The United Nations (UN) was formed in 1945, after the second World War to maintain international peace and security. This continues to one of its five main functions, along with preventing conflict and peace keeping. Its other objectives are promoting sustainable development internationally, where productivity and prosperity occurs hand-in-hand with social security and environment protection. Protecting human rights through legal action and grass-root activities. Develop and maintain an international law to deal with problems arising from international trade and conflict. And lastly to coordinate the deliver of international humanitarian aid in the event of natural and man-made disasters that national governments cannot address alone.
The UN is dependent on contribution of cash, goods and services from its member states to finance and help its activities in the form of voluntary and assessed contributions. Voluntary contributions are left to the discretion of each member state and are used for relief and development work. Assessed payments depending on each country's paying capacity. This ranges from a maximum of 22% to a minimum of 0.001% of the UN's budget and is used for peacekeeping missions and core UN activities.
The UN Procurement System
The UN procured $17.6 billion worth of goods and services in 2015, which was 2% more than the previous year. This contribution came from 224 different countries, and 124 member nations contributed more than $10 million each. The US and nine other top countries account for 44.8% of this contribution. Five European countries, namely Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, France, and the United Kingdom, are among the top ten contributors of goods and services in 2015 to the UN.
Trends in Contribution
There has been an decrease in procurement from developed countries in the last ten years, however some countries, such as the United States of America and Switzerland, have increased their contributions substantially, doing so by 144% and 158%, respectively, in this time. Lest developed, developing and emerging countries have increased their contributions to UN. Among them is one very underdeveloped country, Afghanistan, and the three developing countries of India, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). All four countries' combined contributions make up 18% of the total UN procurement.
Afghanistan has been one the top ten contributors since 2004, and supplies engineering services, management services, and rural development services. Kenya (2.5%) provides cargo transportation services, construction services and fuel. The United Arab Emirates has been one of the top supplier since 2013, and was the third largest contributor in 2015 (4.6%). It supplied fuel, food products, construction services and shelter equipment. India has been one of the top ten contributors to UN organizations since 2000. It made the second largest contribution (7.3%) and is worth more than $1 billion in volume. India provides pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, medical equipment and management services. The contribution of health goods and services amounting to $994.0 million in 2015, make it the largest supplier of these category to UN. The United States is the only other country that makes contributions valued at more than $1 billion in volume of goods and services.
Use of Goods and Services by the UN
The goods and services are part of the voluntary contributions made by the member countries to the UN. These are usually not used in to fund core UN activities. The various goods and services supplied to UN are procured for use in its various special programs, including UNDP, UNOPS, the World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNICEF, and the Pan American Health Organization. The figures reported were compiled from information gathered from 36 United Nations organizations in total.