Procurement questions

(1)     At the 41st and 42nd sessions (March and September 1975: CO-ORDINATION/R.1088, para. 35 and CO-ORDINATION/R.1114, paras. 37-38), following the distribution of the full current text of the UN Rules on contracts, CCAQ considered what further possibilities existed for standardizing rules and procedures on procurement.

The Committee endorsed a suggestion by ILO that organizations should, for the present, aim at harmonizing their procedures without formally adopting any standard texts. UNDP offered to see whether its own rules on procurement could be simplified and to prepare a report for a future session on the possibilities of further standardization.

(2)     At the 51st session (September 1970) the Committee agreed that the results of the work of the UNDP Inter-Agency Procurement Working Group would, as this work progressed, be communicated to CCAQ for consideration (ACC/1979/R.69, para. 44).

(3)     At the 53rd session (September 1980) the Committee considered a draft of a report on unifying the rules and procedures covering procurement of goods and services in the UN system of organizations, prepared for IAPSU. The participants considered that the report required much more work in order to eliminate errors of fact, to take account of procurement operations financed under all sources of funds, to give recognition to past efforts, and to bring out the organizations' knowledge of and compliance with accepted procurement principles. It was agreed that the draft should be circulated to the organizations for suggestions and that on this basis the CCAQ secretariat should assist IAPSU in revising it. The revised version would then be recirculated for final comments (ACC/1980/32, paras. 45-47).

(4)     At the 54th session (March 1981) the Committee took note of a redrafted version of the report. This text took account of comments made by the Inter-Agency Procurement Working Group. The Committee also had before it comments received from the organizations on the redrafted text. It assumed that UNDP would wish to take account of these comments in any further version, and noted that the Administrator intended to inform the Governing Council of the status of the matter (ACC/1981/10, paras. 38 and 39).

(5)     At the same session, in the context of a discussion of possible model texts for financial regulations on procurement, it was agreed that financial rules on this subject lent themselves less readily to standardization, but that work on the co-ordination of procurement practices should be actively pursued. It was agreed in this connection that the CCAQ secretariat should begin work on a draft CCAQ code for procurement operations (ACC/1981/10, para. 18).

(6)     At the 55th session (September 1981) the Committee discussed means of financing the purchase of major items of equipment, especially where these had not been foreseen in the budget. It identified several means of dealing with this problem (leasing arrangements with purchase options, commitments against future financial periods where these were authorized under financial regulations, and subject to governing body agreement, the establishment of an equipment fund, an advance from the Working Capital Fund, and loans from Member States) (ACC/1981/30, paras. 29 and 30).

(7)     Also at the 55th session, during a discussion of developments concerning the Financial Regulations of UNDP, the Committee considered the question of issue by the Administrator of guidelines on the procurement of equipment, supplies and services, as called for in Regulation 14.4 (subsequently renumbered 15.4). The extent to which such guidelines could govern procurement by executing agencies without regard to their own financial regulations or to procedures mandated by their executing heads or governing bodies had been studied by the UN Office of Legal Affairs. Organizations indicated that they would be unable to apply UNDP guidelines which would be in contravention of such regulations or procedures. UNDP stated that the absence of agreement on this point had been made known to the Governing Council, and that the guidelines would be drawn up in the fullest possible consultation with the agencies. The latter concluded that the matter was now a legal one and should be considered by the legal advisers concerned. The advice of the UN Office for Legal Affairs, which spoke of the need for agencies to comply "depending on their agreements with UNDP", might form the basis for a solution (ACC/1981/30, paras. 31-37).

(8)     At the 56th session (March 1982) the Committee studied statements collected from the organizations on this subject, which confirmed on the whole that in case of conflict the regulations, rules and directives of the organizations would take precedence over those of UNDP unless the former were brought into conformity with such requirements by the competent authority (ACC/1982/6, paras. 54 and 55). UNDP indicated that its procurement guidelines, when completed, would first be tested in its Office for Projects Execution (ACC/1982/6, para. 47). In the light of this and other developments, it was agreed that CCAQ work on a code for procurement operations (see para. 5 above) should be deferred (ACC/1981/30, para. 48).

(9)     At the 57th session (September 1982) the Committee noted decision 82/5 of the UNDP Governing Council, authorizing, inter alia, on a temporary basis, trust funds conditioned on procurement from a donor country in respect of operations of UNSO, UNCDF and the UN Financing System for Science and Technology for Development. Participants expressed regret at this measure, which in their view threatened the neutral character of multilateral technical co-operation; they hoped that the Governing Council would not be requested to renew it. UNDP having pointed to exceptions already made to the principle of international competitive bidding, the Committee reviewed existing practice, distinguishing between exceptions made in the interests of organizations' operations and those made principally to attract funds; it was agreed that exceptions of the latter type should be avoided (ACC/1982/25, paras. 48-51). The status of UNDP guidelines on the procurement of equipment, supplies and services was also noted (ibid., para. 52).

(10)     The Committee was informed at the 58th session (March 1983) of the position with regard to IAPSU work on common procurement practices. It asked to be kept informed of developments (ACC/1983/11, para. 52).

(11)     Also at the 58th session, in connection with the rephasing of UNDP project funds at the year-end, the Committee considered the workload difficulties caused by the submission of large numbers of equipment requests from the field at that time of the year. UNDP indicated that project funds were normally carried forward except at the end of a project cycle and agreed to take appropriate remedial action vis-à-vis its field organization (ACC/1983/11, paras. 53 and 54).

(12)     At the 59th session (September 1983) the Committee was informed of action at the June 1983 session of the UNDP Governing Council with respect to waivers of international competitive bidding requirements for trust-fund projects administered by UNCDF, UNSO and the UN Financing System for Science and Technology for Development (see para. 9 above), and the development of procurement guidelines; UNDP indicated that any procurement guidelines intended for application by the organizations generally would be placed before CCAQ prior to submission to the Governing Council (ACC/1983/11, para. 53).

(13)     At the 62nd session (March 1985) IAPSU provided the Committee with copies of a draft statement on the procurement of goods and services in the United Nations system of organizations, prepared on the basis of inter-organization consultations for submission to the Inter-Agency Procurement Working Group. The Committee asked to be kept informed of the progress of work in the area of procurement procedures. The Committee was also informed by UNDP of the position concerning the procurement guidelines called for in its Financial Regulation 15.4 (ACC/1985/7, paras. 56 and 57).

(14)     At the 63rd session (September 1985) it was noted that decision 85/39 of the Governing Council urged UNDP and the agencies to make enhanced efforts to expand the geographical distribution of sources of supply, including under-utilized donors and developing countries; UNDP intended to consult agencies directly on appropriate follow-up action (ACC/1985/17, para. 52).

(15)     At the 65th session (September 1986) the Committee took note of decision 86/47 of the Governing Council on guidelines for the procurement of equipment, supplies and services, and was briefed by IAPSU on progress in developing the document on agency procurement policies and practices which was mentioned in the decision. With respect to expectations voiced in the Governing Council that procurement should be directed to certain areas, the Committee recorded that organizations' activities in the procurement field had to conform to the provisions of their financial regulations (ACC/1986/12, para. 67).

(16)     Also at the 65th session, UNDP drew attention to a Governing Council ruling under which a minimum of 75 per cent of the value of UNDP-financed procurement contracts was payable in the currency of the country concerned, and requested the assistance of all members of the Committee in ensuring that this ruling was observed (ACC/1986/12, para. 42).

(17)     Progress in IAPSU work on procurement policies and practices was reported to the Committee at the 66th session (March-April 1987). It was suggested that the Inter-Agency Procurement Working Group should include among the subjects to be discussed at its next session competitive bidding, tied procurement and the establishment of a ceiling above which proposed contracts would have to be submitted to contracts committees. Results would be reported to CCAQ (ACC/1987/6, paras. 44 and 45).

(18)     At the 68th session (March 1988), in the context of a discussion of procurement from developing countries for operational activities (General Assembly resolution 42/196), CCAQ was informed by the Inter-Agency Procurement Services Unit (IAPSU) that it was collecting information on the financial thresholds in the various organizations for the submission of proposed procurement contracts to contracts committees, and intended referring it to CCAQ for any decision it might wish to take on the standardization of practice (ACC/1988/5, paras. 62-64).

(19)     At the 69th session (September 1988) the Committee was informed by its Chairman that a recent study of co-ordination between the operations of the UN Supply Depot at Pisa and those of the UNICEF Procurement and Assembly Centre at Copenhagen led him to believe that significant savings could be achieved by all organizations through closer co-ordination of purchasing. The Committee agreed that this idea should be worked out in greater detail in a study prepared by UN with the help of UNICEF and UNDP (ACC/1988/13, paras. 71-73). At the following (70th) session, held in Copenhagen, the Committee was informed by the Director of the UNICEF Supply Division in that city and the Chief of IAPSU (which was being relocated there) of examples of benefits from large-scale and combined purchasing operations (ACC/1989/7, paras. 70, 71).

(20)     IAPSU presented the results of the inquiry referred to in paragraph (18) above at the 70th session (March 1989), including a recommendation on the thresholds concerned. CCAQ thought it useful that organizations review such thresholds from time to time in the light of practice elsewhere, but did not believe standardization was necessarily desirable (ACC/1989/7, paras. 72, 73).

(21)     At the 71st session (September 1989) the Committee was informed that UN, UNICEF and UNDP had decided to carry out a general review to ascertain how far co-ordinated procurement might be feasible and fix modalities for implementing it, and that other organizations were invited to join them. Members of the Committee asked that it be kept informed of progress (ACC/1989/15, paras. 69-71).

(22)     At the 73rd session (September 1990) UN reiterated its conviction that co-ordinated procurement could lead to considerable savings, and drew attention to the position of CPC in favour of further efforts. It hoped that a common procurement facility would begin to function during 1991. Members of CCAQ observed that wider participation in the facility could be expected if it were found to offer concrete benefits (ACC/1990/12, paras. 45-47).

(23)     UN reported further on the above arrangements at the Committee's 74th session (March 1991), noting that practical aspects, including a standard coding system, were under development. Co-ordinated procurement would concentrate on items frequently used in the system, such as vehicles, tyres, paper, office supplies, furniture, personal computers and related electronic data-processing equipment; in all these cases significant savings were expected from standardization and combined orders, as well as savings on administrative costs. Particular benefits would accrue to smaller agencies. UN expected the arrangements to be fully operational by end-1992 (ACC/1991/6, paras. 55-57).

(24)     At the 75th session (September 1991) the Committee took note of further information from UN on co-ordinated procurement. On the issue of procurement from developing countries, it welcomed the action of the UNDP Governing Council (decision 91/48) to discontinue the long-standing 15 per cent price preferential system in favour of developing countries for UNDP and UNFPA procurement. It took note of draft guidelines for procurement from developing and under-utilized major donor countries, being submitted to the September 1991 session of CCSQ(OPS) (ACC/1991/18, paras. 53-56).

(25)     For a 1991 decision of UN to raise the minimum value of non-expendable equipment at Headquarters, see section 21.1, paragraph (16).

(26)     Following examination of a UN Common Coding System for Goods and Services (UNCCS) intended to facilitate communications between the organizations on procurement operations, the Committee at the 76th session (March 1992) endorsed the principle of such a system on the understanding that IAPSO (formerly IAPSU) would undertake to eliminate certain structural difficulties. It also endorsed the Common Vendor Database of IAPSO as open for use throughout the system in the procurement area and - with due regard to individual organizations' independence of choice - as the norm; IAPSO alone should be responsible for maintaining the database and adjusting entries. While calling attention to certain cost problems, the Committee agreed that IAPSO should investigate further the possible harmonization of country and currency codes for use in the system: it asked IAPSO to study whether a common country code could be based on the existing UNDP code, and to identify a currency code compatible with those generally used in international banking transactions (ACC/1992/11, paras. 55-58). Returning to this matter at its 77th session (August-September 1992) on the basis of revised proposals by IAPSO, the Committee endorsed such harmonization in principle, as an objective for the medium or long term, and encouraged IAPSO to collaborate with the International Standards Organization (ACC/1992/25, para. 44).

(27)     Following a suggestion by UNDP for a collective approach to raising the monetary thresholds above which competitive bidding is normally required for proposed contracts, and such contracts are submitted to contracts committees, the Committee at the 76th session (March 1992) agreed that individual organizations should re-examine their rules and keep them under review, in the light of current purchasing power (ACC/1992/11, para. 60). At the following (77th) session (August-September 1992), against a background of comparative data provided by the organizations, the Committee reviewed a suggestion by IAPSO that the thresholds for submission to contracts committees and for formal invitations to bid should be raised from $70,000 to $100,000 and from $20,000 to $30,000 respectively; however there was opposition from several members and it was recalled that the Committee had not in the past been willing to endorse uniform amounts for those thresholds (ACC/1992/25, paras. 42, 43).

(28)     The Committee also took note of information from UN that, for property control purposes, it intended to raise the minimum value of non-expendable equipment at Headquarters from $500 to $1500; items of a value of more than $500 which were particularly liable to theft would also be maintained in the inventory (ACC/1991/18, para. 71).

(29)     At the 78th session (March 1993), on the proposal of IAPSO, the Committee endorsed UNCCS (para. 26 above) as the coding system for procurement activities in the UN system, on the understanding that its adoption in practice would be a gradual process. IAPSO would be responsible for maintaining and updating the system. In relation to country codes, and also on the proposal of IAPSO, the Committee endorsed in principle the eventual adoption in the system of the new ISO Alpha-3 code which was under development and resembled the UN Alpha-3 code, but was in wider use. It requested IAPSO to continue to collaborate with ISO in the development of this code (ACC/1993/7, paras. 73-75).

(30)     At its 81st session, CCAQ(FB) was presented with a proposal by IAPSO that organizations waive competitive bidding for the purchase of items where prices have been obtained through international tendering under the mechanism of the Inter-Agency Working Group. It was also informed about the current situation of the Common Vendor Database. While generally supporting the principle of the Database, some participants believed that it had expended too quickly and welcomed the initiative to review it regularly. As regards the recommendation that organizations wive further bidding, concern was expressed that a blanket waiver might contravene organizations' own Financial Regulations and bidding procedures. While recognizing that the intent of the recommendation was to streamline and accelerate the procurement process, participants felt that it would not be possible to endorse the recommendation unconditionally. A waiver of the type described might be resorted to on an ad hoc basis, in accordance with conditions permitted by each organization's Financial Regulations (ACC/1994/15, para. 42 and 43).

(31)     At its June 2003 session (CEB/2003/3, paras. 27-28) HLCM had the benefit of a briefing from the Inter-Agency Procurement Working Group (IAPWG) and from the Common Services Working Group on Procurement (CSWGP) on developments in respect of common system procurement, the training and certification of procurement and central security personnel, and the need to develop closer formal links between HLCM and IAPWG on the one hand and with other groups engaged in management issues including Inter-Agency Network of Facilities Managers (INFM) and the UN Security and Safety Network (the UNSSNET). The discussion and HLCM's decisions are reported in section 1.2, para. (57).

(32)     At its 6th Session (October 2003: CEB/2003/5, para. 26) HLCM, after being briefed by the UN on the follow-up to decisions on procurement taken at the Committee=s fifth session (see para. (31) above and para. (57) of section 1.2), (a) welcomed the progress being made on the Microsoft global agreement and noted that details would be posted on a dedicated procurement site; (b) recalled its request that the IAPWG report to HLCM; (c) noted that negotiations would soon be undertaken with airlines on global agreements and requested that the UN inform organizations of the timetable for those negotiations; (d) welcomed the efforts of the IAPWG to institute a standardized procurement training and certification programme across the UN system; and (e) noted that, if outside funding was not found for the procurement training and certification programme that the ILO International Training Centre in Turin would lead, UNDP proposed to contribute according to the normal cost-sharing formula.

(33)     At its 7th session (March 2004: CEB/2004/3, para. 45) HLCM was informed by the UN Secretariat of a number of contracts that had recently been extended and/or negotiated, for example, with SITA and Cisco, the details of which were available on the web site. Of particular interest was a recently negotiated contract with British Airways for a system wide discount of approximately 10 and 15 per cent on short and long haul flights respectively. This agreement did not supersede any existing local agreements and the UN was in discussions with other airlines that had expressed interest in such arrangements.

(34)     At its February 2005 meeting (CEB/2005/HLCM/8, para. 23) the HR Network considered a Note provided by the ITC-ILO on Potential HR Issues linked to Procurement Certification Scheme.  The Network thanked the representative of the ITC-ILO for drawing the project and its potential HR implications to the attention of the Network and welcomed the invitation of the ITC-ILO to provide inputs into the further development of the scheme.  It was agreed that suggestions and inputs would be provided by email to the ITC-ILO.  The Network also suggested that the development of a similar certification scheme on HR management should be considered.  The work previously carried out by CCAQ(PER) on the development of HR competencies would provide a useful starting point for the design of an HR certification programme.

 (35) UNHCR wrote a note to HLCM in July 2006 proposing the establishment of a Supply Network (Procurement and Logistics), along with the HR, FB and ICT Networks. UNHCR prepared a paper outlining the background and detail of such a proposal before the fall 2006 session of HLCM. At its meeting of August 2006 (CEB/2006/HLCM/34, paras.102-103), the FB Network acknowledged the considerable interlinks between procurement activities and financial management issues. It therefore welcomed the proposal and suggested that any further development on this initiative should be carried out taking into consideration the governance mechanisms and roles of any other existing UN community of work in this area, such as the IAPWG, the UNDG, and others to avoid duplication of work, while bringing discussion and decision-making on this matter under the HLCM umbrella.   

(36) At the twelfth session of HLCM (CEB/2006/5, paras.56-68), UNHCR’s Controller and Director, Financial and Supply Management proposed the establishment of a supply network under the HLCM (CEB/2006/HLCM.R.11).  This was felt necessary given, among other reasons, the rare occasion, on which IAPWG had reported to the HLCM.  The Committee acknowledged that the management of physical assets would become a significant issue under the IPSAS regulations and thus encouraged the FB Network to examine the issue.  More broadly, the Committee noted the UNHCR proposal, recognised the increasing complexity of procurement and supply chain management.  The Committee noted the need for further inter-agency consultation, for which it considered the IAPWG the appropriate forum; it looked forward to receiving further updates, including a report back from IAPWG.  

(37) At its March 2007 session (CEB/2007/3, paras. 43-46), the Committee agreed to designate IAPWG as the new procurement network of HLCM, and to rename it “HLCM Procurement Network”. UNDP/IAPSO would continue to serve the network as its secretariat.

The Procurement Network would report to the Committee regularly, following the model already in place for the other HLCM Networks, i.e. providing a short briefing on the network’s recent activities and referring to the Committee any issues in need of further endorsement/approval.

The Committee further asked the newly established Procurement Network to finalize its programme or work, which should include a review of the modalities for automatic suspension of suppliers upon suspension by one of the network members, and to present it at the next session of the HLCM.

The Committee also decided to include the subject of procurement in its plan of action (business practices proposal) and to review the functioning and achievements of the Procurement Network in three years time.

(38) At its 14th session (CEB/2007/6, paras.90-91), the Committee endorsed the principles and the recommendation included in the proposal CEB/2007/HLCM/29 on vendor suspension submitted by the Procurement Network, and encouraged the Network to take account of comments and suggestions offered by the Committee for the continuation of work on this matter.

The Committee also asked the Procurement Network to finalize its programme of work, taking into adequate consideration system-wide issues for inclusion in the Business Practices proposal.

(39) At its fifteenth session in Rome, 2008 (CEB/2008/3, paras. 63-70), the Committee welcomed the work done by the Procurement Network since its institutionalization within the HLCM framework, and encouraged member organizations to provide active support to the Network in all activities undertaken in this critical area.
Recognizing the high value of procurement issues in the HLCM effort towards harmonization of business practices across the UN system, the Committee asked the Network to finalize its proposed contributions to the HLCM Plan of Action by 4 April, so that they could be included in the final version of the Plan, before submission to Member States.

The Committee also asked the Network to formalize its programme of work and working procedures and to submit them to its next session in the fall of 2008. The list of expected deliverables and corresponding deadlines, provided under paragraph 66 (a) through (g) below, will serve as a reference programme of work until the final one would be formalized:
    (a)    UN Global Marketplace (UNGM): this is the result of the collaboration of 23 UN system organizations to harmonize and simplify supplier registration and sourcing processes. The supplier database on the UNGM is available to all UN system and World Bank procurement personnel, and is the main supplier database for the 23 subscribing organizations. A great deal of work is planned to enhance this tool, especially in connection with its potential as a knowledge sharing and e-tendering platform, as well as with the issue of suspect vendors. A project proposal covering the latter UNGM upgrade is being finalized for inclusion in the HLCM Business Practices Plan of Action. A Service Level Agreement is in place with UNOPS as a service provider. A Steering Committee (Chair: WIPO, Members: IFAD, ILO, UNICEF and UN Secretariat, Alternate Members: FAO, UNFPA) provides oversight functions on the UNGM.
    (b)    Suspect Vendors: a first proposed way forward on this matter has been agreed upon, taking into account feedback received from the UN Office of Legal Affairs. The administrative procedures from the World Bank could form the basis for a common UN system approach; criteria for qualifying vendors are already "common", while common criteria for "disqualifying" vendors would now have to be agreed upon. The timeframe for finalization of a UN system common approach to suspect vendors was set for end of 2008.
    (c)    Vendor Access: a dedicated working group was developing a second project proposal for the HLCM plan of action, mainly aimed at improving access to the UN system by vendors from developing countries.
    (d)    Financial Rules and Regulations (FRRs): the Network was actively reviewing the procurement-related paragraphs of the FRRs of all UN system organizations, with a view to providing the Finance and Budget Network with substantive input in the harmonization process currently undertaken by the UN, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF. The Procurement Network would complete this effort by June 2008.
    (e)    Support to the "Delivering as One" pilots and other country operations: this item was high on the Network's agenda and included a number of activities, support for which would also be sought through the HLCM Plan of Action. Such activities included: improvement of scope and usage of the Practitioners Handbook; and work on generic specifications, procurement tools & training materials, also for requisitioners and other parties involved in the supply chain.
    (f)    Professionalization: the Procurement Network would link up with the HR Network to offer its substantive expertise on the issues of job profiles and mobility. Some useful tools like the competency framework and the Practitioners Handbook are already in place, but further work is needed to enhance joint training documentation and delivery, as well as sharing of business processes and practices through the UNGM.
    (g)    Environment: the Network is working closely with the Sustainable United Nations (SUN) group and with the Environment Management Group (EMG) through the working groups already in place to produce a practice guide and standard specifications for sustainable procurement. Training modules would by ready by May 2008.

(40) At its sixteenth session in New York (CEB/2008/5, paras. 77-79), the Committee commended the Procurement Network on the progress made, endorsed its programme of work as outlined in the Conclusions of its 4th meeting (CEB/2008/HLCM_PN/4), and appreciated the results-based management working methodology it had put in place so quickly.

In response to a request by members of the HLCM to include “Contracts Committee management” among the topics of knowledge sharing, with a view to facilitating executive management in identifying best practices in this area, the Chair agreed to this on behalf of the Network, indicating that UNDP had excellent automation practices in place. The Chair of the Procurement Network indicated that the Network was fully committed to finalize its work on the issue of suspect vendors by the end of the year, as per current work plan, and that the final output would be finalized in consultation with the Legal Network in order to provide a solid framework to HLCM.

(41) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/3, paras.32-34), the Committee took note with appreciation of the draft executive summary (CEB/2009/HLCM/13/Rev.1) of the latest Procurement Network meeting in Vienna, acknowledging the considerable scope of the Network’s work on greening initiatives, support to country offices, professionalization of the procurement function, procurement harmonization, sustainable procurement, procurement certification, and the tangible deliverables that needed to be built upon: UN Global Marketplace (UNGM), Practitioners Handbook, Training Materials, etc.

The Committee underlined the importance and urgency of finding a common operational solution to the issue of Suspect Vendors, encouraged the Procurement Network, in coordination with the lead agency (UNDP) for the project on “Common Framework to deal with Suspect Vendors”, to take the necessary steps to develop a detailed project plan, taking in due consideration comments and suggestions received during the discussion, including in particular those of the Network of Legal Advisors, and submit it to the Business Practices Steering Committee for review and subsequent disbursement of funding, with a view to expedite implementation of the activities foreseen and delivery of the expected outcomes within the planned timeframe.

(42) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, para.11), the HR Network fully supported the initiative to produce an information package for human resources managers containing explanatory notes on the complex issue of post adjustment; Agreed to provide feedback and recommendations on the contents of the information package to ensure that it will be useful and relevant to the intended users; Thanked IAEA for its comparative study on the loss of purchasing power for professional staff serving in the Euro-zone and requested the ICSC Secretariat to explore new ways to solve the current situation taking into account information provided by IAEA and other European-based organizations; Noted that there was a dramatic reductions in the post adjustment of some Eastern European duty stations and appreciated the one-day workshop organized by the ICSC Secretariat prior to ACPAQ on the Post Adjustment methodology.

The Commission decided:

    (a)    To request that suggestions and proposals from organizations and staff  federations concerning the list of items and their specifications, to be used in the 2010 round of surveys, be submitted to the secretariat no later than the end of July 2009;
    (b)    To request its secretariat to finalize the list of items and specifications, as well as procedures and guidelines governing data collection in the 2010 round of surveys, and present them for review and final recommendations by the Committee at its next session;
    (c)    To approve the Committee’s recommendations regarding the modus operandi for the new approach to cost-of-living measurement based on real-time price comparisons with New York, for use in the 2010 round of cost-of-living surveys, including the recommendation that the prices of items, subject to the new approach be collected via the Internet;
    (d)    To request its secretariat to continue to develop and enhance strategies to improve staff participation in future cost of living surveys;
    (e)    That no further investigation of the issues pertaining to Betriebskosten (maintenance/running costs for Vienna) and the effects of currency fluctuations on the remuneration of staff serving in field duty stations was warranted;
    (f)    To approve the Committee’s recommendation limiting the scope of the cooperation between its secretariat and Eurostat and the Inter-Organizations Section to the exchange of statistical information;    
    (g)    To approve the Committee’s recommendation that organizations and staff federations submit their recommendations regarding the structure and contents of the information packet of explanatory notes on the post adjustment system for human resources managers in writing by the end of July 2009;
    (h)    To agree with the Committee’s conclusion that the approved methodology for calculating and updating post adjustment classifications was being applied correctly and consistently for all duty stations;
    (i)    To request its secretariat to study the effects of modifications to the post adjustment classification with a view to aligning the review of the post adjustment classifications of all duty stations to that of New York, and present its findings for review and a final recommendation by the Committee at its next session; and
    (j)    To request its secretariat to study the impact of shortening survey rounds for Group I duty stations, with due consideration to the costs and benefits, and present its findings for review and a final recommendation by the Committee at its next session.

(43) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/6, para.45), the Committee took note of the status report on the Vendor Eligibility project; Underlined the need to take this project to a speedy and successful conclusion, ensuring delivery of a quality outcome, informed by the conclusions of the Inception Report prepared by the Policy Expert; Stressed that the future course of action on this subject should be a management decision, as informed by the technical advice of the Legal Network; And noted the critical role of this project towards increased transparency and accountability and the importance of action on this issue to Member States and the public at large.

(44) At its same session (CEB/2009/6, para.46), the Committee took note of the objectives and work-plan of the HLCM Procurement Network Working Group on Harmonization, which respond to both priorities of “achieving efficiencies” and supporting
“delivering as one” at the country level’, as they identify ways to progressively develop a common procurement system; Requested the HLCM PN to continue working in collaboration with the UNDG Task Team on Common Services and Procurement with the objective to address other priorities in the harmonization of procurement policies and procedures that are identified at the country level, either by the “delivering as one” pilot countries or others.

(45) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/6, para.46), the Committee commended the Procurement Network, the EMG and UNEP Sustainable United Nations (SUN) on the progress made together on sustainable procurement; Acknowledged the concept of sustainable procurement, as per the comprehensive report on sustainable procurement presented by the Secretary General for the 64th session of the General Assembly (A/64/284/Add.2).

HLCM endorsed the joint programme of work (CEB/2009/HLCM/28) and requested the EMG and the HLCM PN to continue assisting agencies in the transition to sustainable procurement by providing capacity building, training and practical guidance to staff involved in procurement and requisitioning activities as well as to suppliers to ensure a fair and consistent application and transition to more sustainable practices.

It welcomed the consideration by the EMG of a comprehensive approach to sustainable management practices in the UN system, including the consolidation of sustainable procurement and UN climate neutral activities. Within this larger framework, encouraged EMG and the HLCM PN to continue their joint work at technical level on sustainable procurement.
And recommended that all such future work by the HLCM Procurement Network on Sustainable Procurement be informed by and structured along the principles that will emerge from the forthcoming discussion by the General Assembly of Secretary General’s report A/64/284/Add.2.  

(46) At its nineteenth session (CEB/2010/3, paras.70-73), the Committee took note, with appreciation, of the recent work of the Procurement Network, particularly with respect to the initiatives developed for the HLCM Plan of Action for the Harmonization of Business Practices.
The Committee also took note of the progress report on the Vendor Eligibility project, and its estimated conclusion in June 2010, in time for approval by HLCM and CEB of the resulting harmonized approach to suspect vendors.

(47) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/35, paras.55-56), the HR Network noted the proposed agenda for the thirty-third session of ACPAQ and looks forward to participating at its next meeting in early 2011 to review the results of the baseline place-to-place surveys.

The Commission decided:

    (a)    To approve the revised list of items together with their specifications, subject to further minor revisions prior to its     finalization before the launch of the 2010 round of surveys;
    (b)    To approve that the secretariat continue to use the existing method for averaging price ratios of regular and organic/biological brands of food-and-beverage items for the 2010 round of surveys and to conduct experiments during the 2010 round aimed at testing the impact on the calculated post adjustment indices, of treating organic/biological products as separate items;
    (c)    To take note of the Advisory Committee’s recommendations regarding the revised data-collection forms to be used in the 2010 round of surveys;
    (d)    That the secretariat should conduct censuses of expenditures for all baseline surveys at headquarters duty stations and Washington, D.C., and use the data collected for the derivation of common weights, on the basis of the guidelines provided by the Advisory Committee;
    (e)    That the secretariat should continue to explore further the feasibility of using Eurostat/Interorganization Section (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Family Budget Survey results as a source of external data for the derivation of common weights;
    (f)    That the contingency plans proposed in the event of insufficient response rates were adequate and that, whenever available and feasible for use, anonymized microdatasets from the Eurostat/Interorganization Section Family Budget Surveys should be used as a preferred source of external data. Otherwise, weights of relevant national consumer price indices should be used;
    (g)    To call for the active cooperation of organizations and staff federations through the formation of local survey committees responsible for the coordination of all activities designed for the successful conduct of the surveys, in collaboration with the secretariat;
    (h)    To call on organizations to facilitate the completion of the expenditures surveys questionnaires by their staff members;
    (i)    To approve the proposed procedures and guidelines for data collection for the baseline place-to-place surveys at headquarters duty     stations, as recommended by the Advisory Committee;
    (j)    To note the results of further testing of both the new approach to cost-of-living measurement based on real-time comparisons with New York and the new basket of countries used in the calculation of the out-of-area index;
    (k)    That the post adjustment classification review cycles, of group I duty stations and the five-year duration of survey rounds should remain unchanged;
    (l)    To request the secretariat to continue its study of the possible modifications to the calculation of the post adjustment index based on New York prices that were updated on a regular basis, using the relevant consumer price index disaggregated series published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics;
    (m)    To request the secretariat to review the post adjustment classification of Geneva in view of Switzerland’s recent entry into the Schengen area;
    (n)    To approve the schedule of the 2010 place-to-place surveys, as recommended by the Advisory Committee.

(48) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/5, paras.90-99), the Committee took note with appreciation of the recent work of the Procurement Network, particularly with respect to the initiatives developed under the HLCM Plan of Action on Business Practices, and asked to accelerate progress in the harmonization of procurement practices; Further took note with appreciation of the considerable progress made in the development of a Model Policy Framework (MPF) for determining vendor eligibility; Endorsed in principle the approach and structure of the proposed MPF, as endorsed by the Procurement Network at is meeting of 22-24 September 2010, subject to final refinements and adjustments to be suggested by the Legal Network following a consultative process to be completed in time for submission of the final document for approval by HLCM at its spring 2011 session, at the latest and; Requested the Network to develop actionable proposals for consideration by HLCM at its spring 2011 session on joint procurement of common goods.  

(49) At the same session (CEB/2010/5, paras.114-121), the Committee called upon the ICT Network to work closely with the Procurement Network to develop proposals for common procurement in the ICT area.

(50) At its 21th session in Paris (CEB/2011/3, paras. 87-92), the Committee:
   o    congratulated the Procurement Network on finalizing the Model Policy Framework (MPF) for Vendor Eligibility and emphasized its appreciation for the support that had been given to this project by UNDP.
   o    Expressed appreciation to the Legal Network that had reviewed and approved, following incorporation of all comments into the final document, the Model Policy Framework.
   o    Approved the Model Policy Framework for Vendor Eligibility as outlined in document CEB/2011/HLCM/8. Urged all member organizations to take the necessary steps to implement the framework according to internal processes and procedures.

(51) At its 21th session in Paris (CEB/2011/3, paras. 93-96), the Committee expressed strong support for the Procurement Network’s work on collaborative procurement, as these efforts had the potential for real savings for the system as a whole. It therefore requested the Network to prepare a comprehensive update on this subject for its fall 2011 session.

(52) At its twenty second session in Geneva (CEB/2011/HLCM/HR/19, paras. 54-56), the HR Network thanked the ICSC Secretariat for its work and stated that it will work with ICSC to address the concerns. It agreed with the proposed agenda for the 34th session of ACPAQ. The Commission decided:
    (a)    To approve the results of the 2010 place-to-place surveys for Geneva, London, Madrid, Montreal, Paris, Rome, Vienna and Washington, D.C., as recommended by the Advisory Committee, which are set out in the table below;
    (b)    That the 2010 survey results for Geneva, London, Madrid, Montreal, Paris, Rome, Vienna and Washington, D.C., should be taken into account in determining their respective post adjustment classification with effect from 1 April 2011;
    (c)    That additional place-to-place surveys should be conducted for Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Romania in the middle of the present round of surveys.

(53) At its twenty second session in Washington D.C. (CEB/2011/5, paras.146-151), the Committee took note of the considerable work undertaken by the Procurement Network in the area of collaborative procurement and encouraged the Network to identify additional areas for collaboration.  Furthermore, the Committee encouraged all member organizations to participate in the HBP project on Collaborative Procurement of Vehicles.

(54) At its same session (CEB/2011/5, paras.152-155), the Committee took note of the progress report on the implementation of the Model Policy Framework for Vendor Eligibility and urged all members to take the necessary actions to implement the Framework in their own organizations. Furthermore, the Committee urged that Procurement Network to collect lessons learned and to report back to the HLCM in the fall session of 2012.

  • Finance & Budget Network (FBN)