A Never-Ending Summer, Hopefully — Internship Experience at UNDP India

by Zerin Osho

Coming to the Fletcher School was an experience in itself until I had the chance to interact with my professors and peers to fine-tune what I thought I wanted to do with my professional career.

I am a lawyer with over five years of experience in the field of international climate policy. Over the years I have worked with eminent environment lawyers in India, the government of India and civil society and think tanks in the US and Germany. These experiences have largely shaped my career choices and have been the reason for my hunger to learn more.

The Fletcher School gave me the perfect opportunity to explore the domains of climate policy that I was particularly interested in – climate finance. In times of a trump presidency, it becomes even more important to find means by which both, mitigation and adaptation policies can be funded and more importantly, sustained.

After endless conversations and discussions with my professors and guides over at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP), I was clear that I wanted to spend the summer working on carbon pricing in India. I was fortunate to get an opportunity to work over at the United Nations Development Programme in New Delhi, where my boss was the Assistant Country Director and Head, Environment and Energy Unit, who was at the Fletcher School in the year 1990.

I had an extremely enriching summer internship experience. UNDP was very flexible and I got a chance to work on India’s market based mechanism, the PAT Scheme that seeks to improve energy efficiency, which consequently results in emissions reduction. Courses on climate change policy, energy finance and environmental policy solving that I had taken at the Fletcher School were instrumental in the work that I eventually undertook. I was assisting in providing policy briefs that looked at the expansion of the PAT model to other sectors of the Indian economy while making the targets for the existing designated consumers even more stringent. After three months, I was successful in getting approvals to launch a dedicated project on the PAT Mechanism at the UNDP India office and have the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Ministry of Power consider my proposal for implementation of a pilot program.

At the end of a wonderful summer and first year at Fletcher, I keenly look forward to kick-starting my final year at school. My experiences so far have strengthened my resolve to work on climate change and create ways to mainstream climate policy and finance. I would eventually like to work on means to create common regional trading platforms in emerging economies that in turn incentivize energy efficiency and investments in innovative low carbon technologies. I take back with me to Fletcher some great new friends, numerous stories and most importantly, memories of a summer that shall forever be etched in my mind. This was a summer that will never end.