The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)


UN recognizes UNOPS procurement with global sustainability award

UNOPS support for the efficient and transparent procurement of medicines and medical supplies in Mexico has won the 2022 annual sustainable procurement and supply award.

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Project Updates:

  • Since 2020, UNOPS has supported the government of Mexico, through INSABI, to procure and deliver more than 800 million units of medicines, medical supplies and devices.

  • The delivery of medical items under this project was concluded in December 2022.

  • This project is in the closure process. More information is available on the project website.

The award was provided by the UN High-Level Committee on Management’s Procurement Network and recognizes procurement and supply chain initiatives that are compatible with the protection of the environment and which support social economic development. It’s the first year the committee has recognized the importance of sustainable procurement with an award.

Putting sustainability at the forefront, the awarded project – which is implemented in partnership with Mexico’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing (INSABI) – demonstrates how procurement processes can be used as a powerful and positive catalyst for sustainable development.

This award recognizes more than 10 years of work developing policies, processes and essentially embedding sustainable procurement into the DNA of UNOPS procurement processes.

Anne-Claire Howard - Director, Procurement Group

UNOPS procurement policy required that all tenders in the project include sustainability criteria in the form of take-back schemes for medicines and braille labels on packaging, as a few examples. It was also a requirement to carry out sustainability screening on all suppliers, with follow up and engagement made on selected awarded suppliers. This helped improve market access and inclusion, maximize market impact through enhanced risk management and capacity development, ensure gender responsive procurement, and strengthen institutions and partnerships for sustainable development.

“We’re proud this public procurement initiative of Mexico has been recognized with first place for its excellence in procurement,” said Giuseppe Mancinelli, UNOPS Deputy Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The project is being recognized for its impact, sustainability, timely implementation, benefits demonstrated through indicators, best practices, added value in favor of the environment, relevance in the lives of people, and contributions to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda,” he added.

To date, UNOPS has purchased and delivered 735 million units of medicine and medical supplies from 180 suppliers. As a result of improved procurement processes, the government estimates to have saved $500 million.

About the project 

The government of Mexico requested the participation of UNOPS to help transform the country’s public procurement of medicines. Through the ‘Project for the procurement of medicines and medical supplies’, UNOPS is responsible for purchasing medicines and supplies, facilitating supplier payments and delivering the goods to warehouses designated by INSABI in the metropolitan area of ​​Mexico City. In addition, institutional strengthening is a key component of the project to promote sustainability. More information is available here.

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