A Brief Look At United Nations Procurement: Going International ... Sort Of

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The following is the first in a series of postings which will provide a brief look into UN procurement intended to help potential contractors assess the viability of doing business with the UN.

In an era of shrinking procurement budgets, federal contractors are increasingly seeking new opportunities abroad. But many companies understandably view navigation of the numerous rules, regulations and laws associated with international procurement as daunting at best and unfeasible at worst. Luckily, there exists a middle ground allowing companies the opportunity to expand globally without ever dialing a country code or resorting to Skype – the United Nations.

United Nations Procurement: A Primer

The United Nations is a 65-year old organization of 192 member countries aiming to foster and facilitate international security and global economic development. The UN is funded primarily through voluntary contributions of its member states and is made up of five principal active “organs,” the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, the Economic and Social Council, and the International Court of Justice. Under each organ lies a bevy of agencies, organizations, commissions, and programs created to tackle specialized tasks or problems. Known as the “United Nations System of Organizations,” these specialized units include agencies such as the United Nations Children Fund (“UNICEF”), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (“UNESCO”) and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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