The UN spent over $17bn in 2015. These countries were its biggest suppliers

Tourists walk past the United Nations Headquarters in New York. At left is the U.N. General Assembly building and at right is the U.N. Secretariat building

The UN spent $17.6 billion on its operations last year. Image: REUTERS/Mike Segar

Rachel Hallett
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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India supplied over $1.2 billion in goods and services to the United Nations last year, surpassed only by the United States.

According to the Annual Statistical Report on United Nations Procurement, the UN spent $17.6 billion on its operational activities in 2015 – a rise of $400m on the year before.

So which nations supply the most to the organization’s operations, projects and programs? And what does the organization buy from them?

The UN’s biggest suppliers

The report shows that the US was the UN's largest supplier in 2015, with goods and services worth over $1.6 billion.

 Which countries contribute the most to the UN?
Image: Statista

After India’s $1.2 billion in goods and services came the UAE’s $805 million.

Which countries have increased contributions the most?

The position of the US and European countries in the top 10 is not new. What is new is the amount of procurement from transitioning, developing and less developed countries.

Among the nations with the largest increases between 2005 and 2015 are Kenya, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Turkey and Ethiopia.

Countries with largest increases in procurement volume between 2005 and 2015
Image: UN

What does the UN buy?

The United Nations mainly buys products and services from developed countries.

In less developed countries, more services than products are purchased by the UN as well as raw materials.

UN procurement of goods and services from developed countries, countries with economies in transition and developing countries.
Image: UN

Goods and services fall into a wide variety of categories that the UN groups into 13 sectors. These are: health; transport; consultancy; administration and operation; construction and engineering; food and farming; humanitarian aid; peace and security; climate action; energy; education; clean water and sanitation; and other goods and services.

Health, with a 23% share of overall procurement last year, remains the largest sector. This includes procurement of pharmaceuticals, healthcare services and medical and laboratory equipment.

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