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Research & Engagement Intern, Managing Partners, Global Commission on Adaptation

WRI Overview 

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean. 

Internships at WRI are learning experiences designed for current students, recent graduates, and other candidates who wish to gain knowledge about a specific area of our work. We strive to attract diverse, intellectually-driven candidates who have a passion for sustainability and development. WRI provides many internship opportunities throughout the year in all our programs.  

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.  

Program Overview

Over the last decade, more countries, cities, and communities have sought to protect economic growth and reduce extreme poverty by better managing the impacts of climate change. With the signing of the Paris Agreement, 192 governments agreed to a global goal on adaptation. Current mitigation commitments have reduced the trajectory of emissions to give us a chance to keep global temperature increase to 2.7 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Risks associated with this temperature scenario could threaten our ability to reduce poverty, develop sustainably and achieve well-being and security for all. The decisions we make today could lead us toward a more climate resilient future, or they could undermine food, water and energy security for decades to come.

A new high-level Global Commission on Adaptation was launched in October 2018. Composed of current and former heads of government and leaders from business, philanthropy and civil society, the Commission seeks to elevate the political visibility of adaptation with a strong focus on solutions. The Commission is developing a narrative that marks a qualitative shift in the way we think about and act on adaptation. It demonstrates that adapting to climate change improves human well-being and results in better, more sustainable economic development and security for all. It makes the case for the importance of taking climate risks into account and radically changing the way we do development. And most importantly of all, it shows the importance of ensuring that adaptation action and support reaches the most vulnerable.

Following its formal launch, the Commission has engaged in outreach and coalition building within the wider development and adaptation communities. It is also preparing to deliver a Flagship Report at the UN Climate Summit in September 2019. This outreach, coalition building, and report will catalyze a “Year of Action” during which Commissioners and partners will inspire governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and civil society to enhance adaptation commitments, mobilize finance and accelerate action.

The Commission—through Commissioner commitments and partnerships with others—will devote the coming year to help drive a set of Action Tracks essential to jump-starting the needed transitions. Each of these Action Tracks focuses on a specific high-risk sector, including for example, Food Security, Locally Led Action, Infrastructure, and Nature-Based Solutions. In some cases, these actions will involve mobilizing political, technical, and financial support to existing initiatives and, in other cases, forging new coalitions for change. The Commission will champion this package of initiatives at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit and throughout the coming “Year of Action,” culminating in the Climate Adaptation Action Summit in The Netherlands in October 2020, and raising the level of ambition on adaptation in advance of COP26. Actions within each action track are expected to extend beyond the lifetime of the Commission and realize their goals in the next 5-10 years.   

Managing Partners of the Global Commission on Adaptation Overview

The Managing Partners of the Global Commission on Adaptation are the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC and the Global Center on Adaptation in the Netherlands.

Global Center on Adaptation
The Global Center on Adaptation was initiated by UN Environment and the governments of the Netherlands, Japan, and the Philippines and has established partnerships with global organizations, NGOs, governments, financial institutions, knowledge institutions, and businesses to accelerate climate adaptation. The Center focuses its activities on those areas where acceleration is most needed: where action is most urgently required and where this is complementary to the work of others. It is an independent organization, working across the Global North and South, headquartered in the Netherlands.
The Center works across different sectors and cross-cutting issues to define and scale up effective climate adaptation. It does this by mobilizing and convening the global adaptation community through discussion briefs, workshops, webinars & conferences to set the global adaptation knowledge agenda. The Center recognizes and builds excellence by identifying projects for best practices and lessons learned to share tools, guidance, metrics and lessons.

Internship Summary
This internship offers a unique learning opportunity through engagement with the work of the Managing Partners of the Global Commission on Adaptation. In this role, you will join a team of highly motivated and experienced individuals, including members of WRI’s senior leadership and global experts to support the development and production of the upcoming release of the technical report of the GCA and support the outputs and engagement during the “Year of Action”. You will learn on the job, and will gain experience with stakeholder engagement, literature review, data analysis, science communication, and project and event management.

Learning Outcomes
The internship will provide experience in the following areas:

Supporting Action Track Development and Implementation
  • Conducting rapid research as needed to inform action track development and implementation
  • Tracking and reporting on progress of action track implementation
  • Supporting development of monitoring and accountability frameworks for action tracks
  • Supporting internal and external communications on action tracks progress

Research and Data Management
  • Performing reviews of peer-reviewed and other literature, including by using tools such as Web of Science and Google scholar.
  • Conducting qualitative and quantitative analyses to support knowledge products such as background discussion papers and technical reports; identifying case studies of adaptation best practices
  • Drafting and editing text for report knowledge products
  • Supporting marketing research on current and potential partners

Stakeholder Engagement
  • Supporting engagement with partners of the Global Commission on Adaptation, including Commissioners, country government partners, Action Track partners and civil society and youth organizations
  • Identifying and supporting opportunities for engagement of Commissioners and Global Commission partners to support Action Tracks and awareness raising activities.
  • Providing event planning support to organize Global Commission events and speaking opportunities
  • Preparing outreach and engagement materials and supporting efforts to facilitate partnerships development and coordination, such as through newsletter-style updates, webinars or online fora
  • Supporting internal organization and tracking of stakeholder engagement

Internship Qualifications
  • BA/BS in Marketing, Business, Environmental Science, Economics, Public Policy, International Development, International Relations, or a related field with an interest in climate change, resilience, climate adaptation, or sustainable development
  • Flexible and able to problem solve in high-pressure situations
  • Dedicated, hardworking, punctual, dependable, and a great teammate
  • Qualitative and quantitative research skills, with the ability to express complex concepts clearly and concisely; strong writing skills preferred
  • A self-motivated learner with a willingness to take on new challenges as required 
  • Confidence and independence to take initiative, with the awareness and judgement to seek help when needed
  • Exposure to literature review, online search tools, reference managers and word processing and document processing tools
  • Creative thinker who can adapt their communication style to reach a large variety of audiences; not afraid to bring new ideas and perspectives to the table
  • Interest in and commitment to environment and international development

General Internship Requirements
  • Applicants must have personal health insurance coverage.
  • U.S. work authorization is required for this opportunity. WRI does not sponsor interns for visas.

This is a paid internship.

This is a six-month (24 week) internship (October 2019 – March 2020).

How to Apply
Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

The World Resources Institute ( is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI's policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.