United Nations

A/RES/51/231


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

25 June 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



Fifty-first session
Agenda item 112


                  RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

               [on the report of the Fifth Committee (A/51/922)]


                  51/231.     Procurement reform

      The General Assembly,

      Recalling its resolution 49/216 C of 23 December 1994 and its
decision 50/479 of 11 April 1996, as well as its previous relevant
resolutions,

      Having considered the reports of the Secretary-General on
procurement reform 1/ and the related reports of the Advisory
Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, 2/

      Having also considered the reports of the Office of Internal
Oversight Services on procurement for the period from 1 July 1995 to
30 June 1996, 3/ on the audit of procurement handled by the Contracts
and Procurement Service of the Department for Development Support and
Management Services of the Secretariat, 4/ on the investigation of
the alleged misappropriation of United Nations assets at the United
Nations Gift Centre 5/ and on the audit of Headquarters catering
operations, 6/

      Having further considered the concise summary of the principal
findings, conclusions and recommendations of the Board of Auditors,
7/ especially paragraphs 20 to 36 thereof, as regards procurement, in
conjunction with comments on the subject contained in the report of
the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions 8/
and the measures proposed by the Secretary-General to implement the
recommendations of the Board of Auditors concerning procurement, 9/

      Noting the progress made in the efforts to prepare a new
procurement manual,

      Noting with concern the continuing weaknesses and deficiencies in
the area of procurement,

      Emphasizing the importance of establishing a supplier roster on
as wide a geographical basis as possible,

      Noting the observation of the Advisory Committee on
Administrative and Budgetary Questions in paragraph 20 of its
report, 10/

      1.    Takes note of the reports of the Secretary-General on
procurement reform 1/ and the reported actions already taken or in
progress to implement the reform measures;

      2.    Regrets that more progress has not been made, in particular,
in improving the procedures and the cost-effectiveness of the
procurement process and in broadening the representativeness of the
supplier base;

      3.    Welcomes the review by the Board of Auditors of the
implementation of the recommendations previously made by the General
Assembly in its resolution 49/216 C on measures to improve the
procurement process;

      4.    Takes note of the observations and recommendations contained
in the reports of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and
Budgetary Questions, 2/ and endorses in particular the recommendation
that procurement reform should be given the highest priority in the
United Nations and its funds and programmes;

      5.    Requests the Secretary-General to expedite efforts to
develop a single format for the provision of data and a common
reporting system for procurement undertaken in the field and at
Headquarters under the responsibility of the Secretary-General, in
order to produce a complete set of statistics to be included in future
reports on procurement to the General Assembly;

      6.    Expresses concern that over the last two years eight
procurement-related arbitration claims have been instituted against
the United Nations, totalling more than 90 million United States
dollars, and requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General
Assembly at its fifty-second session a comprehensive report on
procurement-related arbitration cases, taking into account the
obligations of the United Nations under the Arbitration Rules of the
United Nations Commission on International Trade Law; 11/

      7.    Requests the Secretary-General to include in future reports
on procurement also information on arbitration cases and the related
costs;

      8.    Decides to revert to the question of the structure of the
Procurement and Transportation Division of the Secretariat and the
request of the Secretary-General that the Division be headed by a
Director at the D-2 level during its consideration of the proposed
programme budget for the biennium 1998-1999;

      9.    Requests the Secretary-General to fill the vacant posts
relating to procurement as soon as possible;

      10.   Notes that there are officers on loan in the Procurement and
Transportation Division, and decides to revert to this question during
its consideration of the report of the Secretary-General on gratis
personnel;

      11.   Notes also that a proposal is under consideration to
introduce in the United Nations procurement system an incentive
regarding equally qualified vendors from Member States;

      12.   Welcomes the efforts made to improve coordination within the
United Nations procurement system, and encourages the further
strengthening of such coordination;

      13.   Requests the Secretary-General to take further steps to
improve the availability and timeliness, including through electronic
access, of information relating to current and forthcoming procurement
opportunities;

      14.   Welcomes the electronic announcement of United Nations
contract awards through Procurement Update, issued by the Inter-Agency
Procurement Services Office on the Internet, and encourages the
Secretary-General to make further use of this medium;

      15.   Requests the Secretary-General to report through the
Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions to the
General Assembly at its fifty-second session on the establishment of a
standard procedure for the preparation of performance evaluation
reports on vendors, in particular those with major contracts;

      16.   Expresses its concern about the insufficient use of
expertise in procurement planning in eight peacekeeping missions,
including the United Nations Protection Force and the United Nations
Operation in Somalia, which led to payments for aircraft services not
utilized, assessed at 2.4 million dollars in the United Nations Angola
Verification Mission and 0.4 million dollars in the United Nations
Observer Mission in Liberia;

      17.   Regrets that, owing to deficiencies in procurement planning
and failure to indicate specifications clearly, the Office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees suffered a financial
loss of about 3 million dollars;

      18.   Requests the Secretary-General to entrust the Office of
Internal Oversight Services with the investigation of the situation
mentioned in paragraphs 16 and 17 above and to report thereon through
the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions to
the General Assembly at its fifty-second session;

      19.   Endorses the concern of the Advisory Committee on
Administrative and Budgetary Questions about the use of suppliers
recommended by requisitioners, notes that this practice undermines the
principle of segregation of responsibilities between requisitioning
and procurement entities, and requests the Secretary-General to
discontinue the practice;

      20.   Requests the Secretary-General to ensure that in no case
will a consultant who has been engaged to prepare specifications and
to assist in technical evaluation be allowed to recommend vendors for
invitations to bid;

      21.   Also requests the Secretary-General to redouble his efforts
to streamline all aspects of the decision-making process in
procurement at Headquarters;

      22.   Notes that the local committees on contracts have the
authority to consider cases ranging from 50,000 dollars to 200,000
dollars, while the Headquarters Committee on Contracts will consider
cases in amounts above 200,000 dollars;

      23.   Takes note of the information supplied in paragraphs 93
and 94 of the report of the Board of Auditors, 12/ indicating that
48 per cent of suppliers were from one Member State;

      24.   Invites Member States to encourage their national suppliers
to be registered in the supplier roster;

      25.   Requests the Secretary-General to expedite the steps being
taken to establish a supplier roster on as wide a geographical basis
as possible and to submit a report thereon, including a revised list
of suppliers, through the Advisory Committee on Administrative and
Budgetary Questions to the General Assembly at its fifty-second
session;

      26.   Emphasizes that concerted efforts should be made to identify
potential vendors in the developing countries and countries with
economies in transition and to increase the representation from those
countries in the bidding for and award of contracts, so as to develop
a supplier base that is more representative of the membership of the
Organization;

      27.   Takes note of paragraph 13 of the report of the Advisory
Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, 10/ and decides to
revert to this question during its consideration of the proposed
programme budget for the biennium 1998-1999;

      28.   Requests the Secretary-General to take immediate action to
ensure compliance with the established procedures for procurement,
based on international competitive bidding and the widest possible
geographical base of procurement;

      29.   Appreciates the efforts being made to address the problem of
ex post facto cases, in particular for those offices away from
Headquarters, and requests the Secretary-General to ensure that the
approval of contracts on an ex post facto basis is kept to the
minimum, with full justification for each such case;

      30.   Requests the Secretary-General to review the possibility of
consolidating the procurement functions at Headquarters and to report
thereon to the General Assembly as soon as possible and no later than
September 1997;

      31.   Also requests the Secretary-General to develop an
intensified training programme for all procurement personnel of the
Secretariat and all its offices, including field offices of
peacekeeping operations, to develop the capacity to dispatch in a
timely manner qualified and trained procurement personnel to new or
expanded missions and to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-
second session on measures taken to enhance the training programme;

      32.   Further requests the Secretary-General to establish annual
consolidated procurement plans as a part of procurement reform;

      33.   Requests the Secretary-General to complete the preparation
of a new procurement manual as soon as possible and to provide the
necessary training for procurement personnel;

      34.   Requests the Board of Auditors to monitor and report on the
completion of the new procurement manual in its next report and to
monitor closely the implementation of its recommendation that the
Procurement and Transportation Division should establish detailed
guidelines on methods of invitation to bid covering all aspects of
procurement, including open tendering;

      35.   Also requests the Board of Auditors to report in the next
audit report on peacekeeping operations, in January 1998, on the
status of the implementation by the Secretary-General of its
recommendations concerning the administration of letters of assist;

      36.   Welcomes the reports of the Office of Internal Oversight
Services, 13/ notes that the Secretary-General concurs with the
recommendations of the Office, and requests the Secretary-General to
ensure their full implementation;

      37.   Notes with concern the observations of the Office of
Internal Oversight Services in paragraphs 37 to 42 of its report, 4/ and
requests the Secretary-General to report on the precise action taken
in this regard to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session;

      38.   Endorses the recommendations contained in the report of the
Office of Internal Oversight Services on the audit of Headquarters
catering operations, 6/ and requests the Secretary-General to take
action to achieve consistency in policy and practice with regard to
catering operations at Headquarters and at Geneva.


                                                         101st plenary meeting
                                                                  13 June 1997


                                     Notes

1/    A/C.5/49/67, A/C.5/50/13/Rev.1 and A/C.5/51/9.

2/    A/50/7/Add.13 and A/51/7/Add.3; see Official Records of the
General Assembly, Fiftieth Session, Supplement No. 7A and ibid.,
Fifty-first Session, Supplement No. 7.

3/    A/51/432, annex, sect. II.C.

4/    See A/50/945.

5/    See A/50/1004.

6/    A/51/802, annex.

7/    A/51/283, annex.

8/    A/51/533, paras. 20, 21, 34-36 and 52-60.

9/    A/51/488, paras. 15-19 and A/51/488/Add.1, paras. 4-7, 14-21
and 26.

10/   A/51/7/Add.3; see Official Records of the General Assembly,
Fifty-first Session, Supplement No. 7.

11/   United Nations publication, Sales No. E.77.V.6.

12/   Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-first Session,
Supplement No. 5 (A/51/5), vol. I, sect. II.

13/   A/51/432, annex, sect. II.C; A/50/945, annex; A/50/1004; and
A/51/802, annex.
 

This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:55:20
Comments and suggestions: esa@un.org