The United Nations has a founding mission to raise living standards and promote development worldwide. The preamble of the United Nations Charter calls for the Organization “to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.”

This timeless duty has taken concrete shape in recent years in the form of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), our collective pledge to meet the needs of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

While there has been great progress toward reaching the MDGs, millions of people still suffer from poverty, hunger and disease. They urgently need our help.

Our responsibility to promote development must be an element of all of our core activities.

This includes procurement, which can harness the power of the supply chain to improve people’s lives.

The United Nations bought $14.5 billion worth of goods and services last year. This enormous purchasing power can exert a positive influence on economic systems to the benefit of people.

This publication describes a wealth of initiatives that can spur deeper thinking on the role of procurement in meeting development goals. I commend readers to use this volume as a launching point for future action.