Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to international procurement action, field offices are authorized to undertake local and required procurement action which include a wide range of requirements. For purchases within the authority of field offices, the Procurement Division plays a normative role in setting policies and providing advisory support. Vendors may wish to establish separate contact with field offices.

1. HOW CAN I REGISTER AS A VENDOR WITH THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARIAT?
Registration as a vendor with the United Nations Secretariat and many other organizations of the UN system is done through the United Nations Global Marketplace (UNGM). Visit the website to create your account and to complete your application to become a registered vendor. Note: In UNGM the UN Secretariat includes the UN Procurement Division, Peacekeeping and Political Missions, Regional Economic Commissions (ECA, ECLAC, ESCAP, ESCWA), Tribunals (ICTY, ICTR, AKRT) and Offices Away from Headquarters (UNOG, UNON, UNOV).

2. DOES THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARIAT PROCUREMENT IN NEW YORK CONDUCT PURCHASES FOR THE WHOLE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM?
No, every UN System entity (WFP, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, etc.) has its own procurement capacity, expertise and portfolio. The UN Secretariat Procurement conducts procurement for the UN Secretariat in New York, Peacekeeping/Political Missions, Tribunals and Commissions. Selected Offices Away from Headquarters do have delegated procurement authority to carry out their own procurement up to established financial limits. The UN Secretariat Procurement generally conducts purchases beyond these limits and for global acquisition projects.

3. DOES THIS MEAN THAT I HAVE TO INDIVIDUALLY CONTACT EACH AGENCY, FUND AND PROGRAMME?
No, the United Nations Global Marketplace (UNGM) provides a one-stop portal for applying to become a registered vendor with 22 different Agencies, Funds and Programmes and UN Secretariat that together represents 95% of the procurement expenditure of the UN System. The UN entities use UNGM as a sourcing tool in search for suppliers, as well as to publish new business opportunities. The UNGM registration is free of charge.

4. IS THERE INFORMATION ON REQUESTS FOR BIDS/PROPOSALS?
Yes. All procurement opportunities for the UN Secretariat are published on our website in the Expression of Interest section as well as on the United Nations Global Marketplace website.

5. I HAVE BEEN APPROVED AS A UN SECRETARIAT VENDOR, BUT I HAVE NEVER BEEN INVITED TO BID
Buyers search for potential vendors based on the United Nations Standard Product and Services Code (UNSPSC) indicated in your application to become a potential vendor with the UN Secretariat tenders. Accurate selection of UNSPSC codes that describe your core products and services, and which are in line with the tender requirements of the UN Secretariat, will increase the likelihood of your company being invited to bids.

Regularly checking our website to review open procurement opportunities and expressing your interest in these directly is another way to ensure that your company is invited to participate in tenders. It is possible to sign up for the Tender Alert Service on the UNGM website which will ensure that all procurement opportunities matching the UNSPSC codes selected in your UNGM account are e-mailed to you.

One reason why your company should never been invited to bid may be that the product or service you offer is rarely required by the UN Secretariat, and we simply have no need to buy any of them. Be aware that the UN Secretariat is only one entity within the 21 UN entities and each have a distinct portfolio. Please review the General Business Guide, which is available at the Knowledge Centre in the publications section for more information on the procurement requirements of the 21 UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes participating in the United Nations Global Marketplace.

6. I HEARD THERE IS A BID GOING ON FOR "XYZ" PRODUCT OR SERVICE. I WANT TO PARTICIPATE. WHO SHALL I CONTACT?
You are encouraged to consult the Expression of Interest section on the UN Secretariat Procurement website or United Nations Global Marketplace where all open Expressions of Interest (EOI) are published and contact the procurement officer for information. Please note, however, that the first step to participating in procurement opportunities with the UN Secretariat and other agencies of the UN System is by registering as a vendor at the United Nations Global Marketplace. Contact information for the UN Secretariat can be found in the Contact Us section and on the UNGM website for other Agencies, Funds and Programmes.

7. ARE PURCHASES BY THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARIAT TAX/DUTY FREE?
As an inter-governmental organization, the UN Secretariat is exempt from the payment of taxes and duties for its purchases.

8. AS A US FIRM, SHOULD MY COMPANY QUOTE BASED ON A GENERAL SERVICE ADMINISTRATION (GSA) CONTRACT?
The United Nations does accept GSA pricing, however, as a rule, the UN Secretariat makes its purchases on the basis of Best Value for Money (BVM). You should always offer the best prices combined with the best quality of products or services that match our procurement requirements when offering a quotation, bid or proposal.

9. WE ARE PRODUCERS/MANUFACTURERS OF "XYZ". CAN WE INVITE THE UNITED NATIONS TO ATTEND WHEN WE HOLD DEMOSTRATIONS IN OUR COUNTRY?
The UN Secretariat does not normally make specific visits to individual companies. However, the UN system does organize Business Seminars which offer opportunities for companies to meet with procurement officials and which may include visits to select industries.

10. COULD YOU GIVE ME NAMES OF PERSONS FROM THE UN SECRETARIAT WHO ARE IN CHARGE OF PURCHASES OF "XYZ" PRODUCTS?
Contact information for UN Secretariat Procurement can be found in the Contact Us section and on the UNGM website for other Agencies, Funds and Programmes.

11. I AM A SMALL VENDOR, IS IT WORTHWHILE FOR ME TO REGISTER WHEN THE UN IS SUCH A LARGE ORGANISATION? DO I HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO BUSINESS WITH THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARIAT?
Yes, of course. The UN Secretariat procures on an international basis from vendors of all sizes and from all geographical locations. Sometimes our requirements are large and sometimes our requirements are small. For this reason, we have different levels of registration and companies can choose the level at which they wish to register based on the size of their company and the size of contract that they are able to manage. A description of the different levels of registration and the requirements for each level can be found at Vendor Registration.

12. WE HAVE A NEW PRODUCT THAT WE BELIEVE THE UNITED NATIONS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT; WHO SHOULD WE TALK TO?
Contact information for UN Secretariat Procurement can be found in the Contact Us section and on the UNGM website for other Agencies, Funds and Programmes.

13. CAN WE DELIVER DIRECTLY TO THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARIAT IN NEW YORK FOR GOODS DESTINATED FOR EXAMPLE TO AFRICA/MIDDLE EAST, ETC.?
Delivery requirements for purchases are usually specified in the tender documents (ITB, RFP). Delivery requirements may range from Ex-Works (EXW) to Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU) or Free Carrier (FCA). Your ability to comply with the stated delivery requirements will be factored into the evaluation process.

14. SHOULD I WANT TO MEET WITH ANY UNITED NATIONS SECRETARIAT OFFICIALS IN THE UNITED STATES, NEW YORK, REGARDING OUR COMPANY'S ABILITY TO PROVIDE SERVICES (OR GOODS), CAN THE UNITED NATIONS ISSUE ME A BUSINESS VISA?
We are not authorized to issue visas. Visas to the United States can only be issued by the US Embassy or Consulate in your country.

15. HOW DOES THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARIAT PAY VENDORS?
The United Nations Secretariat payment terms are normally net 30 days upon receipt of invoice and delivery of goods or performance of contractual services, whichever is later. Advance payments and progress payments prior to delivery of goods or performance of contractual services ordered may be approved on an exceptional basis at the discretion of the UN Secretariat, if such payments are required pursuant to normal commercial practice or considered to be in the interest of the UN Secretariat. The United Nations does not issue letters of credit.

16. DOES THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARIAT REQUIRE PERFORMANCE GUARANTEE?
The United Nations Secretariat may require a successful contractor to furnish performance bonds in the United Nations standard format or similar forms of financial guarantee. The amount of performance bonds/guarantees will vary depending on the nature of the requirements. For example, in case of construction contracts, the UN calls for performance bonds and labour and material bonds in sums equal to the total contract price. The UN may also include a liquidated damages clause in its contractual documents in case adherence to the schedule of delivery of goods or performance of contractual services is critical to meet the requirements of the UN.

17. AS A NON-US BASED COMPANY, WOULD IT BE ADVANTAGEOUS IF I APPOINT A US COMPANY OR AGENT TO ACT ON MY BEHALF?
No. The United Nations Secretariat procures goods and services on an international basis and we prefer to deal directly with Vendors. Presence in the United States will not result in any advantage for your company.

18. DOES THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARIAT HAVE A PARTICULAR PROFILE FOR VENDORS WITH WHOM IT DOES BUSINESS?
No. The UN Secretariat does business with vendors from all over the world guided, among others, by the Best Value for Money principle. Nevertheless, the UN also represents 193 Member States, which guides it to diversify its vendor database in its business dealings. The UN is therefore constantly seeking to attract suppliers from countries and regions hitherto under-represented and is actively increasing its sources of supplies of goods and services from vendors in countries categorised as developing or with economies in transition.