UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

07/26/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/25/2021 20:05

Vacancy Notice: Environmental Research Intern

Internship Assignment

Natural Sciences Unit, UNESCO Phnom Penh Office

Terms of Reference

Reference No: INT/NSU/003

Functional Title: Environmental Research Intern

Organizational Unit: Natural Sciences Unit, UNESCO Phnom Penh Office

Duty Station: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Duration of the contract: At least 3 months to 6 months (full-time)

Application deadline: 10 August 2021

Language Requirement: Excellent spoken and written English and Khmer is required for this assignment

Start Date: As soon as possible


As the United Nations specialized agency with a specific mandate for science, UNESCO works to advance and promote science in the interests of peace, sustainable development and human livelihoods, in close collaboration with its Member States and a wide variety of partners, through its Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) and World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).

Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia, covering up to 1-1.6 million ha in the wet season with 8-11 m deep. It harbours rich biological diversity and ecosystems as well as vast cultural heritage, being one of the world's most productive inland fishing waters. Recognizing its unique ecological, economic and cultural values, Tonle Sap was inscribed on the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 1997, and intently enforced by Royal Decree in 2001.

The Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve (TSBR) project, implemented by the UNESCO Phnom Penh Office, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, line ministries, and relevant stakeholders and partners, aims to provide a robust coordination architecture for the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve, to preserve the lake's resources and sustainably improve livelihoods of local communities, by strengthening functions of the TSBR, which include conservation, livelihoods development, and knowledge-exchange, as outlined through UNESCO's MAB Programme. The project is implemented as part of the 'FAO Complementary Support to the Cambodia Programme for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in the Fisheries Sector - Capture Component (CAPFISH-Capture program)', funded by the European Union.

A qualified Intern is required to support the implementation of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve project, and related Natural Science initiatives of Phnom Penh Office, in line with the functions of the assignment.

Overview of the functions of the assignment:

Under the overall authority of UNESCO Representative to Cambodia, and the direct supervision of the Associate Project Officer and National Project Officer of Natural Sciences Unit in UNESCO Phnom Penh Office, the national intern shall undertake the following tasks in relation to the TSBR project, and related natural science initiatives including:

  1. Document research, frameworks and published reports in both English and Khmer on livelihoods, environmental conservation, biodiversity, development activities and ecosystem services of the TSBR.
  2. Collect and document different case studies and modalities of other similar lakes and ecosystems around the world, identify the best management practices and support in developing suitable recommendations for promoting conservation and sustainable development for the TSBR.
  3. Document and analyse best practices, successful stories and lessons learned relating to environmental conservation, innovative solutions to support the livelihoods of communities, and stakeholders' participation in/outside Cambodia to facilitate knowledge-exchange for the TSBR.
  4. Support mapping and analysis of past and current partners, projects and stakeholders working at the TSBR.*
  5. Assist the project team in implementing project activities, including coordination with relevant partners, organizing workshops, conferences and consultative meetings, preparing meeting notes, and supporting with follow-up activities.
  6. Carry out any additional tasks and responsibilities as assigned by the project team.

*Knowledge and demonstrated experience with GIS-software is desirable for this assignment. Sound background in computer science and programming is preferred.

The following outcomes are expected:

Outputs during the assignment will include:

  • Collect and analyse primary & secondary data and information relating to the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve and similar systems. The scope of work includes the following activities:
  1. Support to strengthen UNESCO's database on Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve research articles & reports, and developing a compendium/summary document of the most important research findings, key issues and recommendations of the research articles.
  2. To prepare a compendium of similar lakes and socio-ecological systems to the Tonle Sap, with an analysis of the best lake management practices.
  3. To prepare a compendium of the best practices, successful stories and lessons learned from interventions in similar lake ecosystems to the Tonle Sap, including environmental conservation, improving the livelihoods of communities and enhancing stakeholders' participation.
  4. Develop visual representation and mapping of partners, projects and stakeholders in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.


Education: Degree of full-time university studies (bachelor's degree or equivalent) at a university or equivalent in a relevant field such as environmental sciences, natural resource management, environmental management, environmental policy, geography, GIS, hydrology, ecosystem services, social science or a related field is required. Advanced degree in the above or related fields is preferred.

Language: Excellent English and Khmer language skills are essential.

Required Skills: Sound understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues and governance in Cambodia is essential, preferably with a special focus on the Tonle Sap ecosystem. Knowledge and demonstrated experience with GIS-software is desirable.


  • Solid understanding of biodiversity conservation, wildlife and ecosystem management is essential.
  • Knowledge of technical cartography methods applicable to land use and land classification, ecosystem services, and of coordinate systems and relevant GIS software is desirable
  • Works effectively in a multi-cultural team environment
  • Possesses strong analytical skills, and excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including writing and oral
  • Good IT skills, including knowledge of MS software (Word, Excel etc.)
  • Applicant must be self-motivated and take pride in their work.

How to Apply:

You can apply for this internship if:

  1. You have completed your full-time university studies (bachelor's degree or equivalent) at a university or equivalent institution prior to commencing the assignment


  1. You are enrolled in a graduate programme (second university degree or Master's degree or equivalent, or higher), at the time of application


  1. You have recently graduated with a university degree (first or second degree as defined above), within the last 12 months

Interested candidates, who are eligible, must apply by completing both steps (1) and (2) below:

(1) Please apply with a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Cover Letter explaining motivation and prior relevant experience, to [email protected](link sends e-mail).

The subject of the email should be 'Internship Application: UNESCO PNP Office - Natural Sciences Unit - Ref: INT/NSU/003'

(2) To know more about the internship programme, please carefully go through this webpage: https://en.unesco.org/careers/internships

Applicants are requested to carefully go through the instructions given and ensure that they meet all requirements before submitting an application.

Applicants are also requested to submit their applications to the UNESCO Internship Programme, available at the following link: https://en.unesco.org/careers/internships

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

UNESCO does not remunerate interns. There is no compensation, financial or otherwise for internship assignments.

In line with UNESCO's overall gender mainstreaming strategy, the incumbent is expected to integrate a gender perspective in all activities and apply gender analysis and mainstreaming concepts whenever possible.

UNESCO applies a zero tolerance policy against all forms of harassment.