The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the knowledge frontier organization for sustainable development in the UN Development System and serves as the integrator for collective action to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNDP’s policy work carried out at HQ, Regional and Country Office levels, forms a contiguous spectrum of deep local knowledge to cutting-edge global perspectives and advocacy.

The Europe and Central Asia region (ECA) covers a vast geographic area that is diverse in terms of ethnic, religious and cultural makeup. It consists of 19 countries and territories in Central Asia, South Caucasus, Western Balkans, Eastern Europe, Cyprus and Türkiye. Although most economies in the region have achieved middle-income status and relatively high levels of human development, persistent challenges to sustainable peace, effective and inclusive governance, and human rights remain. In the recent years, the region has faced combined risks, including issues regarding human rights and the rule of law, governance issues, cross-border hostilities, and armed conflicts.

Of particular concern is the youth unemployment rate among young people aged 15 to 24 in ECA (16.4 per cent in 2022), which was estimated to be 1.5 per cent higher than the world average of 14.9 per cent. In 2023, the ECA region saw a higher share of youth attending school (66 per cent) compared to other regions (52 per cent), but the substantial lack of educational opportunities continues not only to hamper personal and professional growth, but also restricts full participation of youth in the economy.

Despite the comprehensive green recovery packages introduced before the COVID-19 crisis, most ECA countries and territories have not prioritized environmentally friendly measures in their economic recovery plans. As a result, progress toward a just transition in the region has been impeded. It is crucial to address these gaps and foster better alignment between youth-focused policies and population dynamics to promote sustainable development.

The UN has a unique opportunity to support young people by providing diverse opportunities and creating inclusive spaces for their development. The importance of youth development and engagement is underscored in various international frameworks, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Security Council Resolutions 2250 (2015) and 2419 (2018), as well as the Youth2030 Strategy. These frameworks recognize the positive role that young people play in achieving sustainable development, preventing crises, and promoting peace.

UNDP’s Strategic Plan (2022-2025) places a strong emphasis on youth empowerment and development, emphasizing their involvement in various critical areas such as economic progress, political participation, and innovation. At the same time, the UNDP Gender Equality Strategy 2022-2025 recognizes the intersectionality of gender and youth issues, aiming to address the specific challenges faced by young women and girls.

Recognizing the potential of youth as agents of positive change in the ECA region, UNDP plays a significant role in empowering and engaging youth through various initiatives, valuing their unique perspectives, energy, and innovative ideas. In this regard, the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub (IRH) together with partners established the Eurasian Youth Network for Climate, Peace, and Security (Network), in September 2022. The Network was set up to foster youth engagement and regional collaboration by providing a platform for joint activities, knowledge sharing, and consultations on youth engagement focused project designs. Since then, the Network adopted a joint vision and mission along with an annual workplan, which involves expanding the Network and empowering its members through capacity building workshops, global networking, project development, resource mobilization and partnering with the private sector. In the advertised role, the selected Candidate will contribute to the work of IRH in supporting the Network’s sustainability, networking, and resource mobilization efforts.

The Governance and Peacebuilding (GPB) Team of UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub, covering the ECA region, provides advisory services to the countries in the areas of governance, anti-corruption, public sector transformation, digitalization, human rights, security, rule of law, conflict prevention, and peacebuilding. It supports UNDP country offices and works with national, local and regional partners to advance new thinking and solutions to address complex governance and peace challenges in the region, towards accelerating the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the direct supervision of the Youth Engagement Specialist in the Governance and Peacebuilding Team Youth, the Intern will:

  • Support research and analysis on youth empowerment and development challenges and opportunities
  • Contribute to the updating of the UNDP Regional Youth Framework/Strategy
  • Contribute to the drafting of concept notes, background notes and analytical pieces as needed to inform the development of new programmatic initiatives aimed at youth empowerment
  • Support the organization of meetings and workshops relevant for the GPB’s work on youth engagement
  • Support day to day activities related to regional youth initiatives
  • Prepare communication pieces (incl. articles, blog posts, etc.) to convey research and analytical results of UNDP’s work on youth engagement


  • Strong analytical, reporting and writing abilities
  • Strong interpersonal skills, communication and diplomatic skills
  • Demonstrated cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Openness to change and ability to receive/integrate feedback
  • Ability to plan and produce quality results to meet established goals in a timely manner

Required Skills and Experience


Applicants to the UNDP internship programme must at the time of application meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher);
  • Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent);
  • Have graduated with a university degree (as defined in (a) and (b) above) in a degree programme in relevant discipline such as Business or Public Administration or other related fields, 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.

Experience & Skills:

  • Demonstrated strong interest and/or academic background in urban/local governance, green/just transition, development, or related issues is a requirement
  • Experience in writing analytical products, drafting and editorial work is an asset
  • Prior research or programmatic experience in the ECA region is an asset
  • 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.
  • Written and spoken proficiency in English is a requirement


Financial Issues

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

Starting from January 2020 interns may receive stipends according to UN rules and regulations. Where an intern is financially supported by an institution, government or third party, UNDP will, subject to the rules of such institution, government or third party, pay the intern the difference, if any, between the external financial support provided and the applicable UNDP stipend.

Any further 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 and other costs. 

Application procedure

The application should contain:

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

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

Candidates who are selected for must submit prior to the interview the following documents:

  • Official document(s) confirming your education status stated in Section “Qualifications”;
  • 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 and/or illness or death incurred during the internship.
  • Interns are not staff members and may not represent UNDP in any official capacity.
  • It is important to note that interns are responsible to arrange for their own visa and residence documents and need to plan for these well in advance.

Subsequent Employment

The purpose of the Internship Programme 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. It is important to note that interns are responsible to arrange for their own visa and residence documents and need to plan for these well in advance.

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