Municipalities Promoting and Shaping Sustainable Value Creation (MUPASS) – Public Procurement as a Tool for Fair and Sustainable Production

At least 10% to 20% of Gross Domestic Product in most countries of the world is purchased by the public sector. Examples show that making public procurement of gods and services subject to ambitious sustainability requirements has potentially a high leverage effect to support a transformation towards sustainability. The project design strives at filling existing research gaps in the field, e.g. regarding effective governance conditions, and at supporting knowledge diffusion and exchange of experience between practitioners from both the Global South and the North.

Project Lead:
Andreas Stamm

Project Team:
Maximilian Müngersdorff
Tim Stoffel

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

Time frame:
2017 - 2019 / completed

Co-operation Partner:

Engagement Global
Servicestelle Kommunen in der Einen Welt
Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ)

Project description

MUPASS represents an international research and dialogue project, implemented by the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in close collaboration with the Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Co-Operation and Development (BMZ).

Rationale of the project

Public Procurement (PP) has potentially a high leverage effect to make economic development more inclusive and ecologically sound, if shaped in the right way. Researchers estimate PP to correspond to at least 10% to 20% of Gross Domestic Product in most countries of the world. A large part of PP is implemented by sub-national entities – hence MUPASS focusses on municipalities as actors. Since the 1990s and the drafting of the Local Agenda 21, the great potential of municipal entities for the transformation towards inclusive and sustainable development patterns has been widely recognized. Today, thousands of subnational public authorities across the globe have approved a local sustainability agenda and are implementing related activities.

Research on Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) across the world indicates that countries and cities share some basic challenges, such as creating a governance framework for effective SPP implementation or applying instruments that allow for easy-to-manage, inexpensive and transparent modes of conformity assessment.

Elements and tentative schedule of the project

MUPASS aspires to respond to the challenges for SPP and has three interlinked elements:

Element 1: The project’s first cornerstone will explore the framework conditions for a successful implementation of SPP in both the Global North and the South. MUPASS will analyze SPP practices under different socio-economic and governance frameworks in Europe, Latin America and sub-Sahara Africa.

Element 2: MUPASS will assess the effects of SPP on workers, smallholders and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in selected supply chains, particularly in countries of the Global South. Knowledge about these effects is crucial to assess, how the assumed potential of PP for a sustainability transformation can effectively be harnessed by smart tendering of goods, services and works.

Element 3: The project will organize scientifically supported platforms of city governments and administrations, which will allow mutual learning among stakeholders from the Global South and North about good practices in SPP. Giving access to the vast experience available in different parts of the world can help shorten processes of institutional reforms and policy design and also feed the accompanying research.

MUPASS will go through two main phases: The Early Phase starts with the Kick-Off Expert Workshop on 25 and 26 of January 2018 and will last until August 2018. The focus will be on the framework conditions for SPP in the North and the South (Element 1). Partners in the South will be identified, which will conduct governance-related research in the different world regions. Together with them, MUPASS will lay the conceptual and methodological foundations of the impact studies (Element 2) and the exchange platforms (Element 3). Still during the Early Phase, the project will organize two dialogue fora, one focusing on Latin America, the other one on sub-Sahara African countries.

The Main Phase of MUPASS will last from September 2018 until December 2019. In the research part, the focus will be on analyzing the sustainability impacts, which SPP has on important sectors and value chains (Element 2). Adequate conceptual and methodological preparations will require intense teamwork and exchange with SKEW and the partners in the Global South. MUPASS foresees the fieldwork for impact studies for the first half of 2019. In parallel, the two dialogue fora of the Early Phase will be analyzed. This will feed back into the preparation of two larger conferences, tentatively scheduled for August and September 2019. As in the case of the two dialogue fora in the Early Phase, one will focus on Latin America, the other one on sub-Sahara Africa, and both include European city partners. After conducting the conferences, the project team will evaluate their outcomes. The results will feed back into the research. In addition, MUPASS will analyze, whether and how continued mutual learning processes among city governments and administrations may lead to an acceleration of institutional and political reforms in favor of SPP.