Dialogue and Transfer Forum on Sustainable Public Procurement – Municipalities in Europe and Latin America as Agents of change

Event Type
Dialogue and Transfer Forum

Location / Date
Malmö, 24.09.2018 until 26.09.2018


Servicestelle Kommunen in der Einen Welt (SKEW), Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ)

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 Latin America met in Malmö 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 Malmö, 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, 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. Ana Asti, representative of Rio de Janeiro, explained that the city mainly sources goods produced in communities of low economic activity and income (Favelas). In addition, the introduction of a solidarity economy is supported in these areas in which a share of all sales revenue flows into the support of the local economy, e.g. to finance micro credits. The somewhat stronger focus of Northern municipalities on environmental aspects of SPP became apparent in the input of Betina Bergmann Madsen, Senior Advisor for Food Procurement in the City of Copenhagen. Strict criteria and intensive exchange with market actors largely increased the share of locally and organically produced food in public institutions, without a significant increase in prices. Furthermore, many farms around Copenhagen have converted to organic farming, which impressively illustrates the potential of public procurement for the sustainability transformation.

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 Malmö 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

24.09.2018 until 26.09.2018 / 09:00 - 19:00



-- by invitation only --