Project Code: STATE-KEN-66

Is UNEP an effective partner to monitor the environmental impacts of foreign investment?

Project Title Is UNEP an effective partner to monitor the environmental impacts of foreign investment?
Project Summary The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is the leading global organization promoting implementation of the environmental aspect of the Sustainable Development Goals. Will a partnership between UNEP and a foreign government lead to more environmentally friendly investment and development aid?
Country Kenya
Country/Region of Focus Africa
Agency Department of State
DoS Office N/A
Section Other
Number of Interns 3
Project Description

UNEP headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya has the mandate to keep the state of the world’s environment under review. The US Mission to UNEP is looking for an intern that is interested in how a partnership between UNEP and a foreign government may or may not lead to increased environmental protections.

Since 2013, China has been developing The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (known as Belt and Road Initiative or BRI) to expand the ancient trade routes. Through the BRI, China’s intent is to enhance economic development and inter-regional connectivity focusing on policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people.

The Silk Road Fund invests in resource extraction, industrial and financial cooperation, technical capacity building and especially infrastructure for transportation, energy, telecommunications and industrial capacity.

The Belt and Road Initiative covers a vast area stretching across three continents and involving some 65 countries. Together, these countries represent approximately 40% of the earth’s total land area, 30% of global Gross Domestic Product, 55% of total CO2 emissions, and 60% of the world’s population. The outcomes of this Initiative could have a profound impact on the planet and on human development.

In 2016 UNEP signed an agreement with China to facilitate collaboration and cooperation on ecological conservation and environmental protection for a green BRI and to promote sustainable development along the BRI region. This is, to our best knowledge, the first such agreement between UNEP and a country regarding the environmental aspect of their development and investment program. Therefore, this virtual internship project will help to analyze the overall effectiveness of this approach to environmentally sustainable development and investment and whether this approach or aspects of it should be emulated or avoided for achieving improved environmental sustainability.

Because our Mission is headquartered in Kenya, we are primarily interested in projects in Africa. The first task of the intern(s) would be to make a data base of the BRI projects in Africa.

In addition to an analysis of the overall effectiveness, specific questions that may need to be addressed are: (the list may expand or contract as the project takes shape)

1. What environmental standards are applied to projects? National, Chinese, global, other?
2. Is there a requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment on projects? If yes, who completes it? Government, independent assessor? Who pays for the assessment? Is it required to be completed before a project begins?
3. Are there independent evaluations of projects before or after completion?
4. Is there open bidding on projects for general contracting or equipment? If yes, who decides: the recipient country or China?

Required Skills or Interests
Analytical writing
Data analysis
Economic analysis
Political Analysis
Additional Information