United Nations Office for Project Services

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United Nations Office for Project Services
مكتب الأمم المتحدة لخدمات المشاريع (in Arabic)
联合国项目事务署 (in Chinese)
Bureau des Nations Unies pour les services d'appui aux projets (in French)
Управление Организации Объединенных Наций по обслуживанию проектов (in Russian)
Oficina de las Naciones Unidas de Servicios para Proyectos (in Spanish)
Emblem of the United Nations.svg
FormationDecember 1973
TypeIndependent self-financing member of the United Nations family
Legal statusActive
Grete Faremo – Executive Director
Parent organization
United Nations System

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is an operational arm of the United Nations, dedicated to implementing projects for the United Nations System, international financial institutions, governments and other partners around the world. The organization's global headquarters is located on the UN City campus in Copenhagen, Denmark.[1]

UNOPS implements more than $2 billion worth of peace and security, humanitarian and development projects for its partners every year, operating in more than 80 countries. Its activities have ranged from managing the construction of schools in Afghanistan, to building shelters in Haiti, to procuring ambulances to support the Ebola response in Liberia.

UNOPS is a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group[2] and works particularly closely with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) and the World Bank.


UNOPS was established in 1973 as part of the UNDP. It became an independent, self-financing organization in 1995. The UNOPS vision is to "advance sustainable implementation practices in development, humanitarian and peacebuilding contexts" in some of the world's most challenging environments. UNOPS concentrates its support in areas where it has a clear mandate and expertise: infrastructure, procurement, project management, human resources and financial management services.


UNOPS is a fully self-financing organization. It covers direct and indirect costs by charging a fee on each project supported. UNOPS pricing policy outlines how the organization aims to finance its projects.[3] UNOPS is not-for-profit, and meets the highest international standards of accountability and transparency in all its transactions[4][citation needed].


UNOPS often works in post-disaster and peace and security settings, developing countries and economies in transition. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan designated UNOPS as the lead United Nations entity for complex infrastructure projects in peacekeeping settings.

In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly reaffirmed UNOPS mandate "as a central resource for the UN system in procurement and contracts management as well as in civil works and physical infrastructure development, including the related capacity development activities."[5] At the official opening of the UNOPS headquarters in Copenhagen in May 2009, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described UNOPS as a member of the UN family with a "critical role in providing management services for our life-saving peacebuilding, humanitarian and development operations […] setting countries on course to a more stable future by helping them to build roads, schools and clinics, to remove landmines, to prepare for democratic elections, and much else".[6]

Current UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted UNOPS important role in providing meaningful expertise to countries in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change: “In countries such as Yemen, Iraq, Somalia and Colombia, UNOPS technical support to UN agencies in procurement and other specialized areas has expedited the provision of relief services to millions of people in need, and in doing so, contributed to more stable and secure societies.”[7]


UNOPS offers implementation, advisory and transactional services in its five core areas of expertise:

  • Infrastructure
  • Procurement
  • Project Management
  • Financial Management
  • Human Resources

UNOPS provides specialized services to a range of partners, including: the United Nations, its agencies, funds and programmes; international financial institutions; governments; intergovernmental organizations; non-governmental organizations; foundations; and the private sector.

In 2016, UNOPS created more than three million days of paid work for beneficiaries. The organization supported its partners with the construction, design and/or rehabilitation of more than 3,000 kilometers of roads, 50 schools, and 74 hospitals and 278 health clinics, among others. UNOPS also procured and/or distributed more than US$900 million worth of goods and services for its partners.[8]

UNOPS formed a group to work on applications of blockchain for international assistance.[9]

UNOPS is the legal and administrative host for several organizations.[10] The following entities are currently under hosting agreements by UNOPS, grouped by theme:[11]

In addition, the UN-Water Secretariat is administered by UNOPS.

Transparency and accountability[edit]

UNOPS accountability framework outlines the organization's commitment to clear and open communication with partners and stakeholders. This is part of the organization's commitment to increase its transparency and accountability, in line with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). UNOPS joined the initiative in 2011 and was "the first organization to publish fully geocoded information" in IATI format.[16] UNOPS also publishes details on projects on its public website and the data.unops.org platform.

In 2008, UNOPS adopted a governance structure in line with General Assembly resolutions. Since then, the Executive Director reports directly to the UN Secretary-General and the Executive Board, and has the authority to apply United Nations staff rules and regulations to UNOPS staff. Since 2009 the Executive Director has been able to sign host country agreements with governments, and direct service agreements in consultation with a Resident or Humanitarian Coordinator, as well as having the authority to directly appoint UNOPS representatives in the field.

Quality and operational excellence[edit]

UNOPS believes in measuring its work against international best practice. In line with UNOPS strategic plan, the organization strives for external certification of core management functions, processes and personnel – in order to ensure[17] its business practices reflect leading international standards.

This work resulted in UNOPS gaining the ISO 9001 quality management system certification in June 2011, becoming the first UN organization to be certified for its global quality management systems.[18][19] In 2013, UNOPS was awarded ISO 14001 certification for its commitment to protecting the environment, becoming the first global organization to receive the four most prestigious project management certifications available.[20]

UNOPS is also the first UN body to have been awarded the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply's Certification in Procurement Policies and Procedures. The CIPS certification demonstrates that UNOPS has sound procurement policies, processes and procedures, verified and monitored by an independent body. In 2015 and 2016, UNOPS achieved gold level in sustainable procurement from the Institute.[21]


  1. ^ "United Nations in Denmark". United Nations. Archived from the original on 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  2. ^ "UNSDG Members". UNSDG. Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  3. ^ "Pricing policy". www.unops.org. Archived from the original on 2015-09-26. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  4. ^ "Information disclosure". www.unops.org. Archived from the original on 2015-11-24. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  5. ^ "UN General Assembly Resolution 65/176". UN. Retrieved 2014-01-08.
  6. ^ "Strategic plan 2010-2013". UNOPS. Archived from the original on 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2014-01-08.
  7. ^ "Sustainability Report 2016" (PDF). UNOPS. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-11-18. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  8. ^ "Annual report of the Executive Director" (PDF). Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Office for Project Services. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-11-18. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  9. ^ [1] 18 July 2017
  10. ^ UNOPS (2019) OPERATIONAL INSTRUCTION REF. OI.LG.2019.01 HOSTING SERVICES, Headquarters, Copenhagen.
  11. ^ "UNOPS Geneva". UNOPS. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  12. ^ "About us". Stop TB Partnership. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  13. ^ UNOPS (2019) United Nations Office for Project Services UNOPS Geneva Service, oversight and cost recovery principles in relation to The Defeat-NCD Partnership Secretariat on the UNOPS platform
  14. ^ SUN (2018) Secretariat of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Annual Financial Report of Expenditures 1 January 2017 – 31 December 2017
  15. ^ "WSSCC". Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  16. ^ "UNOPS first to publish geocoded project information in the IATI format". International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). Retrieved 2014-01-08.
  17. ^ "UNOPS Management Response to the Activity Report for 2011 of IAIG and annexes". DPOPS2012-5. UNDP. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  18. ^ "DP/OPS/2015/5-Annex 2". Strategy and Audit Advisory Committee Annual Report 2011. UNDP. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  19. ^ "Daily Brief". UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS Executive Board Second Regular Session 2011 New York, 6 to 9 September. UNFPA. Archived from the original on 4 December 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  20. ^ "UNOPS commits to greening its infrastructure projects". UNOPS. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  21. ^ "SPHS Annual Report 2016". ISSUU. Retrieved 17 November 2017.

External links[edit]