Energy and Environment Internship at UNDP

The UN System in South Africa is committed to support the country in meeting its development objectives in alignment with the national development priorities and within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To this end, UNDP South Africa focuses its partnership with the Government of South Africa on achieving demonstrable and sustainable development results in the pursuit of development goals, and in the delivery of and access to quality services particularly for marginalized and vulnerable groups.

The Work On Energy And Environment Is Focused On The Following Priority Areas

The work of UNDP’s Environment and Energy Programme is guided by the UN South Africa Strategic Cooperation Framework (SCF 2013-17) which identifies sustainable development as one of its focus areas. The overall objective of this Programme is to unleash the transformative potential of the green economy. Through this Programme, UNDP contributes to the realisation of resilient communities, gender equity, and climate change mitigation and adaptation to ensure the that environmental assets (energy, water and biodiversity) are well protected and development in a sustainable manner. Specifically, the Programme supports Government’s ongoing efforts on greening the economy through initiatives on advocacy, knowledge management, capacity building, sustainable use of natural resources, solutions and opportunities for inclusive growth purposes.

  • Enhancing biodiversity management through conservation and sustainable use;
  • Climate Change mitigation and adaptation;
  • Sustainable land management to combat desertification and land degradation;
  • International Waters; and
  • Enhancing capacity for Sustainable Energy for All.

Duties And Responsibilities

Key Results Expected

Gap Analysis: Requirements of the technology enabling environment to advance the green economy

The student will author a research essay that may contribute to the development of a UNDP Briefing Note. The objective of this research essay is to contribute to the identification and costing of the needs of the enabling environment required for the uptake of existing and new, emerging green technologies and infrastructure in water security and/or energy security. With critical thinking, the research essay will be more of a review and a synthesis of existing information, data and reports provided by UNDP and its stakeholders.

The Rationale For This Project Hereto

Transition to a green economy without green technologies and technological innovation requires a conducive enabling environment for these technologies to fulfil their intended role. The enabling environment relates to deficient or absent services, systems, tools or mechanisms, or barriers that are prohibitive or serve as contrary determinants for the uptake of green technology. These enablers for green technology are required to ultimately create new green jobs and being economically and socially transformative.

Against the global backdrop, the global Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) process is a fundamental aspect of the commitment of 197 countries, including South Africa, to develop National Determined Contributions (NDCs) as per the UNFCCC Paris Agreement. The South African Climate Change Bill, which is currently in circulation for public comment, is explicitly centred on the NDCs. In as far back as 2005, South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) was mandated by the National Committee on Climate Change (NCCC) to lead the process of carrying out a TNA. This process culminated in a TNA Synthesis Report, which contained a prioritised list of environmentally sound technologies to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to climate change. The TNA update is currently being finalised by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).

However, the unaddressed aspect in the South African TNA process is the determination of the enabling environment, which results in limited reporting on the NDCs/Paris Agreement (global limitations). The national limitations are the result of South Africa not taking a comprehensive account of technology costs and challenges ‘hidden’ in the enabling environment. To this end, advancement to a greener economy may be hindered by unforeseen costs associated with green projects and interventions.

To date, the major element that remains unaddressed in the South African TNA process is the determination of the real and actual technology needs required to implement the green economy, specifically the enabling conditions for the uptake and implementation of green technology hardware and infrastructure.

Intern Functions

  • The intern will be expected to work independently and engage with the UNDP Regional Private Sector Advisor and relevant UNDP Project Managers on the technical scope and content of the research essay, as well as time frames.
  • The intern will be provided with the informational, data and report prerequisites, using these as a basis to prepare a brief proposal/outline defining the scope and content of the research essay.
  • The research essay should be founded on at least two case studies (water and energy).
  • The intern will meet with relevant stakeholders to receive critical feedback, validation and peer review.
  • The approach, writing style and format and other aspects shall fully adhere to UNDP’s publication policies.

Competencies

Competencies and Critical Success Factors

  • An excellent and well above average skill set in critical thinking and analytical capacity.
  • A background in technology and environmental science, geography, natural resources, environmental studies, management, development studies or a closely related field; is desirable.
  • Excellent writing skills in English, and numeracy/number-crunching skills.
  • Ability to thrive in a multi-cultural office setting.
  • Ability to work independently online with minimal supervision, and to be fast-paced.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Excellent and presentable in a manner that is acceptable to the United Nations Code of Conduct.

Education

Required Skills and Experience

  • A bachelors level degree in technology and environmental science, geography, natural resources, environmental studies, management, development studies or a closely related field.

Experience

  • An excellent and well above average skill set in critical thinking and analytical capacity. Excellent writing skills in English, and numeracy/number-crunching skills. Ability to thrive in a multi-cultural office setting. Ability to work independently online with minimal supervision, to be fast-paced and to adhere to deadlines. Strong interpersonal and communication skills. Excellent and presentable in a manner that is acceptable to the United Nations Code of Conduct.

Language

  • Proficiency in English.

Intern Requirements

  • UNDP interns receive payment of a monthly stipend based on the rate established by the duty station
  • UNDP interns accrue leave at a rate of 1.5 days per month;
  • UNDP accepts no responsibility for costs arising from accidents and/or illness or death incurred during the internship;
  • Interns are not eligible to apply for, or be appointed to, any post in UNDP during the period of the internship;
  • Interns must provide proof of enrolment in a health insurance plan;
  • Interns are not staff members and may not represent UNDP in any official capacity;
  • Interns are expected to work full time but flexibility is allowed for education programmes;
  • Applicants should indicate which months they are available part- and/or full time and when they complete their studies (if still enrolled);
  • Interns need to make own arrangements for travel, VISA, accommodation, etc.

Author: MFON

Mfon Essien is an experienced environmental sustainability professional with cross-cultural & international experience (Middle East & Africa) in developing, coordinating and implementing environmental management systems and environmental sustainability initiatives that go beyond compliance. He has gained mastery in the areas of developing environmental sustainability strategies, implementing policies and procedures, and achieving best results for all stakeholders within mandatory legislative and voluntary best practice requirements. He oversees operations at sustainabilitysolutions.net

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