UNHCR Global Appeal 1999 - Procurement
UNHCR requires a wide range of goods and services in order to assist refugees and support its staff and implementing partners around the world. Our procurement objective is the timely acquisition of goods and services in a manner that promotes fairness, integrity and transparency through competition, economy, effectiveness and best value for money.
Supply Chain Project
The Supply Chain Project, run by the Supply and Transport Section (STS), combines the sourcing, transportation, storage and management of materials and services into a single function, ensuring that delivery assistance is part of an integrated system. Although the launch of a new information technology system that will form the backbone of this project is still several years away, elements of the project are already in use.
Since 1996, frame agreements, based on open international competition, have formed an increasingly prominent part of UNHCR's procurement. Frame agreements have been established for products ranging from domestic and shelter needs to telecommunications and EDP equipment and for services including training and transport and forwarding. Permanent missions to the United Nations will always receive notice of tenders for forthcoming frame agreements. Currently, purchases under frame agreements account for more than 50 per cent of all international purchases by value.
UNHCR's sourcing policy seeks to balance levels of procurement between local, regional and international suppliers. The aim is to secure the best value for money. STS makes a concerted effort to ensure that potential suppliers are aware of how to do business with UNHCR and are kept abreast of contract opportunities. Chambers of commerce and other national trade bodies, in both donor and host countries, have worked well with UNHCR. UNHCR fully recognizes the beneficial effects of local procurement on the host country's economy. Decentralized procurement offices have been established for major operations such as in the former Yugoslavia and the Great Lakes region of Africa. UNHCR allows a price advantage for goods manufactured and sold in the local or regional market in developing countries as compared to the delivered cost of international procurement.
Financial Policy and the Committee on Contracts
All contractual arrangements, regardless of the sourcing options used, are subject to the financial rules and procurement procedures established by UNHCR. This ensures that there is public accountability and control of financial transactions through checks and audits by external and internal bodies.
All contracts in excess of US$100,000 are subject to the approval of the Committee on Contracts. Members have the authority to question any aspect of a proposed contract to satisfy themselves that it meets UNHCR's requirements for product quality, competitive prices and adherence to the agency's financial rules.
UNHCR employs two tendering methods: open international competition and limited international competition. The former is used for most frame agreements, except for those involving telecommunications and EDP equipment, where the number of potential vendors is limited due to the highly technical nature of the products. Notice of these tender opportunities is advertised in the international business press. All interested suppliers receive the qualification documents, but only qualified suppliers are invited to bid.
Limited international competition is the better method for addressing emergency procurement needs. As a rule, UNHCR will only consider registered suppliers when establishing the short list for this type of competition.
Special Contract Clauses
In line with other organizations of the United Nations, UNHCR has adopted policies on anti-personnel mines, child labour and green procurement. UNHCR requires its suppliers to guarantee that they are not engaged in the sale or manufacture of anti-personnel mines or any components produced primarily for their operation. Likewise, suppliers must represent that they are not engaged in any practice that is inconsistent with the rights set forth in the Convention of the Rights of the Child.