I have for many years been trying to get more substantive engagement from UNMIT on the matter of local procurement. It has been met with a wide range of attitudes ranging from open endorsement to indifference, and even obstruction.
UNMIT’s current boss the Special Representative of the Secretary General Ameerah Haq, was instrumental in one of the earliest success stories we had in Afghanistan in 2006 – with a major water contract going to a local supplier.
In February 2011 a high level group of UN officials (of which Ameerah was one) submitted the report “CIVILIAN CAPACITY IN THE AFTERMATH OF CONFLICT: INDEPENDENT REPORT OF THE SENIOR ADVISORY GROUP” to the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly. This Senior Advisory Group was headed by the former boss of UN Peacekeeping Jean Marie Guehenno, who I know from direct experience in my time in UN HQ was a fan of the buying locally approach.
What caught my eye in the report was the below – very strong endorsements and recommendations that the international community make a concerted effort to “Double the bang for our aid buck”.
Procurement and economic impact. United Nations procurement procedures should be adjusted to enable more local procurement, thus supporting local economic recovery and strengthening private sector capacity. p. 6.
Economic impact. Local firms may be able to provide goods and services to international partners, but are often effectively excluded by procurement processes.5 The opportunity to inject capital into the economy, and help to develop the capacities that will drive economic growth, is therefore wasted. p. 11.
Recommendation 5 Design procurement for local economic impactUnited Nations procurement rules should be revised so that they prioritize national capacities and leverage local expertise and comparative advantage where possible. The Group encourages Member States to adopt similar measures. An annual external evaluation should be required of all major peacekeeping operations and field-based special political missions to develop an economic footprint that is as supportive as possible of national capacities. p. 13.
Tags : Timor-Leste UNMIT