Intern (Environment Affairs)

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)

Panama City, , PA

Org. Setting and Reporting

The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

UN Environment has “Disasters and Conflicts” subprogramme since 1999. UN Environment has responded to environmental disasters and the environmental dimensions of conflicts in numerous countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, South Sudan, Sierra Leone and DR Congo. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the subprogramme UN Environment has implemented related projects and activities in Guatemala, Paraguay, Ecuador and Peru and has an extended operational presence in Haiti. 

UN Environment’s “Disasters and Conflicts” subprogramme has three streams of work:

  • Risk reduction – including ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction; chemical and industrial accident risk reduction; climate-induced security risk; natural resource management in fragile and conflict-affected states; environment and displacement;
  • Emergency response – environmental emergency preparedness and response; post-crisis environmental assessments; environmental impact of humanitarian operations;
  • Long-term recovery – environmental cooperation for peacebuilding; long-term country recovery programmes . 

UN Environment is undergoing a process of strengthening its regional presence. To this end, regional coordinators for most subprogrammes have been placed in regional offices, including for the “Disasters and Conflicts” subprogramme in Latin America and the Caribbean (based in Panama City). This also implies a process of strengthening the quality and scope of the subprogramme, to increase UN Environment’s visibility with regional member states and intergovernmental organisations as the leader on environmental issues related to disaster risk management and conflict. 

The UN Environment/Latin America and the Caribbean Office/ Disasters and Conflicts Subprogramme internship is for 6 months. The Internship is UNPAID and full-time. Interns work five days per week (40 hours) under the supervision of a staff member in the department or office to which they are assigned.


Daily responsibilities will depend on the individual’s background; the intern’s assigned office as well as the internship period.

The intern will work with UN Environment-Latin America and the Caribbean Office’s, under the supervision of the Humanitarian Affairs Officer/Regional Disasters and Conflicts Subprogramme Coordinator and the activities to be carried out within the framework of this internship are:

  • Support the development of the monthly Disasters and Conflicts bulletin, taking the lead on bulletin development and circulation in the absence of the Regional Disasters and Conflicts Subprogramme Coordinator;
  • Following completion of online training, conduct remote “FEAT” impact assessments for key countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In case of rapid-onset emergency, conduct or immediately update FEAT impact tables for the affected country or area;
  • Using GIS programmes (e.g. ArcGIS) or graphic design/CAD, develop FEAT scenario maps based on FEAT impact tables developed – potentially also other scenario maps such as plume maps using Marplot or Aloha;
  • In the event of a rapid-onset emergency, act as information officer for the environmental dimensions of the emergency, analysing reports and information coming out of the affected area and interpreting them with an “environmental lens” to identify possible environmental issues or potential situations of pollution or environmental risk, keeping the relevant parts of UN Environment informed accordingly and developing information sheets or infographics and press releases for publication (UN Environment website and;
  • Keep Redhum webpage updated with regionally-relevant information on environment and humanitarian affairs;
  • Conduct secondary data research to support the development of concept notes, proposals, policy briefs or activities;
  • Conduct secondary research on ongoing emergency responses in the region to identify the environmental dimensions of the emergency and potential environmental “footprint” of the international response;
  • Participate in the UN Development Group working group on Resilience and the Environment in Humanitarian Action Network, representing the regional programme and reporting back;
  • May represent the D&C programme in the development of country UNDAFs, or contribute to their development, depending on circumstances;
  • Support the preparation of communications pieces, technical briefing notes, news pieces, draft reports and publications as necessary;
  • Support the start-up phase of any projects if required;
  • May assist in the organisation of meetings, trainings and workshops;
  • Support other activities as requested.


Core Competencies:
– Communication:

  • Speaks and writes clearly and effectively
  • Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately
  • Asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication
  • Tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience
  • Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed

– Teamwork:

  • Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals
  • Solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others
  • Places team agenda before personal agenda
  • Supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position
  • Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings

– Client Orientation:

  • Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients ” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view
  • Establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect
  • Identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions
  • Monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems
  • Keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects
  • Meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client


Applicants must at the time of application meet one of the following requirements:

  • 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 program (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent);
  • Have graduated with a university degree and, if selected, must commence the internship within a one-year period of graduation.

Be computer literate in standard software applications.

Have demonstrated keen interest in the work of the United Nations and have a personal commitment to the ideals of the Charter; 
Have a demonstrated 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.
The candidate should have strong analytical skills, and sound knowledge of Disaster Management, Humanitarian Affairs, Environmental Management, Geography, Waste Management, Chemical Engineering, Water Engineering or Industrial Safety preffered or other *demonstrably* relevant field of study.

Work Experience

Applicants are not required to have professional work experience for participation in the programme.


Excellent writing and communication skills in English and Spanish are required. French is desirable. Working knowledge of other UN official languages is desirable.


Potential candidates will be contacted by hiring manager directly for further consideration.

NOTE:Two interns are sought for each six-month internship period. The position is advertised for 12 months to cover two internship rotations. Candidates should make clear in their cover letters which rotation they wish to be considered for (July 2018 or January 2019). Due consideration will be given to the complementarity of the final candidates, in terms of skills, technical and regional knowledge and interests. Candidates may arrive in July 2018 to ensure a handover with the current interns, who finish their internships in August 2018.

Special Notice

Your application for this internship must include:

  1.  A Completed application (Personal History Profile) through the UN careers Portal. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. In your Personal History Profile (PHP), be sure to include all past work experiences, IT Skills, and three references. 
  2. Proof of enrollment (click on link to access and attach to your application:, 
    • List the IT skills and programmes that you are proficient in using,
    • Explain why you are the best candidate for the internship and what you hope to gain from the internship. 
  3. A certified copy of degree certificate (if you have already graduated). 

Due to a high volume of applications received, ONLY successful candidates will be contacted.