Luis Peña’s Internship at UN DCO: Insights and Learning

By Luis Peña

The United Nations Development Coordination Office (UN DCO) plays a crucial role in coordinating global efforts for sustainable development by helping the Resident Coordinator System (RCO System) and Resident Coordinators (RCs) think of them as the ambassadors of the UN Secretary General to each country. The mandate of UN DCO revolves around coordinating development efforts worldwide. By fostering collaboration among UN agencies, governments, and stakeholders, the office aims to achieve development goals. My internship at UN DCO provided a firsthand understanding of its mission and objectives.
As a Data Analytics intern, I was tasked with contributing to policy formulation and analysis. Projects involved researching development policies, analyzing data, and drafting reports. The first project I was tasked with was compiling the different uses and benefits provided by the UN internal database called UNINFO. These experiences equipped me with valuable insights into shaping development strategies at both national and global levels. Once I was lucky enough to impart a training to the Angola Country Team on how to download data from this database and the different ways you can look up information, if you want to see indicators related to a specific UN agency or a country.

Facilitating multilateral partnerships was a significant aspect of my internship at UN DCO. Collaborative initiatives were essential in leveraging resources and intelligence to address development challenges. One time my supervisor was assigned to gather information about the resources surrounding the economic support the UN has provided to Palestine since the events that took place on October 7th, 2023. It was really a challenge because the information was still fresh out of the oven, and we had to dig deep to get the report for the upper management.

UN DCO is deeply committed to promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). My internship activities directly contributed to all the SDGs, my supervisor oversaw the UN Indicator Framework Methodological Notes, a document containing all the details of the 17 Indicators and sub indicators, from who was the agency leader, description of the indicator, measurement and what the UN wants to achieve, by addition so was I. My last project was one of the most challenging, we needed to access databases containing all the information regarding the progress being made by the agencies in all the countries the UN operates. We downloaded excel files, cleaned the information and re uploaded it to a master file that showed the progress on the indicator’s countries choose to work with. And do not forget the day-to-day tasks of following up on reports and making meetings minutes for my supervisor. Each day was different and with all the interns being from various regions of the world, it was an enriching experience.

My internship at UN DCO provided insights into global development coordination. It expanded my understanding of international development and inspired my professional aspirations. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to UN DCO’s work in advancing sustainable development worldwide even if it was just a grain of sand. I encourage aspiring professionals to explore opportunities at organizations like UN DCO. Such experiences offer opportunities to make a meaningful (large or small) difference in
addressing global challenges and building a more sustainable for future generations.

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