UN Procurement Contracts in Syria: A "few" Bad Apples?

The catastrophic situation in Syria since the 2011 uprising has made the country one of the largest recipients of humanitarian aid in the world. The bulk of spending of this multi-billion aid is facilitated by the United Nations (UN), which continues to operate in a highly restrictive environment. This report examines how private companies involved in human rights abuses benefit from the UN’s procurements from the country and the share of funding going to them. Numerous articles have exposed some problematic suppliers to the UN, such as the Four Seasons Hotel in Damascus. However, this report is the first systematic and quantitative effort to examine the dynamics of such suppliers. Using the official Syrian gazette and open-source intelligence, it does so by investigating the backgrounds of the top 100 private and public-private suppliers in 2019 and 2020. These suppliers constitute 94% of total procurement spending, enabling the report to make conclusions about the procurement process in general. To have a more holistic and nuanced understanding of the issue, the investigations are supplemented by interviews with UN staff, businesspeople, and experts on UN operations in Syria from diplomatic and civil society backgrounds.

To view the report, click here

To view the interactive tool used for presenting the findings on the top 100 suppliers to the UN, click here