By Ishmael Dumbuya
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), has ended a two-day Possibilities Forum at the Sierra Palm Resort, Lumley, Freetown. The forum took place on the 23rd and 24th January, respectively.
In her overview on the significance of the forum, the Country Manager, UNOPS Sierra Leone, Sofia Goinhas stated that UNOPS possibilities program aims to enhance diversity of their supply base in order to ensure that the suppliers they work with share and reflect the values of the people and communities they serve.
She explained that their mission at UNOPS is to help people build better lives and for countries to achieve peace and sustainable development.
She underlined that UNOPS strives to ensure that people can live full lives supported by sustainable, resilient and inclusive infrastructure and by the efficient and transparent use of public resources in procurement and project management.
She went on to state that they are keen to supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We respond to our partners ’needs and help increase the effectiveness of peace and security, humanitarian and development projects around the world,” she said.
She added that UNOPS provides infrastructure, procurement and project management services to help build the future.
The Country Manager further stated that they provide practical solutions to assist their partners to save lives, protect people and their rights, and to build a better future.
“At UNOPS, we believe in more transparent, sustainable, inclusive, gender responsive and resilient procurements models can strengthen supply chains, empower institutions and be a catalyst for realizing sustainable and inclusive development” she maintained.
She ended on the note that UNOPS pioneered sustainable procurement in the UN system and added that it was part and parcel of their procurement principles and it is embedded in their DNA as an organization.
Madam Goiunhas indicated that their expertise is widely recognized and that they have won a number of awards because of their sustainable procurement approach.
Hellen Maina, the Sustainable Analyst Supplier, UNOPS, stated that procurement is said to be sustainable when it integrates requirements, specifications and criteria that are compatible and in favour of the protection of the environment, of social progress and in support of economic development, namely by seeking resource efficiency, improving the quality of products and services and ultimately optimizing costs.
Maina further stated that UNOPS procures $ 1 billion worth of goods and services each year, adding that by including sustainability criteria in their tenders and ensuring that their decision have a lasting positive impact for the environment and the social and economic progress as well as support economic development.
The Sustainable Procurement Senior Analyst, Eugene Arthur, threw light on the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs). He added that the SDGs were highlighted based on the challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation as well as peace and justice.
He maintained that the United Nations Supplier Code of Conduct is promulgated by the UN’s Procurement Division and fully endorsed by UNOPS. He indicated that companies doing business with the United Nations are required to acknowledge the UN Supplier Code of Conduct when registering on the UN Global Marketplace (UNGM).
He went ahead to highlight some of the key recommendations’ to vendors, which among them is; become familiar with the SDGs and other sub-goals, analyzing their products, services, and their commitments as a company and pinpoint the SDGs to which they contribute to etc.
The forum was climaxed by a plenary as well as questions and answers session. In attendance were; UN agencies representatives, a representative from World Bank, over 90 private sector businesses as well as newsmen.