UN Women procurement principles

UN Women purchases goods and services from suppliers all over the world. The underlying principles behind the UN Women procurement process include: best value for money; fairness, integrity and transparency; effective competition; and the best interest of UN Women.

Best value for money

The “best value for money” principle in the procurement process means considering all relevant factors, including the costs and benefits for UN Women. This principle enables the consideration of social (including gender-related), economic and environmental policy objectives in the procurement process. This means that we look at the combination of whole life-cycle costs, quality and efficiency.

Fairness, integrity and transparency

The procurement process shall be performed in a fair and transparent manner, free from fraud, corruption and other unethical practices. Sound procurement requires:

  • Fairness – All eligible entities must be given the same opportunities to compete for UN Women–financed activities. A fair process is the one that is free from favouritism, self-interest or preference in judgement, and ensures equal opportunity and treatment for all vendors.
  • Integrity – The procurement process must protect the organization from prohibited practices, including fraud, corruption, collusion and other unethical practices. UN Women requires all UN Women personnel and vendors to observe the highest standard of ethics during the procurement processes and in the execution of UN Women contracts.
  • Transparency – UN Women requires transparency in the procurement cycle to ensure good-quality procurement and accountability. Sufficient and relevant information on procurement opportunities and processes must be made available to the appropriate interested parties in an open, consistent, and timely manner, through widely accessible means.

Effective competition

Effective competition at UN Women means that all potential vendors shall be provided with timely and adequate notification of the procurement requirements and an equal opportunity to tender. The buyers shall ensure that restrictions are not placed on the competitive processes, limiting the pool of potential vendors. Effective competition is also understood in the context of gender equality, and in full respect of the right of women to access the United Nations market, including gender-responsive businesses from developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Best interest of UN Women

To procure in the best interest of UN Women means to carry out procurement activities in a manner that best enables the organization to reach its general and specific objectives in line with applicable procurement procedures. The ultimate objective of the procurement function is to add value to the organization through its programme delivery and fulfilment of programme goals, as well as meeting the organization’s overall mandate of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

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