Internship in Interagency Sustainability Team


Please note: The deadline has changed. We would like your applications no later than July 29.

Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
When: August 2013 – January 2014 (6 months with possibility of extension subject to positive performance)
Requirements: University student (post-graduate/ research student) in Development Studies/ Public Health/ Public or Business Administration / Environmental Studies or any other related field. Fluency in English.
Total hours: 15-20 hours /week (flexible to meet requirements of the student)
Salary: Unpaid

Internships offer a small group of outstanding graduate-level students the opportunity to acquire direct exposure to UNDP's work. They are designed to complement development-oriented studies with practical experience in various aspects of multilateral technical cooperation, but also complement other international studies, including law.

Background of Internship

In line with the larger UN goals and vision, the five main UN agencies in Copenhagen: UNICEF, UNDP, UNOPS, UNFPA and WHO have started the process of aligning their sustainability goals in procurement procedures and practices for the health sector jointly with UNEP. Sustainability is not only an area that we all will find ourselves committing more time and resources to, it is also gaining higher priority on the UN Global Agenda and has the potential to replace the Millennium Development Goals post-2015.

The UN Informal Interagency Task Team for Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector (the IIATT-SPHS) was set up in Copenhagen in May 2012. The main objectives of the IIATT-SPHS are to coordinate existing and new initiatives, which will lead to sustainable procurement practices of the member’s own operations and in the health sector at large. The IIATT-SPHS envisions to influence the normative level through guideline development, impact through a market shaping approach by the formulation of tender processes and to develop a consensus for monitoring and auditing compliance to sustainability criteria of suppliers and users of health products and services.

A series of 5 meetings involving 20+ participants were organised in Copenhagen. At these meetings, participants from all the agencies listed took part and several initiatives have already been launched. Initiatives such as Carbon Footprinting of freight, the inclusion of sustainable criteria in bidding processes (i.e. Demonstrated commitment to sustainability), the development of environmental guidelines by WHO and fore-mostly, the development of a route-map that presents the direction the interagency task team plans to take in the coming years have been some of the outcomes. The group has a forum where documents, links, blogs, articles, photos etc. have been uploaded which is regularly updated after each of the meetings.

A guideline for green procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical devices is a joint activity of IIATT-SPHS. The guideline development is led by a Steering Group of the IIATT-SPHS and facilitated by the secretariat, which is currently with UNDP. The guideline development will follow the WHO normative framework. WHO therefore plays an important role in the guideline development and is represented by both the Regional Office for Europe, WHO Bonn and WHO Geneva.

Description of tasks:
The intern will initiate/ assist/ report/ monitor and develop the following initiatives; and the planning of regular meetings as well as facilitate knowledge exchange. The intern will be expected to:
• Liaise with expert stakeholders from the academic, scientific, and third-sector community, private sector (profit and not for profit), public sector, etc.
• Coordinate communications between internal and external parties and serve as a ‘point of contact’ for requests for information on the initiative/task team
• Organizing teleconference with UN and non-UN members and writing minutes
• Communicate findings and facilitate knowledge dissemination and exchange among the various interested parties.
• Identify, contact and follow-up with partners employing ‘best practices’ in sustainable procurement in the health sector
• Organise monthly meetings for the IIATT-SPHS by inviting external participants, drafting the agenda, writing minutes, coordinating all logistics and technological support
• Establish partnerships with UN networks such as those in UNEP to align the above initiatives with the larger UN sustainability policies and goals.
• Maintain the group’s forum on Teamworks.
• Logistical preparation of technical workshop of the scoping phase in WHO, Bonn.
• Preparation of stream of activities on monthly basis
• Filing documents and compiling data
• Preparation of PowerPoint presentations: briefing on IIATT-SPHS

The internship will also span broader aspects related to sustainability in procurement of goods and services for the health sector. This will be in terms of further research into the innovations being carried out globally in this field as well as aspects such as Corporate Social Responsibility. The ways in which UN policies and practices for sustainability can promote economic and social development in developing countries rather than pose obstacles to economic growth in emerging markets is also an important area of consideration that the intern will be encouraged to explore.

The aim of the internship will be to enhance the theoretical knowledge of the intern through substantive and operational engagement with sustainability practices and policies of the Organisation while assisting with the initiatives and plans that are already in place and those that are in the pipeline.

To apply:

Please send a resume and cover letter to the below stated no later than 29th July, 2013. Please indicate in your cover letter:

-your motivation
-your availability over the period
-any relevant work experience

Note: When short listing for this position, priority will be given to those candidates that are residing within commuting distance to our office: Marmorvej 51, 2100 Copenhagen. Selected candidate will be required to produce a No Objection Letter from their education institution before the internship can commence.

Please email your application to:

For more information, please call Linnea Ericsson at +45 4533 6007

A Further Note on UNDP Internships:


Internships can take place in a UNDP country office/ regional center or at the organization's Headquarters in New York/ Copenhagen/ Geneva. Assignments vary greatly in terms of content. Every attempt is made to match the interests of the intern with the needs of the organization. Internship assignments vary in length according to the availability and academic requirements of the intern, as well as the needs of UNDP. Assignments are available on a part-time and full-time basis throughout the year.


Interns are selected on a competitive basis. The following minimum qualifications are required:

• Enrollment in a graduate-level degree programme in a development related field such as economics, public or business administration, or environmental studies. Only those students who will return to their studies upon completion of their internship assignments are eligible.
• Demonstrated interest in the field of development.
• Language skills: written and spoken proficiency in at least one, and preferably two of the three working languages used by UNDP: English, French and Spanish. Fluency in Arabic, Portuguese, Russian or Eastern European language is an asset.
• An interest in global mobility; adaptability to varied physical and other environments; a desire to work with and gain the confidence and respect of people with different language, national and cultural backgrounds.
• Respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and the UNDP Statement of Purpose.

Financial Issues

UNDP does not pay for internships. The costs associated with the latter must be borne by the nominating institution, related institution or government, which may provide the required financial assistance to its students; or by the student, who will have to obtain financing for subsistence and make his or her own arrangements for travel, accommodation etc.

Further Career Opportunities

The purpose of internships is not to lead to further employment with UNDP but, as mentioned, to complement an intern's studies. However, a number of interns, having completed their studies and met the necessary requirements, have gone on to further assignments with the UNDP or elsewhere in the United Nations system.

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