GAZA, May 28, 2012 – Following criticism by the Palestinian Contractors Union regarding its procurement policy in the occupied Palestinian Territory, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said Monday that if Palestinians are unable to provide the goods needed for any project, it has to buy them from other providers.
The contractors had expressed concern in a statement regarding participation of Israeli companies in UNICEF tenders to build desalination station in the Gaza Strip and called for a boycott of the tenders.
UNICEF Special Representative in the occupied Palestinian territory, Jean Gough, met Monday with the chairman of the Palestinian Contractors Union in Gaza to discuss the concerns they raised over UNICEF procurement policy.
“The priority and policy of UNICEF office in the occupied Palestinian territory is to purchase goods and services from qualified Palestinian manufacturers, authorized dealers and companies,” said Gough in a statement. “We only buy from other providers when goods are not available,” she added.
“When purchasing goods, works or services, UNICEF follows the joint United Nations guidelines and buys goods directly from manufacturers or authorized dealers in a timely, cost effective manner. All purchases are made through competitive tendering among pre-qualified suppliers based in the area of operations,” said the statement.
It said that the desalination unit is one of UNICEF’s latest projects in Gaza, which will provide Palestinian children with access to good quality water.
“We are committed to work with our Palestinian partners to ensure that this unit can be built without delay and with the best quality materials available, so that it can benefit Palestinian children as soon as possible,” Gough said. “The final decision on the continuation of this project is in the hands of our Palestinian counterparts and stakeholders,” she added.
UNICEF has been working in the occupied Palestinian territory since the 1980s. In partnership with a wide range of Palestinian organizations, UNICEF programs help Palestinian children access education, protection, health and safe drinking water.