Efficiency behind the scenes: Management and Operations

Supplies: The bedrock of service delivery

© UNICEF/HQ05-1617/Pirozzi
UNICEF is a world leader in the procurement of supplies for children. In 2005, UNICEF procured more than $1.1 billion worth of supplies – a 38 per cent increase over 2004. This notable increase is attributable to higher procurement volumes for a range of commodities, including water and sanitation items (up by 69 per cent), pharmaceuticals (increasing by 43 per cent) and mosquito nets (up by 190 per cent). The exceptional emergencies UNICEF responded to also had an impact on procurement. In addition, UNICEF handled more than $25 million worth of donations in kind.

UNICEF continued to procure vaccines for 40 per cent of children in developing countries, and procured antiretroviral medicines for 42 countries. It remained the largest buyer of mosquito nets in the world, as well as the largest buyer of oral rehydration salts for developing countries. In 2005, UNICEF sent out educational supplies to help 9 million children go back to school.

Of UNICEF’s top supplier countries, 9 out of the top 20 are countries where UNICEF supports programmes for children. In fact, nearly half of UNICEF’s global procurement is done in developing countries.

In the area of UN reforms, UNICEF and other UN agencies have made significant progress in collaborating on procurement. Nearly 70 per cent of UNICEF’s procurement is done with inter-agency collaboration.