Course Information
Introduction and Background

Public procurement is the acquisition of goods, services, and works by a public "authority" or "body". Transactions of this nature are public undertakings and, therefore, they are governed by Civil, Community, or International Law. Constituting one of the main expenditures of government in developing countries, the importance of public procurement cannot be denied. Needless to say, any improvements in the public procurement system can have a direct and beneficial effect on the overall economic situation of a country.

Given the significance of resources controlled through public procurement systems and the need for improvement, this introductory course will help the participant explore in a short period of time key facets that govern the public procurement process. In addition, this course will focus on contracts entered into by the public authorities/governments (whether central, federal, state, regional or zonal), for the purposes of procurement of goods and works. Finally, this course will also look into various dispute resolution mechanisms applicable in a public procurement context.


Registration Status: OPEN
Deadline for Enrollment: when slots are full
Course Dates: October 25 to November 26, 2010
Estimated learning time: Minimum of 35 hours
Format: Online/Internet-based (asynchronous)
Language of Instruction: English
Fees: US $ 400/-
Helpline: UNITAR Geneva (Course Administration and Technical Questions)
  Course Objectives  

At the end of the course, the participants should be able to:

  • Describe which procurements are governed by certain existing civil or international laws;
  • Recognize the various methods and procedures of domestic and international tendering system, including procurement procedures for World Bank-aided projects;
  • Interpret a public procurement contract and be able to assist in its execution;
  • Summarize the steps involved in the completion of procurement; and
  • Select the applicable method for resolution of disputes in public procurement contracts.
  Target Audience  

The course aims to train government officials (whether Federal, Central, State or Regional) and other stakeholders engaged in the procurement of goods, works and services from national and international sources. Members of the Attorney General's office, officials of the Ministry of Justice and lawyers responsible for drafting, negotiation, or approval of domestic or international agreements for public procurement will also benefit from this course; Members of the Judiciary and representatives from the Law, Economics and Commerce Faculties of the Universities who may be interested in law and procedure of public procurement will also find this course useful.

Additionally, representatives of national and international trade and industry who enter into public procurement agreements for goods and works will find the course immensely informative and beneficial in protecting their rights and interests.

  Course Structure / Outline  

Course Structure

This online course will involve a mix of self-study and online interaction culminating in a practical understanding of money market through online group work. Throughout the duration of the course, participants will go through theoretical and conceptual material prepared by UNITAR and will have an opportunity to relate it to real-life situations through online discussions and peer-to-peer interaction. There will be a quiz/assignment at the end of the course which is a requirement for obtaining a course certificate.

Course Outline

The course consists of the following modules:

Module 1: Introduction to Public Procurement and Legal Framework

This module will include an introduction and brief description of existing international legal framework, such as, (i) Model Law on Procurement of Goods, Construction and Services of UNCITRAL; (ii) The Plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) of the World Trade Organization; (iii) European Union Directives on Public Procurement; (iv) Procurement Procedures under World Bank, and (v) General description of Procurement Laws prevailing in some countries.

Module 2: Methods of Public Procurement

Various methods of public procurement, such as, (a) Procurement through Open Tender System; (b) Procurement through Domestic bidding; (c) International Competitive bidding system; (d) Restricted bidding; Notice inviting tender; Negotiations with bidders; Tender evaluation; Acceptance of tender/Letter of Acceptance Formal execution of contract.

Module 3: Contract Execution in Public Procurement

This module will deal with the contract execution phase, including execution of the public procurement contract, bank guarantees, inspection of goods and works, effect of change orders/extra items, force majeure, time essence of the contract, extension of time, passing of ownership in goods and works, etc.

Module 4: Post-execution Phase of Public Procurement contracts

This module will cover post execution phase of procurement contracts such as, Termination of contract; Full and final payment; Closing of contract; Damages for breach of contract; Warranties; Resolution of disputes - Conciliation; Dispute Resolution Boards; Arbitration, and Courts.

Module 5: Overview of General Terms and Conditions of Public Procurement contracts

This module will include those general terms and conditions of public procurement contracts not covered in other chapters, such as, Taxes and Duties; Patent Rights; Assignment; Subcontracts; Penalties, Notices, Applicable Law, and Contract Amendment.

  Other Course-related Information
This course will be conducted over the internet using UNITAR's e-Learning infrastructure for a five-week period. Participants will require a minimum of 90 minutes of study each day. The course pedagogy will allow for three levels of interaction. At the first level, the participants will interact with the training content. At the second level, the participants will interact with other participants to share experiences and learn in a contextual manner (using an online discussion board facility). At the third level, the participants will interact with a seasoned international negotiator (course mentor) who will moderate the course for its entire duration. At the core of this course is a set of online interactions and discussions, each of which will be coached by an expert.

UNITAR online courses attempt to create a networked learning environment, in which participants have the flexibility to learn at their own convenience and pace but also are able to interact with peers and experts through the discussion board facility.

This online course will be conducted in the English language.


This course is designed as an online course in which participants will be primarily responsible for their own learning. Each lesson will consist of the following components:

1) Basic Reading Materials (Compulsory Reading Materials): these materials are intended to educate the participants about the basic concepts and principles applicable to the subject-matter of the lesson. It will include, where appropriate, sample materials. These materials will constitute the required reading materials for the lesson

2) Advanced Reading Materials (Optional Reading Materials): this will consist of optional reading materials for participants who wish to learn more about the topic than what is covered in the lesson.

3) External Links: This will refer the interested participants to additional books, articles, documents, and websites that deal with the issues raised in the lesson.

4) Glossary: A glossary of terms tailored to the online course will be provided to the participants and act as a learning support during the entire course.

5) Quizzes: At the end of each lesson there will be a set of quizzes for participants to answer. These quizzes are designed to test the participant's understanding of the lesson. Participants are required to pass each quiz and obtain at least 80% or more passing grade in order to be eligible for a certificate. All quizzes will need to be taken online.

6) Community Discussion Board: There will be a community discussion board available on which participants can post questions or comments that can be seen by the instructor and the other participants. This discussion board will be moderated by the course director and UNITAR. Structured discussion strings will be posted on a weekly basis.

All successful participants will be eligible to a certificate after completion of this online course.


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