18 January 2007 | Paul Snell
The UN has introduced "unprecedented" tough new post-employment restrictions on its buyers.
The restrictions, which came into force on 1 January, will apply to all current staff who leave the UN that have been involved in any kind of "procurement activities". This can include signing or managing contracts, dealing with bids or working with suppliers.
UN chief Kofi Annon put the restrictions in place before stepping down as secretary-general at th end of last year. The rules are part of a wider set of procurement reforms announced in June. They aim to limit the effect and advantage that potential suppliers might have if they employ formr UN procurement staff. A spokesman for the UN told SM that the rules will help to limit the risk of conflicts of interest between UN staff and the companies it works with.
After leaving the UN, buyers will not be allowd to work for any company that has been involved with UN procurement. This restriction will last for one year. If the job then relates to their former responsibilities at the UN, there must be no contact with the UN for two years.
But the spokesman said the current rules would not apply to Annon, as the secretary-general is not legally a UN staff member. He maintained, however, he would observe the "high ethics" he abidd by in his 10 years in office.
A source inside the UN said the rules had been drawn up four years ago, but were delayed in the legal affairs department. New secretary-general Ban Ki-moon will continue with the reforms.