Image credits: UNOPS
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News Article

Should UNOPS Be Accountable Before INAI?

By Antonio Gozain | Thu, 11/04/2021 - 11:43

María Elena Pérez-Jaén Zermeño, former Civic Commissioner of INFOCDMX, formally requested the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Personal Data Protection (INAI) to determine that UNOPS is an obligated subject of Mexican transparency laws and must account for the public resources it has received for the purchase of medicines and medical supplies abroad.

UNOPS, the operational arm of the UN, signed an agreement with Mexico to open the door to imports of medicines from around the world. These duties correspond to the Federal Government, said Pérez-Jaén, so the organization must be considered as an obligated subject to transparency and accountability. UNOPS, in the name of Mexico’s government, administrates Mexicans’ money and purchases drugs and medical supplies; therefore, it should not be covered by legal protection and immunities of the UN Convention, she added.

“For this reason, (UNOPS) must be subject to the agreement by which the General Guidelines establish the criteria for compliance with the obligations of transparency and access to information in charge of the natural and legal persons who receive and exercise public resources or carry out acts of authority,” said during a press conference Pérez-Jaén.

The Mexican government and UNOPS signed a “technical assistance” agreement for the administration and management of projects and the acquisition of goods, services on Feb. 13, 2019. Later, on July 31, 2021, INSABI and UNOPS signed a new agreement, called “Acquisition of medicines and healing materials,” which empowered the UN-backed organization to carry out the bidding procedures to supply medicines to the Mexican health system between 2021 and 2024.

UNOPS must directly inform about its exercise of over US$6 billion that the government assigned to it, according to article 214 of the General Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information, said Pérez-Jaén. UNOPS must also comply with the 48 transparency obligations, according to article 70 and guarantee access to this information for every person interested in it.

SHCP Must Report on Drug Public Tender for 2019: INAI

The Ministry of the Treasury and Public Credit (SHCP) must deliver to the citizen who requested it a copy of the report of the public international tender related to the acquisition of medicines and equipment that UNOPS delivered to SHCP and the Ministry of Health, ordered INAI back on Nov. 1, 2021.

The person who asked SHCP for the report submitted a complaint that INAI solved, after SCHP declared that the information requested does not exist.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, El Economista, María Elena Pérez-Jaén Zermeño
Photo by:   UNOPS
Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst