Supply Annual Report 2018
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Chapter 4

Achieving Results in 2018

Procurement overview 2018

In 2018, UNICEF’s supply and logistics function directly procured more than $3.486 billion worth of goods and services for children in 150 countries and areas. UNICEF managed a total of $641.9 million worth of supplies via its in-country warehouses.

Globally, emergency supplies worth $412.6 million were procured in 53 countries and areas.
UNICEF provided
$1.536 billion
worth of procurement services to:
  • 88 self-financing governments
  • Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in 67 countries
  • United Nations agencies in 41 countries
  • Civil society organizations in 28 countries
  • 20 countries financed by the Global Fund
  • International funding agencies in 4 countries
  • 9 countries financed by the World Bank and other development banks
of UNICEF procurement of goods was in collaboration with other United Nations agencies.


UNICEF’s supply and emergency kit-packing operation has been headquartered in Copenhagen since 1963. Today, it is home to the world’s largest humanitarian warehouse with state-of-the-art, automated workflows. To provide a global supply response, UNICEF also operated warehouse hubs in Dubai and Panama. These warehouses enable UNICEF to strategically position supplies, so they are readily available and cost-effective to transport when and where needed.
$111 million
global warehouse hub throughput
  • Copenhagen $105.1 million
  • Dubai $4.9 million
  • Panama $92,500

Purpose of outgoing warehouse throughput value

total kits were packed

UNICEF’s major commodity groups

UNICEF procured $2.378 billion worth of goods in 2018. The eight highest value commodity groups appear on these pages with some of the most common items procured within each group listed.

  • $1.453 billion
    2.36 billion doses of vaccines procured for 99 countries, to reach 45 per cent of the world’s children under five years old
  • $183.9 million
    Nutrition supplies
    47,760 tonnes of ready-to-use therapeutic food, 65 per cent of which was sourced in programme countries
    517.7 million vitamin A treatments
    122.4 million deworming tablets
    197 million sachets of multiple micronutrient powder
    876.5 million iron and folic acid tablets
  • $124 million
    26.8 million amoxicillin pneumonia treatments for infants, reaching 38 countries
    4.8 million packs of antiretroviral medicine to treat 116,000 adults and 79,000 children with first-line therapy for one year in 38 countries
    19.2 million artemisinin-based combination therapy malaria treatments
    331.3 million cotrimoxazole tablets (treats a range of bacterial infections, including pneumonia and bronchitis)
    56.4 million sachets of oral rehydration salts (includes 22.4 million co-packaged ORS/zinc)
    1.1 million treatments for seasonal malaria chemoprevention to protect 266,500 children
    7 million courses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine chemoprevention to protect 2.35 million pregnant women
  • $117.3 million
    1.26 billion water purification tablets and chlorination/flocculation sachets, which could treat 30.8 billion litres of water
    3.7 million hygiene kits
    739,400 water tanks
  • $106 million
    Medical supplies and equipment
    78,000 health kits for 58 countries
    787.6 million immunization syringes
    7.9 million safety boxes
    5.3 million HIV rapid diagnostic tests, including 1.7 million HIV/Syphilis Combo diagnostic tests
    10.5 million malaria rapid diagnostic tests to 22 countries
  • $77.9 million
    Cold chain equipment
    Includes $54.3 million in solar powered systems
  • $57.4 million
    Education supplies
    4.5 million schoolbags for 58 countries
    84,000 education kits for 62 countries:
    39,700 standard classroom kits
    20,500 country-specific education kits
    22,200 recreation kits
    1,600 early childhood development kits
  • $25.9 million
    Bed nets
    13.3 million long lasting insecticidal nets to 30 countries


In 2018, UNICEF’s procurement of services reached a value of $1.108 billion. The six largest categories account for 62 per cent of the total value of contracting for services.


  • $183.3 million
    Local technical workforce for programme execution
    This includes human resources working in-country to share expertise within partner governments, to work in social mobilization campaigns and as temporary labour for programmes.
  • $133.8 million
    Research, surveys, monitoring and evaluation services
    Programmatic research and surveys, market and supply chain analysis and research, monitoring and evaluation of programme implementation.
  • $118.3 million
    Construction services
    Designing, planning, engineering, monitoring and other services supporting construction works. Key programme areas supported include water and sanitation (e.g. water supply, sewage systems, latrines) and education (e.g. schools, classroom rehabilitation, children’s facilities).
  • $101.2 million
    Finance and insurance services
    This includes the management of the procurement of supplies directly by beneficiaries via cash transfers to them—one of the procurement modalities used by UNICEF depending on the context.
  • $80.6 million
    International freight services
    Globally, UNICEF managed a total freight volume of 59,850 cubic metres of freight by air and 15,870 twenty-foot equivalent units by sea and/or truck.
  • $71.3 million
    In-country logistics and warehousing services
    Support to programmes includes: road cargo transport, storage, local aircraft charters and customs brokerage and clearance services, as well as warehousing services.

Country of supplier and region of use

Countries from which procurement exceeded $20 million (based on country of invoice)

Hover to see data

Where UNICEF supplies were used

Savings overview 2018

UNICEF achieved a total of $351.2 million worth of savings for UNICEF donors and partners in 2018, exceeding our 2018 target by more than $91 million.

To provide longer-term visibility on levels of demand for essential products, UNICEF used strategic procurement, price and information transparency, special contracting terms and multi-year arrangements. Partner collaborations such as joint forecasting and coordinated procurement were strengthened through these activities. This enabled suppliers to plan and scale up production, increasing the availability of affordable supplies for every child.

In 2017 UNICEF projected $690 million in price savings for strategic supplies over the period 2018–2021, and achieved savings of $351.2 million in 2018 alone. These projections and the 2018 figure are lower than those achieved in the period 2012–2017. Over the previous years, UNICEF worked with suppliers to realize significant price reductions, particularly on childhood vaccines. Prices were brought to more affordable levels and products made more available by working together to shape some of these strategic product markets. Today, UNICEF is increasingly shifting its focus from price savings to a more holistic procurement impact. This will consider both savings and other value elements such as social and environmental impact, with the objective of ensuring sustained availability and accessibility of strategic supplies for children.

In 2018, UNICEF collaborated with 12 other United Nations agencies to identify leading practices in defining and quantifying procurement impact, and to agree on a shared approach across agencies. This approach is expected to enable UNICEF to measure – beyond price considerations – its ability to harness the power of markets and reduce market barriers that prevent children from accessing essential supplies. This includes considerations such as quality, availability, acceptability, competition, adaptability and delivery as value-added.

Savings by product in 2018

Procurement approaches used
  • UNICEF long-term arrangements (LTAs)
  • Strategic procurement
  • Special contracting
  • Leveraging partnerships (e.g. coordinated forecasts and/or procurement, sharing LTAs)
  • Price transparency
  • Other (e.g. reduced material cost)
  • Rotavirus vaccine
    $3.7 million
    Partners: Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), WHO, suppliers
  • Pentavalent vaccine
    $97.2 million
    Partners: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Gavi, WHO, suppliers
  • Immunization ice-lined and solar direct drive refrigerators
    $79.5 million
    Partners: BMGF, Gavi, WHO, AMC donors, suppliers
  • Human papillomavirus vaccine
    $50.1 million
    Partners: BMGF, Gavi, suppliers
  • Inactivated poliovirus vaccine
    $87.8 million
    Partners: BMGF, Gavi, Global Polio Eradication Initiative, WHO, suppliers
  • Amoxicillin dispersible tablets
    $4.6 million
    Partners: WHO, United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children, suppliers
  • Antiretroviral medicines
    $1.3 million
    Partners: Global Fund, WHO, UNAIDS, Medicines Patent Pool, suppliers
  • Tents
    $1.2 million
    Partners: suppliers
  • Safe immunization devices (Auto-disable syringes & safety boxes)
    Partners: Gavi, Measles & Rubella Initiative (MRI), WHO, suppliers
  • Bed nets
    Partners: African Leaders Malaria Alliance, The Global Fund, the Roll-Back Malaria Partnership, Alliance for Malaria Prevention, Unitaid, United Nations Special Envoy for Malaria, UNDP, USAID, DFID, WHO, the World Bank and suppliers
  • Immunization ice-lined and solar direct drive refrigerators
    $3.8 million
    Partners: BMGF, Gavi, suppliers
  • Children’s winter clothing, local, Middle East
    $15 million
    Partners: suppliers
  • Freight services, handling fee
    $1.5 million
    Partners: United Nations agencies, suppliers
  • Iron-containing supplements
    Partners: Nutrition International, suppliers
  • Immunization ice-lined and solar direct drive refrigerators
    $3 million
    Partners: suppliers
  • Insurance brokerage
    Partners: United Nations agencies, suppliers