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Procurement Debriefs & Protests

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The Process of Protest

In the procurement process, UNHCR offers all bidders the opportunity to discuss an unsuccessful bid and obtain additional information on their procurement exercise. This is called a procurement debrief and is part of UNHCR's policy of transparency. UNHCR also has a linked appeals process, called a procurement protest, for registered vendors not awarded an order or contract in a high value competitive procurement process. Protests are also allowed for joint procurement exercises with UN entities when UNHCR is the lead organization. A procurement protest is not available to non-responsive or non-timely proposers or bidders or when all proposals or bids are rejected.


Any registered UNHCR vendor who wishes to protest the result of a procurement exercise must do so in writing within 30 calendar days of the bidder's receipt of notification from UNHCR that it was not awarded the contract. The debrief request should be sent to:

Head, UNHCR Procurement Management and Contracting Service
UNHCR Global Service Centre
Ipoly utca 5b
1133 Budapest, Hungary


While UNHCR cannot share confidential or other sensitive information, the debrief gives the bidder an opportunity to obtain additional information on the procurement exercise. It is typically conducted in person and in English at UNHCR's Global Service Centre in Budapest. Translators and other special arrangements will be considered, if deemed necessary by UNHCR, provided that the vendor pays for fees and any associated costs. The vendor may receive only one debrief.


A procurement debrief is a prerequisite to the filing of a protest. Only unsuccessful bidders may submit a protest in connection with an eligible high value UNHCR procurement exercise - one in which the contract award amount exceeded US$150,000 or its equivalent in another currency.

The procurement protest must be received by UNHCR no later than 15 calendar days after the date of the debrief. The protest will be upheld (i) if the complainant establishes facts that constitute a violation of UNHCR's procurement rules and (ii) if, but for the violation, the complainant would have been awarded the contract.

The request for a debrief should be sent to the Head, UNHCR Procurement Management and Contracting Service at the above postal or e-mail address. A copy should also be sent to:

Head, UNHCR Legal Affairs Service
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
94 Rue Montbrillant
1201 Geneva, Switzerland

E-mail: HQLE00@unhcr.org

The procurement protest must be correctly addressed and contain the following information:

  • Complainant's name and contact details.
  • A copy of the notification issued by UNHCR to the complainant of an unsuccessful proposal or bid in a high value procurement exercise.
  • The exercise or contract number, the name of the contracting office/business unit and the name of the responsible UNHCR procurement officer.
  • Detailed statement of all factual and legal grounds for the procurement protest.
  • Detailed statement of how the complainant was prejudiced.
  • Detailed statement of the costs incurred in making the bid.
  • Copies of all relevant documents supporting the complainant's claims, allegations, statements and costs incurred.

Once received, UNHCR will determine if the procurement protest was timely and correctly submitted and complies with the requirements above. In this regard, the complainant carries the burden of presenting substantial evidence that demonstrates the truth of its claims. Unsupported allegations and assertions are not sufficient for the process to continue. A decision rejecting the receivability of the procurement protest is final, but if the protest is received, UNHCR will conduct an inquiry.

If the procurement protest is found to be meritorious, UNHCR may grant the complainant up to a maximum of US$50,000 or 10 per cent of the awarded contract value (whichever is lower) for any proven expenses incurred in making the bid and in pursuing the protest. Any decision will be communicated and the decision is final.

Nothing in the above procedures or in any procedure or action by or relating to UNHCR with respect to or in connection with a procurement debrief or a procurement protest shall be deemed in any way to constitute a waiver of any of the privileges and immunities of the UN or its components, including UNHCR (as a subsidiary organ of the UN).