What Did the UN Spend on Goods and Services in 2020?

Published: 07 Jul 2021

United Nations (UN) organisations spent $22.3 billion on goods and services in 2020, according to a new report published by UNOPS on behalf of the UN system.

The 2020 Annual Statistical Report on UN Procurement analyses the combined annual UN spending on goods and services.

It shows that the UN’s procurement increased by more than 12% since 2019, an increase of $2.4 billion. This increase was driven by substantial increases in health-related equipment and supply purchases as the UN supported COVID-19 response efforts.

The health sector saw the largest amount of spending, with spending on medical equipment rising sharply, tripling since 2019 to reach $2.2 billion. Pharmaceuticals, contraceptives and vaccines remained the largest procurement category for the UN at $3 billion.

“As our world responds to, and recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, procurement has a key role to play in driving equality, accelerating the shift to lower carbon economies, creating jobs, tackling corruption and championing a more sustainable and inclusive recovery. This report highlights the UN’s important role in this regard,” said Grete Faremo, UN Under Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director.

Enhancing opportunities for developing and transitioning economies is key to delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2020, UN procurement from developing countries, countries with economies in transition and least developed countries reached an all-time high, $13.7 billion, an increase of $1.4 billion from 2019. This represents more than 61% of total UN procurement and includes $4.1 billion procured from least developed countries.

The United States remained the largest supplier country in 2020, providing $1.9 billion of goods and services to UN organisations. Four developing countries – China, India, Kenya, United Arab Emirates and one least developed country, Yemen – were among the top ten supplier countries in 2020, with a combined procurement value of $4.0 billion. This is the largest combined volume for developing countries within the top 10 suppliers to date, representing 18% of total UN procurement in 2020.

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