Doing business with UN Women

Procurement has been identified as an effective tool to economically empower women and communities worldwide. UN Women is therefore at the front line of gender-responsive procurement and is looking to engage other entities (public, private and UN organizations) to procure in a gender-responsive manner.

What we buy

UN Women - Goods and services distribution, 2016

In 2016, UN Women spent USD 126 million, and the United Nations as a whole spent USD 17.7 billion on the procurement of services, goods and civil works in support of their mandates. The procurement of services comprises the greatest share of UN Women’s procurement activities. The chart shows the distribution of UN Women’s purchased goods and services over the past few years (Source: “2016 annual statistical report on UN procurement”).

How we buy – The procurement process

The strategic objective of procurement is best achieved through the transparent and efficient use of public funds and by applying the most appropriate procurement methods to ensure best value for money.

To better understand UN Women’s procurement needs and participate in the solicitation processes, UN Women encourages potential vendors to regularly monitor procurement notices, published in the list of current solicitations, the United Nations Global Marketplace (UNGM) or the new e-procurement platform (currently used at UN Women headquarters in New York and to be rolled out to regional and country offices in the future).

Solicitation methods

Generally, four types of solicitation methods are applied to fulfil procurement requirements, and these methods may vary on a case-by-case basis. The following types of solicitations provide generic specifications and vary according to the estimated monetary value, nature and complexity of the procurement requirements.

  • Micro-purchasing – Used for the procurement of readily available, off-the-shelf goods or standard-specification commodities.
  • Request for quotation (RFQ) – Commonly used for the procurement of goods or straightforward services, or civil works that can be locally sourced.
  • Request for proposals (RFP) – Used for the procurement of complex services and/or goods, where the desired inputs and/or outputs cannot quantitatively and qualitatively be expressed in sufficient details at the time the invitation is made.
  • Invitation to bid (ITB) – Generally used for purchasing goods where the procurement volume promotes open international competition.

Contact us

UN Women
Attn: Procurement Office
220 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017
United States

Featured publication

The power of procurement: How to source from women-owned businesses

The power of procurement: How to source from women-owned businesses

This manual provides corporations with a deeper understanding of the barriers and challenges preventing women-owned businesses from accessing and fully participating in local and global values chains. It also provides sensible, actionable steps that corporations can take with their strategic sourcing decisions to evaluate the diversity of their supplier base and to increase the share of women-owned businesses in their procurement.