Internships in the UN: An exploratory review

What is it?

This report presents key findings from an exploratory review of internships in the UN, undertaken in 2021, to understand internship policies and practices across the participating UN entities.

The objectives were: a) to understand the status of internship policies and practices and b) to identify strengths and gaps to inform improvements.

The review included an analysis of internship policies, practices and their level of implementation, as well as the links to strategic Human Resources management in UN entities.

Youth2030, the United Nations system-wide Youth Strategy, was launched in 2018 to transform the UN’s work for and with youth. Through the strategy, the UN seeks to strengthen several foundational areas of its work on youth, such as internships and young talent management in the Organization. Progress on the implementation of the strategy, including in the foundational areas, is routinely tracked across the UN system and highlighted in the annual Youth2030 Progress Reports.


The main findings of the resource indicate diverse internship management models in the United Nations, with a majority following centralized structures, and a significant focus on coordination through full-time and part-time focal points, alongside efforts to enhance program quality and integration into Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS);

  • the prevalence of guidelines for supervisors and training curricula,
  • the inclusion of internship data in HRIS for recruitment and management purposes, and
  • a limited availability of data on interns from vulnerable population groups.

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