Where does the United Nations spend its funding?

In the lead-up to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa 13-16 July, the UN has released data on where billions of dollars have been spent in 2014

The procurement of goods and services for the UN system grew by more than $1 billion in 2014 to reach $17.2 billion overall.

Ninety-six percent of last year's increase came from developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

This growth derived from three organizations in particular: the United Nations Children's Fund; the United Nations Procurement Division; and the World Food Programme, and is due in part to a rise in the procurement of food products, transportation services, fuel and pharmaceuticals.

This is not linked to any one UN operation in 2014, but speaks to multiple humanitarian crises around the world, including in Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan and Syria, as well as last year's Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa.

These highlights and more are a part of the just-released "2014 Annual Statistical Report on United Nations Procurement," which is compiled each year by UNOPS on behalf of the wider UN system.

The report provides data and analysis on the goods and services procured by the United Nations in support of its operations around the world. This data looks specifically at country of supply.

  • 2014 was the first year when procurement from developing countries and countries with economies in transition accounted for nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the overall 17.2 billion bought by the UN system. The share of this country group has been increasing for years, but only surpassed 50 percent of total UN procurement in 2006.
  • The top 10 countries to supply the UN system in 2014 included four countries from this country grouping: Afghanistan, India, the Russian Federation and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – who together accounted for 41 percent of the top 10.
  • Afghanistan has been a top 10 supplier to the United Nations for the last decade and in 2014 moved to third place, accounting for 4.7 percent of total supply. This consisted primarily of fuel, food products and community services.
  • India has been a top 10 supplier since 2000 and in 2014 maintained its position as the second-largest country to supply UN organizations around the world, accounting for 7.1 percent of total supply to the United Nations. This is the second-consecutive year when procurement from India totalled more than $1 billion.
  • Of this, $996.7 million consisted of health-related goods and services. This sets India as the largest country to supply UN organizations with pharmaceuticals.
  • The Russian Federation stood at ninth place overall, with 2.4 percent of total supply in 2014. Procurement from here consisted primarily of transportation services and food supplies.
  • The UAE was the seventh-largest country to supply to UN organizations last year. Procurement consisted primarily of fuel, construction services and shelter equipment.

Over the last 10 years the share of procurement from developed countries has decreased.

This is consistent with UN resolutions encouraging UN organization to increase opportunities for suppliers from developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Nevertheless, the United States dominates the top 10, having supplied over 1.5 billion worth of goods and services in 2014 ‒ primarily pharmaceuticals, IT and medical equipment, and transportation services.

"The United Nations has committed itself to buying more from developing countries and countries with economies in transition, " said Ms. Grete Faremo, UNOPS Executive Director. "The 2014 Annual Statistical Report on UN Procurement not only highlights this trend, but also provides a detailed breakdown on items purchased by UN organizations last year, in support of their work around the world."

The UN system procured from 194 countries in 2014, with 127 countries having recorded an annual procurement volume of more than $10 million each last year.

Overall, total UN procurement rose​ by $10.8 billion from 2004 to 2014.

"The Report represents a valuable tool for the global supplier community, as it provides detailed information on what UN organizations are procuring, in which quantities and from whom. All of this is very pertinent information for companies wishing to do business with the United Nations," said Giorgio Fraternale, Chief, Procurement Bureau of the International Labour Office and Chair of the United Nations Global Marketplace (UNGM) Steering Committee.

35 organizations provided procurement statistics to UNOPS for 2014. The International Monetary Fund, the International Maritime Organization and the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change are newcomers to this year's report.

You can download the "2014 Annual Statistical Report on United Nations Procurement" on the UNOPS website and through the UNGM.