Challenges to the Work of UNOPS

"After two years the results are not the expected and, in fact, delays in the projects correspond to the typical obstructions and slow management that we are used to with public entities."

Friday, September 1, 2017


The actions of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) never cease to amaze. Its representatives in the country not only set out an impossible series of obstacles when the Comptroller General of the Republic requested to review the file on the contract for the new bridge over the Virilla River, on route 32, but now, a week after the request was made, UNOPS is ignoring the Comptroller's order. The entity had established a period of 24 hours for the delivery of the information. 

See: "Local or International, Bureaucracy Does Not Pay for its Mistakes"

An article on points out that "...UNOPS contends that if the comptroller wants to review the entire file, it must do so in its offices, located in Pavas, in the presence of their officials and at the times they establish. This agency is also covered by a set of immunities because it is attached to an international organization."

"... La Nacion asked Nuria Gamboa, Communication Officer at UNOPS, for the reasons why the documentation has not been sent to the CGR, but no response has been given yet. The newspaper also requested access to the file at the UNOPS offices, but that request was denied."

From a statement issued by the Costa Rican Chamber of Construction:

The Costa Rican Chamber of Construction expresses its enormous concern regarding the work carried out in our country by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

As it is known, UNOPS was hired by the Costa Rican Government to carry out important infrastructure works. 

After two years the results are not as expected and, in fact, delays in the projects correspond to the typical obstructions and slow management that we are used to with state entities, such as the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the National Highway Council.

Read full statement in spanish.

More on this topic

Costa Rica: No More Projects with UNOPS

January 2018

The controversy generated by the UNOPS's decision to prevent access to files on the road works for which it is responsible has led the government to refrain from granting new projects in the future.

Possibly as a result of the refusal of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to make public the project files and the subsequent cancellation of contracts by the Comptroller General, the Ministry of Public Works has decided not to continue with the assistance of the international organization in future projects.

The Cost of Hiding Information About Public Works

December 2017

In Costa Rica, the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic decided to cancel the contracts for two UNOPS road construction projects, after it decided to keep secret the files with the details of these contracts.

The decision by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to hide the details of the contracts for the two road construction projects assigned to it by the National Road Council (Conavo) cost state coffers dearly. 

Bureaucracy has no Limits in Costa Rica

February 2017

The order to start a major road project has been temporarily suspended because of "a change of offices and misplacement of a document" which delayed delivery of a piece of paper required in the contract.

The project to expand the road from San Jose to San Ramon, essential for the development of the northern part of the greater metropolitan area, which has been delayed for years after setbacks with successive concessionaire construction companies, has been delayed once again due to the excessive bureaucracy that affects all road infrastructure projects in Costa Rica.

For and Against the UNOPS

July 2015

While state officials are happy to delegate their responsibilities to the UN Office for Project Services, the Comptroller of Guatemala has declared that its services are "detrimental to the interests of the state".


The arrival in Central America of the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) was hailed by many as a factor that would allow the execution of public works which are very difficult or impossible for state institutions in the region to run, for various reasons ranging from lack of qualified personnel to simple negligence.

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