The United Nations University (UNU) is a global think tank and postgraduate teaching organization headquartered in Japan. The mission of the UNU is to contribute, through collaborative research and education, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States. In carrying out this mission, the UNU works with leading universities and research institutes in UN Member States, functioning as a bridge between the international academic community and the United Nations system. Through postgraduate teaching activities, UNU contributes to capacity building, particularly in developing countries.
History and Background
In his 1969 Annual Report to the United Nation General Assembly, UN Secretary-General U Thant proposed the creation of a “United Nations University, truly international in character and devoted to the Charter objectives of peace and progress”.
The General Assembly ordered a feasibility study and appointed a panel of experts to work closely with UNESCO in examining the potential for building such an institution. The panel submitted a report to the UN Economic and Social Council in September 1972, and in December 1972 the General Assembly adopted the decision to establish the United Nations University (UNU), thereby formally establishing the world’s first international university. A Founding Committee then prepared a draft University Charter and Resolution, both of which were approved by the General Assembly in December 1973.
The first UNU Council and the University’s first Rector, Dr. James M. Hester, were appointed in 1974, and on 20 January 1975 a formal inauguration ceremony for the University was held at its temporary headquarters building in Tokyo. It was there that UNU’s first priority programme areas — world hunger, natural resources, and human and social development — were framed. These priority areas have been refined and built upon over the ensuing four decades to form the three thematic clusters that UNU pursues today:
- Peace and Governance
- Global Development and Inclusion
- Environment, Climate and Energy
UNU has since grown to encompass institutes and programmes in 15 countries around the world, as well as several UNU Associated Institutions.
During his tenure the immediate past Rector, Prof. Dr. Konrad Osterwalder, took steps (including amendment of the UNU Charter) to provide the University with the ability to confer postgraduate degrees. The first of these degree programmes was launched by the UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace in September 2010, and the University graduated its first master’s degree students in July 2012.
The United Nations University (UNU) underwent a change in leadership in March 2013 when Dr. David Malone, former President of the International Development Research Centre, took office as the University’s sixth Rector. Early in his tenure, encouraged by the Secretary-General and the UNU Council, the Rector undertook a critical future-oriented re-appraisal of the University’s objectives and business operations, and initiated a University-wide discussion on the priorities of UNU. This discussion elicited new ideas on possible modalities of research, capacity building, policy development and knowledge translation activities that could be undertaken by the UN University.
For more details, please refer to: the Strategic Plan 2015-2019
UNU will continue to extend the scope of its global institutional network and build on its list of postgraduate programmes in order to recruit leading academics and graduate students equipped with a truly international mindset and the knowledge necessary to address the pressing issues currently faced by the international community.
UNU procures goods and services through competitive solicitations.
Due to the decentralisation of the procurement function, a few of the procurement professionals take care of procurement related duties of the each institute.
Contracts for the supply or provision of commodities or service are awarded in accordance with United Nations Financial Regulations and Rules. Competitive tendering procedures are followed and selection is made on the basis of the lowest acceptable offer, with account being taken of technical requirements, quality, delivery and standardization.
Following are the goods and services procured by the UNU, filtered with higher volumes of purchases on top:
- Air Tickets
- Building services
- Leasehold improvement
- IT & Communications Equipment
- Printing & publishing, film production
- Conference Services
- Furniture & Fittings
- Rental building
- Operational & finance lease
- Office equipment & services
- Employee services