Internship (Water‐Related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in small island developing states (SIDS))

UNU Institute for Water Environment and Health (UNU‐INWEH)

Hamilton, ON, CA

Background: Many Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are among the most water scarce regions in the world. Smaller SIDS tend to rely heavily on groundwater resources, and in the larger SIDS, significant volumes of water are used for irrigation, as well as for domestic consumption. A high proportion of water is often allocated to maintaining the tourism industry. In many SIDS, access to potable water is a serious challenge. This impacts the water security and health of communities, and also limits economic outputs through tourism, industrial production and agriculture. Access to sanitation also remains a challenge for communities in SIDS, with implications for maintaining adequate health standards and reducing the incidence of water‐borne diseases.  Vector borne diseases, and in particular, those spread through the Aedes egyptii mosquito (e.g. Dengue, Zika virus) are a growing problem in SIDS, and the most effective method for controlling these diseases is through community‐based water management strategies to reduce mosquito breeding sites in urban areas. Degradation of watersheds is occurring in many SIDS as a result of agriculture and urban development. Damage is especially acute during extreme weather events. SIDS have been identified as the nations most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, as a result of their vulnerability to sea level rise, extreme weather events and drought.   In all, meeting the water‐related SDG targets will be a major challenge for SIDS. A comprehensive review of these challenges is needed, along with identification of strategies used by some SIDS to address these challenges.

Internship Requirements: 

  • A final year undergraduate student or a postgraduate student or recent degree holder  in an area relevant to UNU-INWEH’s field of work.

Intern Responsibilities (List of Tasks and Outputs):

  • Conduct a literature review to identify the challenges faced by SIDS in addressing the water‐ related SDGs, and approaches for addressing these challenges.
  • Prepare a written report on the results of the literature review 
  • Prepare a presentation on the results of the literature review, with identification of specific examples of challenges and solutions.  

Position Requirements:

  • Good understanding of global water issues and related Sustainable Development Goals
  • Experience in conducting literature and/or systematic reviews
  • Fluent in oral and written English; knowledge of any other UN official languages is an advantage
  • Ability to use office-related software (Microsoft Office) and hardware (PC)
  • Awareness and ability to adapt to a multicultural environment and a commitment to international public service are essential.
  • Demonstrate good communication skills and show initiative and flexibility.

Position Desirables:

  • An understanding of issues impacting SIDS is desirable

Duration and Start Date:

  • The duration of internship is at least 3 months (full-time), which may be extended to 6 months depending on the need and work progress. The internship is expected to start at a mutually agreed date in May 2018.  


  • Proof of insurance coverage for the entire period of the internship.