Dialogue and Transfer Forum on Sustainable Public Procurement – Municipalities from Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa as Agents of Change

Event Type
Dialogue and Transfer Forum

Location / Date
Bremen, 17.10.2018 until 19.10.2018


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Servicestelle Kommunen in der Einen Welt (SKEW), Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ), City Municipality of Bremen, Swedish International Center for Local Democracy (ICLD)

Sustainable public procurement (SPP) can become a major lever for the implementation of the Agenda 2030, especially with regard to responsible consumption and production (Goal 12). A project of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), analyses potentials and challenges in this policy field. In close cooperation with the Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the project will run until the end of 2019. From 24-26 September 2018, pioneer municipalities from Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa met in Bremen to exchange views on the strategic use of public procurement to achieve sustainability goals. Cooperation partners of the forum were the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) and the City of Bremen, itself a frontrunner in Europe. Despite impressive good examples, it became clear that there is still a long way to go in order to use the leveraging effect of public demand for a transformation towards sustainability effectively. As a central element to reach this goal, the exchange of knowledge and experiences between municipalities of the Global South and the North was identified.

In practice, both approaches in anchoring SPP principles in municipal administrative structures and the focus on specific sustainability dimensions vary between North and South. Many municipalities in the North focus on the environmental performance of goods and services, while social and labor aspects are seen as mainly covered by law and collective agreements. Cities in the South, e.g. in Latin America, often focus more on the social dimension as has become clear in the contributions by Cynthia Ngxesha (Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality), Kwasi Larnyoh (Institute of Local Government Studies, Ghana) and Mpho Nxumalo (Ministry of Finance of the Republic of South Africa). In the South African context, the goal of supporting disadvantaged groups through public procurement is even laid down in the constitution. The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Programme (BBBEE) is a far developed policy tool to realise socio-political goals, explicitly including the instrument of targeted public procurement. At the same time, Gray Maguire from the Western Cape Government pointed out that some provinces in South Africa are now exploring the potential of public procurement to also promote environmental sustainability, for example in the area of green infrastructure and public construction. In this field, there is the possibility for exchange with European pioneers, for example with Torres Vedras in Portugal, where the city administration regularly asks for green criteria in public construction projects.

During the debate on SPP practices, it became clear that there is a huge demand for exchange of knowledge and experiences among representatives of local governments and administrations across country borders and cultural areas. Guiding questions have to be: How are sustainability considerations integrated into the practices of local public entities? What are the drivers and barriers and how can they be overcome? The “SPP Map” was considered a helpful approach in this respect. Developed by the DIE team, this tool provides guidance on different entry points and preconditions to implement SPP in municipalities.

The Bremen Forum has impressively demonstrated that sustainable public procurement can become an important policy tool for implementing the Agenda 2030. In order to make this tool widely operational, two aspects are important: First, the continued exchange of experiences, especially between municipalities from the North and the South. Second, accompanying this exchange by research in order to analyse transformative processes and disseminate the acquired knowledge.


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Event information

Date / Time

17.10.2018 until 19.10.2018 / 09:00 - 19:00



-- by invitation only --