01.04 Procurement principles

In its management of funds which are primarily voluntary government contributions, UNAIDS is expected to comply with public procurement principles and the relevant policies and procedures.

UNAIDS is aligned with the four key principles that guide procurement within the UN system.
  • best value for money throughout the life of the procured item
  • fairness, integrity and transparency through competition
  • economy and effectiveness
  • the mandate and strategic goals of the organisation.
These principles establish a common framework and values that are to be applied throughout the procurement process. By applying these principles in the procurement process, UNAIDS will use its resources effectively and strengthen the delivery of its programmes and achievement of results.

Best value for money

Application of the principle of the best value for money during the procurement process means selecting the offer that presents the best combination of quality, life-cycle costs and key parameters to meet established needs in the most effective way. This ensures that procurement process selects the offer that meets the requirements of the end-user.

Best value for money does not necessarily equate to selecting the lowest initial price option; instead, it requires an integrated assessment of technical, organizational and pricing factors in relation to our strategic, programmatic and other objectives.

In order to obtain best value for money, we shall:
  • maximize competition
  • limit the complexity of the tender process as much as possible
  • establish clear evaluation criteria (at the time that the procurement method is selected)
  • ensure the impartial, comprehensive and timely evaluation of offers
  • evaluate technical benefits and life-cycle costs.

Fairness, integrity and transparency through competition

Competition in all procurement processes is a key means of ensuring fairness, integrity and transparency. 

Since competition is the basis of fair and transparent procurement, all competitive processes shall be open to all qualified suppliers who wish to participate, unless it can be clearly established that limiting the pool of potential suppliers is in the best interests of UNAIDS. 

In order for competition to lead to a fair and transparent outcome, procurement must be carried out following the UNAIDS policies and procedures outlined in this Procurement manual. It also must be applied consistently to all potential bidders. UNAIDS staff undertaking procurement are accountable for conducting the process in compliance with the established policies and procedures. 

Transparency protects the integrity of the process, and it promotes accountability and the best interests of UNAIDS.

Economy and effectiveness

Economy and effectiveness refer to the extent to which UNAIDS is successful in carrying out its procurement operations in a manner that ensures necessary quantity and quality at the right time and price. It also indicates the extent to which the correct procurement process is conducted based on the overall contract value and the type of goods and services required.

The ultimate objective of the procurement process is to add value to UNAIDS and its programme partners by achieving the goals and objectives of the United Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF).

The mandate and strategic goals of the organisation

Undertaking procurement in accordance with UNAIDS mandate and strategic goals means carrying out procurement activities in the manner that best enables UNAIDS and its partners to reach the general and specific objectives of country, regional or global programmes, all while being in compliance with applicable procurement procedures.

To a large extent, this is the overarching principle of UNAIDS procurement; it is supported by the principles mentioned above. It does, however, include additional concepts, such as maintaining the highest image and reputation of UNAIDS, avoiding any impression of impropriety and promoting the public good (as specified in the Charter of the United Nations) in every aspect of UNAIDS procurement activities.