United Nations procurement at $15.4 billion in 2012

COPENHAGEN – The value of procurement of goods and services by the United Nations was $15.4 billion in 2012, with some of the largest sums spent on pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, food, transportation and construction.

The 2012 Annual Statistical Report on UN Procurement is compiled by UNOPS on behalf of the UN system. The report shows that largest purchasers overall were the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Procurement Division (UN/PD), the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), in descending order.

The 2012 figure is up $1.1 billion from the previous year, largely as a result of more comprehensive reporting.

The report provides data and analysis on the goods and services procured by the UN system in support of its operations, providing key information for UN system entities, governments, suppliers, donors and academia. It includes information on UN procurement by country of supply, a trend analysis of UN procurement from developing countries and countries with economies in transition and UN procurement from members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee.

The report also provides data on suppliers that have signed up to the Global Compact, which promotes corporate social responsibility, particularly in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. The United Nations strongly encourages suppliers to sign up to the initiative and works with members to make procurement decisions that consider whole life cycle costs and advance sustainable development. There are over 10,000 members registered with the initiative.

The volume of procurement with registered Global Compact vendors increased strongly in 2012, reaching 22 percent of contracts of $30,000 or more, up four percentage points from 18 percent in 2010 and 2011.

The 2012 data also shows a continuing positive increase in UN procurement from developing countries and countries with economies in transition, which rose by almost half a billion dollars and now represents 62 percent of total UN procurement. Procurement from countries in this category has grown twice as fast as procurement from developed countries over recent years.

Among the 10 major countries to supply UN organizations in 2012, five were developing countries and countries with economies in transition – Afghanistan, India, Kenya, the Russian Federation and Sudan. Kenya appears on the top 10 list for the first time since 2006 and supplied food, fuel, building materials, transport and construction services to UN/PD, WFP and UNDP.

Overall, the largest countries of supply were the United States of America, accounting for $1.49 billion, followed by India at $875.3 million and then Afghanistan at $692.5 million.

Largely due to more comprehensive reporting, UN spending on services as opposed to goods rose by $1.4 billion in 2012, making up 56 percent of the total. The largest services category, as in 2011, was for transport, logistics and storage, representing approximately 2.1 billion of the UN total, which is in line with the figure from the previous year.

For the fifth consecutive year, UNOPS has produced a thematic supplement to the report, which focuses on a key issue in procurement. For 2012, the focus of the supplement is on balancing social, environmental and economic considerations in procurement, a practice often described as sustainable procurement. It contains a range of articles and case studies from academia, the public and private sectors and the United Nations. In the context of the global drive to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns and achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the supplement provides a window into the current issues and challenges faced by sustainable procurement practitioners.

Both the supplement and the full report are available for download from the UNOPS website and the United Nations Global Marketplace (UNGM).