Supplying the UN System
- Knowledge Centre
- Doing Business with the UN
- Supplying the UN System
The UN Market
The United Nations represents an annual global market of over USD 17 billion for all types of products and services. The UNGM platform increases and facilitates the access of suppliers in developing countries, and in countries with economies in transition, to the United Nations market through: awareness building and outreach activities (e.g. business seminars), simplified processes (e.g. registration) and establishing partnerships with the private sector (e.g. through Chambers of Commerce) and Member States institutions (e.g. the relevant Ministry/ies).
UN Procurement activities are based on the following strategic objectives:
- The objectives of the UN organizations concerned
- Fairness, integrity and transparency, through competition
- Economy and effectiveness
- Best value for money
This video provides a brief introduction to the United Nations System Organizations, to the UN Procurement and to the United Nations Global Marketplace.
Useful Tips on Doing Business with UN
The following is a simple step-by-step guide to help you enter the UN market for goods and services.
- Register your company in UNGM and keep information on your company and its products up-to-date;
- Familiarize yourself with each agency’s procurement procedures accessing the "Meeting the UN Agencies" pages;
- Access the Annual Statistical Report to find out the UN agencies that operate in your geographical area and that may require your goods and services;
- Check procurement notices in UNGM regularly;
- Subscribe to the Tender Alert Service to receive automatic email alerts when tenders of your interest are published in UNGM;
- Familiarize yourself with the UN Supplier Code of Conduct and with UN General Terms and Conditions for the Procurement of Goods and the Contracting of Services;
- Company profiles should be summarized in one page and presentations should be brief;
- Respond promptly to an inquiry or to the Request for Proposal from a UN agency;
- If you are not interested or unable to participate in a tender, inform the UN Agency in order to keep your organization on their list of active vendors.
Register as potential supplier in UNGM
To become a potential supplier for the United Nations, vendors have to register on UNGM. Go to the homepage www.ungm.org and click on the 'Register' link in the top menu.
The UNGM is a registry of suppliers available to all UN procurement personnel and is the main supplier database of 26 UN organizations. Please note, however, that even though the UNGM is open to all procurement staff, some organizations do have their own supplier database. Therefore, it is important that potential suppliers also register with UN agencies that do not directly support the UNGM – those agencies are not selectable during the UNGM registration process. If an agency is not selectable on UNGM, please contact the agency directly. For links to other UN organizations please refer to the Directory of UN System Organizations.
UNGM publishes, online, procurement notices as well as contract awards (please see Business Opportunities in the UNGM home page) on behalf of many UN Agencies. Suppliers should refer to the website frequently to see if any notices are relevant to their organization.
For a prompt tender registration, Suppliers may also subscribe to the Tender Alert Service to directly receive on their email address new procurement notices that fit with their core activities as soon as they are published.
Types of solicitations
Although the dollar values may vary from one organization to another, the types of solicitation practiced by the UN are as follows:
- Expression of Interest (EOI) or Request for EOI (REOI)
Written communication by a supplier to provide information about its products, resources, qualifications and experience, in response to a particular opportunity.
- Request for Quotation (RFQ)
Less formal solicitation, lower value (generally up to 100,000 USD), standard specifications, product readily available on the market.
- Invitation to Bid (ITB)
Formal solicitation, higher value (generally above 100,000 USD), lowest price, compliancy and technical competency determining factors.
- Request for Proposal (RFP)
Formal solicitation, higher value (generally above 100,000 USD), requirements possibly met in various ways, overall best solution will win the contract, not necessarily lowest price .
Practical tips for preparing and submitting your bid and proposals
- Always respond when invited to submit an offer, even if you should not be in a position to participate, in order to keep your organization on the active list;
- Study tender documents carefully, ask for clarification if there is any uncertainty;
- Ensure that your offer meets ALL requirements, including quality certificates, financial statements, catalogues, submission forms etc., in requested format and language;
- Meet the submission deadline;
- Attend public bid openings when invited;
- ...and don’t give up too easily: developing and establishing contacts and business with UN agencies requires the same time as dealing with another new market.
List of major goods procured
- Agricultural Inputs
- Domestic/Household Items
- Educational Supplies
- IT Equipment
- Laboratory Equipment
- Medical Equipment
- Pharmaceutical Supplies
- Shelter and Housing
- Telecommunications Equipment
- Water Supply Equipment
List of major services procured
- Catering and Food delivery
- Engineering Services
- General Management
- Investment Management
- Leasing or Rental
- Outsourced Personnel Services
The UN Agencies and the UNGM team encourage all the suppliers to subscribe to the principles of the UN Global Compact. Visit the pages of this VBS area dedicated to the Global Compact.
Supplying the Projects: Development Business Portal
Development Business is a United Nations portal providing a comprehensive source of information on opportunities to supply goods, works and services for projects financed by the United Nations, governments and the world's leading development banks. Please see www.devbusiness.com for more information.