Interning at the World Resources Institute as the 2020 Tufts Climate Ambition Intern was a truly valuable opportunity to connect what I had learnt in class at Fletcher, with the practical reality of working on climate action. Through this internship, I gained meaningful experience of what it would be like to work professionally in environment and resource policy, while getting the chance to apply my learnings from class to a real-world scenario.
My responsibilities at WRI included tracking measures countries are taking to enhance or update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, and conduct research on successful examples of this, and managing country outreach relating to the subject area. I also had the opportunity to conduct research to contribute to knowledge products being produced by the organization, in particular for reports on sector specific opportunities for NDC enhancement
Working intensively on projects related to the Paris Agreement was a unique experience, because it integrated much of what I had done earlier in the year at Fletcher, contextualizing topics I had previously written about or discussed in class with the reality of stepping up ambition on a global scale. It was especially interesting to learn more about the considerations countries take into account when defining their approaches towards climate change mitigation and adaptation, and in determining which sectors to address within their contributions, as well as to understand the range of stakeholders and government ministries that have a role to play in this process.
However, in addition to enhancing my understanding of environmental policy issues, understanding the processes and steps that are involved with the production of knowledge products and the collaboration involved amongst different stakeholders was eye opening. Witnessing the process of obtaining engagement from different countries and collaborating on projects across institutions helped inform some of my course choices for next semester, encouraging me to take a class on negotiations to better understand how countries come together to form agreements, and set goals.
In addition to working with the climate program, events and initiatives at WRI made it possible to gain exposure to different programs and get an idea of the kind of work that was being done in other departments. I really appreciated the opportunity to attend Around WRI in 80 Days events for interns, which provided opportunities for engagement with other departments, and internal activities like the Plastic Free July challenge. Getting an understanding of how other programs operated provided valuable exposure to other facets of the organization, and made it easier to get an understanding of the organization as a whole
This internship was a valuable experience to engage with
issues of environmental policy on an international scale, and I very much look
forward to drawing on what I have learning this summer within my classes next
semester, and much beyond.