United nations environment programme regional office of north america

Application Process

To apply for an internship, please visit www.careers.un.org and complete the online application (Cover Letter and Personal History Profile). Internship openings will be posted 90 days prior to the application deadline listed in the table above.

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.

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:


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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

Internship with STAP – Research and Outreach

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) is an independent panel of experts which provides strategic and operational advice on science and technological matters to the Governing Council and Secretariat of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Panel and Secretariat of STAP are hosted by UNEP, and based in the Regional Office for North America (RONA) in Washington, DC. The Secretariat of STAP seeks a suitably qualified candidate with an interest in environmental management to contribute to the work of STAP in the following ways:


  • Assist the Secretary of STAP, and other Secretariat staff members, with research on issues related to the main focal areas of the GEF (biodiversity, climate change mitigation, climate adaptation, chemicals, land degradation, and international waters). This can include:
    • Background research to support preparation of STAP periodic publications, including terms of reference as required;
    • Assistance in preparing speaking notes and presentations for the STAP Chair and Panel Members;
    • Background research as required in the preparation of project reviews;
    • Contribution as necessary in the organization and delivery of STAP workshops and meeting events
  • Contribute to preparing/designing updates to the STAP website
  • Participate in the development of communication and outreach materials, which demonstrate the work of STAP

Eligibility and Qualifications:

  • Enrolled in an undergraduate degree program, at minimum, or in graduate school
  • Pursue a degree in the natural or social sciences, with a focus on environmental management, human interaction with the environment, and perhaps, some exposure to human development and environmental impacts in the developing country context
  • Demonstrate a strong interest in science, and how science can influence policy
  • Exhibit analytical and research skills
  • Ability to write and communicate clearly and effectively
  • Display strong aptitude in computer literacy – experience with website content management systems considered an asset
  • Engender creativity and enthusiasm to work and new experiences

Proficient in English with knowledge of (an)other language(s) is an asset

Important Internship Information

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.

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).

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

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