- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: Major Group
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document:
Driving sustainable development through public procurement
Eurodad submission for the Rio+20 compilation document
Public Procurement can be a major driver of sustainable development and should therefore be on the Rio Summit?s agenda. Public procurement accounts for at least 15 percent of global GDP. It is the largest share of government spending besides wages. Moreover, it a section of the economy which is directly under public control, and can be directed towards achieving development goals. Thus, if wisely used, it is a major policy tool for driving sustainable development, in both developed and developing countries.
Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) is often defined as a process whereby organizations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organizaČtion, but also to society and the economy, whilst minimizing damage to the environment. SPP takes developmental, social and environmental criteria into account and makes public procurement contribute to reaching the Internationally Agreed Development Goals.
The relevance of SPP has already been identified by the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation contains an SPP chapter. However implementation since then has been limited. Several UN Member States conducted smaller, more fragmented reforms but scope, depth and speed of reforms leave much room for improvement. The European Union is considering adopting some SPP approaches to modernize its own procurement policy, but has a narrow focus on the environmental dimension.
SPP implementation in developing countries is promoted under the Marrakesh process, but just a small number of countries participate in pilot programs. Most larger public procurement reform programs in developing countries are designed, funded and implemented by the World Bank. Independent research found that SPP criteria are hardly ever considered in technical assistance provided. Consequently, the laws, institutions and human capabilities resulting from such programs do not enable developing countries to apply SPP in practice. This has received criticism from experts who argue that the ongoing process of building functional systems offers a unique opportunity, to develop and implement the most modern SPP procurement systems, in line with the concept of sustainable development.
International debate about ?best practice? in procurement largely takes place in a donor and IFI-dominated discourse ? at the OECD Task Force on Procurement ? and the concept of SPP does not feature much in this influential policy-making process. Neither do SPP criteria feature in diagnostic tools for procurement systems developed by the Task Force, such as the Methodology for the Assessment of Procurement Systems (MAPS), which have been developed by this Task Force.
The Rio Summit can give a new impetus to Sustainable Public Procurement. The Outcome Document should include:
- A deepened and strengthened global agreement on sustainable public procurement.
- A detailed roadmap, targets and timelines for reform.
- The commitment to found a new UN-hosted Global Partnership for Procurement ? to replace the OECD Task Force on Procurement ? which builds on the SPP concept and draws on the experience of UN organizations such as the UNDP, UNCTAD, UNEP and the ILO, works with parliaments and civil society, and ensures that in future SPP principles guide public procurement reforms in both developed and developing countries.
- The commitment to mainstream SPP criteria in diagnostic tools used for assessing procurement systems.
- The commitment to reform procurement practices of bilateral aid agencies, multilateral development banks and international organizations. This implies full untying of aid grants and development loans, using and strengthening SPP country procurement systems of partner countries or giving preference to local and regional procurement; and taking developmental, social and environmental considerations into account.