Job Title: National Intern for Responsible Business Project
Location : Hanoi, Viet Nam
Application Deadline : 25-May-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract : Internship
Post Level : Intern
Languages Required : English
Starting Date : (date when the selected candidate is expected to start) 01-Jun-2021
Duration of Initial Contract : 6 months
Expected Duration of Assignment : 6 months
UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.
Viet Nam has enjoyed one of the most successful transitions from central planning to a market economy since the initiation of Ð?i M?i in 1986. Preliminary data for 2019 shows that real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by about 7 per cent, making Viet Nam one of the fastest growth rates in the region. Rapid business-led economic growth brings with it a unique set of not only opportunities but also risks to social and environmental development. Impacts of business operations extend across workers, consumers, local communities, and natural resources. When left unchecked, where business is free to pursue its economic interests without effective regulation, respect for social and environmental standards can be undermined.
In seeking to ensure economic development align with sustainable development, a coherent framework is required to help guide and regulate responsible business practice in Viet Nam.
Drivers of Responsible Business Practice
Focus on responsible business practice has been driven globally, in the ASEAN region and specifically in Viet Nam due to several factors. Firstly, many countries in the region, e.g. Thailand and Malaysia, have identified the strategic advantage in developing clear and practical guidance for both government agencies and enterprises on ensuring responsible business practice, thus attracting sustainable business investment. Secondly, the two recently-concluded international trade and investment agreements, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Vietnam–European Union Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) include provisions and requirements promoting responsible business practices in Viet Nam. Thirdly, more and more businesses are themselves adopting the ‘triple bottom line’ framework in measuring the financial, social and environmental performance of
enterprises, which can help protect against potential risks to the business while expanding customer base and ensuring sustainable business growth. And lastly, a number of important frameworks and standards have created a solid foundation to guide efforts in ensuring responsible business practice. In 2011, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) were unanimously endorsed by the Human Rights Council. The UNGPs have been incorporated into other international frameworks for responsible business practice, which are also relevant for guiding efforts in Viet Nam, including the ILO Multinational Enterprises Declaration, OECD Guidelines, the ISO 26000 standard, the IFC Sustainability Framework and Performance Standards, the GRI sustainability reporting guidelines, and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).
In addition to this, COVID-19 has sharpened focus on ensuring responsible business practice. The pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of value production when workers, managers, suppliers and consumers are all affected by lockdowns while supply chains collapse, production holds, and trade stops. Companies of all sizes are faced with a range of unprecedented and long-lasting challenges. Those already vulnerable in relation to employment, services, manufacturing and trading are likely to be most at risk. Thus, the concerted efforts by public and private actors to address these issues must be better coordinated and guided by coherent national policy.
Responsible Business Practice in Viet Nam
In Viet Nam, efforts at promoting responsible business practice have been driven through the lens of sustainable development. The country leaders have recently shifted their focus from a purely economic development strategy, to one of sustainable development. As early as 1998, the Politburo has issued Directive 36-CT/TW to strengthen environment protection during the industrialization and modernization of Viet Nam. Very recently, in late 2019, the Prime Minister issued Decision 1362/QD-TTg approving a plan for sustainable development of the private sector. A key viewpoint of the Decision is to “develop private sector in an effective and sustainable manner, ensuring a close, reasonable and harmonious combination between economic efficiency, social responsibility, and natural resources and environment protection” (Art.1.I.2).
Most other efforts to promote responsible business practice are channeled through corporate social responsibility, or CSR, and the strengthening of the regulatory framework. CSR in Viet Nam can be characterised as flexible and voluntary, while the regulatory framework on responsible business has seen significant improvements through new laws including the Labour Code (2019), the Law on Anti-Corruption (2018), and Environmental Protection Law (2014) and its draft amendments. However, to effectively mitigate, prevent and remedy business violations of social and environmental standards, a more comprehensive and coherent strategy is needed, across the wide range of areas where businesses engage with society, creating common objectives for both government and businesses.
Advancing Responsible Business Practice in Viet Nam
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Viet Nam, in partnership with the Government of Sweden, has been driving forward responsible business practices since 2019 as part of the regional programme “Promoting Responsible Business Practices through Regional Partnerships in Asia”, currently focusing on seven countries in Asia, namely, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam.8
Project activities in Viet Nam are channeled towards four (4) principle outputs: 1) awareness raising and training events that build momentum and inform progress on implementation of the UN Guiding Principles; 2) regional strategies in support of the advancement of National Action Plan on Responsible business and human rights, or similar policy frameworks, in furtherance of implementation of the UN Guiding Principles; 3) a partnership architecture bringing greater coherence to policy and advocacy efforts among actors working on a regional level on business and human rights; 4) greater policy coherence and public discourse on trade and international investor agreements, and their relationship to the business and human rights agenda.
Under the overall guidance and direct supervision of the Responsible Business Officer at the UNDP Viet Nam Office, the Intern supports achieving results of the project by working closely with team members of the Responsible Business project and other relevant Programme and Operational staff.
The Intern also works in collaboration with partners/suppliers of the project to ensure successful project development and implementation.
Duties and Responsibilities
The intern, under guidance from UNDP officers in GPT team, will support the development of the following key deliverables during the internship.
Required Skills and Experience
Intern at the time of application must meet one of the following conditions: