UN procurement data on UNOPS open information hub

COPENHAGEN – All United Nations procurement data is now accessible to the public on UNOPS new open information hub, in what has been called a “giant step for transparency” in aid and development.

​Alongside $56 billion worth of UN-wide procurement data from the last five years, the site presents detailed information related to the 1,000+ projects UNOPS supports, in an interactive and accessible format.

This is the latest in a series of steps made by UNOPS to promote transparency. The organization was the first UN body to publish data in compliance with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) format, and the first organization overall to 'geocode' its IATI data.

Vitaly Vanshelboim, UNOPS Deputy Executive Director, said: "UNOPS remains committed to actively promoting the transparency agenda in line with the Busan Partnership, our commitments as a public body and our belief that the more all stakeholders can see and understand how development funds are used, the greater the chance is that these limited resources will be used effectively."

Information covers $56 billion of UN contracts

The hub has now been officially launched, following months of testing since opening in beta form in June. The public can now view or download information about procurement from United Nations organizations, which in 2011 spent the largest sums on food, medicines, transport and construction, such as building schools and hospitals.

Available information includes the value of goods and services procured by each organization, details on amounts procured from developing countries and countries with economies in transition, and profiles of all countries of supply.

This data has been sourced from the last five Annual Statistical Reports on Procurement in the United Nations, which are compiled by UNOPS on behalf of the UN system. The transition of this information from a classic publication into an open and freely downloadable online format was recently acclaimed by the President of UNOPS Executive Board, which is comprised
of a range of UN Member States, as a "giant step for transparency".

Detailed data on aid and development projects

Alongside its role as a central resource for the UN in procurement, UNOPS also specialises in project management and infrastructure services. The organization implements more than 1,000 projects on behalf of its partners at any given time and details of all of these projects are also available on

The new hub represents a significant upgrade of UNOPS original project data feed as it now includes geographic and sector information in compliance with the IATI standard.

This information is presented on interactive maps that show exact project locations where available. Using the IATI methodology, the projects are 'geocoded' by adding latitude, longitude and 'precision code' values that allow them to be represented on a map at provincial, district or village level.

These projects have also been categorized according to their sectors, as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC).

There are also graphs indicating how much UNOPS is delivering on behalf of its partners including the United Nations, governments, multilateral institutions, foundations and the private sector.

The data is inter-connected where possible, enabling users to continuously explore information about UNOPS operations from multiple perspectives such as by country, by partner or by sector.

All projects include associated contracts regardless of value, and some include downloadable project documents. The project information is updated on a daily basis, subject to legal and practical concerns.

Furthering the transparency agenda

The upgraded platform also provides a hosting service for UNOPS IATI-format data files. In a recently published transparency assessment by Publish What You Fund, the quality of this data was found to be extremely high.

UNOPS role as an implementing partner rather than donor meant that it was not listed in the Aid Transparency Index itself, but it was still given a quality score for its activity level information of 86 percent.

The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and
the UK Department for International Development (DFID), both sector leaders in transparency, scored 91 and 88 percent respectively. The average donor score was 41 percent. Read the UNOPS case study on page 81 of the full Publish What You Fund report. In the future will also be a platform for open aid data tools and resources, which can be freely used.

According to a statement made by the governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Germany, Sweden and the United States at a 2012 Executive Board meeting: "There is no doubt that UNOPS so far has been a leader, maybe even a ground breaker in terms of transparency among UN entities."