How we procure

Procurement principles

UNOPS procures according to the following principles:

  • Best value for money – We select offers which present the optimum combination of factors such as appropriate quality, life-cycle costs and other parameters which can include social, environmental or other strategic objectives which meet the end-user needs.

  • Fairness, integrity and transparency – We guard procurement against collusion and carry out processes on the basis of clear and appropriate regulations, objective evaluation criteria, unbiased specifications and use of standard solicitation documents.

  • Effective competition – We provide all potential suppliers with timely and appropriate information, as well as equal opportunity for participation in procurement activities.

  • Best interest of UNOPS and its partners – We carry out procurement activities in a manner that best enables UNOPS and its partners to reach their goals and objectives.

UNOPS considers sustainable procurement as the practice of integrating requirements, specifications and criteria that are in favour of the protection of the environment, of social progress and in support of economic development. This should be done by seeking resource efficiency, improving the quality of products and services and ultimately optimizing costs.

UNOPS is committed to making sustainable procurement its default mode of procurement, progressively and in full respect of the right of access to the UN market for suppliers from developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Procurement policies

The specific regulatory framework for procurement at UNOPS is set forth in the UNOPS Financial Regulations and Rules. Procurement procedures as well as instructions and further guidance for carrying out the procurement activities effectively and efficiently in compliance with UNOPS Financial Regulations and Rules and other applicable normative documents are provided to UNOPS procurement practitioners in the UNOPS Procurement Manual.

On a more general level than the above policies, all entities in the United Nations system follow common guidelines as set out in the General Business Guide for Potential Suppliers of Goods and Services with Common Guidelines for Procurement by Organizations in the United Nations System.

UNOPS also strongly promotes supporting agreements and guidelines such as the United Nations Global Compact, but also the United Nations Code of Conduct for Suppliers to which all suppliers must abide by.

Solicitation methods

UNOPS employs a number of standard solicitation methods, the selection of which is determined by the complexity of the procurement need and the monetary value.

Request for quotation (RFQ): An informal solicitation method where the value of goods, services or works is normally between $5,000 and $50,000. An RFQ is normally used for standard, off-the-shelf items, where the value of the procurement falls below the established threshold for formal methods of solicitation.


Invitation to bid (ITB): A formal solicitation method where the value of goods, services or works is normally more than $50,000 and prospective suppliers are requested to submit a bid for the provision of goods or services. Normally used when the requirements are clearly and completely specified and the basis for award is lowest cost.

Request for proposal (RFP): A formal solicitation method where prospective suppliers are requested to submit a proposal for the provision of goods, works or services, based on the specifications, statement of work, or terms of reference included in the solicitation documents and used for goods, services and works with a value of normally more than $50,000. RFPs are typically used in cases where the requirements are complex, cannot be clearly or completely specified, where detailed technical evaluations are to be performed, and/or where pricing or cost may not be the sole basis of the award.

More information can be found in the UNOPS Procurement Manual.

Evaluation of offers

Each solicitation method has a specific method for the evaluation of offers. When evaluating RFQs and ITBs, offers are evaluated based on the lowest priced, most technically acceptable offer methodology (for RFQs) and lowest priced, substantially compliant offer methodology (for ITBs). In both methodologies, financial criteria are most important. In contrast to this, an RFP considers technical as well as financial criteria. The technical component primarily determines whether the proposal will be accepted or declined. Evaluation is done through criteria that are clearly indicated in the solicitation documents.

When examining, evaluating and comparing offers, UNOPS may consider price as well as non-price factors, which include cost (operation, maintenance, repairs); delivery/completion time; functional characteristics; terms of payment/guarantee; a supplier's performance record with UNOPS and other UN organizations; and the supplier's in the local market.

General Conditions of Contract​

UNOPS General Conditions of Contract for the provision of Goods and/or Services (valid from 1st July 2017):

UNOPS General Conditions of Contract for the provision of Goods

UNOPS General Conditions of Contract for the provision of Services

UNOPS General Conditions of Contract for the provision of Goods and Services​

UNOPS General Conditions of Contract for the provision of Goods and/or Services (valid until 30th June 2017):​

UNOPS General Conditions for Goods

UNOPS General Conditions for Contracts for Professional Services

UNOPS Conditions of Services - For contracts of a value of less than USD 50,000

General Conditions of Contracts for Works are embedded into FIDIC-based contracts especially adapted to the UNOPS environment in the form of five UNOPS Contracts for Works:

Minor Works Contract

Short Form Construction Contract

Measured Price Construction Contract

Lump Sum Construction Contract

Contract for Consultant​ Services for Works