United Nations Office for Project Services Visit
Fiji's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson, has today completed an official visit to the Copenhagen headquarters of UNOPS. Ambassador Thomson is the 2014 President of the Executive Board of UNOPS.
Ambassador Thomson's visit was the first by a serving Board President to the UNOPS headquarters. He told UNOPS staff that UNOPS is now regarded as a model UN organization, "One that pays for itself, operates at highest standards, deploys quickly, delivers on time, and makes a measurable difference on the ground."
In a town hall meeting with UNOPS management and staff, Fiji's Ambassador encouraged UNOPS to keep to the straight path it now follows. He said that with an averages overhead of just 6%, UNOPS has become the agency of choice for the UN and many of its Member States, particularly for challenging tasks in challenging locations.
In 2013 UNOPS delivered services totaling US$1.14 billion, in areas of project management, infrastructure development and procurement. Ambassador Thomson said the organization's success has been strengthened by its willingness to benchmark its process against world best practices, through ISO 9001, ISO 14001, SIPS certification on procurement, and PMI and Prince2 on project management.
Key results of UNOPS work in 2013 included the construction and rehabilitation of 3560km of roads, 81 bridges contructed or rebuilt, US$750 million of goods and services procured, 31 schools and 15 universities constructed or rehabilitated, more than 47,000 people trained, 11.3 million doses of medicine procured or distributed, 10 hospitals and 16 health clinics built, and 2.5 million labour days created for beneficiaries.
UNOPS currently has 7600 personnel under contract worldwide, some 200 of whom are based in Copenhagen's UN City. The Executive Board of which Ambassador Thomson is President, provides UNOPS management with oversight, assessments, approvals and guidance.
Ambassador Thomson has encouraged UNOPS management to give more attention to the provision project management and procurement services of Pacific Islands Developing States (PSIDS). He cited the special project challenges faced by PSIDS as a result of their dispersed environments and great distances from markets and services, saying that UNOPS could well be of assistance with its international leverage and specialized management skills.