Knowledge Management: Support the ongoing development of Knowledge Products and knowledge sharing for the RSD team. This includes inter alia:

  • Analysis of the UNDP RSD portfolio in the Pacific;
  • Mapping of development partner work related to RSD in the Pacific;
  • Work with the UNDP Communications officer to ensure that existing portfolio of RSD especially Climate Finance activities are disseminated to relevant partners and stakeholders;
  • Support existing national Climate Finance Assessments on a case-by-case basis.
  • Copy-editing knowledge products as needed;
  • Assist the RSD team with organization of various ongoing meetings including the Development Partners for Climate Change (DPCC) meeting and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) Outcome Group (OG) 1 related to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management.

Core Competencies:

  • Demonstrate commitment to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s mission, vision and values;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism.

Functional Competencies:

  • Focus on result for the client and respond positively to feedback;
  • Consistently approach work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
  • Remain calm, in control and good humored even under pressure.
Required Skills and Experience


  • This position is limited to Fiji Nationals enrolled in a post-graduate course at the University of the South Pacific especially in the area of Climate Finance.
  • The UNDP-Pacific Office will provide the intern with a work space; management support and mentoring. The intern will be required to comply with the Pacific Office’s normal work practices and conduct. The intern will be required to get his/her own laptop.

This Internship Programme is adminstered by UNDP Pacific Office, therefore UNDP Internship rules and conditions will be followed.

UNDP may accept interns providing the following conditions are met:


  • Be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher);
  • Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent).
  • Enrolled in a degree programme in a graduate school (second university degree or higher) at the time of application and during the internship (if a candidate is graduating before the internship period begins, they are no longer eligible); or
  • Have completed at least four years of full-time studies at a university or equivalent institution towards the completion of a degree, if pursuing their studies in countries where higher education is not divided into undergraduate and graduate stages;
  • Not have graduated prior to the beginning of the internship.


  • Related work experience will be an added value;
  • Computer literate in standard software applications;
  • Demonstrated keen interest in the work of the UN, and of UNDP in particular, and have a personal commitment to UNDP’s Statement of Purposeand to the ideals of the UN Charter; and
  • Demonstrated the ability to successfully interact with individuals of different cultural backgrounds and beliefs, which include willingness to try and understand and be tolerant of differing opinions and views.


  • Proficiency in English and normally at least one additional UNDP working language (i.e., French or Spanish);
  • Fluency in Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese or Russian is an asset;

How to Apply:

Interested applicant is invited to submit the following documents to

  • A duly completed “UNDP internship application form” can be downloaded from the link;
  • A copy of his/her most recent resume or curriculum vitae;
  • A letter from his/her university confirming current enrollment and graduation date;
  • A copy of his/her school transcript;
  • A letter of endorsement from a senior faculty member who has directly supervised the student in the recent past and who is fully acquainted with the student’s performance; and
  • A brief paper setting out the reasons why he/she is seeking an internship with UNDP and what is expected from the experience.
  • A Medical Certificate of Good Health from a recognized physician. If the intern is expected to travel outside the country of their residence, other than to Europe and North America, the physician must indicate whether he/she is fit to travel and has had the required inoculations for the country or countries to which the intern is to travel.;
  • Proof of medical insurance, proof of life/accidental death insurance valid for the location(s) in which the internship will be carried out.

General Internship Conditions:

Duration of Internship

Internship assignments vary in length according to the availability and academic requirements of the intern, as well as the needs of UNDP. However, they will normally last no less than six weeks and no more than six months. Internship assignments are available on a part-time and full-time basis throughout the year, depending on the availability of meaningful assignments and the needs and capacity of offices to receive and supervise interns.

Expenses for interns

Interns are not financially remunerated by UNDP. All costs connected with an intern’s participation in the Programme must be borne by:

  • The nominating institution, related institution or government, which may provide the required financial assistance to its students;
  • The student, who will have to obtain financing for subsistence and make his/her own arrangements for travel (including to and from the office), visas, accommodation, etc.

Interns Insurance Cover

  • UNDP accepts no responsibility for the medical and life insurance of the intern or costs arising from accidents and illness incurred during an internship. As interns are not covered under any insurance, including CIGNA, they should not travel to hazardous locations in the course of their internship with UNDP.

Applicants for internship must show proof of valid medical and life/accident insurance for the duty station for which they will work. It must include adequate coverage in the event of an injury or illness during the internship which:

  • Requires transportation to the Home Country or Country of Residence for further treatment; or
  • Results in death and requires preparation and return of the remains to the Home Country, or Country of Residence.

Third-party claims

UNDP is not responsible for any claims by any parties where the loss of or damage to their property, death or personal injury was caused by the actions or omission of action by the interns during their internship.

Subsequent Employment

The purpose of the Internship Programme is not to lead to further employment with UNDP but to complement an intern’s studies. Therefore, there should be no expectation of employment at the end of an internship. Should an offer of employment be envisaged, a 3-month break, from the end of the internship, must be respected. Interns cannot apply for posts during the period of internship.

  • Interns are considered gratis personnel. They are not staff members.
  • Interns may not be sought or accepted as substitutes for staff to be recruited against authorized posts.
  • Interns may not represent UNDP in any official capacity.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.