UN procurement data on UNOPS open information hub

Data covering five years of spending by United Nations organizations has now been made available on UNOPS new open information hub, in what has been called a “giant step for transparency” in aid and development.

Alongside the $56 billion worth of UN-wide procurement data, the data.unops.org site presents detailed information related to the 1,000+ projects UNOPS supports, in an interactive and accessible format. UNOPS is a central resource for the United Nations and its partners, providing procurement, project management and infrastructure services.

This is the latest in a series of steps made by UNOPS to promote transparency. The organization was the first UN body to publish data in compliance with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) format, and the first organization overall to ‘geocode’ its IATI data.

Vitaly Vanshelboim, UNOPS Deputy Executive Director, said: “UNOPS remains committed to actively promoting the transparency agenda in line with the Busan Partnership, our commitments as a public body and our belief that the more all stakeholders can see and understand how development funds are used, the greater the chance is that these limited resources will be used effectively.”

Information covers $56 billion of UN contracts

The public can now view or download information about procurement from United Nations organizations, which in 2011 spent the largest sums on food, medicines, transport and construction, such as building schools and hospitals.

Available information includes the value of goods and services procured by each organization, details on amounts procured from developing countries and countries with economies in transition, and profiles of all countries of supply.

This data has been sourced from the last five Annual Statistical Reports on Procurement in the United Nations, which are compiled by UNOPS on behalf of the UN system. The transition of this information from a classic publication into an open and freely downloadable online format was recently acclaimed by the President of UNOPS Executive Board, which is comprised of a range of UN Member States, as a “giant step for transparency”.

Detailed data on aid and development projects

UNOPS implements more than 1,000 projects on behalf of its partners at any given time and details of all of these projects are also available on data.unops.org.

The new hub represents a significant upgrade of UNOPS original project data feed as it now includes geographic and sector information, in compliance with the IATI standard.

Using the IATI methodology, the projects are ‘geocoded’ and presented on interactive maps that show exact project locations where available.

These projects have also been categorized according to their sectors, as defined by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC).

There are also graphs indicating how much UNOPS is delivering on behalf of its partners including the United Nations, governments, multilateral institutions, foundations and the private sector.

All projects include associated contracts regardless of value, and some include downloadable project documents. The project information is updated on a daily basis, subject to legal and practical concerns.

Furthering the transparency agenda

The upgraded platform also provides a hosting service for UNOPS IATI-format data files. In a recently published transparency assessment by Publish What You Fund, the quality of this data was found to be extremely high.

Read the UNOPS case study on page 81 of the full Publish What You Fund report.

In the future data.unops.org will also be a platform for open aid data tools and resources, which can be freely used.

According to a statement made by the governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Germany, Sweden and the United States at a 2012 Executive Board meeting: “There is no doubt that UNOPS so far has been a leader, maybe even a ground breaker in terms of transparency among UN entities.”

UNOPS Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean is located at the City of Knowledge.

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