About WHO

Procurement at WHO

WHO is a specialized United Nations agency with a constitutional mandate as the Directing and Coordinating authority on international health work. Procurement is a critical function in support of the effective discharge of WHO mandate. In order to fulfill its mandate and achieve its vision WHO must procure a significant volume of goods and services. As a public organization entrusted with donor funds and committed to supporting developing economies, the objective of procurement activities within the WHO is the timely acquisition of goods and services while addressing the following guiding principles;

Areas of work

What we buy

On average, WHO buys approximately USD 700 million worth of goods and services every year to maintain operations in the field and to react to upcoming and recurring demands.

How we buy

WHO buys goods and services from various countries through WHO Headquarter, Regional Offices and different Country Offices.

Make sure you are qualified and eligible

All WHO Suppliers must abide by the UN Supplier Code of Conduct. Under this framework, all vendors must be qualified, as well as eligible

Interagency procurement

WHO may establish procurement relationships with other agencies, funds and programmes in the United Nations System.

Quality Assurance

The WHO policy sets out the principles and requirements regulating the procurement of essential medicines and health by WHO, including a set of clear and transparent criteria on which sources and suppliers are selected and engaged.

On the contract awards page WHO publishes contracts for goods and services procured from companies or institutions which have a value of USD 25 000 or more. This information shall be published with due observance of the requirements of confidentiality and security.

WHO has developed standardized health kits of medicines and medical supplies to meet different health needs in humanitarian emergencies and disasters.

These kits are developed to provide reliable and affordable medicines and supplies quickly to those in need. The kits are used by United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations and national governments.

Best value for money

The overall guiding objective for all WHO procurement is to obtain the best value for money for the Organization. 'Best value for money' is defined as the responsive offer that is the best combination of technical specifications, quality and price. 'Best value for money' is the result of several factors, including quality, experience, the vendor’s reputation, life-cycle costs, benefits and parameters that measure how well the good or service allows the organization to meet its social, environmental or other objectives.

Fairness, integrity, transparency and equal treatment:

The WHO procurement process must allow for transparent competition among prospective providers. All prospective providers must be treated equally. All individuals and entities directly or indirectly associated with the procurement function are responsible for protecting the integrity of the process and maintaining fairness, transparency and equal treatment of all prospective providers. All potential vendors should be treated equally, and the process should feature clear evaluation criteria, unambiguous solicitation instructions, realistic requirements, and rules and procedures that are easy to understand

In order to promote transparency of the procurement process and accountability, WHO expects its providers to adhere to the principles, and meet the standards, set forth in the UN supplier code of conduct.

Effective competition

The objective of WHO’s competitive process is to provide all eligible prospective providers with timely and adequate notification of WHO’s requirements and an equal opportunity to tender for the required goods and services.

Interest of WHO

All procurement conduct and acquisitions must always be in the best interest, and consistent with the objectives and expected results, of WHO. Any business transactions must conform to the mandates and principles of WHO and the United Nations.

Environmental concerns

WHO subscribes to a "Green" procurement policy, WHO will seek to procure goods and services that lessen the burden on the environment in their production, use and final disposal, whenever possible and economical.

To effect “green” procurement, WHO supports the “4 R" strategy to:

  • Re-think the requirements to reduce environmental impact;
  • Reduce material consumption;
  • Recycle materials/waste; and
  • iReduce energy consumption.

Before finalizing the procurement of goods and/or services, the environmental concerns must be considered, including the following:

  • Energy consumption
  • Toxicity
  • Ozone Depletion
  • Radiation

The applicable ecolabel ratings, including Energy Star, EU Ecolabel, etc. should be evaluated to determine how environmentally friendly the goods and/or services are.

The aim is to identify environmentally friendly ("green") goods and services, which have fewer harmful effects on human health and the environment.