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21 July 2014 | Anna Scott
The United Nations spent $16.1 billion (£9.4 billion) on goods and services in 2013, 60 per cent of which was sourced from developing countries and those with economies in transition.
Pharmaceuticals, healthcare services, medical equipment, transportation, construction and food categories topped the list of spend areas, according to the latest Annual Statistical Report on UN Procurement.
Among the largest purchasers overall were UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organisation.
The total procurement spend increased by 4.6 per cent from the previous year, up from $15.4 billion (£9 billion) in 2012.
The report found a continuing “positive increase” in UN procurement from developing countries and those in economic transition over the last ten years.
From 2009 to 2013, procurement from these countries – which include Afghanistan, Brazil, China and the United Arab Emirates – increased by more than $2 million (£1.2 million).
Overall, the three largest countries of supply were the US at $1.7 billion (£994 million), India at $1 billion (£584 million) and Switzerland at $716.6 million (£419 million). Just over 3 per cent or $493.8 million (£288.7 million) of the total purchasing spend was with UK-based suppliers, the report found.
“General Assembly Resolution 57/279 on procurement reform encourages UN organisations to increase opportunities for suppliers from developing countries and countries with economies in transition,” the report read. “In response, UN organisations have placed more orders with suppliers from these countries.”
The report also revealed UN organisations are actively promoting sustainable procurement, with 24 organisations implementing a range of initiatives such as training and support for sustainability integration in the procurement process.