9 March 2017, New York – Statement on behalf of the Member States of the European Union delivered by Fiona Grant, Counsellor, European Union Delegation to the United Nations, 71st Session of the General Assembly: Fifth Committee: First Resumed Session on Procurement
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
I would like to thank the Assistant Secretary General for Central Support Services, Mr. Stephen Cutts, for presenting the report of the Secretary General, and Mr. Babou Sene, Vice Chair, for presenting ACABQ’s related report. I would like to thank Mr. Gopinathan Achamkulangare, Inspector, Joint Inspection Unit, and Mr. Kenneth Herman, Senior Adviser on Information Management and Policy Coordination, Chief Executive Board, for introducing their related reports.
Firstly, I would like to note that the ACABQ report for this agenda item was made available in all official UN languages shortly before the item’s formal introduction. The timely issuance of documents in all official languages is key to the successful completion of our work.
Two years ago, this Committee reaffirmed the four general principles for United Nations procurement: best value for money; fairness, integrity and transparency; effective international competition; and the interest of the United Nations. These principles should continue to guide us in our deliberations of this important agenda item.
Against this backdrop, the Member States of the European Union welcome progress as set out in the Secretary General’s report in a number of areas: electronic tendering, the Award Review Board, procurement training for staff, and the modernization of air transport procurement. We welcome the implementation of RFP in UNMISS and UNAMID, building on the experience of MONUSCO, where the pilot RFP has led to increased international competition. We believe strongly that the implementation of RFP for air transport services best supports the four general principles for United Nations procurement. We encourage the Secretariat to accelerate the publication of its RFPs for air transport services.
We support full implementation of the recommendations made by the Board of Auditors. We believe that UN procurement processes should take account of new technologies and innovations, as these can enhance delivery, value for money and address sustainability factors.
The roll-out of Umoja offers many benefits to UN procurement, notably the single vendor roster, the removal of location-based operational barriers and harmonized processes. We look forward to discussing how the roll-out of Umoja Extension II might further enhance the UN’s procurement practices as well as increase visibility and transparency.
We encourage the Secretariat in its efforts to drive a more global approach to procurement in the UN and to enhance collaboration and cooperation between UN system entities, including less location-bound processes and more joint procurement across the system. The Nairobi pilot and WFP joint shipping cell offer encouraging examples in this regard, and we look forward to hearing how the Secretariat intends to build on these initiatives. It is important that initiatives on procurement align with the objectives of the forthcoming Global Service Delivery Model.
The Member States of the European Union encourage the Secretary General to continue his efforts to ensure fair and transparent market access to UN tenders from all parts of the world, including vendors from the country where the UN operations occur. We welcome the outreach initiatives to facilitate vendor participation, which is generating increased geographical diversification of vendors. The advertisement of tenders in all official languages of the UN is a critical component of this and should be promoted widely. We look forward to information on progress made since 2015 on this issue.
The Member States of the European Union view sustainable procurement as a close complement to promoting wide geographical market access, in line with the engagements taken by Members States during the COP 21 in Paris, and in particular the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. We recall Goal 12, target 7, which calls for the promotion of public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities. The UN’s procurement activities should reflect a global sustainable development policy, compatible with and supportive of protection of the environment and human rights obligations.
We look forward to discussing these and other issues related to UN procurement in the forthcoming informal consultations.
I thank you, Madam Chair.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
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