United Nations HIV, Health and Development (HHD) Planetary Health Intern

Location : Istanbul, TURKEY
Application Deadline :18-Jan-19 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Internship
Post Level :Intern
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :between February and August 2019
Expected Duration of Assignment :Full-time (40 hours a week)


The link between health sector procurement and the environment (planetary health) are still only partially understood despite the fact that the important role of procurements in influencing the environmental impact of health sector operations is well acknowledged. For example, studies show carbon emissions by national health systems and global health programmes are closely linked to procurements, especially with regards to pharmaceuticals and other health products throughout their life cycle including production, use, and disposal(1, 2, 3)  

The UN’s journey towards their operational climate neutrality began officially on 5th June 2007 when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon publicly called on all UN agencies, funds and programmes to ‘go green’ and become climate neutral. Driven initially by the UN initiative “Greening the Blue” (4), with interest to promote climate neutrality within the UN, the focus was largely on addressing associated greenhouse gas emissions. However, the Sustainable UN facility in collaboration with sustainability focal points in about 60 UN entities and the HLCM procurement network has extended the focus area onto other critically important purchasing categories as well including the focus on resource depletion and eco- and human-toxicity in the procurement in the context of procurements for the health sector.

To promote compliance with environmental and social standards and to walt the talk, the Sustainable Procurement in the Health sector initiative (SPHS) was officially established in May 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark. This initiative is implemented by an Informal Interagency Task Team coordinated by UNDP through the SPHS secretariat and has ten members—seven are UN Agencies (UNDP, UNEP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNOPS, WHO) and three are Multilateral Health Financing Institutions (GAVI, GFATM and UNITAID). Together, these members command a cumulative purchasing power in the global health sector of around USD $5 billion annually, representing a sizeable portion of the global market in pharmaceuticals and other health products and commodities.

With the financial support from the Swedish Government, UNDP working with Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) initiated the Sustainable Health in Procurement Project (SHiPP). The project is implemented in 10 countries of Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Moldova, South Africa, Tanzania, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zambia. UNDP is responsible for programming in Argentina, Moldova, Tanzania, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zambia while the rest are under HCWH. UNDP and Health Care without Harm (HCWH) have identified Public procurement as a key entry point for promoting more sustainable production and consumption patterns (SDG12). The aim of the project is to strengthen sustainability in the health sector in selected countries to ultimately reduce harm to people and the environment caused by the manufacture and disposal of medical products. Within this framework, the following are the development objectives of this project: 

  • Develop universally adaptable criteria and standards for sustainable manufacturing, distribution and content of products procurered by the health sector
  • Strengthen capacity for sustainable procurement in the health sector in at least 10 project countries 
  • Strengthyen capacity for sustainable production, supply and disposal of health care products in at least 10 project countries
  • Strengthen the understanding of appropriate indicators and monitoring and evaluation processes that help promote accountability for sustainable procurement in the health sector 

(1) http://www.eurasia.undp.org/content/rbec/en/home/library/hiv_aids/rapid-assessment-healthcare-waste-global-fund
(2) http://www.eurasia.undp.org/content/rbec/en/home/library/hiv_aids/Carbon_footprint_UNDP_Global_Fund_health_initiatives_Montenegro_Tajikistan/
(3) http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/hiv-aids/managing-our-climate-change-risk--an-approach-for-environmental-.html
(4) http://www.greeningtheblue.org/
(5) www.savinglivesustainably.org
(6) https://issuu.com/informal_int_task_team_sphs/docs/sphs-6-pager
(7) https://issuu.com/informal_int_task_team_sphs/docs/sphs_annual_report_2016
(8) https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7mQ_2UCdoL4cDFkcVJBMHRqX28/view
(9) https://www.un.org/Depts/ptd/sites/www.un.org.Depts.ptd/files/files/attachment/page/2014/February%202014/conduct_english.pdf

Duties and Responsibilities

The intern will report to the Sustainable Health in Procurement Project (SHiPP) Project manager (Supervisor) and the Regional HHD Team Leader for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Moreover, the candidate will initiate/assist/monitor and develop the following initiatives; and the planning of regular meetings as well as facilitate knowledge exchange. The intern will be expected to:

  • Assist the Supervisor in administrative and logistical support in the management of the SHiPP (e.g., setting up meetings, filling documents, and compile data);
  • Assist the Supervisor in the organization of monthly calls with Focal Point Persons in 6 of the 10 Focus Countries;
  • Assist with the relationship management, including the management of online contacts data bases;
  • Assist in the organization of events and webinars and meeting minutes.
  • Assist in the preparation of written materials, including reports, PowerPoint presentations, overviews, briefing papers and/or documents about general or specific issues related to HCWH
  • Assist in the landscape analysis of current sustainable and green procurement initiatives undertaken by the SPHS Task Team, HCWH and other SPHS partners, focusing on thematic areas such as chemicals, energy, medical products, packaging, procurement, resource efficiency, water, waste management;
  • Assist in the research new and current trends in sustainable procurement in the health sector including but not limited to green procurement criteria practices in the health sector as well as other sectors;
  • Assist with the environmental safeguarding of programmes and project implemented in the region and globally, especially in healthcare waste management and carbon footprint assessment;
  • Assist in communicating findings and facilitating knowledge dissemination and exchange among the various interested parties including HCWH and on the SPHS platform www.savinglivesustainably.org;
  • Support the overall SHiPP communications activities on various communications channels (Twitter, Flickr, SlideShare, YouTube, ISSUU, MailChimp);
  • Assist with liaising with expert stakeholders from the academic, scientific, and third-sector community to adapt a methodology for introducing environmental criteria in bidding processes;
  • Contribute to the process of writing proposals which will be submitted to diverse institutions, with the aim of obtaining additional funding for activities which fall under the SPHS mandate;
  • Support the daily work of the project manager and the HHD Team

The internship will also span broader aspects related to sustainability in the procurement of goods and services for the health sector. This will be regarding further research into the innovations being carried out globally in this field as well as aspects such as Corporate Social Responsibility. How 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 outcome of the internship will be enhanced theoretical and practical knowledge with substantive operational engagement with sustainability practices and policies of the Organization. 


  • Good team worker;
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to multi-task;
  • Must be able to work in a multicultural environment and be aware of organizational culture;
  • Responsible, responsive, and enthusiastic;
  • Solid writing and communications abilities;
  • Be willing to work within the framework of UNDP’s internship policies.

Required Skills and Experience

Interns are selected on a competitive basis. The following qualifications will be considered: 


  • Applicants to the UNDP internship programme must at the time of application meet one of the following requirements: a) be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher); b) be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent); or c) have graduated with a university degree (as defined in (a) and (b) above) in a relevant discipline (environmental studies, public health or health and environment, economics, public or business administration) and, if selected, must start the internship within one-year of graduation


  • Knowledge of sustainable development terminology a strong advantage;
  • Experience in project writing; resource mobilization; partnership building; experience in event management; communications would be an asset;
  • Proficient with managing Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and data bases;


  •  Written and spoken proficiency in English is required. Knowledge of French and Spanish is considered an asset Fluency in Arabic, Portuguese, Russian or Eastern European language is an asset. 

Financial Issues:

Internships within the UN system are unpaid and subject to conditions the applicant must get familiar with before signing his/her internship agreement.

The costs associated with the internship 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 arrangements for travel, accommodation, etc.

Application procedure:
The application should contain:

  • Brief Cover Letter (in English) stating interest in and qualifications for the post and your availability;
  • Current and complete CV in English.

Please combine all your documents into one (1) single PDF document as the system only allows to upload maximum one document. 

Selected candidate must submit following documents:

  • Official letter from the University confirming enrollment in a graduate-level degree programme;
  • Proof of medical and life/accident insurance valid for the location in which the internship will be carried out. Selected intern must have medical and life insurance.


  • UNDP only accepts interns for a minimum of 6 weeks and a maximum of 6 months;
  • UNDP accepts no responsibility for costs arising from accidents, illness or death during the internship;
  • Interns are not staff members and may not represent UNDP in any official capacity;
  • Interns are responsible for arranging for their visa and residence documents, and need to plan for these well in advance;
  • The purpose of the internship is not to lead to further employment with UNDP but to complement an intern’s studies; therefore, there should be no expectation of employment at the end of an internship;
  • More information available at http://www.eurasia.undp.org/content/rbec/en/home/about_us/jobs/internships/  

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.

If you are experiencing difficulties with online job applications, please contact erecruit.helpdesk@undp.org.

© 2016 United Nations Development Programme