JIU/REP/2018/1: Review of internship programmes in the United Nations system

The United Nations system is going through an in-depth reform to align its functioning with its core mandates and to introduce simplified processes for more effective and efficient delivery of its work. The present review addresses the role of internship programmes as part of ongoing reform of human resources management in the United Nations system. It covers the period between 2009 and 2017, during which the size of internship programmes in the United Nations system grew significantly. It is a follow-up to the previous work of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) on this subject (JIU/NOTE/2009/2).

The findings of this review indicate that there has been progress in defining policy frameworks for internships but that most of the recommendations contained in JIU/NOTE/2009/2 have not been implemented. The present report proposes a benchmarking framework for good practices in internship programmes (see chap. IV) for consideration by the organizations of the United Nations system, through the establishment of an ad hoc working group within the Human Resources Network of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination. The governing bodies of the organizations should progressively adopt the benchmarking framework as a cornerstone for the reform of internships across the system. Executive heads of the United Nations system organizations are encouraged to take action in all those areas that can be implemented within their delegated authority and to seek endorsement of the governing bodies when required. The benchmarking framework is divided in four sections, addressing: (a) the application process; (b) the internship period; (c) completion of the internship; and (d) alignment of internship programmes with the values of United Nations.

The report makes seven recommendations, of which one is addressed to the General Assembly (recommendation 4), one to governing and/or legislative bodies of JIU participating organizations (recommendation 6), one to the Secretary-General (recommendation 1) and four to all executive heads of JIU participating organizations. The implementation of all the recommendations is expected to strengthen coherence, effectiveness and accountability in the management and use of internship programmes in the United Nations system.