Chemicals, Waste & Circular Economy Programme Support Officer

Location : Hanoi, VIET NAM
Application Deadline :16-May-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Internship
Post Level :Intern
Languages Required :

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


Corporate Background

UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.

UNDP is working to strengthen new frameworks for development, disaster risk reduction and climate change. We support countries' efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, which will guide global development priorities through 2030. The key 2030 Agenda principle of leaving no one behind and stamping out inequality is at the core of everything we do.

UNDP focuses on helping countries build and share solutions in three main areas:

  • Sustainable development
  • Democratic governance and peacebuilding
  • Climate and disaster resilience

In all our activities, we encourage the protection of human rights and the empowerment of women, minorities, and the poorest and most vulnerable.

Overview of UNDP Viet Nam’s Climate Change & Environment Unit

The UNDP Viet Nam Climate Change & Environment (CCE) unit covers the following areas of work:

  1. low-carbon development and green growth, including sustainable production and consumption patterns;
  2. renewable energy and energy efficiency, especially in the (sub-)sectors of transportation, construction, chemical fertilizers, pulp and paper, and low-carbon bus public transportation;
  3. reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD);
  4. adaptation and resilience to the impacts of climate change and disasters;
  5. natural resources and biodiversity conservation; and
  6. environmental protection.

UNDP support focuses on advocacy, policy research and formation, capacity and partnership building and coordination, technology testing and transfer, piloting models, and promoting the participation of businesses and local communities.

Project Background

On waste and plastic management

Waste management has become a major concern in Viet Nam, as waste generation is increasing at an unprecedented pace and is projected to triple over the next 15 years. Currently, the country does not have the capacity to effectively handle this waste: 70% is disposed in landfills where the implementation of environmental standards is limited; while the rest is burned or discarded in nature, with much of it eventually ending up into the sea. The complex structure of solid waste management at the policy and governance level, together with the lack of reliable data and poor regional coordination worsen the situation. Citizens and businesses are not generally aware of the negative impacts improper waste management causes on human health, in addition to soil, air and water pollution, which calls for increased investment in education. Similarly, Viet Nam has become a major producer and consumer of plastic, with immediate negative consequences in terms of marine pollution, population wellbeing, and on the tourism and fishery industries. Finally, the circular economy approach is relatively unknown, while the linear economy (take, make, waste) is widely employed by business in Viet Nam.

On plastic waste, in December 2019, the first National Action Plan for Management of Marine Plastic Litter was issued by the Prime Minister (PM). The plan sets the target of reducing marine plastic litter by 75%; collect 100% of abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gears and put an end to the disposal of fishing gears in the sea; prevent the use of single-use plastics and non-biodegradable plastic bags in 100% of coastal tourism areas, tourist attractions, tourist accommodations, and other seaside tourism services; and strive for 100% of marine protected areas to be free of plastic litter, by 2030. On August 20, 2020, the Prime Minister issued Directive 33/CT-TTg on strengthening the management, reuse, recycling, treatment and reduction of plastic waste. The PM instructed ministries, branches and localities to issue directives and plans to reduce and recycle plastic waste; as well as to minimize the use of disposable plastic products and prioritize the selection of recycled and environmentally friendly products. The Directive also requests agencies and public institutions to minimize the use of disposable plastic products and reinforces environmental protection legislation to tackle environmental challenges. This is a strong signal given to line ministries and will foster the formulation of sectoral plans to reduce plastic pollution.

In November 2020, the revised Law on Environmental Protection (LEP) was adopted. It builds the institutional basis for the development of a circular economy and strengthens the stipulation on solid waste management directives? Article 142 gives the first definition of Circular Economy, in which “design, production, consumption and service activities reduce the extraction of raw materials, materials, extend product life, reduce generated waste and minimize negative impacts”.  Articles from 75 to 79 of the revised LEP provide regulations on domestic solid waste collection and treatment service based on the sorted amount of waste, according to which: domestic solid waste must be classified into, solid waste that can be reused or recycled; food waste; other domestic solid waste.

On the chemical sector

In Viet Nam, while the chemical and manufacturing sectors play a very important role in the development of the national economy and in the industrialization and modernization of the country, certain chemicals, which are potentially hazardous/toxic, their production processes and products containing such chemicals are becoming of increasing concern because of their impact on human health, the local and global environment and ecosystems.

POPs and Mercury are both persistent substances that do not readily break down in the environment, bio-accumulate in the food chain and humans, and are able to travel long distances far away from the place where they were produced. Because of their detrimental impact on human and environmental health, they are considered a global threat and are covered under the Stockholm Convention on POPs and the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

Despite some progress achieved in developing the Regulatory Framework, there are still significant gaps in the current legislation concerning the threshold limits for hazardous chemicals used in consumer products and in the manufacturing processes.  Limits for POPs have been established for the flue gas released by incinerators, steel industry and cement industry. However, there are no rules related to the limit of relevant POPs in consumer products. Indeed, the use of POPs in the manufacturing industry has not been phased-out and, at the same time, not completely understood by the manufacturers.

On the circular economy

Recently, the concept of CE has gained prominence in Viet Nam and in ASEAN member states. A circular economy entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources and designing waste out of the system. The circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital. It represents a systemic shift that builds long-term resilience, generates business and economic opportunities, and provides environmental and societal benefits (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2020). The Vietnamese government has increasingly highlighted the importance of Circular Economy (CE) as a trend for sustainable development and national development orientations for 2021 - 2030. In Viet Nam’s 2020 revised Law on Environmental Protection (LEP), CE is  defined as: “CE is an economic model in which design, production, consumption and service activities aim to reduce raw material extraction, extending the product life cycle, reducing generated waste and minimizing negative impacts on the environment.”, UNDP Vietnam has been working with Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to launch and operate the Vietnam Circular Economy Hub, aiming to raise awareness and build the capacity of all stakeholders, including public authorities, businesses, civil society, academia, in adopting the CE principles, creating synergies, and integrating financial and technical resources to support the transition towards a low-carbon and circular Viet Nam.

UNDP is currently implementing several projects, technical assistance around this portfolio to support the Government of Vietnam with: (i) implementation of Stockholm and Minamata Convention; (ii) Addressing and improvement of waste and plastic management; (iii) innovation to tackle marine plastic pollution; (iv) local intervention to support local waste management and support informal waste workers; (v) accelerating the transition to circular economy; (vi) support sustainable development of ocean economy.

Duties and Responsibilities


This assignment of the intern focuses on providing professional inputs to strengthening the development and management of UNDP Viet Nam’s chemical, waste and circular economy portfolio.

Through the assignment, the selected intern will benefit from (i) enhancing his/her technical expertise in the subject areas; (ii) building and expanding a professional network with development partners and the government of Viet Nam; and (iii) enhancing his/her analytic and organizational skills.

Scope of Work

As a member of the Climate Change and Environment Team (CCE), the intern can be expected to make contribution to the formulation of new projects, including preparing and revising concept notes, managing and conducing consultations with national and international counterparts and consultants, undertaking feasibility studies and research, developing full project documents, and appraising project proposals.

As a member of the UNDP programme team, the intern is responsible for the oversight and implementation of projects assigned to him/her to ensure quality planning, budgeting, procurement of services and consultants, and oversight of implementation, reporting, and monitoring and evaluation for timely delivery of quality results/products.

As a member of the UN family in Viet Nam, the intern is expected to make contribution to the implementation of the UN One Plan, advancing UN’s delivery as one (DAO) agenda, enhancing synergies and impacts of UN support in the areas of biodiversity conservation and environmental management. The intern will work in partnership with UN/DP colleagues, government counterparts, project staff, and non-government organizations, as relevant, to ensure successful programme development and implementation to achieve One Plan results.

The intern’s assignment may entail any of the following tasks:

Task 1: Strategic partnership building and resource mobilization strategy (20%)

As a member of the CCE team, the intern is expected to contribute to the formulation of new projects and mobilize resources in the area of chemical, waste and circular economy. S/he will focus on the following tasks:

  • Contribute to the formulation of CO programmes/projects in the area of chemical, waste and circular economy to translate UNDP’s priorities into local interventions. This will be done in close consultation and collaboration with government counterparts, stakeholders, and UNDP technical staff/ advisors in Viet Nam and in regional offices and headquarters;
  • Maintain and develop partnerships with government institutions, development partners, the private sector, and civil society;
  • Support the implementation of UN and CO partnerships and resource mobilization strategies;
  • Analyze the political and development context of Viet Nam, identifying new sub-project/program ideas and formulating new projects based on UNDP’s strategic goals, Viet Nam’s needs, and donors’ priorities.

Task 2: Management and implementation of projects (60%)

The intern will function as part of the UNDP programme team responsible for project implementation, backstopping UNDP's overall support and quality assurance work for ongoing projects in the area of chemical, waste and circular economy by conducting, as relevant, the following tasks:

  • Support UNDP Programme Analysts to manage the projects assigned to her/him, including annual and quarterly work-plans, reporting, and monitoring and evaluation of the assigned projects;
  • Support project activities through research and analysis, formulation of ToRs, and drafting summaries of lessons learnt and aggregate reports on activities, outputs, and outcomes, including reports for donors as needed.
  • Support UNDP Programme Analysts in planning standard evaluations and impact assessments of the programmes/projects, and follow up to ensure implementation of recommendations;
  • Identify and synthesize best practices and lessons learned, making suggestions to incorporate those lessons into programme/project implementation and monitoring;
  • Make contributions to knowledge networks and communities of practice, including relevant national, regional, and/or global networks;
  • Contribute to the preparation of briefing notes and updates for UNDP Programme meetings (e.g. Programme Executive Board), workshops and relevant events.

Task 3: UN reform agenda and advocacy (20%)

The International Intern will function as part of the UN family in Viet Nam which commits to the Deliver as One (DAO) approach to enhance impacts of UN support in the area of chemical, waste and circular economy, by conducting the following tasks:

  • Participate and contribute to the activities of the UN system programming.
  • Support the UN and UNDP’s efforts to advocate and engage in policy dialogue, including by contributing to policy-driven research and reviews, preparing briefing notes or concept papers in collaboration with UNDP and project technical staff.


The intern will benefit from the following supervision modalities:

  • Structured guidance provided by the supervisor, especially in the beginning of the assignment, with the purpose of gradually increasing the responsibilities of the intern;
  • Establishment of a work plan, with clear key results formulated;
  • Effective supervision through knowledge sharing and performance/development feedback throughout the assignment;
  • Easy access to the supervisor;
  • Participation in unit/team/office meetings to ensure integration and operational effectiveness;
  • Guidance and advice in relation to learning and training opportunities within the field of expertise;
  • If more than one supervisor; clear agreement of the roles and responsibilities between the relevant parties.


  • It is expected that, due to COVID-19 restrictions, international internship assignments will be home-based until further notice.
  • Selected interns must be able to share proof of education enrolment and/ or graduation, medical/health and life/accident insurance, valid for the location in which the internship will be carried out (i.e., Canada) and be able to provide insurance documentary proof at the time of their selection.
  • The purpose of the assignment is not to lead to further employment with UNDP but to complement an intern’s studies and learning growth. There is no expectation of employment at the end of these internships. Interns are not eligible to apply for, or be appointed to, any post in UNDP during the period of the internship.
  • Interns will receive 1.5 days of paid leave per month.
  • Interns are not staff members and may not represent UNDP in any official capacity.

Required Skills and Experience



The intern at the time of application must meet one of the following conditions:

  • Be enrolled in a postgraduate degree programme (such as a master’s programme or higher) in environment and natural resources, environmental engineering, environmental management, or related fields;
  • Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (such as bachelor’s degree or equivalent) in environment and natural resources, environmental engineering, environmental management, or related fields;
  • Have recently graduated with a university degree (as defined in (a) and (b) above) and, if selected, must start the internship within one year of graduation;
  • Be enrolled in a postgraduate professional traineeship program and undertake the internship as part of this program.

Relevant Professional Experience

  • At least one year of experience in program/project development, monitoring and evaluation, preferably in a developing country and/or in the Asian region
  • Knowledge in any of the following areas is an asset: chemical management, waste management, environmental engineering, circular economy.
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal skills, and the ability to work effectively in an international environment
  • Good organizational and analytical skills, initiative, and sound judgment
  • Ability to manage diverse and complex tasks with tight deadlines
  • Ability to work with minimum supervision
  • Good computer skills

Language Requirements

  • Excellent writing, editing, and oral communication skills in English.

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