Procurement at UNV

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and therefore follows UNDP’s procurement policies and procedures. Find out more below about our procurement principles, sustainability and means of doing business with us.

Procurement principles

The following general principles must be applied to all phases and types of procurement:

Best Value for Money, which consists of the selection of the offer that best meets the end-users’ needs and that presents the best return on investment. Best Value for Money is the result of several factors, including quality, experience, the vendor’s reputation, life-cycle costs and benefits, and parameters that measure how well the good or service allows the organization to meet its social, environmental or other strategic objectives.

Fairness, Integrity and Transparency, which ensures that competitive processes are fair, open, and rules-based. All potential vendors should be treated equally, and the process should feature clear evaluation criteria, unambiguous solicitation instructions, realistic requirements, and rules and procedures that are easy to understand.

Effective International Competition, understood as giving all potential vendors timely and adequate information on UNV requirements, as well as equal opportunity to participate in procurement actions.

In the best interest of UNV, which means that any business transactions must conform to the mandates and principles of UNDP, UNV and the United Nations.

Sustainable Procurement

UNV is committed to sustainable procurement and will maximize environmental, social (including human rights, disability inclusiveness, gender) and economic considerations in the procurement process whenever and wherever possible.

All UNV-financed or administered programmes should aim to practice sustainable procurement.

UNV encourages vendors to register themselves on the UN Global Marketplace and to join the the UN Global Compact – the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative.  

Doing business with UNV

1.  How we buy

If the value of the goods, services or simple works to be procured is below USD 10,000, Micro-Purchasing may be used. This method uses a simple canvassing template, and procurement staff may obtain pricing information over the phone, internet, or by visiting local vendors. Micro-purchasing can normally be done in 1 or 2 days. Award is made to the lowest price available.

Request for Quotation (RFQ) is an informal invitation to submit a quotation, used for goods/services/civil works valued between USD 10,000 and USD 149,999. Depending on the complexity of the requirement, vendors will be given 3 to 10 business days to respond to an RFQ. Prices, and other commercial terms and conditions are requested and award is made to the lowest priced technically acceptable offer.

An Invitation to Bid (ITB) is a formal invitation to submit a bid, usually associated with requirements that are clearly and concisely defined, with an estimated procurement value of USD 150,000 or more. Normally price is the sole determinant in making an award. Where all qualification requirements and technical criteria are met, an award is made to the lowest bidder. Vendors will normally be given 10-15 business days or more to respond, depending on the complexity of the requirement. In some cases, involving large and complex contracts, vendors may be asked to pre-qualify. The process is conducted through UNDP e-tendering platform.

Request for Proposal (RFP) is a formal request to submit a proposal usually associated with requirements for services, which cannot be clearly or concisely defined, with an estimated procurement value of USD 150,000 or more. Price is only one of several factors comprising the evaluation criteria. Award is made to the qualified bidder whose bid substantially conforms to the requirement set forth on the solicitation documents and is evaluated to be the lowest cost to UNDP or to the highest rated proposal using the combined scoring method, which assigns a weight distribution between technical and financial proposals set out in RFP. Vendors are normally given 10-15 business days or more to respond to an RFP. In some cases, vendors may be required to pre-qualify. The process is conducted through UNDP e-tendering platform.

Exceptionally and when it is deemed in the best interest of UNV, procurement staff may buy goods or services through Direct Contracting.

2.  Individual consultants

Most of UNV’s procurement activities are dedicated to acquiring services, which may be executed by companies or by individuals. Individuals provide services directly to UNV under the Individual Contract (IC) modality.

The IC modality may be used when:

- Services cannot be provided by existing staff due to a lack of specialized knowledge or expertise;

- The assignment is results-oriented and can be completed on or off UNV premises, within a definite period of time linked to deliverables; or

- The assignment requires the performance of non-staff duties.

ICs are engaged through a Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA) that is awarded through a competitive process, covering professional fees and certain expenses, such as travel, if and when required. Country Offices may issue Expressions of Interest (EOI) from time to time, in order to keep a roster of potential ICs.

ICs are not considered staff and do not receive entitlements when engaged by UNV. If the services require travel, individuals may be given 'Expert on Mission' status.

3.  Evaluation of offers

Each procurement method has a slightly different evaluation method. When evaluating RFQs and ITBs, the price is the most important element. In contrast to this, an RFP relies mostly on a technical evaluation. The technical component primarily determines whether the proposal will be accepted or declined. Evaluation is done through pre-set criteria, which are clearly indicated on the bidding documents.

When examining, evaluating and comparing offers, UNV may consider price as well as non-price factors, which include cost (operation, maintenance, repairs); delivery/completion time; functional characteristics; terms of payment/guarantee; a vendor’s performance record with UNDP, UNV and other UN agencies; and the vendor’s presence in the local market.

4.  Terms of contract

In order to become a vendor to UNV, you must accept the General Terms and Conditions of Contract (GTCs). A copy of these GTCs is included in bidding documents. UNV procurement staff may not modify these terms of contract, and any alterations require the advice and consent of the Legal Support Office (LSO).

► Contract Face Sheet (Goods and-or Services) UNDP

► Contract Face Sheet (Goods and-or Services) on behalf of UN Entity

► General Terms and Conditions for contracts (goods and/or services) 

► General Terms and Conditions for de minimis contracts (services)

► Individual Contract (ICs)

► General Conditions of Contract for the Services of ICs 

► Model Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA) 

5.  Procurement notices & awards

► UNDP Procurement Notices

► UNDP Job Shop (Individual Consultants)

► UNDP Contract Awards

► UN Global Marketplace

6.  eTendering & resources for bidders

The UNDP e-Tendering platform is designed to facilitate the UNDP and UNV Tender processes through online interaction. The system aims to enhance the integrity and transparency of the tender process and also enables the streamlining of the procurement process: Bidders can use eTendering to submit their bids, view solicitation documents and receive automatic notifications from the system whenever an event has been modified. 

The user guides and videos below are for individuals or companies who wish to participate in a UNV tender as a supplier and are required to submit the bid on the UNDP eTendering System. Prior to submitting an offer on eTendering, bidders are encouraged to carefully review these resources to ensure they have understood the steps and process required to submit an online bid.

► eTendering user guides and videos for Bidders

7.  Further information

► UN Supplier Code of Conduct

► Procurement Ethics, Fraud and Corrupt Practices

► OAI Investigation Guidelines

► UNDP Vendor Sanctions Policy

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