Remarks by Ms. Beate Trankmann at the 2021 International UN Procurement Conference

Posted December 3, 2021

尊敬的上海青浦区 杨小菁(Yang Xiaojing)代理区长,

尊敬的中国国际经济技术交流中心 张翼副主任,

Dear Mr. Sanjay Mathur, Regional Director of Asia Region, UNOPS

各位来宾, 女士们,先生们 - 早上好!

我在北京向大家问候。欢迎大家线上参加第一次在中国举办的联合国国际采购大会。非常遗憾,由于疫情防控的原因,我们无法在上海面对面地进行 交流。

Let me start by commending the Shanghai municipal government for successfully organizing the fourth China International Import Expo (CIIE) earlier this month, which attracted nearly 3,000 businesses from 127 countries and regions around the world.

Although China is the world’s largest manufacturer, it made up only a small proportion of the direct procurement of goods by international organizations before the pandemic. In the decade before 2020, UN procurement from China accounted for less than 2%[1] of the annual total volume. By comparison, 30% of UN procured goods are made in China, but sourced through third party vendors from outside China.

This presents challenges for those wanting to instill cost-effective procurement and efficient supply chain management. It also prevents small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and women-owned businesses (WOB) in China from accessing the international sustainable procurement market.

Despite these challenges, we have seen the potential and resilience of Chinese suppliers to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. With many countries having imposed export bans and worldwide production capacities on medical goods down during the early days of the pandemic, UN procurement from Chinese enterprises rose dramatically, making critical contributions to the world’s COVID19 response.

To accelerate progress towards the SDGs, sustainable procurement can play an important role by incentivizing more sustainable business practices across the value chain. Indeed, with the UN spending roughly 20 billion US dollars annually on procurement, walking the talk on sustainable procurement is all the more important.

At UNDP, we encourage our suppliers to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies. Through our project here in Shanghai, launched together with UNOPS and more than seven other UN agencies and our partners, we are working to enhance the capacity of Chinese SMEs and Women-owned-Businesses. The aim is not only to increase the participation of these underrepresented groups in the international procurement market by providing them with information and practical support, but also to help them align with sustainable standards and best practices.

To that end, today’s conference is a key opportunity to promote sustainability and bridge the gap between big business and SMEs as well as Women-owned-Businesses in international procurement. By providing this platform for local suppliers, we hope you can gain a better understanding of the UN procurement market, UN agencies’ sustainable procurement approaches and market trends.

The conference will also advocate for international procurement standards and innovative approaches to promoting sustainable practices among businesses and industries. 

With the COP15 and COP26 summits both recently concluded, the alarm bells have been sounded on the dual challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss. We all have a responsibility to leverage this momentum and support green procurement to protect the planet for future generations. By switching course to low-carbon procurement practices, Chinese enterprises can lower their carbon footprint and play a greater role in contributing to China’s 2030 carbon-peaking and 2060 carbon neutrality targets.

I hope that today’s conference will spur greater action around greening our existing systems and widening the net to include a more diverse range of suppliers. Such changes are a critical part of the transformation needed to decarbonize and meet the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

In closing I would like to thank the Qingpu District People’s Government, CICETE and all the chambers of commerce and UN agencies that have been involved in organizing this event. By working together, we can build a greener and more inclusive future for people and planet.

Thank you!