November 29, 2017

MSc ETIA student reports about the UN Shadowing Programme in Vienna

Every year the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) invites interested students to shadow the work of one of the Vienna-based UN organisations. Master and PhD students of all nationalities are eligible to apply for spending a day with their preferred organization.

Personally, I had the wonderful opportunity to shadow the UN Environment (formerly UNEP) Vienna Office on November 22, 2017. In the morning, we first passed the forecourt, encircled by the 193 flag poles of the United Nations member states. Over the course of the day we then learned about the activities of UN Environment, the characteristics of environmental diplomacy, and what it means to work as one of more than 4500 staff at the Vienna International Centre (VIC).

The entire UN Environment team took time to present their work on inter alia the Carpathian Convention, the Global Mountain Portfolio and implementation projects in the Western Balkans. We could ask questions, and learn about legal, political and personal aspects of the environment programme. For instance, I listened to the intriguing story of negotiating the Carpathian Convention between its 7 member states in the early 2000s. Moreover, I learnt that the activities of UN employees cover wide-ranging issues from coordinating funding, monitoring, to publishing reports on Climate Change Adaptation and the use of remote sensing technology.

I greatly appreciated experiencing the linkages of environmental science, project development and socio-political knowledge. In fact, I felt that my MSc programme in Environmental Technology and International Affairs reflects well the issue areas of UN Environment. It presents a valuable formal education for subsequent work in the field of sustainable development, environmental protection and multilateral diplomacy.

Ansgar Fellendorf (ETIA10)


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