Speech by the Hon. Carmelo Abela,
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion
Dear colleagues and friends,
Good morning. Welcome to this event, aimed at sharing knowledge on how Malta-based companies can access the significant United Nations global market.
I’d like to extend a special, warm welcome to our esteemed guests, experts on procurement within the UN, and express my appreciation to them for taking time from their busy schedules to travel to our country to share their knowledge, and for making themselves available for one-on-one meetings at the end of this seminar.
I would also like to thank our Ambassador in Rome, Her Excellency Vanessa Frazier, who is also accredited to Rome-based UN bodies, for her initiative in making this meeting possible. Our Embassy in Rome, together with this Ministry’s Economic Affairs Directorate, stands ready assist any Maltese companies to secure their registration onto the UN procurement portal.
Malta has been remarkably active within the UN ever since it joined in 1964. It has contributed in various ways, particularly through the initiative of Dr Arvid Pardo, Malta’s first Permanent Representative, during the 1967 General Assembly. That initiative culminated in the adoption of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Malta was also the first country to raise the question of Ageing as a matter of international concern at the UN in 1968, which subsequently resulted in the establishment of the International Institute on Ageing.
In 1988, Malta was the first country to formally table the issue of climate change as a political agenda item at the 43rd Session of the General Assembly. Since that initiative, Malta has played a dynamic role in ensuring that climate change would remain a matter of high-level attention for the international community.
As Commonwealth Chair, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Malta in 2015, Malta had organised a special session on climate change ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which led to the landmark Paris Agreement, to encourage the engagement of Commonwealth countries in this multilateral process. This was a success and, indeed, led to the adoption of the Commonwealth Leaders’ Statement on Climate Action that the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, presented during the Conference of the Parties.
Malta is determined to continue playing an active role within the United Nations and is seeking a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2023-2024. As a country that always favours dialogue over conflict, promoting peace continues to be one of the main aims for Malta.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we will be seeing today, there are avenues for a country to engage with the United Nations that go beyond politics. Indeed, this seminar will offer case-based presentations of key UN agencies’ procurement needs and procedures, coordinated to cover different sectors and product categories.
In addition, there will be a focus on future needs and partnership opportunities for innovation and joint ventures. New potential suppliers will also benefit from straightforward guidance on registration procedures and on-site registration.
The United Nations represents a global market of over €4.5 billion euro annually for all types of products and services. In 2017, UN procurement of goods and services increased by more than 940 million euro when compared to the previous year, amounting to a total of 5,690 tenders published on the website United Nations Global Marketplace – the UNGM.
The UNGM is the main gateway for potential suppliers wishing to register with UN organisations to offer their products and services, and facilitates the interchange of vendor information within the UN system, as the information is made available to all UN organisations. The UNGM also acts as an important procurement tool to shortlist suppliers for competitive bidding.
Numerous goods and services are requested through the United Nations programmes, which provide ample opportunities for Malta-based companies. These products and services include those relating to construction, agriculture, health services and pharmaceuticals, IT, electrical hardware, telecommunications, and energy.
It is worth recalling that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 focus on economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection as interconnected dimensions of development.
Over the years, the Government of Malta has consistently supported the activities undertaken by humanitarian UN agencies such as UNRWA, UNHCR, and UNICEF in providing assistance and protection to the most vulnerable.
These Goals, however, call for action from different actors of society, including the private sector. The actions of the private sector, such as business initiatives, research, knowledge-sharing platforms, and infrastructure investment have the potential to help development by creating quality jobs and strengthening skills. To better reduce risks and realise the benefits of private sector action, dialogue between policy makers and businesses is crucial.
Let me finally wish the participating entrepreneurs a successful seminar. I invite you to take advantage of the unique opportunity to meet individually with the UN Procurement Officers during the one-on-one meetings and networking session.